Lightweight Hikers’ Guide to REI Members’ Sale 2020

Here’s how to get the best deals the REI Members’ Sale. I’ve been an REI member for almost 45 years and I still get excited about a REI Sale. To prep for the sale I usually do a 1 to 2 hour visit to my local REI Store, and then some extensive research online to find even more great lightweight hiking and backpacking gear. The result is our Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to the REI Sale:

  • EVENT 2020 REI Members’ Sale: Dates 3/20-4/6 | Members Get 20% off one full price item and 20% off one REI OUTLET Item Use CODE: MEMPERKS2020
  • PLUS:  3/20 – 3/26 | 25% Off All REI Co-op Brand Items* *Excludes Co-op Cycles Bikes + FREE Shipping on ALL Orders.

Below, I share with you my strategy to get the best out of the REI sale. This is in the following sequence

  1. Hit the REI OUTLET to use your 20% off any one OUTLET items like Osprey Packs or Big Agnes Tents. Stuff goes fast and sizes/colors are limited to begin with.
  2. Hit the Regular REI Sale Items See our Regular Sale picks below. There’s a section below that has Regular Sale Items I thought were good. The best items on sale will go quickly.
  3. Shop Full-price Items. This is the last area I would look over but Full-price Items like a Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 & 3400 Southwest Pack, an Osprey Exos Pack or a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad  that might give you the most dollar savings. Again in a section below, I have noted some high priced items where 20% off would be welcome, as well as some lower cost options.

12 Quick Pics for the Sale (some items only on sale thru 3/26)

Short on time? Here are some key picks for great gear deals that should appeal to most lightweight hikers and backpackers. Best, they are already on sale so you can save your 20% Off One Regular Price Item for something else that meets your fancy. The best items on sale will go quickly. So if you wait too long, you may not get your choice of size, model or color, or it might just sell out.

Flash Packs

REI Flash 18 & Flash 22 Packs

%25 OFF no longer on sale

$30 – $40

Clear your mind and refresh your perspective by taking a hike! There’s no better time to enjoy the benefits of solitude and nature. Not surprisingly we’re seeing a huge people out hiking just about everywhere!

Staff Pick: The REI Flash 18 & Flash 22 Packs are a Staff Favorites. They are very light, inexpensive & functional ultralight day packs. Blessedly minimal with just the right features, the  Flash 18 is only 9 ounces and the Flash 22 just 13 ounces. As such, they will lighten your load and step.

Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent REI sale

New REI’s Lightest 2-Person Tent | REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent

25% OFF no longer on sale

2-Person Tent | Under 2 Pounds! $299

If you are looking to drop some weight in your pack, and are willing to consider non-traditional, this is a great way to save yourself a ton of trail weight (tent weight is only 1 pound per person!)

New for this spring, the 2-person REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent is an exciting new entry into trekking pole supported tents. We are still testing the tent, but we are optimistic that it will be a solid competitor to cottage manufactures’ shelters like Tarptent. One thing that differentiates the REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent is a brow-pole that arches between the two trekking poles to better support the roof and create structure for the tent.

The North Face TKA 100 Colorblocked Full-Zip Hoodie

The North Face TKA 100 Colorblocked Full-Zip Hoodie

25% OFF


A 100 wt fleece shirt is our go to favorite mid-layer—goes on every trip! And The North Face TKA 100 Colorblocked Full-Zip Hoodie is one of our favorites, adding a hood this year! This is a lightweight, inexpensive fleece that blocks the wind reasonably well and provides just the right amount of warmth. With an appropriate layering scheme, this can replace the need for a wind jacket for us entirely!  We find that in cool weather (where a layering system is most useful) a fleece shirt is better. For almost the same weight of a windshirt a light 100 weight fleece shirt has a greater temperature range for comfort — which means fewer clothing changes. And a thin fleece doesn’t trap moisture in the same way as windshirt.

REI Co-op Groundbreaker Insulated Jacket M’s & W’s

60% Off

A warm jacket for tight times!

Stay warm on the cheap! An amazing deal on a warm jacket at a fraction of the cost of competitors. While not as light as the Patagonia Nano Puff below, the REI Co-op Groundbreaker Insulated Jacket provides enough warmth for a cold day on the trail or general use around town. It uses ” bluesign®-approved materials, which conserve resources and protect the health of the environment, workers and wearer.”

