Lightweight Hikers Guide | 2022 REI Anniversary Sale

The Biggest Sale of the Year

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 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:

Sale Details

  • 2022 REI Anniversary Sale | 5/20/2022 to 5/30/2022
  • Save up to 30% Off
  • Members Get *20% off one full price item and 20% off one REI OUTLET Item | Use CODE: ANNIV22
  • PLUS Member get free shipping (non-members get free shipping on orders over $50).

Just Moved on Sale at 30% Off this Wednesday 5/25!

Breaking news but just today, mid-sale REI just today moved some their best gear on sale at a large 30% discount. Grab them while they last.

  1. 30% off All REI Tents which includes REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent | Affordable Ultralight, 2-Person Tent, Under 2 Pounds! And a Top 4 Pick in our Tent Guide.
  2. And of course 30% off the REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent another top pick and close competitor to the Big Agnes Copper Spur. Worth a look as Copper Spur tents go out of stock, again!
  3. 30% off All REI Sleeping Bags which includes  REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag & REI Co-op Magma 30 | Top picks in our Sleeping Bag Guide, they are some of the very best deals in a light, and warm sleeping bag.
  4. The REI Co-op Flash Insulated Jacket at a whopping 40% Off 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!

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

  1. In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tents | It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen Copper Spurs for sale anywhere. Now, you can get one at REI and 20% off with your coupon. Buy them while they are available!
  2. Staff Pick | HyperLight Mountain Gear Packs | This is our favorite backpack, the one we grab most often. Constructed with ultralight, waterproof, & tough-as-nails Dyneema fabric, they deliver the best performance among all backpacks available!
  3. Altra Lone Peak 6 Shoes | Now is the time to pick up the lastest of Altra’s hot trail shoes. The top trail shoe for years.
  4. Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket | Hands down the best deal in a 3-layer rain Jacket.
  5. Patagonia R1 Pullover & Hoodies |  A top rated garment, 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.
  6. Staff Pick: the REI Flash  Packs are are very light, inexpensive & functional ultralight day packs. Blessedly minimal with just the right features. As such, they will lighten your load and step.
  7. 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!
  8. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles | Just back in stock. Our favorite collapsible poles
  9.  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.
  10. In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents | While you can’t get a Big Agnes Tent for love or money almost anywhere on the planet, you can get one at REI and 20% off with your coupon. Buy them while they are available!

Here are All of our 20% Coupon Picks

If You Have More Time? Take a look at all our picks for the best gear to use that precious 20% off Coupon

11 Quick 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.

ultralight backpacking tent | rei flash air 2

REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent

30% Off

An innovative and recent entry, 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

rei sale quarter dome sl2 tent

REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent

30% Off

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.

Magma Sleeping Bag

REI Co-op Magma 15 and 30 Sleeping Bags

30% Off

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.

all REI Co-op Flash Insulated Jackets

40% 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 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.

all REI Co-op Brand Jackets

30% Off

Make sure you take advantage of the 72 Jackets on Sale! Insulated Jackets, Rain Jackets, Casual Jackets, Fleece and Soft-Shell Jackets, Snow Jackets, Running Jackets, and Wind Shells. Below we have given you a few of our favorite jackets but don’t let that limit you!

REI Co-op 650 Down 2.0 Jackets (and Hoodies) for Men & Women

30% Off

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.

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.

REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket

30% Off

$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 XeroDry GTX Jacket

30% Off

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.

Read more…

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.


Osprey Talon 22 Pack – Men’s

25% Off


Osprey attention to detail and functionality in a daypack that can almost anything — from a long day hike in a dry climates (hydration bladder compatible), a summit pack, or versatile pack for biking. It has internal frame to keep it comfortable when loaded up with water, food  and gear for a long day. It has all the features including helmet and trekking pole attachments, and of course and external sleeve for your hydration bladder.

Osprey Tempest 20 Pack – Women’s

25% Off


The Women’s version of Osprey’s do-it-all daypack. Size a bit smaller and for the female body. You can see Osprey’s attention to detail and functionality in a daypack that can almost anything — from a long day hike in a dry climates (hydration bladder compatible), a summit pack, or very capable pack for biking. It has internal frame to keep it comfortable when loaded up with water, food  and gear for a long day. It has all the features including helmet and trekking pole attachments, and of course and external sleeve for your hydration bladder.

