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Reflecting on 50 years of REI Co-op Membership

As the editorial staff of Adventure Alan & Co (Alan & Jaeger) surpass 50 years of collective REI Co-op membership, we take a moment to reflect on everything we love about this organization. From fond personal memories to our favorite Co-op label gear and CSR initiatives, we have a profound respect for REI, its people, culture, product, and mission. Throughout the rest of this article, you’ll find an assortment of our favorite REI Co-op branded gear peppered in between personal essays, and REI facts. Click or tap on the photos to shop the styles.

This content is sponsored by REI Co-op, but you make Adventure Alan & Co possible. When purchasing through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Here’s why you can trust us. Now back to the REI Co-op Brand Spotlight.

6 Reasons to Love REI Co-op

  • Co-op Membership Rewards – Unlike most businesses, REI gives Co-op members 10% back annually on most purchases. Rewards arrive in March in the form of a gift card. Members also get access to events, coupons, used-gear, and discounts on bike/snow shop services and rentals. Anyone can become a lifetime member today for a one-time payment of just $30!
  • #OptOutside – Since 2015 REI has closed its doors on Black Friday, encouraging customers to spend time outside instead of shopping. Employees are granted time off to participate, so everyone wins!
  • REI Re/Supply Used Gear Program – Members can trade-in eligible lightly used gear online and in-store.
  • REI Cooperative Action Fund – It’s 2023, but millions of Americans still lack access to the outdoors. The REI Cooperative Action Fund is a community-driven nonprofit that supports organizations around the country making the outdoors more equitable for all people.
  • REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures – This business venture offers full-spectrum support to startups owned by Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, Asian American, and Pacific Islander people. By accelerating minority-owned businesses, they are helping to diversify the Outdoor Industry
  • One Year Warranty For Members – REI members get a one year warranty for most purchases in case they don’t work out (some exclusions apply). And non-members even get a 90 day warranty. Shop with confidence!

Alan Remembers the 1975 Grand Opening of REI’s Berkeley Store

One of my key REI member experiences was at the 1975 Grand Opening Sale at REI’s Berkeley California store — REI’s second store. A big deal! My parents had separated earlier that year and the whole family was having a difficult time. We were all trying to find our bearings in a world turned upside-down. My dad especially was struggling living on his own and seeing less of my brother and me. That summer, he’d planned a backpacking trip to the Sierras as a way for us to spend time together.

Of course, we were short on backpacking gear and after the divorce money was scarce. So one morning in 1975 my dad, brother and I all lined up for the REI Berkeley Store’s Grand Opening hoping to outfit the family on the cheap. REI delivered with grand opening deals, sale items and a bunch of solid gear at prices a family could afford (not so common in the 70’s). We came out a few hours later with backpacks, rain jackets, a backpacking tent (our first ever!) and other gear to make that backpacking trip possible. And yes, the trip that summer into the Yosemite backcountry was a memorable one!

-Alan Dixon, Founder and Gear Editor

Jaeger Remembers Winning the Seattle Ultimate Frisbee Corporate League with Team REI

Back when I worked at Outdoor Research, a number of my colleagues were former REI HQ employees. Seattleites in the Outdoor Industry tended to bounce between local outdoor brands, but the REI x OR connection ran particularly deep at that time. Prior to my employment, the two companies had already joined forces to field a team named Cotton Kills in the Seattle Corporate Ultimate Frisbee league. A week into my marketing internship at OR, I immediately signed up for the team roster, fresh off my college Ultimate days.

Given the propensity for outdoors folk to be in good physical fitness, we tended to make quick work of the local tech and engineering squads. I recall Cotton Kills won the league at least three times during my tenure from 2012-2022. In 2016, I threw the winning pass in the tournament championship match against Microsoft, (team name: Blue Screen of Death). And better yet, it was a hammer – the name for a type of risky upside down throw that always gets players excited.

But it’s actually the people I look back on most fondly. The core REI players on that team had been friends and colleagues for ages, and played together at a weekly lunchtime pickup game on or near the REI campus. Everyone was so welcoming and kind to new players and new faces. We all felt encouraged and empowered to play our hardest and try new things for the sake of learning the game and improving. Good vibes, humor, positivity, and sportsmanship were a constant. The REI crew embodied the spirit of the game, and we even befriended rivals like the Seattle School Teachers Team (team name: Hot For Teacher), and hosted an annual post-match BBQ potluck together.

If there’s anything I can draw from this, it’s that REI fosters a culture of kindness, positivity, and growth. It’s not just a business, it’s a Co-op, and the people who run it genuinely care about making the outdoors and the world a better place, on or off the grass. REI Co-op deserves the spirit award!

-Jaeger Shaw, Managing Editor & Owner

REI Co-op Facts From 2022 Impact Report

REI is a major player in the Outdoor Industry, and a major contributor to non-profits making the outdoors more accessible.

  • $3.85 Billion in Co-op Sales
  • $224 million distributed in Co-op Member Rewards
  • $92.3 million in employee retirement and incentives
  • $6.9 million invested in over 503 non-profit partners


We’re long time REI Co-op loyalists and we don’t plan on changing that any time soon. To anyone shopping for outdoor gear, we strongly recommend purchasing from the Co-op. They are a good brand who stands behind their products and services, and are constantly striving to make the outdoors a better place. Thanks REI. Keep up the great work!

-Adventure Alan & Co.

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