Lightweight Hikers Guide | 2022 REI Labor Day Sale & Clearance
Last Chance of the Year for Big Savings
Here’s how to get the best deals at the REI Labor Day Sale & Clearance 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 and in-store to find even more hiking and backpacking gear on sale. The result is our Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to the REI Sale:
- 2022 REI Labor Day Sale & Clearance | 8/25/2022 to 9/5/2022
- REI Members Save up to 75% Off
- Members Save 20% off* one REI OUTLET Item | Use CODE: LABOR22
Make sure you checkout the Outlet early to get the best deals!
Short on time? Here are some key picks for great gear deals that should appeal to most lightweight hikers and backpackers. 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.
Just Added Wednesday | 25% Off All JetBoil Stoves, Cookware & Accessories
The 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.
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
REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent
REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent is one of our top tent picks. It’s a close competitor to the Big Agnes Copper Spur tent but at a much lower price, especially on sale. Or reason is that SL stands for “super light” — it’s almost a pound lighter vs. the plan Quarter Dome. Beyond that, the major difference is that the SL is non-freestanding so you’ll need to stake out the rear corners (which you should do anyway). In our estimation, the only significant downside is slightly lower peak height of 38 inches vs 42 for the plain Quarter Dome. We thinks that’s a reasonable trade for the lower weight bulk of the tent with no cost increase. In summary, if you want a very light, traditional dome backpacking tent at a good price, this is your tent.
BEST FOR: Backpackers seeking a great value in a traditional domed tent that is both light and low cost and don’t mind staking out the rear corners.
All REI Co-op Brand Trail Packs
The REI Trail Packs (both Men’s & Women’s) are a well-rounded, well-designed, comfortable lightweight backpacks at a great price from a classic seller. 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. It airy mesh back panel and shoulder straps to reduce sweat. We love features like trekking pole holders, and hydration sleeve and port. And it’s mostly made from recycled materials. In summary, we really like the REI Trail Pack series and see more and more of them on trails every year. They are great packs at a good price.
Oh and they make a very nice fanny pack the REI Trail 2 Waist Pack.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents
In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents | Until recently you couldn’t buy a Big Agnes Tent for love or money almost anywhere on the planet, but now you can get one at REI at 25% off. Buy them while they are available!
Our go-to traditional tent, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall is the lightest option among framed tents from mainstream brands. The design is semi-freestanding, meaning it can be pitched without stakes, but is more taught and secure with them. For only a modest increase in price and weight, we highly recommend the Tiger Wall 3P, to be used as a more spacious shelter for two campers.
NEMO Tents & Footprints
Nemo makes some classic backpacking tents. The Dagger series has been an lightweight staple for years, and it’s current versions , the NEMO Dagger OSMO 2P Tent & NEMO Dagger OSMO 3P Tent are the best yet with their low stretch fabric. And the NEMO Hornet 2 Tent (Ultralight) is under 2 lb for 2 people! While a bit snugger than some UL tents it is among the lightest! And for general camping and to save some bucks, the highly rated NEMO Aurora 2P Tent is worth a look.
REI Sahara Pants & Shirts
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.
all REI Co-op Brand Rain Jackets & Rain Pants
Make sure you take advantage of a huge array and variety of REI Rainwear on Sale. From casual to ultralight, to technical REI has the right jacket for whatever your next adventure. And a number of REI rain jackets are top picks in our Best Lightweight Rain Jackets of 2022.
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket uses Gore-Tex and Paclite technology to make it lightweight and breathable, yet still completely waterproof. An articulated design makes it easy to move, even with an extra layer underneath. It’s specifically designed for hiking and backpacking, and is a more breathable choice than the REI Rainier jacket. The mesh-lined pockets provide core venting, and the hood is fully adjustable to protect your eyes from pelting rain. Finally, the cuffs and bottom hem are both adjustable to allow for more breathability, or completely seal out moisture.
