rei sale guide

Lightweight Hikers’ Guide to REI Anniversary Sale 2021

Here’s how to get the best deals at the REI Anniversary Sale and get the most use for those precious 20% coupons! I’ve been an REI member for over 40 years and I still get excited about a REI Sale. To prep for this sale, in addition to our knowledge of the REI’s lightweight and ultralight gear inventory, we did a bunch research online to find even more hiking and backpacking gear on sale. The result is our Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to the REI Sale:

  • EVENT 2021 REI Anniversary Sale: Dates 5/21-5/31 | Save up to 50% off on select items
  • PLUS Members Get 20% off one full price item and 20% off one REI OUTLET Item Use CODE: ANNIV21
  • PLUS get free shipping on on orders over $50

35 Quick Picks for your 20% off one Full Price Item Coupon

Short on time? Here are some great gear picks to use your precious 20% Off One Full Price Item Coupon:

  • NEW JetBoil STASH Stove | A game-changer. At half the weight of previous JetBoil stoves, the STASH still retains the performance, fuel efficiency, and creature comforts that everybody loves about JetBoil stoves.
  • REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent | Affordable Ultralight, 2-Person Tent, Under 2 Pounds! And a Top 4 Pick in our Tent Guide.
  • Big Agnes Copper Spur Tents | likely the best all-around ultralight tents that will appeal to the greatest number of hikers
  • Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket | The Outdoor Research Helium is a great value, costing less than other jackets in the rarefied 6 ounce range! And the new 2020 version is way more durable at the same weight!
  • Patagonia R1 Pullover & Hoodies | Think of it as “fur for humans.” The Patagonia R1 Hoodie the warmest, comfiest baselayer (or light mid-layer) and it works in an amazing range of conditions.

Go ahead and checkout all our 35 Picks for your 20% off one Full Price Item Coupon…

24 Pics for the Best Discounted Gear at the Sale

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. And we’ll be adding more items to this guide during the sale, so be sure to check back from time to time for new deals as we add them.

Altra Lone Peak

Altra Lone Peak 5

30% OFF


Extremely comfortable, versatile, and durable shoe for any user. Altra shoes are specifically designed to mimic our foot’s natural stride. Every pair they make feature a foot-shaped toe box, balanced cushioning with zero heel to toe drop, and female shoes with specific anatomical differences highlighted. If you’ve used Altra shoes before, you know firsthand the all-day comfort benefits of wearing this type of shoe. However, this iteration of the Lone Peak offers all of this previous technology in combination with a fully revamped midsole. The AltraEgo foam midsole is a 2016 technology taken from their popular running shoe (the Escalantes).

Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator

save $50 $299.99 $350

A rare opportunity as it’s almost never on sale (and you can’t use your 20% coupon on GPS devices | Still not cheap, but the Garmin inReach Mini is what we take on every trip. Staying safe in the backcountry has never been so easy or so small and light! The Garmin inReach Mini allows text-messaging-like simplicity of communication even when far from cell service. This differentiates it from the more limited check-in or alert abilities of the SPOT devices. It also adds a layer of safety and connectivity that used to cost much more! New Mini is really small and light, 3.5 oz, versus 6.9 oz of the older inReach units. It’s so small it can easily fit in a pocket. In summary, the inReach is an indispensable backcountry safety and emergency communication tool for keeping loved ones updated and for receiving weather and other important updates from the front country.

NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad

NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad

25% Off

$160 one of the quietest pads with good warmth

The Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad is worth a look for those that want a cushy and quiet pad. And at R 3.5 it’s warm and at $160 it’s a decent value for a comfortable pad. This is the closest competitor to Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. It has the advantage of being thicker 3.0″ nominal vs. 2.5″ for the XLite — and it’s lack of foot taper will be welcome to restless sleepers. It has a nice valve system and comes with an inflation sack at no extra cost. The Tensor comes in a number of sizes including a rare 25″ width in the standard (medium size) and it’s less noisier than the XLite.

