Summer is nearing an end for many, but here at CleverHiker we’re approaching one of our favorite times to get outside and explore. Fall offers crisp sunny days, fewer crowds and little to no bugs on the trail. It’s also one of the best times to get great gear on the cheap. One of REI’s biggest sales of the year, the Labor Day Sale is happening August 23 – September 2nd and includes some of our favorite backpacking, hiking, and camping gear. In addition to deep discounts, REI members also receive an extra 20% off one outlet item with coupon code: LABORDAY19.
Here’s the gear we’re most excited about in this year’s big sale. Hope you enjoy!
REI’s Magma Down Sleeping Bag (men’s and women’s) and REI Trail Quilt are both on our Best Sleeping Bags & Quilts List due to their exceptional balance between weight, warmth, quality, and cost. REI also offers the Magma sleeping bag in a 30° model for those who primarily backpack in summer months. This is one of the best deals in the entire sale, in our opinion.
We think the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 and UL3 have the best combination of weight, interior space, weather protection, and ease-of-use of any backpacking tent on the market. Because of this, the Copper Spur HV UL2/3 has been a top pick for Best Backpacking Tent for several years now. Every piece of gear has its pros and cons, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better freestanding backpacking tent in this weight class.
TheREI Co-op Half Dome Tent Series are tents that maximize interior space and durability while minimizing cost. The main downside with the Half Dome Tents in the form of weight, but if you’re just car camping, this shouldn’t be an issue. If durability, convenience, interior space, and affordability are your primary concerns, the Half Dome 2 Plus is tough to beat.
We think the Tungsten UL2 and UL3 are two of the most underrated tents on our best backpacking tents list. They’re lightweight, roomy, convenient, and very affordable. They do have asymmetrical vestibules for some reason (one is bigger than the other), but the design is still excellent. So if you’re looking for an exceptional deal on a great lightweight backpacking tent, this just might be your guy.
Therm-a-Rest consistently makes some of the best sleeping pads on the market in terms of weight, warmth, and comfort and are heavily featured on our Best Sleeping Pads list. For ultralight summer adventures, we recommend the NeoAir Uberlite. For 3-season backpacking, it’s tough to beat the specs of the NeoAir XLite. For 4-season trips or cold sleepers, the NeoAir XTherm is your best bet. It’s seldom Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads are on sale, so it’s a great time to swoop one up.
If you’re looking for a comfortable sleeping bag with a lot of space, the NEMO Disco 15 (men’s) and Rave 15 (women’s) are a great option. Both make our Best Sleeping Bags list for their roomy comfort. The downside to all that space is increased weight, so they’re not our preferred backpacking bags, but their unique spoon shape and heat venting “thermo gills” leave a lot to love. NEMO also makes this bag in a slightly lighter and more compressible Riff 15 model (women’s Jam 15).
For the ultralight/budget backpacker who’s hard on gear and doesn’t want the possibility of a ruptured air pad, the NEMO Switchback Ultralight Sleeping Pad is a great option and is featured on our Best Sleeping Pads list. The Switchback offers slightly increased thickness and packs down a bit smaller than the main competitor, the Therm-a-Rest’s Z Lite Sol. NEMO rates the Switchback for 20-35 °F use, but we wouldn’t recommend any foam pad for sub-freezing temps.
REI’s Co-op Flash Insulated Pad is yet another piece of REI gear that competes with industry leaders at a much more affordable price. The Flash series employs a comfortable dimpled design, offers lightweight warmth, and makes our list of Best Sleeping Pads. Though not our top pad pick, the Flash is definitely an outstanding deal and still leads to a comfortable night’s rest.
Osprey Ariel & Aether Packs – 25% off
If comfort reigns supreme for you and you don’t mind carrying some extra weight into the backcountry, the OspreyAether (for men) &Ariel (for women) are great options. These packs hold weight much more comfortably than any ultralight backpack. While the Ariel and Aether are heavier than packs we generally hike with on our ultralight trips, they’re a fan favorite in many backpacking circles. They’re available in a range of sizes.
Arc’Teryx is known for its unmatched quality in outdoor gear, but also for its equally high prices. Well, this is your chance to score any full-priced Arc’Teryx item for 25% off. For backpacking and hiking trips where we’re trying to keep weight to a minimum, we’re fans of the Zeta FL and Zeta SL rain jackets, which make our Best Backpacking Jackets List. We also really love the Proton Insulated Hoodies for shoulder season adventures.
We don’t often take chairs on backpacking trips, but we do love using them while car camping or on base camp trips with friends. TheFlexlite Chair, which weighs less than 2 pounds, is comfortable, sturdy, and packs down very small, making it an excellent choice for those on the go. The REI Camp Roll Table is also a great addition to your car camping setup.
