The gear we're lusting after this spring
There’s an art to using your REI dividend. Most are pretty small, so using them wisely can be tough. For some advice, we queried our editors, many of whom have become experts in dividend management. Here’s what they said.
POC Tectal Race Spin Helmet ($220)
This is one of the very best helmets I've ever tested for serious mountain biking. It's got stellar vents, smart technology said to reduce the forces on your head post-crash, and it looks cool to boot. At $220, though, I appreciate the dividend discount. —Axie Navas, executive editor
Sea to Summit Alpha Pot 2.2 Cookset ($90)
Everything you need to cook for two in the backcountry, the hard anodized aluminum Alpha pots feature a swiveling handle that functions as a pot grip and secures the lid while in storage. The pot lid has a steam port, water strainer, and siliconized rubber grip. Cooksets aren't the sexiest pieces of gear out there but this one is damn close. —Ben Fox, associate reviews editor
Stanley 16-Ounce Vacuum Bottle ($35)
I need my coffee, whether it's at the office or sunrise wake-up calls at camp. For the latter, this Stanley bottle would serve me well. Its insulation keeps liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for 15. So when I inevitably go back for cups number two and three, I won't find myself resignedly staring at some lukewarm brew. Bonus: the lid doubles as a cup. —Will Egensteiner, senior editor
The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket ($100)
After my current rain jacket had a nasty encounter with a campfire, I'm thinking I'll upgrade to the Venture 2. It comes with pit zips for cooling, is super lightweight, and compresses down into its own pocket so I can bring it with me wherever I go. —Abigail Wise, online managing editor
Olukai Ohana Flip Flops ($35)
I've been crushing on OluKai for a while and the Ohanas are the original ultra-comfortable sandals the brand is known for. The $65 price tag always stops me from buying, but it looks like REI has a few colors on sale and heck, I need new flip flops this year. —Svati Narula, assistant social media editor
United By Blue Mountain Fish Hooded Pullover ($35)
Comfy and simple, there's not much else to say about a cotton hoodie. Unless, like this one, it comes with a cool graphic and money from the purchase goes to removing trash from waterways. —W.E.
Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit ($170)
Since relocating to Santa Fe from Minnesota, I've adjusted to having consistent sunshine. That means it's about time to invest in a solar panel for my weekend desert trips. This package comes with the Nomad 7 solar panel and an external battery to charge your smartphone or tablet. —Emily Reed, assistant editor
Chums Slip Fit Rope Eyeglass Retainer ($10)
Spring is just around the corner and in the Southwest, that means it's time to start planning for weekend river trips. Besides my life jacket and beer, the most important piece of gear I bring on the river is a pair of Chums which ensures that when I take a spill, I don't lose my sunnies. —B.F.
Balega Hidden Comfort Socks ($15)
As a runner, I never underestimate the importance of a good sock. This pair keeps my feet blister-free, soaks up sweat on long runs, and the heel tabs help keep the socks from slipping below my shoe line, no matter how many miles I'm logging. —A.W.
Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra 5 Hydration Vest ($155)
I'm running an ultramarathon for the first time this June and have been wondering if I should buy a hydration vest for my long training runs. Yesterday, this one was recommended in our Gearheads Facebook group and now it's at the top of my wish list. —S.N.
Ruffwear Mt. Bachelor Pad Dog Bed ($70)
My dog came home so dirty last weekend from laying in the dirt during a climbing trip in the desert. The Mt. Bachelor pad, which rolls up small and has a waterproof underside, looks like it could solve this problem. —E.R.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Shoe ($140)
I prefer highly-cushioned shoes, but not at the expense of ground feel, precision, or stability. The Speedgoat 2 fits the bill perfectly. The midsole still has great energy return, and thanks to the close-fitted upper, my foot doesn't slide around on off-camber terrain. —A.G.