BEST FOR: A fully featured Gore-Tex waterproof jacket at a great budget. REI products also are made to be extremely durable. And if not, their products come with a one-year warranty.
WHAT WE LIKE: This jacket is available year-round from REI and is priced very well for a fully featured rain jacket with Gore-Tex technology.
CONS: The 2-layer design is not as durable or heavy-duty as the 3-layer Drypoint.
NOTE: YEAR-ROUND AVAILABILITY, ALTERNATIVE TO THE DRYPOINT
REI CO-OP RAINIER RAIN JACKET
$90 for a good quality and light REI rain jacket says it it all — ant at 30% off it’s even a better value! 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 2.0 Jackets (and Vests) for Men & Women
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 is also half the price. Otherwise, it has the same features and functionality as the more expensive down jackets. Altho a bit pricier we prefer the hooded version.
And of course, there are a lot of great values in other REI Co-op Brand Down & Synthetic Insulated Jackets & Vests for Women & Men. Take a peek here.
all REI Co-op Flash Jackets
40% to 60% Off
The REI Co-op Flash Insulated Jacket is a Patagonia Micro Puff killer and a deal not to be missed when you consider that it’s under $100 on sale — less than 1/2 the price Patagonia Micro Puff! And the features are good. It also has 60 gram synthetic insulation from recycled content and a nice light shell. The jacket comes in at just around 11 oz and is just a bit lighter than the Patagonia Micro Puff. “Field tested while hiking, backpacking, skiing, running, cycling, and sailing in 20–60-degree temps in Washington, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina,” it will keep you warm and comfy.
Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes
This one of REI’s most popular hiking shoes with a 4.5 rating for 1862 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.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket – M’s & W’s
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
Patagonia Down Sweater – M’s & W’s
At $100 less than many top of the line jackets, this is a great warm layer for backpacking or any outdoor activity, really. It’s reasonably light (2.8 oz, non-hooded), and uses 800-fill-power traceable down. It comes in Men’s and Women’s, as well as hooded versions, for a little more money. Of course, there are adorable kids’ versions as well! Patagonia’s quality, warranty, and customer service are legendary, ensuring you’ll keep this jacket for a long, long time.
BioLite Gear Headlamps & Lanterns
We’re big fans of rechargeable headlamps and Biolite makes some of the best. The BioLite 330 and Biolite 220 Headlamps 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.
All MSR Pocket Rocket Stoves & Kits
MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove is our top rated canister stove, and incredible performer — going toe to toe with much more expensive mountaineering stoves — but weighing far less. 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. But we like all of the MSR Pocket Rocket products!
TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot
Not on Sale
Our favorite pot is the incredibly light 900 ml TOAKS Titanium pot! And TOAKS pots cost less than the competition — and of course it’s fantastic when paired with the Pocket Rocket 2 Stove. 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.
All Black Diamond Trekking Poles
The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles, are one of our absolute favorites — and might just be the most versatile trekking poles on the market. 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. But just about any Black Diamond Poles you pick are likely to be great poles!
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Staff Pick for Best Off Trail Poles | With time tested durability and versatility, the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles are the gold-standard poles for negotiating in extreme places like endless talus fields, brutal river crossings or winter mountaineering. But they are still light and nimble enough for trail use. This truly is the one pole that does it all — and extremely well!
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles – Pair
A less expensive but highly rated (4.7 stars, 171 reviews) version of our staff pick, Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles. They save cost by using aluminum vs. carbon shafts and a less expensive fittings like the lever locks. But are essentially the same wight (just an ounce more). Like the Alpine Carbons, they are rugged enough for off-trail use but are still light and nimble enough for trail use. In summary, Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles are a mid-price option that does it all.
