REI’s Winter Clearance Sale is basically a Black Friday made specifically for gear lovers. Every year in the middle of February, U.S. outdoor recreationists can nab deals on tons of great products, with gear like tents, jackets, sleeping bags, and headlamps often marked down 50 percent or more. Here are the tried-and-true items the editors in our office recommend you check out while the going’s good. The sale ends on February 18 so don't wait too long.
Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles ($60; 40 percent off)
Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel ($43; 25 percent off)
When it's hot and I sweat during yoga, I really need this mat towel to put on top of my mat to keep me from slipping and sliding during poses.
—Mary Turner, deputy editor
Patagonia P6 LoPro Trucker Hat ($20; 31 percent off)
I'm not one to dig deep into the alleged performance differences between various trucker hats. In my mind, they're all pretty much identical and they serve the same basic function: hide my sweaty ass helmet hair after a summer bike ride and keep the sun off my face. The P6 does that, while also looking good. That's all I need, though the 25 percent off is a nice bonus.
—Axie Navas, digital editorial director
Salomon Cairn Shorts ($17; 65 percent off)
I don't run, but I love these running shorts for sweaty workouts and warm day hikes. The internal liner also gives me the freedom to wear these shorts to yoga without fear of flashing someone. As a bonus, the pattern is fun but sophisticated, making it perfect for running errands or meeting friends for patio drinks.
—Jenny Earnest, audience development director
Kelty Discovery 4 Tent ($99; 33 percent off)
If you're unsure that camping is right for your family, here's an economic incentive to try. One hundred bucks gets the folks and the kids (or your kid and your dog) into a simple setup that holds for three seasons. Get out in it enough and maybe you'll discover you need to upgrade to a four-season tent—or not.
—Tasha Zemke, copy editor
Smartwool PhD Running Ultra Light Micro Socks ($11; 31 percent off)
It may not be the most glamorous item on sale, but a good pair of socks is the unsung hero of running. Seeing as how I just wrapped up marathon training, pretty much every single sock in my drawer has bloodstains or holes. Time for a new pair (or three).
—Emily Reed, assistant editor
Nathan VaporZach Hydration Vest ($75; 40 percent off)
This is a key tool if you're running or hiking in the mountains. It's way lighter than a normal daypack, yet its two-liter capacity holds plenty of water and snacks for a long day outside. I tend to take this vest instead of a pack on pretty much all my weekend adventures—it enables me to move fast if I want to, while also being totally prepared for impromptu thunderstorms or picnics.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket ($139; 30 percent off)
I've owned this jacket for nearly five years and I'll probably never get rid of it. It's super versatile, warm, and looks good with any outfit.
—Ben Fox, affiliate reviews manager