Whether you're just getting into backpacking or looking to upgrade, REI's Labor Day sale is a solid place to start. Here are the eight deals our backpacking experts are most excited about.
Gregory Zulu Pack ($150)
At just under four pounds, the Zulu isn’t the lightest pack on the market but the X-shaped aluminum frame and 3D molded shoulder and hip straps mean that it can comfortably carry just about as much gear as you can cram into its 55-liter body.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent ($300)
We featured the Hubba Hubba NX in our 2014 Summer Buyer’s Guide, dubbing it the perfect backpacking tent. At just three pounds seven ounces, this two person tent has plenty of space to space to spread out and two vestibules for storing gear. It comes with a special compression sack that separates the tent body from the poles and stakes so you can easily split the weight between two people.
Exped AirMat HL Sleeping Pad ($89)
At 11 ounces, the AirMat HL is just about as light of a sleeping pad as you can get. It has a nonslip coating on top so your sleeping bag won’t roll off it in the night and inflates in less than a minute, thanks to the included mini pump.
NEMO Disco 30 Sleeping Bag ($195)
The unique spoon shape of the Disco allows for extra space at the elbows and knees, giving you room to move while sleeping. Thermo Gills—two 1.5-foot-long long zippers on the top of the bag—let you regulate temperature for custom comfort.
Salomon X Ultra 2 Low Hiking Shoes ($90)
Pro tip: Hiking in trail runners instead of hiking boots is the equivalent of shaving several pounds off your pack. Designed for fast hiking on technical terrain, the Salomon X Ultra 2 Low hiking shoes offer a trimmed down design with breathable mesh uppers and grippy Vibram soles.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack ($15)
Never rely on just a rain cover to keep the contents of your pack dry. Instead, store everything in these ultra-light, waterproof stuff sacks. Besides keeping everything dry, they’ll also ensure your pack stays organized.
MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove ($34)
The updated version of the most popular backpacking stove ever made, the Pocket Rocket 2 is lightweight, compact, and works with a wide range of fuel canisters.
Smartwool Hiking Ultra Light Crew Socks ($13)
A good pair of socks is crucial for happy backpacking. These ones are made with naturally wicking and odor resistant merino wool and have extra padding in high impact areas like the shin and heel.