NEMO Disco Sleeping Bags
Nemo’s Disco 15 (and 30) have a unique design well-suited for those who toss and turn, or like to spread out their limbs while they sleep. As opposed to a mummy bag, the Disco is spoon shaped. This means there’s extra room at the elbows and knees, for sleepers to shift around or get onto their sides. Furthermore, there are gills for venting down the front of the bag to release body heat on warmer nights. These two features make this a much more valuable bag for summer and shoulder season trips, where conserving body heat is not the top priority. There’s also a pocket to slip in a backpacking pillow. Another plus, with a +25 comfort limit (for or favorite Disco 15) , this bag will perform in most three-season conditions or even a bit colder, especially with a warm sleeping pad and clothing. And, if anything goes wrong, Nemo covers this bag under their lifetime warranty.
BEST FOR: Hikers who want extra room to move around while sleeping and who occasionally feel constricted in a mummy bag. Also, those who prioritize comfort over weight.
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pads
The Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad is worth a look for those that want a cushy and quiet pad. And at R 3.5 $160 it’s a good value for a comfortable pad — and on sale an even better value! 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. The price for cushion and quiet is that it’s heavier and bulkier than the XLite and has a lower R Value. And it’s 20D shell fabric is a bit more delicate.
GREAT FOR: Good combo of high cushion comfort, quieter, low weight, good R value
All REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layers
We love the REI Co-op Merino Half-Zip Base Layer Shirt. 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 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.
All La Sportiva Bushido Shoes & Boots
The La Sportiva Bushido Trail-Running Shoes are a one of the best technical trail running and hiking shoe: Great shoe for moving through tricky terrain with extra stability and comfort.
La Sportiva is known for its unbeatable traction. The Bushidos are excellent shoes for mountain runners or hikers who travel through steep, off-trail terrain, and wet/slippery ground. The higher stack height provides extra cushion and support for traveling through uncharted territory. For runners and hikers with narrow feet, these are perfect. The moderate drop accommodates a variety of preferences.
But there are plenty more grippy well-designed La Sportiva running shoes and boots on sale…
PROS: La Sportiva is known for its unrivaled traction. Off trail travel made easy and more stable. Moderate drop will comfortably fit those who prefer either a high or low drop.
BEST FOR: Navigating technically challenging terrain with extra stability. Mountain running or hikes with steep grades. Athletes with narrow feet who prefer the feeling of extra stability over an ultralight shoe.
Tifosi make some of the best value glasses on the market. We’ve used various models from racing triathlons to paddling, backpacking, climbing, nordic skiing, and paddling. Whatever your sport they have a great set of glasses that won’t take a big bite out of your wallet. Tifosi Swank Polarized Sunglasses (Ray Ban-like) are one of our favorites.
All Darn Tough Socks
From Darn Tough: “Our unconditional lifetime guarantee is simple and without strings or conditions. If our socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, return them for another pair. For life.” And that pretty much sums it up!
We love wool Socks and use them for all my hiking. Darn tough socks are among the best. And they make tons of non-wool socks if that’s your thing. We prefer thinner socks with lower tops.
- Custom-count, shrink-treated merino wool that enhances comfort and durability for outdoor activities
- Merino wool wicks away moisture and breathes to regulate temperature for outstanding comfort in a variety of conditions
- Ring-toe construction hides seams and enhances comfort.
- Reinforced heels and toes; elastic support around the arches
All Sunday Afternoons Hats
Don’t let the name fool you, Sunday Afternoons makes some serious hats. Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat has been a staple of adventure racers, and ultralight and non-ultralight backpackers for years. We also love their classic, Tilley-like Sunday Afternoons Charter Escape Hat which is 1/2 the price of the competition.
All Tilley Hats
Tilley has been a trendsetter in adventure and travel hats for years. No-nonsense get the job done utility, while still having that Indiana Jones Look! Our favorite is the Tilley LTM6 Airflo Broad Brim Hat.
KUHL Renegade Rock Pants – Men’s
KUHL designs durable and functional clothing for all outdoor activities. The Renegade rock pants (equally suitable for on-trail hiking, or climbing) are made with a breathable yet strong softshell fabric. The pants have a gazillion pockets and microsuede-lined 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. In summary, it’s hard to find any faults with these pants.
KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pants – Women’s
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.
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