It’s dividend time at REI! That means, if you’re an REI member, you’ve just received 10% of your annual purchases back in store credit, which is always rad. And if you have a backpacking gear addiction like we do, your dividend can actually add up to a good chunk of change.
To sweeten the deal, from 3/19 to 3/29 REI Members save 20% on one full-price item and an extra 20% off one REI Outlet item with coupon code MEMBER21. Now is one of the best times of the year to save on a big-ticket purchase such as a tent, sleeping bag, backpack, sleeping pad, or anything else with some sticker-shock pricing.
If you’re not an REI member, don’t fret! You can pick up a lifetime membership for $20 and still get to use the 20% off coupon. So, your lifetime membership will pretty much pay for itself with one big purchase.
Why We Love REI
Knowledgeable and friendly staff – We always have an awesome experience with the sales and customer service staff. They’re friendly and helpful, and they really know their stuff!
REI membership gives a lot of benefits – All of us here at CleverHiker have been REI members for many years, and we love being part of such an awesome outdoor community. There are so many benefits to membership, but some of our favorites are access to 20% off coupons a few times a year, 10% dividend back on full-price purchases, access to the used gear Garage Sale, and discounts on REI Adventures and in-store classes. If you’re not a member yet, you can sign up online here.
REI Co-op products are a great value – We generally find that REI brand products strike a great balance between quality and cost. The Magma line of sleeping bags and the Half Dome line of tents are some of our favorite products from their wide range of offerings.
REI has an excellent return policy– Customer service reigns supreme here. REI gives you 365 days to return or exchange items and we love the ability to buy online and return in store.
REI is getting into the ultralight game– We’re pretty stoked to see REI jumping into the ultralight arena. They’re now stocking their shelves with UL retailers, such as Hyperlite Mountain Gear, as well as upgrading many of their REI Co-op product lines to focus on fast and light gear.
REI is a leader in environmental stewardship– Each year, REI donates millions of dollars to support conservation efforts. They send teams of volunteers across the country to build trails, clean up beaches, restore local habitat, and more.
This post has been sponsored by REI, but as always, our opinions and reviews are completely independent and unbiased.
35 Great Ways to Use Your Dividend & 20% Off Coupon
You can use your member dividend on anything at REI, even sale items! But you only get to use your 20% off coupon on one item, so it makes sense to use it on a big purchase to make it count. Remember to use coupon code: MEMBER21 at checkout.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 has an exceptional blend of low weight, interior space, and functionality. For freestanding tents in this weight class, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option. The slightly larger HV UL3 model provides a lot more interior space for two hikers and has become a CleverHiker favorite. Both are top picks on our Best Backpacking Tents list.
The REI Quarter Dome Tents SL 2 is an affordable and reliable lightweight backpacking tent that has been a bestseller at REI for many years. This tent saves weight with its semi-freestanding design and costs a bit less than similar tents from other brands. The Quarter Dome is a solid choice and it made our lists of the Best Backpacking Tents and Best Ultralight Tents.
If convenience, interior space, and affordability are your primary concerns, the Half Dome Series provides a good balance and is tough to beat. Our favorite size for backpacking is the 2 Plus, and the 3 Plus is more comfortable and spacious for front-country camping. The Half Dome tents are featured on both our Best Camping Tents and Best Backpacking Tents lists, because they’re some of our favorite crossover tents.
The REI Co-op Passage Tent series strikes an exceptional balance between functionality and price. If you’re new to backpacking or you’re on a tight budget, this could be an excellent tent to start out with. If you split the Passage 2 between two hikers, the weight and bulk isn’t too bad, and the Passage 3 is a decent option for family camping on a budget. The Passage tents are featured on both our Best Camping Tents and Best Backpacking Tents lists, because they’re some of our favorite crossover tents.
