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Amazing outdoor gear and clothing at rock-bottom prices? That’s pretty hard to resist, especially when everyone is itching to get outside for some socially distant recreation! There are a million reasons to love REI Co-Op, and their annual Anniversary Sale is just one of them.
REI is my go-to online store for outdoor gear. Why?
- More than 70% of their annual profits are invested back into the outdoor community through dividends to REI members, employee profit-sharing and retirement, and investments in nonprofits dedicated to the outdoors.
- REI offers a 100% satisfaction guaranteed return policy on both new and used products. New products can be returned for a refund within the first year (electronics is 90 days) and used products can be returned within 30 days.
- A $20 lifetime membership to REI Co-Op is good for deep discounts, annual dividends (10% back on eligible purchases), and special pricing on classes, tours, and rentals.
- Trade-in your used clothing and gear. This program started in 2020 as a way for members to trade in lightly used gear for REI credit. Earlier this spring, I traded in a backpack and sleeping pad so that I could get a new camp chair.
The REI Co-Op Anniversary Sale
The REI Anniversary Sale is happening from May 21-31, 2021. It’s the biggest sale of the year and the best time to stock up on stuff you need for the upcoming season of outdoor adventures.
Insider Tip: In addition to all the great deals available through the REI Co-Op Anniversary Sale, members can also save 20% off one full-price item and one outlet item using the promo code ANNIV21.
Best Deals on Camping Gear
I’m focusing on camping gear this year because we are super hard on our gear and haven’t bought anything new in several years. Here are some of our top picks that we hope to snag this week and that we’re recommending to you. Now is the perfect time to get geared up for all those summer camping adventures!
Need more than a simple power bank to keep your phone charged when camping? Do you spend a lot of time off-grid or work from the road? Goal Zero has a solar solution for every type of camping situation, whether you’re living full-time in the woods, or just need to keep your camera gear powered up.
The Yeti 150 is a portable generator that can be charged using the Nomad 13 or the Boulder 30 solar panels (sold separately and also on sale), or you can plug it into a wall outlet or your car’s 12V port. Once the Yeti is charged, it will power laptops, smartphones, and lights.
The Yeti 150 is a powerful solution for camping, but if you need something even more robust, many of Goal Zero’s generators and solar panels are currently 20% off at REI.
Relaxing in a hammock is one of the best ways to enjoy camping, even if you don’t spend the whole night in it. We bought our first portable hammock from ENO in 2006, and now we buy them for wedding, graduation, and birthday presents for everyone we love. While Eno has expanded their line of hammocks significantly since its humble beginnings, we still love the affordable and highly portable SingleNest version.
If you are thinking of trying out hammock camping, ENO also makes an all-in-one setup that includes a rain fly, suspension system, and a bug net (also on sale). The ENO OneLink hammock camping system weighs in at just three pounds, making it significantly lighter than most tents. Add a top quilt (and an underquilt if it’s cold), and you’ll be all set for your next backpacking trip. Guess what? ENO quilts are on sale as well!
I’ve been eying the Rumple Puffy Blankets for a long time! Not necessarily because I need another camp blanket, but because I love the colorful designs that they offer. Rumple makes a few different kinds of camping blankets. The Original Puffy Blanket, pictured here, is a weather-resistant, 30-denier ripstop polyester shell with durable water repellent (DWR) coating. Insulation is synthetic and it weighs 2 lbs. 1.6 oz.
The Down Puffy Blanket (also 25% off) is made with 600-fill-power duck down and a tear-resistant 20-denier ripstop nylon shell with DWR (durable water repellent) treatment. The Down Puffy weighs 1 lb. 3.2 oz. If you’ve been eyeing the Rumple blankets like I have, now is definitely the time to take the leap.
Looking for a lightweight, but affordable camp chair for your summer adventures? These colorful camp chairs from REI Co-op are durable and water-resistant, and best of all, they’re on sale for 30% this week. These camp chairs fold up to about the size of a water bottle, and weigh only 1 lb. 11 oz. The aluminum frame is sturdy enough to hold 250 pounds, and the four-leg design provides added stablity.
Whether you need something for outdoor concerts, at home around the fire pit, or your next big camping adventure, these great camp chairs will provide you with years of outdoor comfort. Pictured above is the Flexlite Camp Chair, but several other camp chair models are on sale as well.
We usually have to buy a few new water bottles ever year, so we might as well get them on sale. Nalgene bottles are made in the USA and set the standard for rugged, lightweight plastic bottles. They are guaranteed not to leak, dishwasher safe, and guaranteed for life. They are also free of BPA, BPS, and phthalates.
These Nalgene bottles will be available in limited supplies, so don’t wait to order them.
Is this the year that you give backpacking a try? Last year, I retired my ancient backpack for this Osprey Tempest, and I have really enjoyed using it for weekend trips. Right now, all Osprey and Gregory backpacks are on sale – day packs, travel bags, and huge backpacks for your next thru-hike.
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to upgrade your backpack, you won’t find another sale like this until the holidays. Now is definitely the time to invest!
We chose to focus on camping gear this year, but there are hundreds of items offered at deep discounts during the REI Anniversary Sale. Whether you’re looking for new trail pants, sandals, a kayak, or a roof rack, you are bound to find some amazing deals. The REI Anniversary Sale is taking place online and at all REI stores across the country. Shop the deals until May 31st!
Check out some of our other gear guides below:
- Your Amazing Car Camping Kitchen
- The Best Camping Meals Begin with an Awesome Spice Kit
- The Best Camping Mugs for all of Your Adventures
- The Best Affordable Gifts for Backpackers
Our Favorite Resources for Road Trips and Outdoor Adventures
These are the resources we use for planning road trips, saving money while traveling, and shopping for outdoor gear.
Car Rentals: While we use our own car most often for road trips, we also enjoy flying into major airports and then renting a car for more regional road trips. We use Kayak to compare prices and find deals from dozens of car rental agencies at once.
Flights: We use Kayak or Skyscanner to search out flight deals. Money-saving tip: If you find yourself using the same airline over and over again (we are huge Southwest fans), consider joining their loyalty program and getting an airline credit card. With our Southwest Rewards Visa, we earn a few free flights each year.
Hotels: When it comes to lodging, we seek out small boutique hotels or quirky roadside motels. First, we search for hotels on TripAdvisor so we can read reviews from other travelers. Then, we use Booking.com to make reservations (they have the best prices, plus a flexible cancelation policy).
Camping: Camping is one of our favorite things to do on long road trips. It allows us to explore the outdoors, cook our own food, and save money. We use They Dyrt Pro to find campsites and read reviews before booking on Recreation.gov or state park websites.
Glamping and Vacation Rentals: For weekend getaways and shorter vacations, we love glamping (check out our glamping resource guide). We book glamping properties through Tentrr, Hipcamp, and Airbnb. For cabins and vacation rentals, we like to use VRBO (they have fewer fees and a better cancelation policy than Airbnb).
Guides and Maps: If we are visiting a new region, we usually invest in a Moon Travel Guide for the area. We pass them on to friends and family after our trip. If we are planning on hiking, we also purchase a Falcon guide in the Best Easy Day Hikes series.
Outdoor Gear: We are REI Co-Op members. It cost us $20 for a lifetime membership, but we get a yearly dividend based on our purchases, plus great deals and coupons throughout the year. REI also has a great return policy.
Check out our complete guide for planning a road trip on a budget