The snow is melting, or it would be, if there had been any this year. Whatever the case, it’s March, which means outdoor retailers are slashing prices to clear out last year’s gear. The thing about last year’s gear is … it’s still great gear, and now it’s cheap. Here are our favorite deals from REI’s annual Member Sale, which goes through March 11. We’ve gone through the REI site and picked out the best deals from all the gear we tested last year.

If you’re not an REI member, fear not. The deals are open to anyone; members just get some extra discounts. If you’re not a member and you want to become one right now, you can make a $50 purchase, add a membership to your cart for $30, and get a $30 gift card.

If you’d like some more buying advice, have a look at our guides to the best tents, best sleeping pads, best camp stoves, and best hiking gear.

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REI Deals on Tents

Photograph: Big Agnes

The superlight Copper Spur HV UL tent is our favorite bikepacking tent. It weights just 3 pounds, 11 ounces, features twin vestibules and doors, DAC Featherlite NSL poles, and external webbing for hanging out wet clothes. There are also some nice bike-specific extras, like hidden helmet storage. The poles fold short and fit between drop handlebars. Our one gripe is that you’ll need to carry hiking poles if you want to create two awnings from the vestibules, which seems like an odd requirement for a tent aimed at bike riders. It you’re worried about space, grab one of the Big Agnes hammock-style Gear Lofts ($20), which create a huge stash space without cluttering up the tent floor.

The Big Agnes Copper Spur series is the king of ultralight tents. I’ve used both the two-person and four-person models over the years, and Big Agnes has continually refined the design to the point that I have nothing left to complain about. This is a high-quality, well-designed tent that’s very livable, with steep sidewalls to maximize interior space. Mesh pockets help with gear storage and give you a place to stick your headlamp for dispersed light. The ingenious “awning” design makes getting in and out a snap. I recommend sizing up; this three-person tent is a good choice for backpackers who don’t want to be too close to their partners.

We haven’t tested Big Agnes Tiger Wall line, but it’s generally very similar to the Copper Spur line. The difference is the Tiger Wall tents are lighter, using lighter fabrics (a 15-denier floor versus the 35 in the Copper Spur). That does make them less robust, but what you lose in durability you make up for in weight savings. The Tiger Wall UL 2 is 8 ounces lighter than the Copper Spur UL 2. If you’re an ounce counter, this is the tent for you.

Deals on Backpacks, Daypacks, and More

Photograph: REI

REI’s Flash backpacks are perfect for a bag you can keep by the door and grab on a spontaneous trip to the trails. It’s just big enough to carry a rain jacket, lightweight insulation layer, lunch, sunscreen, and water. This is last year’s version, but it’s still a great pack. The Flash 18 is another great pack, but we like the external water bottle pouch on the 22L version.

Mystery Ranch was once a little-known pack company with a cult following. That’s probably going to change now that Yeti has acquired it, but at least I’ll be able to assume everyone has heard of Mystery Ranch and skip intros like this. I have been testing the newer version of the Gallagator, which has wider chest straps, which I like better, but at this price I can live without the wide straps. You still get the three-zip system that made Mystery Ranch a legend. The 13L version is also on sale for $50 ($20 off).

Photograph: REI

I have not tested the Glacier, but if I were in the market for a gear-hauling monster, this pack would be high on my list. The Mystery Ranch packs I have tested all have one of the best suspension systems for making absurdly heavy loads comfortable. I know everyone obsesses about ultralight packing, but with three kids tagging along … “ultralight” is not a word I use. Mystery Ranch packs are well-made, durable, and if anything over-engineered (that’s a good thing).

If you want to dip a toe into the ultralight waters, Granite Gear’s packs are a good way to do that without overspending (which is easy to do in the ultralight backpacking world). With a 50-liter capacity (3,051 cubic inches) and weighing only 3 pounds, 1.6 ounces, the perimeter has a good weight-to-strength ration. I found the suspension system allowed for a number of different carries, letting my shift the load depending on terrain. The spring-steel rods on the sides give the pack a 40-pound load rating, but in my testing it feels and rides best at about 25 pounds.

