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  1. #1

    Default REI (Recreational Equipment Inc)

    If you have never checked out REI for camping or adventure gear, I highly suggest you do. Gearing up for our trip we will be spending about $1700 just on camping/adventure gear. Every penny we save counts. Making sure we have the right gear that will last is twice as important. There staff is so nice and incredibly helpful. We had one guy (John) spend at least 2 hours with us finding the right packs, tent, sleeping bags, etc. Majority of the staff work there for the discount (or at least I would) so they will tell you what their experiences were (and recommend some cool places to go).

    Anyway... They have a 100% satisfaction gurantee. Try the stuff out. Don't like it? Bring it back for a refund. Sounds crazy but they do it. (then they have huge sales called 'garage sales' where they sell all the returned stuf for dirt dirt cheap....(people apparently camp outside the stores the sales are so great)

    For the big expenses, like the tent, we signed up to be a member (one time $20). You save 20% on one item and you are part of their dividends program (you make 10% back for the previous years purchases - cash or store credit). One our 3rd and 4th purchases we just started signing family members up. (plus good coupons so far)

    I've never had a problem with their gear and until recently didn't know how great of a place it was (never paid attention before).

    {This reads like advertising copy.... I'm going to leave this thread live, because of the downstream responses... but otherwise, such a post might have cost your membership....}-- Mark Sedenquist
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-28-2011 at 08:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm glad you had a good experience there, although I will say I can't think of anything I've ever purchased there. In fact, I think this is the first time I think I've ever heard "REI" and "Saving Money" together in the same sentence!

    Every time I go in there, I find their prices are excessively high. In fact, I just drove by one this weekend, and someone else also made the unprovoked comment that they couldn't see how they even stay in business with their prices!

    If you're looking for high end name brands, or looking for some very unusual gear, I'm sure REI is a great place. But based on my experience, you can almost always find just as good of stuff for far less money elsewhere.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    I confess; REI is another one of my guilty pleasures. Not cheap, but good stuff. And if you're a member (I am) you get some of that money (around 10%) back at the end of the year as a rebate.

    My outlook may be slanted due to living on the Left Coast, as REI is generally considered a socially and environmentally-conscious organization.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Denver REI

    Just like the above, REI is way, way out of my league.

    However, when you are in Denver, it is a must! Not that things are any more affordable.

    Located in a century old restored Tramway building, it is good for a few hours. Besides the grand building itself, and the way it has been adapted to a retail environment, there are the murals, the decorative windows, the walkways which give a view over the sales floor and the large fireplace where one can sit, relax, have a drink, to name just a few.

    And you don't have to make a purchase.

    Lifey could have spent more time there

  5. #5


    While it's not cheap, it is definatly quality. I don't mess around when it comes to my camping/survival gear. Besides, I just could not believe how awesome the staff is. Very rarely do you find a retail store with staff that like their job and where they work. The gear has changed more than I thought over the past few years and they were beyond helpful. Very rare in my opinion.

    Plus, like caloldblue mentioned, they are a great company and that is one thing the girl and I try very hard to support. Companies that are environmentally conscious, treat their employess well, active in community, etc.

    Like I said...every penny I can save counts heheh (just spent another $250 today)

    As far as the Satisfaction Guarantee goes, we heard about a guy that hiked the Appalachians and returned a pair of because they were worn out and he felt that they should have lasted longer. They took them back. It's nice to know I don't have to worry about crappy gear.

    Thanks Lifey! We'll be sure to check it out!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm certainly not opposed to spending a little more to get better quality, but the premium they charge is so much higher that I just can't see how anyone would use the phrase "saving every penny." in describing them.

    For example, their cheapest tent, a tiny little 2 person is $100. I've got a small tent that's comparable, actually a little larger, it's a coleman brand that I picked up on sale for $20. I've had it for several years now, used and abused it, and it is still in good shape. I could have purchased 5 of them for the price that REI would charge for 1.

    I've also got a larger tent that I picked up for Family trips that I paid about $50 for. The cheapest REI tent in a similar size is nearly $400! I understand paying for quality, but 8 times more expensive just doesn't qualify as a "money saver" in my book.

    I also always question companies that make you pay money up front to get their "best prices." To me its just a cheap ploy to get you to spend far more than you would otherwise.

    Now, if I was looking to get an ultra-light tent for a major backcountry hiking trip, I would probably be taking a look at REI, largely because they are going to have a good selection of those high-end items. Honestly, the couple of times I have gone in looking for higher-end, specialty type gear and asked some questions, I've found the staff to be friendly, but not particularly knowledgeable. Again, for the prices they charge, I'm expecting something more than reading back to me what I can already read on the label.

    Admittedly, I can't imagine ever spending $1700 on camping gear, so clearly, I'm not their target audience.

    Mind you, I'm not saying it's a bad store at all. They certainly have some quality products, and if you are a price is no object, or a person willing to pay a premium for a brand that has marketed themselves strongly on social issues, they are a good choice. I just think for most day to day items you can find far better value elsewhere.


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