2019 Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to the REI Anniversary Sale

Here’s how to get the best deals at REI’s biggest sale of the year. I’ve been an REI member for almost 45 years and I still get excited about the REI Anniversary Sale. To prep for the sale I usually do a 1 to 2 hour visit to my local REI Store, and then some extensive research online to find even more great lightweight hiking and backpacking gear. The result is our 2019 Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to the REI Anniversary Sale:

  • EVENT: 2019 REI Anniversary Sale. Save up to 30% off at REI.
  • PLUS: Members Get 20% off one full price item and 20% off one REI OUTLET Item (online only)
  • Coupon Code: ANNIV19
  • Dates for the sale are May 17-27, so get there early and look around to get the best selection.

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

  1. First: hit the REI OUTLET to use your 20% off any one OUTLET items like Osprey Packs or Big Agnes Tents. Stuff goes fast and sizes/colors are limited to begin with. I’ve noted a few OUTLET items that I found to be good deals here, but be flexible since sizes and colors can go quickly. And do some searching. If you’re a small or very large person, you can totally score here. I’ve only put in items that had several good sizes. Keep in mind that something labeled “men” might be good for women, and vice versa.
  2. Second: Hit the Regular REI Sale Items (I have some Regular Sale picks below). The best items on sale will go quickly. There’s a section below that has Regular Sale Items I thought were good.
  3. Third: shop Full-price Items. This is the last area I would look over. Again in a section below, I have noted some high priced items where 20% off would be welcome, as well as some lower cost options.

12 Quick Pics for the Sale

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.

best hiking gear - Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator

Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator

Save $50

This is a big deal as GPS and Satellite Communicators rarely go on sale!

The Garmin inReach Mini is our Staff Pick and what we take into when guiding and on our personal trips | In short, staying in touch in the the backcountry has never been so easy, 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, comfort, and connection that used to cost much more! The new Mini is really small and light, 3.5 oz vs. 6.9 oz of the the older inReach units. And it’s so small it can easily fit in a pocket. The minor downside of the Mini vs. older inReach units is slightly shorter battery life. This can easily be solved by charing it in field with the ubiquitous USB battery that most of us carry with us anyway. In summary, the The inReach is an indispensable backcountry communication tool for keeping loved ones updated, and for receiving weather and other important updates from the front country. Of course the larger inReach Explorer+, (which has built in mapping, a larger screen, and longer battery life) is also on sale.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent

$299.98 (Reg $400)

A treat deal for a top-tier ultralight tent! The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent combines the best of the heavier and fully featured Copper Spur Series tents, with the lighter and lower cost of the Fly Creek Series. But to save weight and cost, it is semi-free standing like the Fly Creek tents. That is, the two rear corners need to be staked out. To our minds, not a big deal to save both weight and cost. While not on sale some my prefer the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Tent for it’s huge interior volume (38 ft2) and livability for two people.

REI Coop Half Dome Tents

30% Off

While not ultralight, at only $160 on sale this is a great value for a roomy, fully featured tent. No surprise then that the REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a best selling tent at REI for a reason; it just works. No matter where and how you choose to camp in the backcountry or front-country, this tent will keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its vertical walls, spacious interior (30% more than many 2-person tents), and expansive vestibules make for great livability, which is why this backpacking tent also has great crossover into car camping. If you need a quiver of one budget tent for all purposes, the Half Dome is your go-to. In addition to more volume and features than the Kelty Salida 2 or REI Passage 2 Tents, it’s also made with higher quality, longer lasting materials. A 60d floor prevents rips and pokes while durable DAC poles form a strong and light cross-pole frame with sidewall lifters. While low weight is not a primary consideration, quality and value run throughout the entire Half Dome Plus family, so don’t hesitate to buy according to your typical group configuration.

REI Co-op Magma Down Sleeping Bags

30% Off

Top Pick Sleeping Bag & new for 2019: A new and lighter and less expensive version of 2017 Backpacker Editors’ Choice. We feel that the new REI Co-op Magma 30 Sleeping Bag M’s & W’s is a better all-around three season choice for most campers than the +15 version. 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 most sleepers warm but still not weigh a ton! BUT you do sleep cold: check out the original, award winning REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag. It will either keep colder sleepers happy in peak 3 season camping, or take most folks into colder shoulder (3+ season) camping of early spring or late fall.

REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30

30% Off

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

REI Co-op Flash Sleeping Pads

40% Off

Value Pick Sleeping Pad and an ever better value at 40% off | REI Co-op Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad has more insulation than a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite but costs a lot less. The REI Co-op Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad combines chambered air pockets, with proprietary dual-fiber insulation combines with a Mylar® reflective layer to provide a high warmth-to-weight ratio. Again, it’s warmer than a NeoAir XLite while weighing just 3 oz more and costing a lot less. It uses a durable 30D fabric and of course it’s backed by REI. We prefer the Regular 20″ version of this pad. But many people may prefer the Wide 25″ inch version. And of course it is the perfect compliment to an REI Co-op Magma Sleeping Bag or Quilt. And if you really need warmth, get the REI Co-op Flash All-Season Insulated Air Sleeping Pad, with an R Value of 5.2!

Jetboil Flash Cooking Systems

25% Off

Get Jetboil, speed, convenience and packabitly for only $75! The Jetboil Flash Cooking Systems 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. While the top-of-the line Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System gives you all of Jetboil’s new technologies it’s also double the cost, making the Flash a far better value.

Black Diamond Headlamps

25% Off

The Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp is the light I take when guiding or on a personal climbing trip. Put otherwise, this is the one headlamp that will do it all — while still being light at only 3 oz. It can put out brilliant 325 lumens of light to safely travel/climb on technical terrain, or make an all-night emergency exit on rough trails. But it is also dimmable and tame enough for camp use. In it’s 8 lumen “camp mode” it will last you a season of hiking on a single set of batteries.

Altra Lone Peak Trail-Running Shoes - Best Backpacking Gear

Altra Footwear

25% Off

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

REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jackets & Pants

$59.99 (Reg $90)

Think of the REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jackets and Pants as competitors to the classic Marmot Precip Jacket/Pants but currently 1/2 the cost. As such, the Co-op Rainier line is a great value for a full-featured ultralight rain jacket. It has a fully adjustable hood, sleeves, and hem, pit-zips, pockets, beefy toothed zipper, and a reasonably durable shell. This is a great choice for an all around jacket that won’t break the bank.

REI Coop Sahara Clothing

30% Off

Great trail and travel clothes a good price, and now a better value at 30% off. A personal favorite, I’ve used some version of REI Sahara Pants for almost 20 years. From the AT, to Alaska, the High Sierra and Patagonia they’ve always performed admirably. With all their pockets they are also a key component of my hiking efficiently on the trail See more here: Efficient Backpacking Tips – Easily Increase Mileage Fun. They are also our favorite travel clothes (non-backpacking). Of course, there is a nice long sleeve shirt to go with the pants.

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap - Best Backpacking Gear

Outdoor Research Hats, Gloves & Gaiters

25% Off

Outdoor Research is well known for making some of the best hats, gloves & gaiters for the outdoors. The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is a hat that does everything well! It 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 help deal with solar radiation, but other colors are available if you don’t like the bright white. This this is one of the most functional hats We’ve ever put on our heads. And it works great to control the brim on your rain jacket.

Suggestions to get the most from your 20% off any one full-price item

best backpacking gear - Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Packs

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

Big Agnes Copper Spur Tents

A storm-worthy ultralight tent. While a bit heavier than the Tiger Wall Series, Copper Spur tents are fully freestanding, with crossing poles in the rear so they are stronger and more storm worthy. And if you want to cut a little weight, but keep lots of space, Big Agnes has you covered with the high volume versions (HV) versions of their Copper Spurt line. The Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent comes in at 2 lb. 12 oz on the trail, and can be pitched even lighter using just the fly. This is one of the more spacious 2-person tents out there, which is great if you are going to be stuck in your tent playing cards for a while in bad weather, or just prefer highly livable tents.

