Expert-tested gear—at a discount
REI has thousands of products on sale through the Fourth of July. It’s a great opportunity to get solid gear at an affordable price—if you don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of discounted items. It’s easy to get excited about a good bargain and end up talking yourself into the wrong piece of gear. To help you navigate the sale, here are five products I’ve endorsed long before they were a smoking deal. Happy shopping.
The North Face’s Tekno Ridge Hoodie ($90, 30 percent off)
The Tekno Ridge won a “most versatile fleece” test I conducted this spring and happens to be on sale right now. Jump on it. It absolutely kicked ass climbing up skin track, running singletrack, and didn’t impede my movements during an interval workout of burpees, push-ups, and sit-ups. The anorak styling and kangaroo pouch—big enough to fit my phone, wallet, and an energy bar—made it perfect for hiking. It’s also a great-looking fleece. My wife—who is considerably more stylish than me—commandeered it after the test and it still lives on her side of the closet. “Perhaps the most telling endorsement I can give the Tekno Ridge is this: it’s the rare hoodie that I’d wear both for skiing and heading into town to grab a coffee,” I wrote.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 60L ($90, 30 percent off)
Last winter, I put a silly number of duffels (21 to be exact) to the test for a longform review of the best haulers. Patagonia’s 60L Black Hole took second place in that long list and proved clearly worth its price tag prior to the 30 percent discount currently on offer. It was a truly remarkable bag because it was the lightest (by far) of the top picks in the test and still got top marks for durability. The Black Hole is also packed with smart design details, like 20 daisy-chain tie-downs. Pair that with the light weight and you’ve got one of the best duffels I’ve seen for wild international trips that would necessitate tying your bag to the roof of a tuk-tuk.
Hydro Flask 22-Ounce Tumbler ($22, 25 percent off)
I love this tumbler so much that I wrote an ode about it last year. The article focused on how this 22-ounce cup hits the sweet spot for me, as the father of a baby, in both the beer and the coffee categories. My daughter is now over a year and a half old, and I certainly haven’t found myself needing less coffee. Although I’m drinking less beer now, it still fits my needs perfectly: I find that I can buy a single 22-ounce specialty beer and a single pour will last me through a weekend night. The Tumbler keeps beer cold long enough, and its just-right capacity means I don’t have to make multiple trips to the fridge throughout the evening—or buy more than one beer.
Hydrapak 32-Ounce Stow Bottle ($13; 25 percent off)
The Stow was one of the most interesting products I saw at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer Summer Show. While flexible plastic drinking vessels have been on the market for quite some time, the Stow is different because it’s in the form of a one-liter flask rather than its round flexible predecessors. It packs down just as small as other packable bottles when empty, but when full it’s way easier to slip into flatter spaces like a fanny pack or ski-pants pocket.
Chaco Men’s Flip Ecotread Flip-Flops ($49; 25 percent off)
I declared the Ecotread the best on trail as the result of a flip-flops test I conducted last summer. They have deep tread on the bottom as well as a hard, grippy grid on the footbed that attached them to my feet as I scrambled up and down steep scree for my testing. While they aren’t the cushiest sandals I’ve tested, they’re certainly the pair I would be using as a daily driver if I were still a raft guide because of how athletic their interaction is with both rock and feet.