We love the luxurious Grant Hut camping tents because they’re spacious, easy to set up, and they’re better equipped to handle bad weather than most other camping tents that are tall enough to stand up in. The Grand Hut 4 is our favorite size in the lineup, and was awarded the CleverHiker Top Pick on our Best Camping Tents list for its superb balance of quality and affordability as well as interior space and ease-of-use.
REI Kingdom tents are great for car camping when you want a ton of space, durability, and weather protection. They’re available in 4P, 6P (this one’s our favorite), and 8P models, all of which pack down surprisingly small and are fairly easy to set up. If you’re looking for a baller nature palace to make your camping neighbors jealous, the Kingdom tent series will not disappoint. We named the REI Kingdom the best luxury camping tent on our Best Camping Tents list.
Backpacking Packs, Travel Bags & Daypacks
HMG makes some of our favorite tough-as-nails ultralight gear, and the Southwest 2400 is our go-to backpack for most of our adventures. The unique DCF fabric and taped seams on the Southwest make it one of the most weather-resistant and durable ultralight packs we’ve ever used, hands down. Our top pick for lightweight backpacks, the Southwest is available in three capacity sizes, though we recommend either the 2400 (40L) or 3400 (55L).
The REI Co-op Flash 55 (men’s & women’s) is an affordable backpacking pack for hikers looking to keep their pack weight down. This pack has all the features you’d want in a lightweight pack including a comfy hip belt, foam back panel, and removable top lid. One of our favorite features of the Flash pack is what REI refers to as Packmod – the straps and pockets can be reconfigured into a whole bunch of combinations to suit your needs. The Flash 55 is a top pick on our list of the Best Backpacking Backpacks.
If comfort reigns supreme for you and you don’t mind carrying some extra weight into the backcountry, the Osprey Atmos 65 (men’s sizes) & Aura 65 (women’s sizes) are great options. These packs hold weight much more comfortably than any ultralight backpack. While the Atmos and Aura are a little on the heavy side, they’re a fan favorite in many backpacking circles and earned a spot on our Best Backpacking Backpacks list.
The REI Flash 22 daypack has been a hiking staple for many years and with good reason. This pack is affordable and has a variety of convenient storage pockets, easy to reach water bottle holsters, and enough structure to feel comfortable against our backs on a day hike. This pack also comes in a Flash 18 model, but we prefer the Flash 22 because of its top lid and water bottle pockets. The Flash 22 is one of our top picks on our list of the Best Hiking Daypacks.
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 Cotopaxi Allpa has everything we look for in a travel pack – streamlined organization, easy-access pockets, a comfortable carry, and unique style. The Allpa is made of thick durable material that can handle any adventure you throw at it, and the main compartment organization is about as close to perfect as it comes for us. The Allpa is our top pick on our Best Travel Backpacks list.
The Black Hole Duffel by Patagonia is a burly travel bag that can carry a ton of gear and withstand a lot of wear and tear. It’s super durable, spacious, and convenient for general travel, as well as stashing backpacking gear for international hiking trips. They’re offered in a range of sizes and models, but we find the 55L model to be the best for most applications. We named the Black Hole the best travel duffel on our Best Travel Bags list.
Sleeping Bags & Sleeping Pads
We’re huge fans of the entire Magma line from REI – it’s available in 15°F sleeping bags (men’s and women’s), 30°F sleeping bags (men’s and women’s), and the 30°F Magma Trail Quilt. The Magma bags offer a combination of weight, warmth, and cost that few other sleeping bags can match. All versions of the Magma made it onto our Best Sleeping Bags and Best Backpacking Quilts lists, and the sleeping bag models are our top pick overall for their exceptional value.
Therm-a-Rest’s UberLite is our favorite sleeping pad for most of our summer backpacking trips. We absolutely love how light, compact, quiet, and comfortable it is. For three-season coverage or winter trips, check out the NeoAir XLite and XTherm models, which are also exceptional pads. All three pads are top picks on our list of the Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads.
