The Shangri-la of gear for those who spend their time rock-climbing, backpacking, cycling and finding other ways to conquer nature..
The largest co-op in the nation, REI sells everything needed to survive in the outdoors to members and non-members alike: sleeping bags for below-zero temperatures, GPS units, climbing gear, rations and more. For the more casual outdoor enthusiast, the store also sells tents, kayaks, bicycles, snowboards, skis, luggage, footwear and outdoors-oriented clothing for men, women and children.
The best help I have received so far in a retail store. I recently accepted a job in the northern part of Alaska. Being a boy who grew up in a tropical country and pampered by the mild weather of the NW, I have really no idea of what to bring. So, I went into REI and asked for help from Joyful. Indeed, she made my day. From the moment I asked her my first question, she is so friendly, enthusiastic, and full of wise advice. She accompanied me for full 45 minutes advising me everything from baselayer to outerwear. She does not pressure me to buy anything but just giving me great suggestion. It is a great experience shopping there and I will be always coming back to REI for any of my outdoor/sport gears
So-so. REI's selection for backpacking and camping is good. For bikes & rock climbing I'd go elsewhere (poor selection, prices so-so). Their clothing selection is mostly just t-shirts & jeans type stuff with some overpriced fleeces & rain jackets thrown in. I have trouble finding a "small" in anything. Also, you only get the full 10% member rebate if you get an REI credit card & use it for your purchase, and you don't get any rebate for anything that's been discounted. Their sales staff don't always know what they're talking about and I've found them occasionally to be weirdly rude/competitive about who's the tougher camper. REI's okay, hours are convenient, prices are average and you can sometimes find a good sale.
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