Garmin Forerunner Watches

up to 25% Off

25% Off is a BIG DEAL since GPS is not usually on sale and you can’t use your 20% Off coupon on GPS Devices

Garmin has been the leader in GPS wearables for years — and the Forerunner series is their most popular line — and it’s also the best bang for the buck. Garmin Forerunner Watches track just about every activity you can imagine and with data rich metrics. And it has a wealth of advanced wellness features, such as intensity minutes, fitness age, all-day respiration… Best of all Garmin has huge connectivity and connects and shares your workout data with just about any App out there.

La Sportiva Bushido II Trail-Running Shoes

25% Off

What We Like: Great shoe for moving through tricky terrain with extra stability and comfort
La Sportiva is known for its unbeatable traction. The Bushido IIs 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.

Read more…

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.

Hydro Flasks

25% Off

While Hydro Flasks might be a tad heavy to take hiking with us, they are wonderful for at home or on travel. Nothing beats a real Vacuum for keeping liquids hot or cold.  One of our favorites is the Hydro Flask Lightweight Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle – 32 fl. oz. Not surprising since we’re a lightweight site!

Bear Vault Food Canisters

25% Off

Top Pick for Rigid Bear Canister | When land management requires bear canisters (and more and more often they DO!), we prefer the Bearvault BV500, or its smaller cousin the BV450 for shorter trips. These canisters offer the best blend of volume to weight, durability, and price.

all KEEN Footwear

20% Off

Note that all Keen Footwear is on sale

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots | 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.

KEEN Targhee Vent Hiking Shoes | Lighter, better ventilated and cooler option, this is a great choice for a traditional hiking shoe that durable and supportive.

all Xero Products (sandals & shoes)

25% Off

A trendsetter in ultralight, minimalist trail sandals, Xero has expanded its line to minimalist shoes as well. And the Xero Prio Shoes are a great choice for those that want that wonderful “almost barefoot” feel on trail. And to be honest, these have rapidly become our around town shoe as well. We love them.

But go ahead and pick the sandals or shoes that you like…

REI Sahara Pants & Shirts

30% Off

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.

REI Co-op Merino Half-Zip Base Layer Shirt

30% Off

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.

Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket

25% Off

Save a bunch on a down jacket, and get a super fun look. 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!

And of course there are a lot of great values in other Cotopaxi Fleece and Jackets & Vests for Women & Men.

Outdoor Research Seattle Rain Hat

25% Off

Formerly the Seattle Sombrero, the Outdoor Research Seattle Rain Hat has for decades been the signature wet weather hat for hiking and backpacking. It does just about everything right. The GORE-TEX shell with fully taped seams provides waterproof/breathable protection. It’s foldable when you are not using it. And it’s not too heavy. Oh and it oh so nice to put down that rain jacket hood and be able hear again while you hike in the rain!

Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat – Unisex

25% Off

With more and more insect transmitted diseases it make sense to protect yourself. The Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat is an excellent way to do it while also protecting your head and neck from the sun. Treated with EPA-registered Insect Shield® it helps to repel mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects. And many times it keeps our head protected from mosquitoes without having to wear a muggy and claustrophobic head net.

Selected Hiking Pants & Shorts

25% Off

Make sure you take advantage of the 102 Hiking Pants & Shorts on Sale!  Below we have given you a few of our favorite pants prAna Stretch Zion Pants and prAna Halle Pants – Women’s but don’t let that limit you!

prAna Halle Pants – Women’s

25% 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.

prAna Stretch Zion Pants

25% Off

Combining comfortable performance for weeks in the wilderness with an understated look you can pull off anywhere, the prAna Stretch Zion pants dry fast and resist water, abrasion and wrinkles.

True equality in pants! The men’s version of Prana’s most versatile pants are every bit as quality as the women’s. The legs roll up to provide extra breathability, and the inseam gusset gives the wearer plenty of room to move while climbing or hiking. Also, the waist has a cinching belt to easily adjust for casual wear or extra movement. The DWR treatment repels light rain or snow, and the material is stretchy and durable; designed for consistent use in a variety of conditions. The legs have a roll-up snap closure which makes them semi-convertible, and the ankles are reinforced as well. These pants are available in a fully convertible option as well.

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

Top Coupon Pick | Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tents | While you can’t get a Big Agnes Tent for love or money almost anywhere on the planet, you can get one at REI and 20% off with your coupon. Buy them while they are available!

Staff Pick | When assessing a tent, you must evaluate many factors like weight, volume, livability, materials, stormworthy-ness, and features. The Copper Spur gets high marks from us across the board; it excels in every single category, it’s intelligently designed, and it’s highly livable. A simply excellent overall tent, and without flaw. Great for backpackers of all experience levels. Plus, we love the innovative awning vestibules.