The NEMO Tensor Insulated Pad’s greatest strength is how quiet and comfortable it is compared to the competition. It’s lightweight, warm, and has zero-profile valves and an included pump sack. This pad has earned a spot on our Best Sleeping Pads List.
The Exped MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad is one of the most luxurious camp mattresses we’ve ever tried, and may be just what you need to complete your car camping kingdom. If you’re looking for something a little smaller to outfit your converted van, check out the regular size MegaMat 10. Both sizes of the Megamat are at the top of our Best Camping Mattresses list.
If you want to take your backcountry sleep game to the next level, REI’s Camp Dreamer is a must. This camping mattress is so thick and plush, it may make you forget that you’re not on your memory foam mattress back home. For couples, the Camp Dreamer comes in a Double model (the size of a full bed), which also makes a great inflatable guest bed. During past sales we’ve seen this mattress sell out quickly, so act fast if you want to snag one of these beauties. The Camp Dreamer is the best value mattress on our Best Camping Mattresses list.
We’re longtime fans of Altra’s Lone Peak line of footwear. All Lone Peaks feature Altra’s signatures: a wide “foot-shaped” toe box and zero-drop design. The Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM (view women’s here) is a go-to for us on chilly and rainy hikes, and you can often find us sporting the lightweight Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoes (view women’s here) for lightweight backpacking trips in more mild weather. Both versions of the Lone Peaks can be found on our Best Hiking Boots for Men and Women and Best Trail Running Shoes for Men and Women lists.
We love a lot of Merrell’s shoes, and you can find many of them on our lists of the Best Hiking Boots for Men & Women, Best Hiking Shoes for Men & Women, and Best Trail Running Shoes for Men & Women. We’re particular fans of the Moab 2 Mid WP (view women’s here) and Low WP (view women’s here) because they’re comfortable, durable, and a great value for the money.
Comfort is the name of the game with the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX boots (view women’s here). They feel great right out of the box, they have super cushy soles, and they’re exceptionally lightweight for boots. If you prefer hiking shoes over boots, we also highly recommend the Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX shoes (view women’s here). Both versions are our top picks for lightweight hiking and backpacking on our Best Hiking Boots for Men and Women and Best Hiking Shoes for Men and Women lists.
The Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX boots tick a lot of boxes for us. They’re comfy right out of the box, supportive, durable, and amazingly breathable for waterproof boots. The Breeze boots also come in the equally awesome, and much lighter weight, LT model (view women’s here). If boots aren’t really your thing, we also highly recommend the Low shoe version (view women’s here). The Vasque Breeze footwear line made our top pick on Best Hiking Boots for Men and Women and Best Hiking Shoes for Men and Women lists.
Saucony Peregrines (view women’s here) have been our go-to backpacking shoes for the past year. They have excellent traction, comfortable padding, and a roomy toe box.The Peregrines rank highly on our Best Hiking Boots for Men and Women and Best Trail Running Shoes for Men and Women lists.
The Chaco Z/1 Classics (view women’s here) are the ultimate hiking sandals. They’re adjustable to fit all kinds of different foot shapes, surprisingly supportive, and ridiculously durable. Many types of hikers swear by Chacos, from day hikers, to minimalist fast packers, to your author, who thru-hiked all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Chaco Z/1 Classics. The Z/1 Classics are number one on our lists of the Best Hiking Sandals for Men and Women.
Arc’Teryx is known for its unmatched quality in outdoor gear, but also for its high prices. Well, this is your chance to score any one full-priced Arc’teryx item for 20% off using your member coupon. We’ve tried a lot of their jackets over the years, and we’re big fans of the Zeta SL Rain Jacket and the Cerium LT Down Hoodie, which both make our Best Rain Jackets and our Best Down Jackets lists respectively. We also really love the Atom LT Insulated Hoodie and the Kyanite Hoodie for around town.