Osprey Tempest and Talon Day Packs – 25% off
The Osprey Talon 22 for men and Tempest 20 for women are our top picks for Best Hiking Daypacks. They provide an exceptional balance of comfort, convenience, and functionality. With cushy hip belts, padded shoulder straps, and ventilated back panels, the Talon and Tempest ride very comfortably on the trail. These packs have plenty of room for a full day adventure and convenient storage compartments to keep our gear organized nicely.
The MiniMo Cooking System by Jetboil is one of most efficient and convenient integrated stove systems on the market. With all the cooking components you’ll need in a compact package, its fast boil times will ensure you have a hot meal quickly after a long day on the trail. We love its convenient push button ignitor, sturdy metal handles, wide pot shape, and secure lid with pour spouts. Weighing 14 oz, the MiniMo isn’t the lightest stove/pot combination on the market, but for its convenience and ease of use, there’s a lot to love.
The NEMO Hornet 2P is a great option for solo ultralight backpackers who like having a little extra space at camp. We liked the previous version of this tent, and NEMO has made some really great design improvements this year. The 2019 Hornet offers more headroom and corner struts in the foot for easier setup without adding any weight. You can find the Hornet on our list of the 10 Best Backpacking Tents.
The REI Camp Dome 2 is an affordable and basic camping tent with relatively good quality materials and a simple set up. The Camp Dome’s poles are aluminum, which is an upgrade from fiberglass (prone to splintering and breakage), but they’re not quite as durable as high-end aluminum poles like those used in the Half Dome. If you’re looking for a simple, easy to pitch car camping tent, it’s tough to beat the price of the Camp Dome 2.
The Grand Hut 4 has been awarded the CleverHiker Top Pick for our Best Camping Tent for its superb balance of quality to affordability as well as interior space to ease-of-use. We found the Grand Hut to be one of the most equipped tall camping tents to handle stormy weather, with a full-length rainfly that has large vestibules, roof vents that can be accessed from the interior, and extra-thick poles. We also found the Grand Hut to be one of the quickest, easiest, and most intuitive tents to pitch and pack up due to its hubbed pole system.
Though all of REI’s trekking poles are on sale, we have some favorites. The Flash Carbon Trekking Poles are a great option for those looking to trim a few ounces without breaking the bank. They’re also featured on our Best Trekking Poles list. If you’re looking for trekking poles that can pack down small to stow away, REI also offers their Flash Folding Trekking Poles.
We’re big fans of MSR stoves and the PocketRocket 2 has been a CleverHiker Top Pick for a few years. The PocketRocket 2 is a lightweight, compact, and durable stove with great simmer control that won’t break the bank. The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is also excellent and has some nice feature upgrades, like a push button ignitor, better cold weather/high altitude performance, and better wind performance too. Both are truly excellent backcountry stoves that come in handy stove kit versions as well: Pocket Rocket 2 Stove Kit & Pocket Rocket Deluxe Stove Kit.
The Coleman Triton 2-Burner and InstaStart 2-Burner are great stoves for car camping trips when you’ll want cooking capabilities for more complex meals. The design is a classic – simple, durable, and packs away easy – so now’s a great time to grab one on sale.
The lightweight (2 oz) and compact Katadyn BeFree Water Filter Bottle is a great tool for day hikes and quick backcountry trips. The soft bottles aren’t designed for pressure squeezing, so we normally don’t take them on multi-day trips, but the BeFree is still a fast, compact, convenient, and ultralight filter that works well on the trail.
One of Patagonia’s most popular rain jackets, the Torrentshell (men’s & women’s), is on sale at a great discount this Labor Day. Though it’s slightly heavier and not quite as fancy as some of Patagonia’s other jackets, the Torrentshell still has all the features you’ll want in a fully-functioning rain shell, and it comes in a range of great colors as well.
This Labor Day all La Sportiva Footwear is on sale, but our favorite model is the Bushidos. La Sportiva Bushidos have awesome traction, feel very stable on rough terrain, and offer a toughness and durability that is often lacking in other trail runners. For more information on hiking shoes, check out our Best Hiking Shoes & Boots list.
WrightSock makes some extremely comfortable socks, and their Coolmesh II Quarter Socks make our Best Hiking Socks list. The Coolmesh II socks are thin and minimal, and their double-layer system makes them excellent for preventing blisters. They aren’t the most durable socks on the market, but we love the feel of them so we find ourselves taking them out on the trail all the time.
Darn Tough offers some of our favorite socks on the market, including the top picks on our Best Hiking Socks list, the Micro Crew Cushion (men’s & women’s) and Micro Crew Light Cushion (men’s & women’s). They’re super comfortable and highly functional, but perhaps their greatest asset is their unconditional lifetime guarantee, no strings attached. If you wear them out, you get a new pair, and that’s rad.
Other Great Deals!
We hope this guide helps you find some great outdoor gear that you’ll love for years to come! If you found this guide helpful, please feel free to share it with friends and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five.
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