Deals on Camp Gear and Binoculars

Photograph: REI

It’s big, but the Stargaze is the closest you’ll come to bringing a La-Z-Boy in the woods. I’ve been testing one for a few weeks now and I love it. It’s easy to set up and break down, comfortable to sit in. I don’t recommend trying to eat in it, and using the cup holder can be risky, but it’s very comfortable. My kids can curl up in it like a papasan. I should probably add that my wife hates it, so it’s not for everyone. You might want to try one out at your local REI if you can.

Before Stanley took over the internet, Hydro Flask was the choice of outdoorsy folks, and we still love this water bottle. It’s not on sale, but Hydro Flask’s 6-ounce mug is the best coffee mug I’ve ever had. Well, the lid isn’t the best, but the mug is outstanding.

The key to backcountry organization is the stuff sack. Everyone needs more stuff sacks. I like these mesh Sea to Summit bags because the color-coded draw cords make it easy to figure out what’s where, and there’s a handle on the bottom that makes it easy to pull them out of your pack. This set includes 5-liter , 8-liter, and 13-liter sacks. They’re all made of 150-denier black mesh, which has held up well in my testing.

Photograph: Nocs Provisions

These are wonderfully compact and light (11.8 ounces) binoculars, and the price is right. The image quality could be better, but you get good magnification with a waterproof (IPX7 rating) and fogproof design. The rugged construction and rubberized grip make these a great option for kids.

REI Deals on Sleeping Bags and Pads

Photograph: REI

Mountain Hardwear’s Bishop Pass bags rank high in our forthcoming guide to sleeping bags. This is the Gore-Tex model, which nets you the Windstopper membrane, which is windproof and weather-resistant. It’s not the waterproof Gore-Tex you find in rain jackets, but I’ve found it fares better than regular nylon against a dew-covered tent wall. The 15 degree model here uses 650-fill-power goose down, which earns it a tested comfort rating of 26 degrees. I found it plenty warm down below that in my testing, but I do sleep warm. The 0-degree model is also on sale for $352.

We have not tested any Big Agnes sleeping bags, but we’re looking forward to trying them, because if they’re anything like the company’s tents it’s hard to go wrong. The 600-fill-power DownTek down is PFC-free water repellent down. That doesn’t mean it’s harmless, but it’s a step in the right direction. The shell is made of recycled 20-denier polyester ripstop nylon with a PFAS-free water-repellent finish. The comfort rating is 23 degrees.

We say if you’re going to go big, go big. The MegaMat Max 15 is big in every sense of the word. This is the beefy, ultra-luxury pad that started the trend of huge car camping pads. The MegaMat doesn’t pack down as small as our top pick, the ThermaRest Mondo King (not on sale), but it has more insulation and makes a great option if you sleep cold. The MegaMat Max 15 Duo is also on sale for $375 ($125 off)

If you’re thinking about an inflatable Exped but are not fully committed to shelling out for the MegaMat above, there is the DeepSleep. The DeepSleep is 3 inches thick instead of 4, and we don’t like it nearly as much, but it is a sturdy mattress and probably fine for some people. But it’s not the Exped experience most sleepers are looking for. We say stick with the MegaMat above.

Photograph: Exped

Exped’s Ultra 7R is our favorite 4-season sleeping pad. It offers (as the name suggests) an R-value of 7 in a pad that weighs under 2 pounds for the wide version. And I do suggest going for the wide version. I found the regular to be a bit on the narrow side, and the weight difference (5 ounces) doesn’t justify the lost sleeping space. I used this pad down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and was very comfortable (in a 20-degree bag). Exped rates it to –20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nemo’s Tensor series are some of the best ultralight sleeping pads on the market. As with most things in this sale, this is last year’s model, but having slept on both this and the new one, at this price go with the old. The Tensor is thick, comfortable, and most important, dang near silent. I hate that swish of nylon that’s pretty much synonymous with backcountry sleeping and there’s very little of that here.

All the Sea to Summit sleeping pads I have tested were ultralight models, and my overall gripe is that they weren’t quite enough padding. That’s where this Comfort Plus comes in. At 3 inches thick you aren’t going to feel that pea—or small twig. It’s 2.2 pounds, which is heavy, but sometimes a comfortable night’s sleep is worth a few more ounces.


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