The 10 Best Pieces of REI Gear From Their Co-Op
From backpacks to cookware to puffy jackets, the Co-op's selection of branded gear is wide-ranging and better than ever
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Whether you’re a weekend warrior tackling nearby trails on your days off or a backpacker gearing up for a month-long trip with friends, there’s a good chance you can find what you’re looking for at REI Co-op. The outfitter that got its start in 1938 only strides from Mt. Rainier now employs nearly 15,000 people while 168 stores play host to one of the biggest recreational equipment catalogs in the world. Even as specialty retailers continue to serve core enthusiasts, the Co-op has supplanted itself as the go-to destination for outdoor dabblers new and old.
Although we’ve come to associate REI with heritage outdoor brands such as Patagonia, The North Face and Arc’teryx, its in-house gear brand, aptly named REI Co-op, has become a popular alternative in recent years for those looking to strike a balance between affordability and quality. It’s pricier than the run-down bargain basement gear you might find at Walmart, but often costs less than more recognizable brands like those mentioned above.
With that in mind, we thought it necessary to revisit REI Co-op’s in-house gear, from backpacks to blankets, to establish what’s worth your money and what you can pass up. Even as the brand’s in-house inventory approaches 1,000 products in total, these pieces of gear stand above the rest.
The Best Gear Made By REI Co-Op
REI Co-Op Magma Trail Quilt 30
The age-old “sleeping bag versus quilt” debate rages on but we found our preferred choice. The Co-op’s Magma 30 Trail Quilt uses 850-fill down to provide three-season comfort whether you’re backpacking solo or camping with friends. Weighing a mere 19 ounces, its design embraces a wider foot box that wraps up like a classic mummy bag while the top lays flat like a traditional blanket, allowing you to adjust warmth as needed.
REI Co-Op x Nalgene Wide-Mouth Water Bottle
A best-seller at the Co-op is actually made by Nalgene, but REI graphics give it style to help this classic bottle stand out. The BPA-free construction is now made with a blend of recycled plastics (50% to be exact) and the leakproof design is surprisingly durable. Buy one or choose a few designs to keep them on rotation for years to come.
REI Co-Op Flannel/Fleece Blanket
With cold weather around the corner, you may be in the market for a soft blanket to accompany you from the couch to the campground. But even if you’re just looking for an excuse to invest in a new throw, this example features a flannel-and-fleece combination with one fabric on each side that lets you choose your preferred level of plush. Durable and incredibly warm, 10 percent of this blanket’s sales go to the REI Cooperative Action Fund.
REI Co-Op Classic Lawn Chair
Kick back wherever you may be with REI’s Classic Lawn Chair. Simple to its core, this one is taller to improve comfort over the Low Lawn Chair and features herringbone details to eliminate unwanted pinching. Backpack straps and a carry handle make for easy transport, giving you an excuse to haul this seat almost anywhere.
REI Co-Op Trailsmith Fleece Jacket
For evenings on the couch and weekends on the mountain, the Co-op’s Trailsmith Fleece Jacket is just about perfect. Soft, durable and available in four colors, this full-zip jacket made its original debut in 1992 before REI brought it back with recycled materials nearly 30 years later. Zippered pockets keep valuables secure while a relaxed fit allows you to wear the Trailsmith over other mid-layers to promote comfort and warmth.
REI Co-Op Grand Hut 6 Tent
To describe the REI Co-op Grand Hut 6 Tent as “grand” would be an understatement. This roomy six-person sleeper uses near-vertical walls and a rectangular floor plan to maximize livable space while two D-shaped doors allow for easy entry and exit. Inside, multiple pockets and gear loops store essentials, and lowered vents improve airflow, creating a cozy space whether you’re sleeping among family or friends.
REI Co-Op Stratocloud Down Hoodie
If your cold-weather wardrobe has yet to incorporate a puffy, the Stratocloud Down Hoodie is sure to fit the bill. Its Pertex shell offers wind and water resistance that’s tough enough to stop 60 mph gusts from stealing valuable body heat, but it also looks good when you’re out on the town with friends. Featuring an adjustable hood and zippered hand pockets, this capable hoodie also packs into its own stuff sack for on-the-go adventures.
REI Co-op Camp Prep Table
For tailgates, camping trips and picnics in the park, break out the Camp Prep Table that features an aluminum top and adjustable steel legs to create a proper planning station. Beyond the durable construction, corner holes allow for DIY hanging storage options and grab handles promote easy transportation from one event to the next. You could ask for more features, but you probably won’t need them — this do-it-all table embraces only the essentials.
REI Co-Op Big Haul 60 Recycled Duffel
Whether you’re packing for an international trip or heading away for a long weekend, the Big Haul Duffel holds plenty of gear for every adventure. Carry it as a duffel or a backpack and use the daisy-chain lashing points to attach shoes, harnesses or extra gear when you need more space. Available in three travel-ready colors, the duffel’s nylon upper and ballistic nylon base is now made with a blend of recycled materials to keep unwanted waste out of landfills. Need even more space? Check out the 90- and 120-liter duffels that offer a little extra room for longer trips.
REI Co-Op Trailsmith Pants
Pair the aforementioned Trailsmith Fleece Jacket with the equally-popular Trailsmith Pants to complete your Co-op ensemble. Perfect for yard work or the trail, these pants feature a cotton-polyester-spandex blend that wicks moisture and adds a hint of stretch for dynamic movements. You’ll also find double layers of fabric through the knees and thighs to improve durability, as well as a few pockets to store goods from multi-tools to pencils.
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