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket – M’s & W’s

30% Off

$99 to $139
For 12 years the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket has been the classic, light do-it-all jacket. Biking, climbing, hiking, backpacking, bikepacking, you name it, this ultralight jacket is a great tool for the job. Synthetic PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco is a very light and warm insulation. It is more water resistant than down is made from 55% post-consumer recycled fibers. If you add in the  wind and water resistant bluesign® approved fabric shell, the jacket is 75% recycled materials so you can feel good about the environment.

TIP: we prefer the warmer and even more versatile Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie

REI Co-op Merino Midweight Half-Zip Base Layer

25% OFF

$43 to $90

Many folks like super soft, itch free merino wool for clothing. It feels less clammy than synthetics, still keeps you warm when wet, and it stenches far less than most synthetics — a big plus for long backpacking trips or travel where frequent washing many not be possible. This is our favorite and most versatile wool/poly blend baselayer that combines the best of both fabrics. It has a zip for temperature control and ventilation, thumb loops to keep your hands warm and for sun protection. Its ultra-breathable mesh panels deliver cooling airflow in key areas. Finally, it has just the right amount of warmth for most of the year but we’ve also used it with great success in the deserts of Utah.

Our favorite shirt is the REI Co-op Merino Midweight Half-Zip Shirt. In this chilly weather we use it our “hiking shirt” and baselayer. This saves weight and and the complications taking on and off your baselayer.  The half-zip regulates temperature and the long sleeves and full neck are good for sun protection. Wool is warm when wet, does a good job of wicking moisture away from your skin and is naturally antimicrobial so it dramatically reduces stench. Finally soft merino wool does not itch. We also like the similar Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip. And For those who can’t handle wool look at $45 REI 1/2-Zip Active Shirt.

REI Co-op Drypoint Gore Tex Jacket

25% OFF

$124 to $249

TECH: Highly breathable GORE-TEX Active waterproof breathable laminate (20-denier ripstop nylon)

Our pick for best all-around performance rain Jacket. Another great REI Rain Jacket. The REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Jacket is a solid three layer jacket at a great price! It has two well placed mesh backed chest pockets and adjustable hem, cuffs and hood (3 adjustments). REI made some good design choices with this jacket: the pockets are high enough to use when wearing hip straps and it has mesh pocket linings creating two large and effective chest vents (which we prefer over pit-zips). Additionally, the Drypoint’s seam-free shoulder design is good when wearing a pack and should increase durability in this critical area.

BEST FOR: Hikers and backpackers looking for a great value in rain protection with good breathability and great ventilation that can endure significant wear and tear. And it has the REI warranty!

REI Rain Jacket | REI Co-op Rainier

25% OFF

$45 – $90

$45 to $90 for a good quality and light REI rain jacket says it it all! The REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket’s utilitarian design keeps weight and cost low. Styling is a bit bit utilitarian but the jacket has room to layer. The Co-op Jacket has a modestly sized, 3-piece hood with dual hood adjusts (but still best with a ball-cap under it), two zippered hand pockets, a drawcord hem and internal elastic cuffs allow a seal at waist and wrists. And the new model has pit zips and uses Recycled nylon ripstop (bluesign® approved).

BEST FOR: Budget hikers and backpackers looking for good rain and wind protection that will last at an incredibly low price.

REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket

25% OFF

$69 – $100

For those who want to save a bunch on a down jacket, the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket is a great value. While it weighs a bit more vs. an 850 fill power down jacket, it also half the price. Otherwise it has a same features and functionality of the more expensive down jackets. Altho a bit pricier we prefer the hooded version.


25% OFF no longer on sale

$299 – $349

REI fans rejoice, the REI CO-OP Quarter Dome SL 2 is a legitimately great option for any backpacker seeking a premium, free-standing, lightweight tent that won’t break the bank. Among our favorite freestanding options, it’s $50 cheaper than the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 and $100 cheaper than the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 while still offering the same large vestibules and near-vertical sidewalls. Sure, at 3.3 lbs, Quarter Dome 2 isn’t the most featherweight option available, but it’s still over a pound lighter than most budget tents and can be carried into the backcountry with ease. The bottom line is that this tent is an REI best-seller because it meets all the requirements of a lightweight backpacker for a very reasonable price.

BEST FOR: Backpackers seeking a premium tent that won’t break the bank.

