So you have decided to take all your hard earned settlement money from that one time when that old lady ran over your toe on a rascal and buy some gear. There are thousands of websites to get specialized backpacking gear, so that is really not an issue. But when you want to buy a nice pair of hiking boots to fit around that freshly smashed foot purchasing online may not be the best option. Now depending on where you live you may have a few options so do a little looking around, but if it’s anything like the east valley in AZ your choices are slim to none. I am hear to say that in my opinion you don’t need a choice if REI is in your neck of the woods! Walking into an REI for me is like Charlie finding the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s.
Yo That’s Whack – The prices are usually a little high there is no hiding that. They are an outdoor specialty shop and they know it. So now that those online deals and coupon codes are floating around in your brain like dollar signs believe me when I say, “there is more to it than the bottom dollar”.
Bling Bling – they make up for the slightly higher prices in many ways. One of them being dividends to their members. Basically you give them $20 and you are now a lifetime member of the REI Co-Op (think tree huggin hippies). Every year you get approximately 10% back on everything you purchase. That right there brings them back to being competitively priced.
Why did I buy this stupid stupid thing? – So you just bought “The worlds greatest socks” and 3 miles into your hike you have a blister the size of Maine. With REI no matter what the reason, no matter how long you have owned it, they will take it back no questions asked. That may be the single most comforting feeling when you start purchasing those big dollar items like you pack or your tent.
Myself nor any of the other 5 jokers on here are affiliated in anyway with REI other than being regular members waiting for our next dividend check so we can buy more gear! Although…. If your listening REI *wink wink nudge nudge* we at The Backpacking Journal would LOVE A SPONSORSHIP!!!!