Summer 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 in one 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.
Eno SingleNest Hammock ($49.95; rei.com)
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.
Eno Atlas Hammock Suspension System ($29.95; rei.com)
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.
Camp Chef Teton 2-Burner Stove ($149; rei.com)
We’ve had a now discontinued stove from Camp Chef for a bit over a year, 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.
GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Stove ($27.95; rei.com)
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.
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Frypan ($39.95; rei.com)
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.
REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack ($39.95; rei.com)
This is one of our favorite daypacks because whether you’re using it for a day around the campsite to 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.
TheTentLab The Deuce #2 UL Backcountry Trowel ($19.95; rei.com)
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.
Osprey Men’s Aether 65 Pack ($280; rei.com)
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.
Big Agnes Mica Basin Camp Chair ($129.95; rei.com)
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 slightly smaller, lighter version of this camp chair that’s currently out of stock, but this one is similarly simple to set up and super light, so carrying it in your backpack or down the block to the beach is a breeze. Plus, there’s even a version with cup holders to keep your drink handy.
Altra Lone Peak Hiker Men’s Hiking Boots ($140; rei.com)
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.
Nemo Dagger 2 Tent ($429.95; rei.com)
This 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 to sleep comfortably and even has extra room for gear. In addition, it’s got two massive vestibules for the rest of your stuff so you can keep it protected from the weather, and setup is incredibly simple and fast.
Black Diamond ReVolt 350 Headlamp ($64.95; rei.com)
We love this headlamp for one big reason: It’s compatible with both a rechargeable battery and traditional AAAs. This feature is so great because by using a rechargeable battery you don’t have to waste batteries all the time, but if your headlamp runs out of juice in the woods, you can pop in AAAs and not have to worry about recharging the battery immediately.
Scarpa Drago Men’s Climbing Shoes ($189; rei.com)
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.
Patagonia Men’s Torrentshell 3L Jacket ($149; rei.com)
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 months now and have zero complaints.
Yeti Rambler Vacuum Bottle With Chug Cap ($40; rei.com)
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.
Rumpl Original Puffy Recycled Blanket ($99; rei.com)
We recently reviewed the Rumpl adventure blanket 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.
Swiss Army Explorer Knife With Pouch ($52; rei.com)
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.
Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots ($37.50; rei.com)
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.
Ruffwear Highlands Dog Sleeping Bag (starting at $99.95; rei.com)
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.