SIMILAR MODELS: REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1p, and REI Co-op Quarter Dome 3p


25% OFF no longer on sale

$229 – $249

The REI Half Dome 2 Plus was a pick in our Tent Guide, and a best selling tent at REI for a reason; it just works. No matter where and how you choose to camp in the backcountry or front-country, this tent will keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its vertical walls, spacious interior, and expansive vestibules make for great livability, which is why this backpacking tent also has great crossover into car camping. If you need a quiver of one budget tent for all purposes, the Half Dome is your go-to. In addition to more volume and features than the Salida 2 or Passage 2, it’s also made with higher quality, longer lasting materials. A 60d floor prevents rips and pokes while durable DAC poles form a strong and light cross-pole frame with sidewall lifters. But all of these benefits comes at the weight-cost of 4.9 lbs, making it the single heaviest tent we recommend. Quality and value run throughout the entire Half Dome Plus family, so don’t hesitate to buy according to your typical group configuration.

SIMILAR MODELS: Half Dome 1p, Half Dome 3p, Half Dome 4p

BEST FOR: Budget or beginner backpackers seeking a safe, comfy, reliable tent that works great for backpacking and car camping.

Magma Sleeping Bag

REI Co-op Magma 15 and 30 Sleeping Bags

25% OFF no longer on sale

$329 – $399

As a top pick in our Sleeping Bag Guide, we feel that the new REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag M’s & W’s is a good all-around three season choice for many campers. But if you go out in warmer weather or are concerned about weight, the REI Co-op Magma 30 just a bit over a pound but filled with 8.5 oz of 850-fill-power goose down! That will keep many sleepers warm but still not weigh a ton! BUT if you do sleep cold: check out the original, award winning REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag. It will either keep colder sleepers happy in peak 3 season camping, or take most folks into colder shoulder (3+ season) camping of early spring or late fall.

REI CO-OP Magna Trail Quilt 30

REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30 ($299 – $339)

25% OFF no longer on sale

New for 2019 | Off the shelf and ready to go! | REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30. We are super stoked to see REI offer a quilt version of the award winning Magma series bags! Pair this with the “Women’s” version of the XLite, (yes it fits men fine — all the men we know use it) and you will be toasty warm at night. And no wonder since it’s stuffed with an incredible 11 ounces of Water-resistant 850-fill-power goose down. This quilt is cut a bit wider than most to give you lots of room and a good seal around the edges. What’s not to like!

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

25% OFF no longer on sale

$99 – $120

HIGHLIGHTS:  1/2 cost of similar pads without giving up much

The Value Pad Pick in our Sleeping Pad Guide, and a good all-around pad from a trusted source. Around 1/2 the price of the competition, the Flash 3-Season pad had one of the highest scores for value (R/cost). Updated for 2020 with stronger and more durable construction. And at it’s R 3.2 insulation value is competitive with many thicker (non-XLite/XTherm) pads in this guide.

GREAT FOR: A low cost, light and comfortable, 3 season pad from a trusted source

REI Sahara Pants

REI Sahara Pants & Shirts

25% OFF

$34 – $70

We’ve used some version of REI Co-op Sahara pants for nearly 20 years. They’ve been to Patagonia, Alaska, Asia, the Deserts of Utah, and pretty much every mountain range in the lower 48. They get the job done. We like the thin, light but durable fabric key reinforcements in high wear areas. And that they come in a number of inseams. And of course all those pockets are essential to keep your gear organized and readily available. Finally they dry quickly and are great for international travel as well.

REI Sahara Shirts

REI Sahara Shirts are the same quality as the pants.

Suggestions for your 20% off any one full-price item

new Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket 2020

$159 (older models on sale for less)

TECH: Pertex Diamond Fuse 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate Ripstop nylon

The Outdoor Research Helium is a great value, costing less than other jackets in the rarefied 6 ounce range!  And for 2020 it’s way more durable at the same weight! The first upgrade to the highly regarded Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket in 8 years! It boasts a new super strong Pertex Diamond Fuse fabric. Outdoor Research say it 5x more tear resistant and 2x more abrasion resistant than the old Helium. That’s a huge deal for a 6 oz Rain Jacket where any increase in durability is most welcome. In addition for 2020 it got a slightly roomier fit. While it weighs far less than most rain jackets, it still has a good feature set — drawcord adjustable hood, elastic adjustable cuffs, and a chest pocket that can stow the entire jacket. While a bit larger for 2020 this jacket this jacket is still trim. It will layer over an 8-12+ oz fleece midlayer, but anyone layering it over something larger (e.g. a down jacket) should likely size up. And like always, the 2020 Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket costs less than competitor’s 6 ounce rain jackets!

The matching Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants share the same strong Pertex Diamond Fuse material, where its durability may be even more welcome as pants often take more abuse than jackets. They also have lace loops to attach to your shoes which turn the pants into a semi-gaiter.

