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Earth Week is here, and if you’re trying to get into the great outdoors, you’re probably going to make a trip to REI. Going to the store in a hurry because you just decided you’re going camping this weekend is somewhat of a rite of passage, and whether you hike, camp, climb, ski, kayak or bike, you’ve probably been inside an REI at some point.
Since more and more people are getting outdoors, we figured to put all our years of shopping at REI to use and lay out some of our favorite purchases of all time. Below, you’ll find gear we’ve personally used (some of our items aren’t available or are discontinued, in which case we found a similar item from the same brand) for hiking, climbing, camping and more.
$54.95 at REI
We’re always looking for opportunities for a good hammock session, and whether it’s on our balcony or at the campsite, there’s nothing like dozing off in a hammock. This one from Eno is super sturdy, holding up to 400 pounds, and it comes in a solid variety of colors. If you want even more space, opt for the larger Eno DoubleNest Hammock, which has enough room for two people.
$29.95 at REI
The one downside of the Eno hammock is that its suspension system isn’t included. The straps are absolutely necessary to hang the hammock, but they’re super easy to set up and pack down really small.
$29.95 at REI
This tiny, portable lantern is one of our favorite buys because it’s so small and easy to place anywhere. Pair it with a carabiner and you can hang it in your tent or even on a tree branch. It isn’t the brightest lantern, but it provides enough light to cook and move around camp when the sun goes down.
$150 at REI
We’ve had a now-discontinued stove from Camp Chef for about two years, and it’s definitely been a game changer. Having a stove large enough to handle two full-size pots or pans was critical when we cooked for 10 people during a weeklong trip. This Teton stove is a scaled-down version of the one we have, but it’s still got plenty of room to fit your standard pans. Plus, the stove is super light and portable, so you can use it in the backyard if you want to get some fresh air around dinnertime.
$29.95 at REI
While the Camp Chef stove is great if you need to cook a lot of food, if you’re camping by yourself or with just one other person, it’s a bit over the top. For smaller-scale camp kitchens, we love this GSI stove. It isn’t as small as an MSR Pocket Rocket, but its sizable burner gives you plenty of room to balance your cookware. Plus, you can adjust the level of the flame so you can do anything from boil water in minutes to simmer over a low heat.
$28.95 at REI
If you’re planning on cooking at the campsite, you can definitely bring your cookware from home, but it’ll probably take up a lot of room and it might get a little extra wear and tear. That’s why we think it’s a good idea to get a separate pan just for camping. The GSI pan we have isn’t carried at REI anymore, but it has a foldable handle like this one so it takes up a lot less room when you’re packing.
$48.95 at REI
This ultralight pot is great for boiling water for coffee or dehydrated meals. The lid also doubles as a tiny pan, which we don’t use that often but would be good to cook something small like one burger. Our only problem with this pot is that the handles can get hot if the flame you’re cooking on is too wide. But since it’s titanium, the heat will dissipate quickly if you take it off the flame.
$39.95 at REI
This is one of our favorite daypacks because whether you’re using it for a day around the campsite or on a strenuous hike, it’s got everything you need. It opens and closes in an instant with a quick-pull drawcord, it’s got a chest strap and it even features a sleeve for a water reservoir so you can stay hydrated without having to stop and pull out your water bottle every 10 minutes.
$19.95 at REI
If you’re out in the woods for long enough, you’re going to have to poop. And while plenty of campsites have toilets, sometimes nature calls unexpectedly and you have to dig a hole. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep some toilet paper and a trusty trowel in your backpack, because believe us, it’s much better than the alternative. This ultralight trowel is extremely thin and can fit basically anywhere in your backpack so you’ll always be prepared.
$290 at REI
We love backpacking, but if you’re going to hike into the middle of the woods and camp, you’re going to need a great pack. We love this one from Osprey, as it’s got tons of storage, it distributes the weight in an incredibly comfortable way and the top part of the pack even detaches and turns into a little daypack.