The REI Stormhenge 850 (view women’s here) is a unique two-in-one jacket that offers warmth and protection from the elements in one convenient package. This year’s model is on clearance, so you can’t use your coupon on it, but you can still use your dividend for it. While it’s a bit heavy for technical use and not as versatile as two separate jackets for backcountry trips, we find the Stormhenge to be very useful for everyday outdoor wear, day hikes, and camping in chilly, wet conditions. The Stormhenge ranks highly on our lists of the Best Down Jackets and Best Winter Coats for Men and Women.
The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie (view women’s here) is a warm, well-rounded jacket with classic stylish looks. Little touches like a soft zipper cover at the chin, an internal chest pocket, and hem adjustments that are accessible from inside the hand pockets make the Down Sweater comfortable and practical to wear on a daily basis. This hoodie is our top pick for everyday wear on our list of the Best Down Jackets.
The REI 650 Down Jacket 2.0 (view women’s here) is a great option for lightweight adventurers on a budget. It’s made with lower-fill-power down, which means it’s not quite as technical and efficient as more expensive jackets, but for the price, we’re pretty happy with its performance. The 650 Down is our favorite budget-friendly ultralight jacket on our Best Down Jackets list.
The REI Drypoint GTX strikes an excellent balance of durability and low weight. This year’s model is on clearance, so you can’t use your coupon on it, but you can still use your dividend for it. The well-designed tapered cut and high-quality materials give it the appeal of more expensive premium jackets on the market, but for a moderate price. Because of its attractive fit, added durability, and practical weight, the Drypoint transitions well from urban environments to the trail, and is a great choice for those who want a single jacket they can use for multiple purposes. The Drypoint is our top pick from our Best Rain Jackets list.
Base layers can be a real game changer when you want to add a lot of warmth to your clothing system without adding a lot of weight. We’ve been using REI’s Midweight Merino Base Layers on backpacking trips for years. As hard as we’ve tried, we can’t get these things to stink. We’re partial to the Long Sleeve Crew Top and Base Layer Bottoms combo, but REI makes a wide variety of styles to suit your personal taste. For more information on layering and creating an effective backpacking clothing system, check out our Backpacking & Hiking Clothing 101 post.
It isn’t any wonder why the Yeti Tundra has made such a big name for itself. Its best-in-class insulation makes it very efficient, so you can keep ice the way it should be; frozen on long trips. If you live an active lifestyle, a portable cooler like the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 could easily become your favorite piece of gear. The Backflip comfortably carries a load of ice-cold goodies while leaving your hands free for high-fives. Both coolers rank highly on our Best Coolers guide.
The Camp Chef Everest Stove is a must have for all you creative camp cooks who love whipping up gourmet camp meals. This thing is seriously powerful – each burner has a heat output of up to 20,000 BTU. By comparison, household stoves have an average output of 7,000 BTU. Needless to say, that’s a lot of fire power! The Everest also features a convenient igniter button and built in wind blockers to maintain efficiency. The Everest stove is our top pick on our Best Camping Stoves list.
Helinox makes a lot of pretty awesome camp furniture, some of which is even light enough to backpack with. Their sleek and functional designs do come at a price though, so this is a great opportunity to up your camping game with a new chair or table. The ultralight Chair Zero and the high-backed Sunset Chair are some of our favorites from our Best Backpacking Chairs and Best Camping Chairs lists.
Backpacking chairs can be great for short casual trips, and of course we love using camp chairs for front-country camping, events, and travel. The Flexlite Camp 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 Flexlite family of chairs has earned a place on both our Best Backpacking Chairs and our Best Camping Chairs lists. The REI Camp Roll Table is also a great addition to your car camping setup.
The Jetboil MiniMo is a complete cooking system that’s just about as convenient and efficient as backcountry stoves get. The MiniMo is loaded with useful features including a push-button igniter, excellent simmer control, and a stout shape that makes eating out of it easier. Metal coils along the bottom of the Jetboil increase cooking efficiency and produce incredibly fast boil times. Another great option is the simple, straightforward, and less expensive Jetboil Flash. Both stoves rank highly on our Best Backpacking Stoves list.
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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