GREAT FOR: Good combo of high cushion comfort, quieter, low weight, good R value

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 the 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

30% 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

30% 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.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

25% OFF

These poles collapse down in a Z formation, and they’re shorter than any telescoping poles. This comes in handy for travel (they can fit in a day pack), or for more hands-on trips where poles are carried in a pack as frequently as they are used. What’s more, they only weigh about 11 ounces for the pair and they’re also available in an adjustable version.

Magma Sleeping Bag

REI Co-op Magma 15 and 30 Sleeping Bags

$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.

KEEN Targhee II

20% Off


A supportive and durable true hiking shoe that provides protection in wet conditions. Keen is known for their classically styled, durable footwear. The Targhee II waterproof hiking shoes are comfortable once broken in, extremely stable, and last for years. The waterproof treatment on the shoes provides extra protection in rainy or snowy conditions. However, if the shoes do get fully soaked through, it will take awhile to dry them out. The footbed is engineered to prevent twisting and encourage stability, which makes them great for beginning hikers or backpackers who may be worried about traveling through varied and rocky terrain.

REI Sahara Pants & Shirts

30% 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.

Salomon XA Pro 3D V8

25% Off


Stable, comfortable shoes to transition from heavier to lighter footwear. Not quite ready to swap your traditional hiking shoes for their lighter counterparts? The Salomon XA Pro shoes have undergone many different models, and this iteration is designed for stability and all-day comfort. The rubber soles are excellent for off-trail and tricky terrain, while the design of the midsole provides extra stability. This makes the shoe feel stiffer than many similar shoes, but it is to keep your feet securely in place during long days on trail.

Salomon SpeedCross 5

25% Off


Excellent shoe for athletes looking for a higher drop with plenty of traction
The Salomon SpeedCross 5 trail shoes are designed with excellent traction and stability in mind. Their 10 mm drop is well-suited for hikers and runners that are used to a traditional, higher drop shoe. This is one of the more minimal shoes in the Salomon lineup, so it is excellent for those who are looking to shave a few ounces or transition into lighter trail runners. Despite this, the shoe still features all the durability and traction that Salomon is known for.

Cotopaxi Clothing

Cotopaxi Clothing & Gear

30% Off

$30.00 – $250.00

We love all the great colorways Cotopaxi gear comes in. But it’s not just good looks, it’s also good gear. As an example we like the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket with its high quality 800 fill power goose down,  durable 20d shell (refreshing and many jackets dip into the 7d range) and reasonable weight. So you can be warm and stylish at the same time — make people smile when you walk by in camp!

Nemo tent


25% OFF


For those seeking one of the lightest traditional tents, Nemo Hornet 2P is a great option. At 1.9 lbs it is our lightest recommended traditional tent. And for $370, it’s the second most affordable. So it’s a great value! And the amazing part is that, despite the weight and cost trimmings, Nemo still managed to deliver what is only a somewhat smaller living space and vestibule setup than its heavier competition. Yes, the slanted sidewalls (tent lacks a spreader crossbar at the peak) make it better suited for sleeping than hanging out in (some even consider this a large person’s solo tent), but if small and light is your style, you were probably going to hike all day anyway. Keep in mind that the Nemo family goes deep and quality options abound. Larger hikers or anyone seeking livability will appreciate the expanded footprint, vertical sidewalls, and bigger vestibules on the Dagger 2P (listed below and also a very nice tent!).

SIMILAR MODELS: Hornet 1p, Dagger 2p,

Best For: Those seeking the lightest traditional tent, even if it means compromising a bit on space and livability. Light fabrics should be treated with care.

BioLite Headlamp

BioLite Gear

25% OFF

The BioLite 330 and Biolite 220 Headlamps | $45 – $100

We’re big fans of rechargeable headlamps and Biolite makes some of the best. The BioLite 330 and Biolite 220 are favorites with hikers and backpackers. With them you never worry about how much charge your batteries have and whether you should replace them before a trip. Instead, plug it in before your trip and you know it will be fully charged. Better yet you can always top it off mid-trip from the ubiquitous USB battery you already carry. And of course they put out tons of light, have many disable modes and a bunch other cool features.

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

30% Off


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!

The REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack is a full featured day pack that is still lightweight. Unlike the 13 oz minimalist REI Co-op Flash 22 Pack (a favorite of ours), the 2 pound Trail 25 has a bunch well thought out features that many hikers may prefer — a HDPE framesheet adds structure and helps shield your back from protruding gear (and transfers some weight to your hips), a built in rain cover, more padding, more pockets, and easier gear access, etc. And it’s mostly made from recycled materials.

KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants – Men’s

30% Off


KUHL designs durable and functional clothing for all outdoor activities. The Renegade convertible pants are made with a breathable yet strong softshell fabric. The pants zip into 10” shorts, and the mesh cargo pockets and peached waistband both make the pants more breathable and moisture wicking. These pants have plenty of room and mobility without having too loose of a fit, which can make pants feel sloppy. We love that they have calf zippers to get them over shoes, and wish more pants included in this list had that featured as well. In summary, it’s hard to find any faults with these pants — as such they are clear winners and make our top pick by a large margin.

KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pants – Women’s

30% Off


These are a close competitor with the Prana Halle pants, but with a more durable fabric. And they absolutely come out on top in terms of pockets. They have six deep pockets, four of which have a snap closure to hold the essentials. Furthermore, they roll up and snap closed into capris, which makes them convertible with less work (and more style). We love the fit on these pants, it’s fitted yet roomy enough to accommodate big movements while hiking or backpacking. There is also an internal waistband to adjust the fit, and the UPF protection makes them great for long days in the sun.

prAna Halle Pants – Women’s

30% Off


In Prana pants, Alison can go straight from a hike or the climbing gym to dinner. These pants are extremely versatile and excel in so many ways. They’re stretchy enough for climbing, hiking, and scrambling, yet designed like “normal” everyday pants. The DWR treatment repels light rain or snow. Also, the legs roll up to convert the pants into capris, so although they don’t fully zip into shorts they are still versatile for when it’s hotter. These are available in short, tall, regular, and plus sizing. Also, there are straight leg (for a more fitted look) and fully convertible options available too.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket

25% Off


Get great Arc’teryx functionality, fit and style but without a weight penalty. the Zeta SL Rain Jacket is under 10 ounces using the new lightweight 2-layer GORE-TEX® PACLITE®. It compacts to a very small size for easy storage. The 40d outer fabric is quite durable and the WP/B liner has an improved next to skin feel. In summary, great blend light, functional and durable.

Garmin Fenix 6 Watches

$100 Off

$550 – $1100

Difficult to get on sale (and you can’t use your 20% coupon on GPS devices)… Garmin Fenix Watches are the gold standard for wrist mounted training data and GPS navigation. Garmin practically created this market segment, and the Fenix watches have pretty much every feature and refinement. This is your opportunity to get the best at a discount.

REI Co-op Active Pursuits Half-Zip Shirt

30% Off

$30 – $50

A great all-weather shirt. And especially for folks that can’t or won’t wear wool. It will keep the sun off of you and add a bit of warmth for a chilly morning run or hike. Nice stretch fit, good arm and neck protection when you need it but you can roll up the sleeves and unzip the neck to dissipate heat. Thumb loops to keep sleeves in place and hands warm. In summary, a great do-it-all shirt at a very reasonable price.

REI Co-op Merino Midweight Half-Zip Base Layer Top

30% Off

$62 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.

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap

25% Off all Outdoor Research Hats, Gloves & Gaiters

$17 to $36

A hat that does everything well! The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is convertible between a lightweight running hat and a more serious expedition hat by allowing a neck shade to be attached to the hat. The neck shade can block sun and protect from bugs. It comes in light colors to better deal with solar radiation, but other colors are available if you don’t like the bright white. This is one of the most functional hats I’ve ever put on my head. And it works great to control the brim on your rain jacket.

Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit

50% Off

$17 to $36

Yup folks, masks are still going to be required for a while. So When you are out and about, protect yourself and those around you with the Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit, which includes a durable, washable and fully adjustable mask with 3 filters.