Top Coupon Pick | Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents

In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents | While you can’t get a Big Agnes Tent for love or money almost anywhere on the planet, you can get one at REI and 20% off with your coupon. 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. Not counted towards 9 lb list.

Top Coupon Pick | HyperLight Mountain Gear Packs

Staff Pick | This is our favorite backpack, the one we grab most often. Constructed with ultralight, waterproof, and tough-as-nails Dyneema fabric, the HMG Southwest 3400 delivers the best overall performance among all backpacks currently available. We laud it also for a surprisingly comfortable carry, unfathomable durability, and massive external pockets. It is simply unequaled.

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

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket- M’s & W’s


This is a greatly improved version of Patagonia’s old 2.5 layers Torrentshell model. It’s now a full 3-layer waterproof jacket, with a new backer to increase its durability. The waterproofing is 3-layer H2NO technology, with a DWR finish to repel rain and snow from the surface of the jacket. The hood is fully adjustable and has a clasp in the back to store it out of the way when not in use. Pit zips are included for ventilation, along with two large hand pockets. To top it all off, the Torrentshell is Fair Trade and Bluesign certified, which means it’s made with recycled materials and in a factory that promotes safe working practices and sustainability.

BEST FOR: A durable rain jacket that can be taken in a variety of conditions, such as traveling or stormy hikes.

WHAT WE LIKE: This is a durable and truly waterproof jacket at a great price! The 3-layer construction is strong enough to withstand day after day backpacking, and pit zips provide sufficient ventilation.

Altra Lone Peak Shoes Men’s & Women’s

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).

Benchmade Bugout Knife

All Benchmade Products (nice knives!)

In a word:  Superb. The Benchmade Bugout Knife 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 handle color is super bright making the knife hard to lose and has a pleasingly ergonomic grip.

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket


Staff Pick | The Outdoor Research Helium is a great value, costing less than other jackets in the rarefied 6 ounce range!  And new 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.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles

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.

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. 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!

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.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

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.

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!

Passage 2

REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent

Super Value | $159

Value, value, value & 4.3 stars out of 138 reviews says it all. 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

NEMO Disco 15 Sleeping Bags

43.0 oz | $300 MSRP
ISO tested comfort: +25 F | Modeled comfort: n/a
Warmth to weight: 2.2 | Warmth to cost: 4.3

Nemo’s Disco 15 has 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, 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.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Hikers who are looking to travel as light and fast as possible.

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!

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


Staff Pick Best All-around Pad | 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.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad


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

Staff Pick 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)

NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad


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 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. 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

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.

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.

Osprey Daylite Pack | Daylite Plus Pack

$60 / $70

Top rated at REI, this economical pack equally suited to trail and/or a travel/mobile office use. Lighter and less expensive the the Osprey Talon 22, it has multifunctional padded interior sleeve for hydration reservoir (not included), or 15 in. laptop or tablet. We’ve used this pack as our carry on bag for our mobile/office and then taken it on a 26 mile all day semi-technical canyoneering trip. It does both equally well.

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack M’s & W’s


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.

Salomon XA Pro 3D V8


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.

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 4.5 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.

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

MSRP: $140

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.

Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket – for Women & Men


Despite its steep price Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket remains a top seller and highly rated (4.5 stars, 154 reviews). One reason is that it ticks all the boxes. It’s tough and comfortable 3-layer GORE-TEX, fully features, has that signature Arc’teryx fit and look. And of course for a fully featured 3-layer jacket it’s relatively light and packable. As the description says it “delivers all-mountain performance for a wide range of activities in all types of weather [and at only 13.9 oz].”

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket


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.

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.

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.

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.

Adventure Medical Kits

When was the last time you did a full inventory your first aid kit? We’re guessing that some items are nearly gone and your tape and bandaids are no longer sticky.

While trail injuries are usually blisters and small “boo boos,” it’s still a safety requirement to carry a well-equipped first aid kit even on day hikes. Assembling your own can be confusing and expensive. Adventure Medical Kits makes it simple with well thought out first aid kits for every situation and group size — from kits designed for solo hikers out for a few days to the $200 full-on Mountain Series Mountaineer Medical Kit. Two of our favorites are the more mid-sized Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit, and the very light Ultralight/Watertight .5 Medical Kit.

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.

BioLite Headlamp

BioLite Gear Headlamps

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.

MPOWERD Products (lighting)

Get some great in-tent, in-camp illumination without the blinding, spotlight glare of headlamps and flashlights! We like their broader, kinder more diffuse light. And save some battery juice as they can also recharge using built-in solar panels. Some can even recharge mobile devices — albeit not large drain ones.

KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants – Men’s


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


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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