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

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad – “Women’s”  is the best pad for men too! The “Women’s” version of the XLite is actually the right size for most backpackers (all the men I know use it). At 12 oz and with an R-value of 3.9, it’s warmer and lighter than the “Men’s” version. Super warm and super comfortable we find its closer to a 3+ season pad!  For us 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 UberLite Sleeping Pad

Great pad for ~+32 F or above and for larger people | At only 1/2 pound for a size regular (72″ long) there’s been a lot of buzz about the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad. First, 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 2.0 we find this pad warm and comfortable to around freezing. For temps colder than freezing we recommend the M’s XLite (R 3.2) or our preferred W’s XLite (R 3.9).

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.

Suggestions to get the most from your 20% off any one OUTLET item (online only)

Marmot PreCip Rain Rainwear I REI Outlet

20% off with coupon for an already 30% off item

Marmot PreCip Rain Rainwear is well deserved ultralight classic in rain pants and Jackets.  And the newer model is 43% more breathable.  This is an inexpensive, lightweight waterproof, breathable jacket. It has pit zips to cool you off, handwarmer pockets to keep your hands toasty, and weighs well under a pound. The rain pants are no slouch either. There are Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s sizes.

Patagonia Down Sweater Jackets I REI Outlet

20% off with coupon for an already 25% off item

Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket is a classic lightweight down Jacket. At $100 less than their UL jackets, this is a great warm layer for backpacking or any outdoor activity, really. It’s reasonably light (13 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.


This post contains affilate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a slight portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I am never under an obligation to write page post a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

18 replies
  1. Vic Hoyt
    Vic Hoyt says:

    Great suggestions! I’ve been waffling around trying to decide what to buy during the sale. Sadly, a lot of the items on the list are already discounted, so do not qualify for the 20% off member discount. For instance the InReach Mini would be cheaper at 20% off full price. You alluded to this in your very good preamble post.

    Nevertheless, I grabbed one of those Flash pads for $20 using my dividend (and your affiliate link!), so a win/win. Thanks for all your hard work and research.

    By the way, relative to the Altra entry, I’ve been coveting a pair of Olympus 3.0, but they’re nowhere to be found. I called Altra today and they’re about to release the 3.5 model sometime in July. Sadly too late for any discount :-).

  2. Denise
    Denise says:

    Thanks for this Alan! In looking at the sleeping bag options, I noted that one of them–the Magma 17 Women’s sleeping bag (https://www.rei.com/product/110927/rei-co-op-magma-17-sleeping-bag-womens) is on sale already for $275 and appears to have the same specs across the board to the Women’s 15 except that the “stuff volume” is 8 liters instead of 10 liters. It is on sale but not in the outlet, so doesn’t qualify for either 20% coupon, but does qualify for the 10% member bonus. Do you see any difference in this bag that I’m missing, compared to the Women’s 15?

  3. CraigK
    CraigK says:

    Hi Alan – thanks for summing up sale highlights…super helpful. Picked up an Atom LT hoodie…it’s fantastic!

    Could you double check the Darn Tough entry…thinking only the ski socks are on sale, not the hiking editions. I walked into a store yesterday, and I was so darned confused about the pricing. :)

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Good catch Craig, only ski socks were on sale. Since this is backpacking and hiking site, I pulled the socks out of the guide. Still there are some very nice Smartwool socks on sale for 30% off and that includes hiking and running socks. Best, -alan

  4. Steven
    Steven says:

    Great post but want to clarify one thing. The Exos backpack shown is last year’s model; the 2018 version lost the hipbelt pockets (which is a real shame)

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Thanks for finding that Steven. Yes, the actual link is was and is correct for the current model but the image is not. I already had the image of last years in my image library and forgot to change it in the rush to get the guide out in time for the sale. Hoping you had a great Memorial Day Weekend. Warmest -alan

  5. Amy
    Amy says:

    This is a great list! I’m fairly new to backpacking and have some of these items already but I’m adding the Joule 21 sleeping bag, MSR pocket rocket 2, nuun tablets, and a climbing harness from this sale. Steep & Cheap seems to be competing with this sale because they’ve added new items. I purchased prAna Halle pants in a color not available at REI and a compression sack. Excited to test out my new gear :)

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Very nice Amy. Glad you are getting some new light gear. And so smart to shop sales and closeouts when you are getting started. Will save you a ton of $. Warmest, -alan

  6. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    I used me member discount on a Ursack All-White. Because my “bear hangs” are more often “chipmunk hangs” and it’s time to stop pushing my luck.


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