  • Highly efficient disposable filters filter more than 95% of virus, bacteria and particles in accordance with ASTM test standards and reduce contaminant transmission risk
  • Treated with HeiQ NPJ03+ to provide resistance to microbes and germs; can be washed up to 30 times with 100% effectiveness
  • Durable polyester fabric undergoes 10,000+ cycle abrasion test for tough abrasion resistance
  • Moisture-wicking, water- and stain-repellent and microbe-resistant construction

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

25% Off


the Petzl Actik Core puts out a brilliant 450 lumens to light making it easy to navigate even the most difficult terrain at night. So no wonder it is one of the most popular hiking and backpacking headlamps. And it has a ton of lighting and dimming modes including both spot and flood. Again we are big fans of rechargeable headlamps. With them you never worry about how much charge your batteries have and whether you should replace them before a trip. Instead, plug it in before your trip and you know it will be fully charged. Better yet you can always top it off mid-trip from the ubiquitous USB battery you already carry.

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

ultralight backpacking tent | rei flash air 2

REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent

Affordable Ultralight | 2-Person Tent | Under 2 Pounds!


New for this spring, is the 2-person REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent is a 1.9 lb, full sized, 2-person tent that costs under $300. Right off the bat, those specs set it in a class by itself (tents in this weight range usually cost $600 to even $800). As such, it’s a solid choice for any backpacker looking to save weight and cost, even if you’ve never used a tent like this before. But unlike many tents in this rarified weight range, it’s quite user friendly. The design, ease of setup, space, and moisture-management of the Flash Air 2 all work to create a great user experience, even for non-expert backpackers.

See our full review of this tent: REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent Review

Big Agnes Copper Spur Tents

$380 – $550

Adventure Alan Staff Pick: If we were allowed only one backpacking tent a Big Agnes Copper Spur would be it. It is likely the best all-around ultralight backpacking tent that will appeal to the greatest number of hikers. Since 2008 this category-leading ultralight tent has been constantly improved and refined to be one of the very best backpacking tents. They are the best all-around ultralight backpacking tents that will appeal to the greatest number of hikers. Extremely versatile, spacious, lightweight, and user-friendly.

Read our review for the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

See our Full Video Review of the 2020 Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent


At $100 less than the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Ultralight Tent, REI’s long-time favorite Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent is a legitimately great option for any backpacker seeking a premium, free-standing, lightweight tent that won’t break the bank. Weighing just over 3 lbs, the Quarter Dome remains comfortable with ample headroom and plenty of space for two backpackers. The increased room/livability from extremely vertical walls is what sets this tent apart from most of its peers in this price range. 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. Bravo REI!

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 Stash Cooking System


The new JetBoil STASH Stove is a game-changer. At half the weight of previous JetBoil stoves, the STASH still retains the performance, fuel efficiency, and creature comforts that everybody loves about JetBoil stoves. A win, win. It competes head to head with the weight of many ultralight alcohol stoves but surpasses them on boil times, fuel efficiency, ease of use, and simmer control. As such we see it enticing many types of backpackers to switch to the STASH — backpackers that don’t carry a stove due to weight, ultralight alcohol stove users, MSR Pocket Rocket owners, and of course current JetBoil owners who want to save nearly half a pound.

Read our full review here

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

$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 maybe 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.

Patagonia R1 Pullover & Hoodies

$69 to $180

Think of it as “fur for humans.” The Patagonia R1 Hoodie the warmest, comfiest baselayer (or light mid-layer) and it works in an amazing range of conditions. It breathes well, stretches comfortably, and has a long cut to keep your heat trapped in. The arms are long with thumb holes to keep heat from leaving through the common wrist gap, and the hood fits well, and zips up with a full mouth cover, trapping all your heat inside, and piping warm air from your core to your head. Of course, it comes in Men’s and Women’s versions. While warm enough for winter, it works in one of the broadest ranges of temperatures of any baselayer!

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad “Women’s”


We feel this is by a large margin the best all-around sleeping pad! This is the “Women’s” version of the XLite, but it’s the right size for most backpackers. All the men we know use it — for tall men, as long as the end of the pad hits mid-calf you should be fine (Alan’s 6’5″ hiking partner uses one!). Best of all, at 12 oz and with an R-value of 5.4, it’s warmer and lighter than the “Men’s” version. Super warm and super comfortable we find its closer to a 3+ season pad and have happily used it to well below freezing!  As such, we find that it works well even into the colder shoulder seasons of late fall and early spring, so you can skip the weight and cost of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad


For those the must have a full length pad 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.

