We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Welcome to The Gear List, a semi-regular series where we spotlight the best discounts and deals on tactical gear, outdoor equipment, and everything in between.
When it comes to finding quality outdoor gear for hiking, camping, or even a military field exercise, REI is one of our favorite places to shop. The retail chain has made a name for itself by being selective about the products it sells and working hard to give customers affordable prices. So when an event like the REI Labor Day sale comes along, your money goes even further and you can score some serious deals on high-end gear.
I did some digging and found deep discounts on fall clothing from brands like Cotopaxi, Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Darn Tough, and Nike. You can get a new pair of running shoes from Brooks or La Sportiva and get ready for your next fitness test. REI and REI Outlet have killer deals on Gregory, Osprey, and ALPS Mountaineering packs for long backpacking trips, day hikes, and everything in between. There are even great deals on camp stoves to take your MRE masterpieces to the next level.
We all need quality gear, and seasonal sales are a great way to get it without blowing the budget. The following list covers some of the highlights of the REI Labor Day sale so you can spend less time scrolling and more time actually getting outside.
These prices were valid at press time, but prices can change and deals do expire.
Price: was $275.00, now $191.93
Remember the glory days of The North Face and Patagonia, back before they came the unofficial brands of yuppies whose only “hiking” is done with a nonfat latte from Starbucks? That’s kind of where Cotopaxi is right now. The brand is big with backpackers and campers because of its low weight, solid build quality, and great performance, but word hasn’t totally gotten to the masses yet. The Fuego is Cotopaxi’s midlevel puffy jacket, light enough to wear on the move but with enough insulation to keep you warm around the campsite.
Right now, some color combinations are discounted more than others. Three are marked down to $192 rather than $206, but any one of these is a good deal considering how much use you’ll get out of it. At the time of writing, the only size you can’t get in any color is XXXL. It’s also worth pointing out that there are hooded and hoodless versions of the Fuego and this one is hooded. Pick one of these up to get top-shelf 800-fill down, plenty of pockets, and style you don’t see every time you drive through a suburban housing development.
Price: was $159.95, now $119.89
We’ve called out the Gregory Zulu 30 as a desirable day pack before, and now you can get it for about $40 less. Instead of taking shortcuts and hoping you won’t be on the trail long enough to notice, Gregory loaded the Zulu 30 to the gills with features you’d normally only find on larger packs. The most noteworthy is the ventilated and padded suspension system that maintains airflow between the pack and your body while staying snug and secure. It’s adjustable for torso length so you can get a custom fit. That technology even extends to the hip belt, which usually gets boiled down to a nylon strap on most bags of this size. You’ll also get effective compression straps, a built-in rain cover, and an elastic stuff compartment for things like a jacket or gloves that you only need intermittently.
Casual hikers might not take full advantage of these features, in which case there isn’t much of a reason to spend $120 on the Zulu 30. But if you want to cover all kinds of terrain in a hurry, this is one of the best packs for the job.
Price: was $89.99, now $66.73
Seller: REI Outlet
Wait, don’t tell me – you’re still using the issued foam roll from supply every time you go into the field, aren’t you? I won’t judge because I did the same thing and even used one in my personal camping adventures. There are better options out there though. This ALPS Mountaineering sleeping pad is lighter and way more compact, but it will provide a better night’s sleep than packed-out foam. The inflatable pad also features insulation, which will be a noticeable improvement on cool nights.
While it’s a massive improvement over foam sleeping pads, this is definitely on the entry-level end of the inflatable sleeping pad market. The R-value (used to measure the effectiveness of insulation) is 2.0 but high-end insulated sleeping pads can go as high as 9.5. Then again, they also cost a hell of a lot more than $90. Since this one is marked down to $67 for Labor Day, it’s an even better deal.
Price: was $37.00, now $27.69
I know that hydration bladders can be cleaned, but are you sure you got all the nasty gunk out of yours? Or maybe you’ve been holding off on buying one because you’re not ready to give up your canteen or Nalgene bottle. Right now you can save a few bucks on the OG of hydration systems with this three-liter CamelBak Crux. It’s still one of the most popular designs out there because it’s durable and it just plain works. The large, screw-top mouth is easy to fill, clean, and dry. A new mouthpiece design flows 20 percent more efficiently. If you want to really drink like a pro, install a compatible water filter between the bladder and the drinking tube so you can fill it and drink with minimal downtime.
There have been all kinds of new products in the hydration space – including some really cool designs from CamelBak – but it’s really hard to beat the original. It’s a solid buy at MSRP and I can’t think of a good reason not to get one anytime you can save a little bit of money in the process.
Packs and bags
Gregory Baltoro 65 / was $319.95, now $239.89 / REI
ALPS Mountaineering Baja 20 / was $139.99, now $104.73 / REI Outlet
Osprey Transporter / was $125.00, now $54.73 / REI Outlet
CamelBak M.U.L.E. / was $115.00, now $73.73 / REI Outlet
Clothing and footwear
Patagonia Snowbelle women’s jacket / was $329.00, now $97.83 / REI
Outdoor Research Interstellar women’s rain jacket / was $299.00, now $103.73 / REI Outlet
Patagonia Torrentshell men’s hardshell jacket / was $149.00, now $103.99 / REI
Darn Tough Coolmax boot socks / was $27.00, now $20.19 / REI
Brooks Ghost 14 men’s running shoes / was $140.00, now $110.93 / REI
La Sportiva Karacal men’s trail running shoes / was $145.00, now $108.69 / REI
Goal Zero Yeti 1500X power station / was $1,999.95, now $1,599.89 / REI
Goal Zero Boulder 100 solar panel / was $249.95, now $199.89 / REI
Garmin Forerunner 945 fitness watch / was $600.00, now $419.93 / REI
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music fitness watch / was $350.00, now $244.93 / REI
Shokz OpenRun headphones / was $129.95, now $109.99 / REI