5 Reasons Why REI is a Traveler's Best Friend

REI is a cooperative that focuses on outdoor equipment and apparel as well as travel gear. Learn why shopping REI can help out any traveler with Exploration Always.

Gear is very important for travelers. Hiking backpacks. REI. Exploration Always
Knowing What Gear to Have is Very Important for Travelers

Let me first clarify that I am not sponsored in anyway by REI and currently have no affiliation links of any kind. I simply am a fan of the store and I use it to get the majority of my travel gear.

5. High Quality Brands

Like any quality outdoor shop, REI has tons of options when it comes to brands. From North Face, 5.10, Arc'teryx, and more. REI also has their own store brand which unlike many clothing/gear stores, are actually very high quality.

High Quality Gear is a Must for Any Traveler. REI. Exploration Always
High Quality Gear is a Must for Any Traveler

REI has a lot of options for any adventurer no matter their budget level. REI brand clothes tend to be a bit cheaper without the high dip in quality and they have other brands that satisfy the need for affordable gear. If you have a higher budget and are looking to spend a bit more on top rated brands, this is also the place for you. Arc'teryx, Patagonia, Yeti, are all available. But no matter what price you pay while shopping at REI, you'll get gear that will work and that will last. If not, REI has one of the best return policies and their staff are more than generous when it comes to helping customers.

4. Online Shopping and Shipping

Another unique thing about REI is that stores in different regions carry different gear. While you may not find heavy skiing gear at an REI in Atlanta, you'll see hiking, camping, biking, and fishing gear. For those who are venturing out of their region, REI has a great online shopping website that will ship gear either to your home, or to an REI branch near you (this option has no shipping cost).

REI Shipping Policies are Among the Best of Online Retailers. Exploration Always
REI Shipping Policies are Among the Best of Online Retailers

The online store isn't just for people venturing to far away lands and need different gear. Anybody can ship to their house or local store for any reason. In my opinion, one of the most useful aspects of this is to get clothes/gear in your size that may be unavailable or out of stock in stores at the time.

3. Experienced, Knowledgeable, and Friendly Staff

Having spent countless hours shopping in REI, I can tell you that their staff know what they’re doing. Employees are all well versed in adventure and are more than happy to give their recommendations and review from personal experience or research on different products.

REI Staff are More than Happy to Help. Exploration Always
REI Staff are More than Happy to Help

Staff members tend to be as friendly as they come and are able to show you what you may need depending on your specific trip/adventure. While getting ready for my trip to Thailand, I was given tons of help and advice on not just what gear to buy, but how to correctly use it.

Something specific for backpackers is that REI employees will not only help you choose a backpack, but also tailor it to your size and build. After doing so, they fill it with weights and will have you walk around the store to see how it feels and if it’s the right pack and adjustments for you.

2. Amazing Member Discounts/Deals

Again, let me preface my saying I have no affiliation, affiliate links, or sponsorship from REI. I simply know how much I have gotten out of REI as a company and how much other people will too.

You will Save a lot of Money with REI Membership. Exploration Always
You will Save a lot of Money with REI Membership

REI membership is one of the most useful things a traveler can have in terms of preparing for a trip. Membership is a one time fee of $20 and lasts forever. Oftentimes, they will offer rewards/benefits for simply signing up. On top of this, you can continuously earn store credit by using your phone number/email at checkout. While it may take a while for that credit to add up, you will get extra savings by either using it for entire purchases or towards a purchase to lower the price of your buy.

Another great bonus of REI membership is all the deals and coupons for travel/adventure gear. While the store does offer discounts to the nonmembers, Co-op members will really get to take advantage of this with hundreds of member only deals whose savings well surpass the $20 membership cost.

1. REI Garage Sale

Related to the previous mention, Garage Sale is a member only benefit at REI. Garage sale is when REI offers returned items at hugely discounted prices. These could be items returned within a few days or weeks, or slightly used items that REI buys back from people. Discounts depend on the wear of the item but you can expect some items to be less than half priced of buying a new item.

Tons of Items Available at REI Garage Sale for Heavy Discounts. Exploration Always
Tons of Items Available at REI Garage Sale for Heavy Discounts

For example, my hiking backpack is an Osprey Atmos 65 L pack. While I have certainly gotten my money’s worth in the past year, it was about $270 at the time I purchased it. Imagine my surprise when I walked into REI recently to see my same model backpack (seemingly in great condition) priced at $99. While the logistics of how garage sale works at REI have changed due to COVID, it is the same general principles.

It’s things like this that make REI's customer base so loyal and why we keep coming back. With incredible staff, amazing discounts, rewards programs, product variety, and high quality; it's easy to understand why REI is an adventurer's paradise and why I believe they will continue to be for quite a long time.