REI Flash 55 Pack


HIGHLIGHTS: Affordable, Comfortable, Ventilated Non-sweaty Back, Customizable Configurations, Nice Pockets, Men’s & Women’s version

SPECS: weight 42 oz | volume 55 L | volume/weight 21 L/lb | Max Carry: 30 lbs
With no Pack Mods: 35 oz | volume/weight 25 L/lb

TECH: Fabric, nylon | Frame, internal | Back Panel, suspended mesh panel for more airflow to help with back sweat | Rain-resistant top pocket & shoulder pocket, Packmod accessories allow you to add or remove pockets & features

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes - Men's

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes


This one of REI’s most popular hiking shoes with a 4.3 rating for 223 reviews. So if you are leery of trail runners for hiking and want a more supportive and protective shoe with some great traction then the highly popular Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes are likely a good choice. The upper is a combination of leather for durability, and mesh for breathability. A slightly higher ankle and bellows tongue help keep debris out. And Vibram TC5+ outsoles with 5mm lug provide good grip in mud and the loose stuff. Oh, and it’s a very comfortable shoe.

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.

REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30


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!

La Sportiva

La Sportiva Footwear | La Sportiva Bushido

$130 La Sportiva Bushido

All La Sportiva Footwear is on sale. But our favorite La Sportiva hiking shoe is La Sportiva Bushido. It’s got an aggressively grippy sole that get traction in both wet and dry conditions. It’s a light shoe with a more snug/glove-like fit vs. the much wider Altra Lone Peaks and a moderate 6mm heel rise. And they are light at just over 10 oz per shoe but still amazingly durable.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

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

$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

Passage 2

REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent


Value, value, value: The REI Co-op Passage 2 is the textbook definition of a backpacking tent but at a fraction of the price. Traditionally, tents from a reputable brand that look and perform this well would cost twice as much! While nothing about the Passage 2 is cutting edge, everything about its design is intentionally traditional, reliable and user-friendly, especially the two-door, two vestibule chassis and cross-pole frame. And it comes with a footprint saving you even more bucks.


BEST FOR: Budget or beginning backpacker seeking a classic, inexpensive backpacking tent that gets the job done

Black Diamond Headlamps

$30 to $50

Black Diamond Spot Lite 160 Headlamp  is the perfect blend of ultraight while still providing a ton of light! It’s the ideal light for around camp to cook dinner, or setup in the dark. But if in a pinch, if you need to do some night hiking it puts out 160 lumens for 2 hours, and on medium 80 lumens for 14 hours — enough to hike at night on-trail in an emergency. But it’s mild mannered enough to use in camp at 6 lumens, where it will last for 60 hours. We also like that it only takes two AAA batteries.

Need more power? Use the Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp if you need to seriously night hike — like all night! On high it puts out 325 lumens for 4 hours, and on medium 160 lumens for 8 hours — enough to hike out at night in an emergency on challenging trails, or even off trail. But it’s still mild mannered enough to use in camp at 6 lumens, where it will last for 200 hours.

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Jetboil Flash Cooking System


The Jetboil Flash stove is an all-in-one stove, heat exchanger, pot combination. It’s a great option if you want hot water quickly in camp – it’ll get your morning coffee boiling in just two-and-a-half minutes. That’s 3-4 times faster than an alcohol stove system. At 15.2 oz, it’s not too heavy and it packs to a small size to fit many places in your pack. Best of all after the discount it’s about 1/2 the price of the top of the line JetBoil stoves.

Smartwool Socks

We like all Smartwool Socks. Merino wool is naturally stink reducing which is a favor to both you and your fellow hikers on multi-day trips. These are comfortable and fit well. And they are durable. Our favorites for hiking and backpacking sock are the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Mini Socks.

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.

