Just as bears emerge from hibernation and birds migrate in the spring, REI introduces its big anniversary sale every year around Memorial Day. This year’s event lasts from May 20 through May 30. Many items are up to 30 percent off, but REI Co-op members save up to 20 percent off any full-price item of their choice and an extra 20 percent off on any REI Outlet item with the code ANNIV22.
We’ve highlighted some of our favorite selections here. If you don’t see anything that you need, be sure to check out our summer guides to the Best Action Cameras, Best Portable Grills, and Best Reusable Water Bottles.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
Paddling is an easy entry into water sports, but city dwellers often don’t have room for a kayak in their apartments. Oru’s foldable kayaks are easy to store and transport, and they don’t go on sale very often. This is its smallest kayak, which is really only suitable for flat water. It weighs only 20 pounds and folds out within a matter of minutes. You’ll probably also need a personal flotation device (PFD) and a paddle.
Fitness and Apparel Deals
If you’re just starting out with running seriously, you don’t need to spend more than $200 on a running watch. Garmin’s Forerunner series is GPS-enabled to more accurately track your pace and distance, and Garmin’s software offers features like PacePro to help you fine-tune your training. Check out our Best Garmin Watches guide for more recommendations.
The brand name “Camelbak” is synonymous with “hydration pack” the way “Q-Tip” means “cotton swab.” Several Camelbak packs are on sale, but this 2-liter one is burly enough for your biggest adventures.
If you spend any time outdoors, Buffs are so useful (and so embarrassingly uncool, but I digress). I use mine as a headband to keep my bangs out of my eyes and sweat off my forehead or neck, as a half-mask to keep dust at bay while mountain biking, or as a head warmer under my bike helmet when it’s rainy or chilly outside.
WIRED senior writer Scott Gilbertson loves these barely there sandals so much that he wrote an entire essay about them. Check out his guide to the Best Barefoot Shoes for more.
Like its tents, REI’s rain jackets offer incredible value for the money. The Rainier is a perennial affordable pick in our guide to the Best Rain Jackets.
Kari Traa’s Norwegian women-specific sportswear could be a good option if you don’t like the fit or ubiquitous pastel purple that many other manufacturers use for their women’s gear. I’ve tested this jacket, and it layers well under my outer shell. Check out our How to Layer guide for more.
If you’re an REI member, you get access to more deals than just the aforementioned discount on full-priced items. Several of us own this light, little day pack in different colors. This one is made from environmentally friendly Bluesign-approved materials and is solution-dyed in a process that reduces water consumption. Our Hiking 101 guide has other pack options too.
Camping and Cooking Deals
I have nothing more to say about this convertible sleeping bag/overcoat except that you definitely need it. My children and I each have our own, and we all pad around the campsite like grubby worms, much to my spouse’s irritation. It is the Camp Slanket. You will wear it. All. The. Time.
As we found in our testing for the Best Tents, REI’s offer incredible value for the money. I have used my REI tent for a decade. It’s really hard to find another backpacking tent with these specs at this ridiculous price, which includes a rainfly, footprint, guylines, and stuff sack.
MSR makes some of the best backpacking gear; my own backpacking stove is a much older MSR Whisperlite. This all-in-one system packs conveniently into itself, and the pot screws securely onto the burner. It’s both a great backpacking stove and an extra boiler set if your two camp stove burners are occupied with pancakes and eggs.
I seem to have to replace my insulated tumblers for both hot and cold campsite beverages every year. How do these just disappear? We typically like Hydro Flask bottles, and you can check out our Best Travel Mugs guide for more.
Portable power stations aren’t just for making sure you can work “out of office” at base camp. I have this one in our emergency preparedness kit to charge my ebike batteries, phones, and laptops. For more (smaller) options, check out our guide to the Best Portable Chargers.
If you’re living that #vanlife this summer, you can use your power station to recharge your electric cooler so you don’t need to take up half of the cooler’s real estate with ice. Like the Goal Zero Yeti, it can be powered from an outlet or from a solar panel.
I don’t have an excuse for recommending these chopsticks except that Snow Peak’s are weighted and balanced to feel good in your hand. You’ll use your reusable gear much more often if it’s beautiful and you enjoy holding it. Check out our guide to the Best Reusable Products for more.
Biking and Climbing Deals
Given the ongoing supply chain issues, if you can find a bike in stock, go for it. Electra is owned by Trek. The low Flat Foot geometry means you can sit comfortably upright while placing both feet firmly on the ground when you’re stopped—a boon for newbie bikers. Unfortunately, the electric version is not on sale.
I swear this is the summer that my kids will learn how to ride a bike. If you’re a member, you can also trade in your kid’s bike for a larger one.
If you’re still avoiding indoor gyms due to the ongoing pandemic, you can mount a hangboard over one of your doorways to do pull-ups and maintain your finger strength. I own this very simple, reliable one.
If you’re a serious cyclist who rides for hours and hours, a wrist wearable is probably not cutting it for you anymore. The Edge helps you navigate; there’s two-way messaging for when you’re off-grid; and it’s compatible with other Garmin devices, like a chest strap heart-rate monitor or the Varia radar sensor that helps detect passing cars (sort of).
If you have world-beating quads, a lot of money, and not very much space, then you absolutely need this compact bike simulator that can replicate the feel of your exact bike, ride, and shifters. It bears mentioning that you can also ride your actual bike on one of Wahoo’s trainers.
Your helmet should have MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology, which lets it rotate slightly around your head in the event of a crash and absorb more rotational force. As a bonus, Nutcase helmets also make you look more like a cool skateboarder than like you’re entering Le Tour de Dork.
Speaking of looking like a dork, do padded gloves help reduce discomfort with both cycling and spinning? They do. REI is offering 25 percent off all Pearl Izumi gear for the duration of the sale.
Your bike lock can be as personal as your bike; I use this highly rated chain lock because I have a cargo bike and don’t like futzing around to make a U-lock work with both my bike and standard bike racks. A lot of Kryptonite bike locks are on sale; check out Best Bike Locks guide for more.
If I’m running or biking at night, I always throw this on over my clothes. It’s light and adjustable; I forget I’m wearing it, but cars do not.