BEST FOR: Combination of low weight, durability and value | One of the best all-around rain jackets for serious travelers, hikers and outdoor athletes looking for extremely light rain protection without the high prices of other jackets at this weight and who value high packability.

NOTE: for now, the new 2020 Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket and Pants are exclusive to REI.

best backpacking gear - Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Packs

$345 – $365

Adventure Alan Staff Pick: The HMG 2400 & 3400 Southwest Packs are a Staff Favorite and a Backpacker Magazine award winner for “Best UltraLight Pack.” HMG makes very light, functional and extremely durable packs that are virtually waterproof — no need for a rain cover!  HMG packs have stiff frames that comfortably support even heavy loads.  It’s slim profile gives great balance for scrambling or difficult trail. HMG packs are made with Dyneema Composite Fabric Fiber (formerly Cuben) which is light, waterproof and extremely durable. We prefer the 3400 Southwest Pack for it’s larger volume while weighing just a few oz more than the 2400.

Gift Guide for Hikers

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pods

$50 – $60

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pods | Use These stackable Pods as a key organizational, space-saving and weatherproofing tool. Pods fit perfectly into HMG (and likely other) packs, leaving no volume unused, so you can replace your unwieldy, football-shaped food bags and heavier stuff sacks. Ultralight Pods also allow you to organize your gear more efficiently, and the clamshell design makes it easy to find food quickly. Made of 100% waterproof Dyneema® Composite Fabric (formerly Cuben Fiber) and with waterproof zippers, they help weatherproof your pack system..

Ursack Major XL Bear Bag

$99 – $120

The Ursack Major Bear Bag  will keep bears out of your food. It weighs a fraction of a typical bear canister, and costs about the same. This is the largest, 15 L model which can easily fit 6+ days of food! There’s a smaller version too for shorter trips. It holds about 10.7 L, and costs $70. These are easily the best bear protection available, but make sure it’s a sanctioned solution where you go as sadly, not all parks have caught on yet.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad – $175

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad  has been the standard 3-season sleeping pad for ultralight backpackers’ for years. But it rarely goes on sale. Compared to self-inflating, foam core pads it’s lighter and way more comfortable. If you don’t own one of these, you owe it yourself to try one. It will change your backcountry sleep experience for the better, while lightening your pack.

Osprey Exos and Eja Backpacks

$200 – $220

Osprey Exos 48 or 58 Backpack (Unisex/Men’s)

A Thru-hiker’s choice and the most popular pack in the Appalachian Trail. The Osprey Exos 48 is light but will still hold enough gear and food for 7 days (use the larger Exos 58 if you carry more gear). Of course the Exos has the famous Osprey fit and comfort. It’s fairly durable for a lightweight pack but best of all, at $200 it’s a good deal for a pack of this weight and quality. And of course it comes with REI’s return policy.

Osprey Eja 48 and 58 Pack (Women’s version of the Exos)

New for 2018 is a women’s version of the incredibly successful Osprey Exos, the most popular pack in the Appalachian Trail. The Osprey Eja Backpack’s have women’s specific fit, like optimal sternum strap location for women, less bulky shoulder straps and of course an improved hip-belt design. Otherwise all the features that made the Exos packs great are there including the AirSpeed Suspension system that keeps the weight (and sweat) off your back with a tensioned breathable-mesh back panel.

Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System


The best Jetboil Stove! The award winning Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System gives you all of Jetboil’s new technologies: A proprietary regulator and enhanced regulator diaphragm for consistent performance down to 20°F. And their redesigned valve gives you better simmer control. Finally, we’re huge fans of the wider pot. It’s easier to eat out of and clean and has a more fuel effect shape to boot. No wonder this is the stove we take guiding. We can make tons of coffee for clients in no time. And a caffeinated client is a happy client.

Altra Lone Peak Trail-Running Shoes

20% Off

$120 – $150

Altra Lone Peak Trail-Running Shoes are Alison’s and my favorite backpacking and hiking shoes. These are the most comfortable shoe after a 30+ mile day on the trail. One key is the massive toe room that is so kind to trail-swollen feet at the end of the day. They are light and have a zero drop heel for a more natural stride. These come in both Men’s and Women’s models. But there are a few other models to choose from: Altra Superior another favorite of ours (lighter and less cushioned than the Lone Peak). And for those liking more cushioned shoes: The Altra Timp 1.5 Trail-Running Shoes (more cushioned than the Lone Peak) and the Olympus (max cushioned shoe).


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