REI staffers spend their days learning, talking, and dreaming about gear – and getting outside to use it. So, what gifts do they give? Glad you asked.
We spoke with REI to learn about some of the gifts their employees will give this holiday season. Read on for some great gift ideas for 2017.
Laura E. from Conshohocken, Penn., has worked at REI since 2014. She recommends some very practical gear that will help your loved one enjoy time on the trail and at the backcountry campsite.
MSR Windburner Stove – $140
This system from MSR is great for those who want to cook tasty meals on the trail in an ultralight package. These are adept at boiling water for rehydrating foods. The system, which includes a pot, burner, and wind-blocking attachment, is tried and true.
These are some great socks. Hikers (or bikers, runners, climbers, hunters, etc.) will be stoked to get them as a gift. They’re comfortable and guaranteed for life. What’s not to love? Maybe that’s why they have a 4.9-star rating from 146 reviews on REI.com.
Fill one bottle with stream water. Then, hang up the system and collect your clean drinking water in a couple minutes. The Platypus GravityWorks is simple and effective at eliminating bacteria and protozoa from drinking water. It’s a great choice for groups with quick action and a large reservoir.
For The Mountain Biker
Naomi H. from Greenville, S.C., has worked at REI since 2008. She loves to hit the singletrack by mountain bike.
Her top picks for cycling will make fellow dirt chasers smile.
NiteRider Pro 1800 LED Race Bike Light – $245 (30% off at REI)
Bright, powerful, and mountable on either handlebars or helmets, this light pumps out lumens for up to 6 hours on low – and up to 1.5 hours at a whopping 1,800 lumens.
This all-around mountain bike helmet has MIPS technology to protect against rotational glancing blows and EPS foam to cushion direct impacts. Eighteen vents keep the rider’s head cool. The visor blocks sun while the helmet integrates with goggles for eye protection.
Cool weather dictates full-finger gloves. These are a good choice and should get a ton of use for cool weather when the temps drop. Integrated touch screen compatibility lets you use the phone without removing them, while padding keeps hands comfortable on long rides.
Griffen G. from Missoula, Mont., has worked at REI since 2013. His stomping ground of the Bitterroot National Forest is the canvas for his outdoors exploration. Rock climbing is his brush.
Ask a trad climber if they could add another cam to their rack. The answer will probably be “yes.” The Camalot X4 is a versatile piece of climbing gear, and most climbers could use more. If the climber in your life is into trad, this is a safe buy.
Developed in collaboration with American rock climber Tommy Caldwell, these shoes provide the ultimate in both technical edging and crack climbing prowess. The ventilated tongue provides extra airflow, and the foam padding at the toes and ankle protect feet when shoved in a crack. Climb on.
Using the power of magnets, you get the security of a locking carabiner paired with impressive ease of use. Made in the USA, this ‘biner can be opened with one hand, and the keylock nose is designed so it won’t accidentally snag on your rope. Looks good, works great, and lasts through lots of use – you can’t go wrong gifting this carabiner.
Valerie J. from Jacksonville, Fla., has worked at REI since 2008. She loves the feeling of freedom on the trail and can often be found exploring the Timucuan Ecological Preserve.
Her gear picks encourage women to hit the trail and get outside.
This pack will keep the runner in your life hydrated and happy on the trail. Between the included 2-liter hydration reservoir and several stash pockets, it holds everything needed for a long trail run or light day hike. Plus, the mesh shoulder and back panels provide extra ventilation and increased comfort.
GU Energy Gel – $30 (24-pack)
Give the gift of bonk-free runs with GU Energy Gel. These handheld packets provide a much-needed dose of calories and carbs that can be quickly absorbed while on the move. The Salted Caramel flavor is a fan-favorite, and flavors like Caramel Macchiato have a caffeine kick.
Built for rocky, rugged conditions, the Lone Peak is a great option for a heavy-duty trail running shoe or lightweight hiking shoe. Best of all, the roomy toe box design gives digits plenty of room to move about and proves comfortable for people with wider feet.
For the Paddler
Brett F. from Greensboro, N.C., has worked at REI since 2006. An avid long-distance kayaker, he’s paddled all over the country, including Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and all along the North Carolina coast. His gear picks are great for both the beginner and seasoned paddlers alike.
NRS Co-Pilot River Knife – $45
Every boater knows to carry a knife, and the Co-Pilot River Knife is an excellent option that won’t break the bank. The blunt tip increases safety while the serrated edge is ready to cut through any wayward ropes. This is a great gift for anyone headed on a waterborne adventure.
Kokotat MsFIT Tour PFD – starting at $118
This PFD is designed for female sea kayakers and earns high marks for comfort and fit among female and male paddlers. That’s right, some of the biggest fans of the MsFIT are men, who love its tapered cut. Plus, the mesh sides allow plenty of airflow, and the three zippered pockets provide storage for snacks, a knife, and other necessary gear.
Bottom line: This paddle is a great value for the price and an ideal option for beginner and recreational paddlers. It breaks down quickly for easy transport, and the carbon-fiberglass shaft is both comfortable and lightweight. It’s no surprise it has a 4.8-star rating on REI.com.
For the Camper
Nadia N. from San Diego, Calif., has been at REI since 2014. When not holding things down at work, she can be found exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains and unplugging from it all. Her favorite gear is sure to please the campers in your life.
Designed specifically for women, this mummy bag offers extra room at the hips, decreased space in the shoulders, and extra insulation in key areas. At a little over 2 pounds, it packs up small enough to take into the backcountry or while car camping. Perhaps best of all, the water-repellent down and breathable fabric panels keep campers dry no matter the conditions.
This is a gift that will work hard while camping, commuting, or logging time at the computer. It keeps coffee hot for hours, and the easy-to-use MagSlider lid uses magnets for smooth opening and closing. Drop it, wash it, and use it worry free. This beverage-carrying workhorse is shatterproof, BPA free, and dishwasher safe.
Whether deep in the backcountry, campground car camping, or hanging in the backyard, this solar lantern is a must-have. It lasts up to 24 hours on low with a single day’s charge and has four settings: low, bright, super bright, and 1-second flashing. This light packs down small, weighs in at just 4.4 ounces, and is sure to be a holiday pleaser.