$189 at REI
Camp chairs are a must when you go out into the woods for any extended period of time. Sure, you can find a rock or a log to sit on, but it’s often uncomfortable and the lack of back support is not ideal after a long day of hiking. We use a smaller, lighter version of this camp chair that’s not offered at REI but available at Big Agnes here. Plus, there’s even a version with cup holders to keep your drink handy.
$140 at REI
After getting into backpacking during 2020, we spent a long time trying to find the perfect hiking shoe. In the past, we’ve used traditional hiking boots but never loved the heavy, clunky design. Trail running shoes were tempting, but carrying a heavy pack made ankle support somewhat of a necessity. Then we found the Altra Lone Peak Hikers, which are a perfect combination of hiking boot and trail runner. They’re lightweight, they’re super comfortable and they have an oversized toe box so when your feet swell from a long day on the trail your toes stay spacious. After about nine months of a solid number of hiking trips — though by no means a lot — these boots are nearing the end of their life. Some of the materials are separating and one of the back loops ripped off. While they were great to hike in, we wish they were a bit more durable.
$479.95 at REI
We have a previous version of this tent, but we actually wish we had waited and bought this new version since Nemo switched its fabrics and used recycled materials in this tent, which according to Nemo has water repellency that lasts four times longer. However, even the old version is by far the best tent we’ve ever owned. It’s perfect for backpacking, weighing under 4 pounds, but doesn’t sacrifice on space. Sometimes two-person tents aren’t as roomy as they sound, and if two people actually slept in it you’d be cuddling up all night. The Dagger, however, has more than enough room for two people and a 40-pound dog to sleep comfortably (unless your dog crawls up and starts kicking you in the ribs — but that’s not a space issue). In addition, it’s got two massive vestibules for the rest of your gear so you can keep it protected from the weather, and setup is incredibly simple and fast.
$209 at REI
As an avid climber, we’ve loved using these shoes from Scarpa. They’re soft and relatively comfortable for such an aggressive shoe. If you’re new to climbing, check out the La Sportiva Finales, a roomier, much comfier shoe.
$209.95 at REI
While we probably wouldn’t use these on a hike, we absolutely love our Blundstone boots and wear them down to the climbing gym and the bar or dress them up for parties and dinner dates. After a little trouble with the sizing (we read that they tend to run small, so we ordered a half size up, which was too big) and a few weeks of breaking in, we wear these boots basically everywhere.
$149 at REI
Our winner for the best rain jacket of 2021, the Patagonia Torrentshell is an amazingly waterproof, packable and durable jacket. We’ve used it for over a year now and have zero complaints.
$40 at REI
During the hot months, we really can’t stand drinking room temperature or warm water. Especially when you’re outside hiking, there’s nothing like a swig of ice-cold water to cool you down. That’s why even when we’re backpacking and saving weight is critical, we carry a Yeti double-insulated water bottle. At the end of a long, hot day you’ll still have ice, and we’ve found the Rambler bottle to be more durable than other double-wall insulated options.
$99 at REI
We reviewed the Rumpl adventure blanket last year and absolutely love its warm, durable build. Even when we’re not camping, the Rumpl is our go-to for a movie night on the couch.
$45 at REI
A Swiss Army knife is an absolute essential for us. Even though the knife blade isn’t very big, you just can’t beat the number of useful tools you’ll find on the nifty little thing. Our favorite tools are the can opener, the corkscrew (you never know when you’re going to need to open a bottle of wine!) and the scissors.
$39.95 at REI
Of course, if you’re going outdoors you’ll want to bring your pup along. We use these dog boots not only for hikes but also for the dirty New York City streets.
From $99.99 at REI
This sleeping bag can keep your pup warm and cozy in the woods, but honestly our dog uses it more frequently as a second dog bed in the house. It’s durable and water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your furry friend ruining it.
$59.95 at REI
Our pup has thin hair, so she needs a jacket when we’re camping in colder weather. This thin fleece is a great way for her to help regulate her body temperature on chilly nights in the woods.