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

$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

Flash Packs

REI Flash 18 & Flash 22 Packs

$30 – $40

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.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove


An upgrade to a classic and one of the popular backpacking stoves of all time, this little isobutane stove packs a punch. It can bring 1 L of water to a boil in 3.3 minutes and weighs in at 2.6 oz (75 g). It’s compact and comes with its own little carrying case and a piezo igniter. This would be a great match for TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot as a super light (6.6 ounce!) 1 to 2 person cooking system.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents

$400 – $1200

Traditional,” Lightweight Backpacking Tents like Big Agnes Tiger Wall tents (above) are likely the first choice for many backpackers. These are the “standard,” full-featured, easy-to-setup tents most are familiar with. One of our top picks, Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Tent, has no equal when it comes to volume-to-weight ratio among “traditional,” double-walled, lightweight backpacking tents.

Read our full article on the Best Backpacking Tents

Benchmade 535 Bugout Drop-Point Fine-Edge Knife


In a word:  Superb. This is a beautiful and highly functional knife with a large 3.25″ blade up to any backcountry use. It’s also great for everyday carry. At 1.8 ounces, it is far lighter than most folding knives. Its CPM-S30V premium stainless-steel blade (58-60HRC) will hold an edge far longer than run-of-the-mill knives (some of which cost nearly as much). Yeah, we’re big fans of CPM-S30V and CPM-S35V steels. The blue handle is bright making the knife hard to lose and has a pleasingly ergonomic grip.In a word:  Superb. This is a beautiful and highly functional knife with a large 3.25″ blade up to any backcountry use. It’s also great for everyday carry. At 1.8 ounces, it is far lighter than most folding knives. Its CPM-S30V premium stainless-steel blade (58-60HRC) will hold an edge far longer than run-of-the-mill knives (some of which cost nearly as much). Yeah, we’re big fans of CPM-S30V and CPM-S35V steels. The blue handle is bright making the knife hard to lose and has a pleasingly ergonomic grip.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad


HIGHLIGHTS:  Lightest full sized pad with 3 season warmth | compact

PERFORMANCE: 2.6 R/weight | 1.2 R/cost (value)

SPECS: R 2.3 | 8.8 oz | Air Pad | Insulation – baffled chambers (no reflective film)

Lightest 2+ Season Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad | At only 1/2 pound for a size regular (72″ long) the Uberlite is the lightest full sized pad with 2+ season warmth Of course the lighter fabric is a bit more prone to damage and will cost you more than an X-Lite. But we’re stoked there’s a 25″ version of this pad. Some folks find that a 20″ pad is not quite wide enough. That is there’s room for you and one arm but not both. At 12 oz in a 25″ width the Size Large solves that problem without a weight penalty. Second, with an R 2.3 we find this pad warm and comfortable to around freezing.

GREAT FOR: For those seeking the very lightest pad to get the job done for 2+ season (average person will likely find this a summer pad, but hardier folks can get 3 season use out of it)

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Cold sleepers, 3+ season use, those that are hard on gear, hikers on a budget

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad


HIGHLIGHTS:  Incredibly warm & light | Good winter pad, or for cold sleepers

PERFORMANCE: 4.6 R/weight | 3.2 R/cost (value)

SPECS: R 6.9 | 15 oz | Air Pad | Insulation – baffled chambers + reflective film

Best Pad Cold Sleepers: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad is our pick for hikers that sleep cold or for average hikers in very cold conditions. It has the highest R/weight performance of any pad while also being a great value for R/cost. As such, we also see it as a great upgrade from the XLite for cold sleepers — it’s only 3 oz and a few bucks more than the standard XLite but a whopping amount warmer (R6.9 vs R4.2). So it might be one of the lighter ways to increase the warmth of your sleep system.

GREAT FOR: The lightest pad for 4 season use (also great 3 season for cold sleepers)

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Warm sleepers in 3 season conditions (expensive & overkill), hikers on a budget

TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot


Our favorite pot is the incredibly light 900 ml TOAKS Titanium pot! And TOAKS pots cost less than the competition.  It’s great that REI is now carrying the TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot. This is the perfect size to boil water for 2 cups of coffee in the morning. Titanium is incredibly light and nearly indestructible. Unlike aluminum, it is completely non-reactive.  The pot will fit standard 220-gram fuel canisters. If you need a little more volume, the 1350 ml pot is another good buy, tipping the scales at 5.2 oz and featuring the same lightweight, durable titanium design.


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