Staff Picks: The Gear We Want This Winter
Treat yourself this holiday season with some new gear from REI's seasonal sale
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With the holidays just around the corner, REI’s winter sale is the perfect time to stock up on budget-friendly gear for the adventurers in your life. Here's what the editors at our Santa Fe headquarters are eyeing.
Patagonia Better Sweater Quarter-Zip ($69; 30 percent off)
This pullover is one of my favorite layers to cozy up in after a long day of skiing. —Axie Navas, executive editor
ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxer Brief ($21; 30 percent off)
Soft, comfy, and funk-resistant, these undies are the perfect stay-fresh companion for long trips. When you're packing light on clothes, they're easy to wash in the sink and air dry. —Reid Singer, associate editor
Copper Spur Hotel HV UL 3 ($600; 25 percent off)
This tent is a backpacker's dream, made with durable polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon fabric and reinforced seams that are tough as nails but light as a feather. The whole package is under five pounds. —R.S.
Arc'teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket ($279; 30 percent off)
If you play in the mountains, you need a good hard shell to ward off precipitation when the weather turns nasty. This is one of the best around, made from two kinds of lightweight Gore-Tex to maximize protection, breathability, and toughness. I've worn one for two seasons now and it's hardly worse for the abuse. It's got the slim Arc'teryx fit—and the Arc'teryx price tag, making now a good excuse to get one and save over $100. —A.N.
Smartwool PhD Nordic Medium Socks ($18; 25 percent off)
In the three years I've been learning to ski, I have been endlessly lectured on all the dumb gear philosophies I formed growing up in the southeast. One of those is that you should stuff the thickest possible socks into your ski boots—extra warmth! Nope. I go for Smartwool's thin socks, which are somehow warmer and don't make my feet go completely numb, which really helps with the learning-to-ski part. —Erin Berger, associate editor
Lucy Short Sleeve Workout Tee ($27; 30 percent off)
I do a lot of running in this top, which looks remarkably like a normal shirt except that it is thin and breathable and cut just long enough that it never rides up. The light grey color does not do a great job of hiding all your sweat, but it's okay because that's what you're supposed to be doing when you wear it. —E.B.
Smartwool Isto Retro Beanie ($26; 30 percent off)
Until I moved to New Mexico to work for Outside, “winter” was a foreign concept to me. Over the past few months, I've had to figure out how to become not only a winter person but a hat person. That's where pom poms have saved me. If you're not a hat person, try a beanie with a pom like this one from Smartwool. It'll make you look like you know how to wear a hat (no awkward lumpy head!) and your friends will be able to spot you easily on the slopes. —Jenny Earnest, social media editor
REI Co-op Silk Long Underwear Bottoms ($31; 30 percent off)
I've said it before and I'll shamelessly say it again: if you're a cold sleeper, you need silk long underwear in your winter arsenal. Silk is one of the warmest natural fabrics out there, and it's extremely lightweight. Although they look delicate, I've thrown this pair of long underwear around for a couple years now and they're surprisingly rugged. If you run cold, do yourself a favor and pick up a pair. —J.E.
Pearl Izumi PRO Barrier WxB Shoe Cover ($40; 25 percent off)
Booties are dorky and they take forever to put on. But they will change your life. Feet go cold first on the bike. Throw in slushy road conditions or rain, and you'll be begging for a set of shoe covers to keep things warm and dry. Pro tip: buy them cheap. Though you shouldn't, you'll end up walking around and tearing them up.—Scott Rosenfield, digital editorial director
ENO SingleNest Hammock ($45; 25 percent off)
I bought this hammock from REI two winter sales ago and highly recommend it for both beginner and advanced hammock-enthusiasts. It's comfortable, roomy, easy to clean, and the triple interlocking nylon stitching makes it extremely durable. —J.E.
Blackburn Click USB Light Set ($26; 25 percent off)
Just because the days are shortening doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your bike commute. I’ve used these lights for multiple winters and dig that they're USB rechargeable and how easy they are to take on and off the bike. —Nathan Allen, editorial assistant
Garmin Edge 820 ($320; 20 percent off)
The preloaded turn-by-turn navigation of the Garmin Edge 820 guided me from Vancouver back to my home in Berkeley, California. Built-in Strava segments and live tracking kept my followers updated on my progress. —N.A.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket ($140; 30 percent off)
I bought this jacket a year ago, and it's one of the most versatile layers I own. —Molly Mirhashem, associate editor
Darn Tough Light Hiker Quarter Socks ($14; 25 percent off)
Now is the time to stock up on cozy socks, and Darn Tough makes some of the best. They're super durable and come in all sorts of great colors. —M.M.
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir SL Hydration Bladder ($31; 25 percent off)
If you hike or mountain bike, you should own a hydration pack. For any long-duration excursion, they're simply better and more versatile than a water bottle. And if you own a hydration pack, you'll need a bladder. Keep it easy and buy the Osprey Hydraulics reservoir. This model's slide-off top makes for easy cleaning. And the bite-valve is the best on the market—you'll get water when you need it without leakage. Plus, the three-liter size is perfect for long rides and hikes. —S.R.
Smartwool Merino 250 1/4 Zip Base Layer ($69.99; 30 percent off)
If you're wise, you'll invest in a few of these. I bring mine as a warm layer when camping in the summer and refuse to wear any other base layer during ski season. —Madeleine Kelty, photo editor
Darn Tough Micro Crew LT Cushion Hiking Sock ($15; 25 percent off)
These socks quickly replaced all my other hiking socks. They never bunch, don't get soggy, and I've yet to get a blister after countless miles in them. —M.K.
Smartwool PhD HyFi Training Gloves ($32; 30 percent off)
With the weather getting cold, these are the perfect pair of gloves for a chilly bike commute. In contrast to bulky gloves that make actions like gear changing a chore, the close contour design makes handlebar maneuvering easy. Silicon also dots the fabric, providing a firm grip, and you can check your phone for directions without sliding the gloves off. —Will Ford, editorial fellow
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Knee Warmer ($33; 25 percent off)
Most roadie rules suck. But the knee-warmer rule doesn't. If it's cold enough to wear arm warmers, wear your damn knee warmers to ride fast and comfortably. For the last ten years, I've worn the same set from Pearl Izumi and I cannot recommend them highly enough for those with gorgeous, toned thighs but slender calves. —S.R.
DryGuy Force Dry Boot and Glove Dryer ($37; 25 percent off)
When you're getting into ski boots, there's nothing worse than being greeted by cold, damp, and smelly linings from the day before. With DryGuy's design, your boots should be dry within an hour. And if you forget it's running, don't worry—it'll turn off automatically after three hours. —W.F.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 3 mtnGLO Tent ($413; 25 percent off)
I tend to toss and turn in my sleep, so a wide tent is key if I'm going to be camping with more than just myself. The Copper Spur has plenty of room at not a ton of weight (3.5 pounds), and the built-in mtnGLO lights make it easy to play cards or read a book if that all tossing and turning wakes me (or my wife) up. —Will Egensteiner, associate editor
Osprey Aether 70 AG EX Backpack ($233; 25 percent off)
Our 2017 Gear of the Year-winning pack has it all. There are mesh panels to vent sweaty backs, a moldable hip belt for stalwart support and comfort, and a removable lid that turns into a lumbar pack. I could go on, but this from our pack tester Justin Nyberg perfectly sums it up: “Think of the Aether as the Escalade of packs—big, blinged out, and badass.” —W.E.
Jetboil Flash Java Cooking System ($72; 35 percent off)
I drink a lot of coffee. Too much, probably. But I can't resist fresh-brewed joe after a night sleeping in a tent. The compact Jetboil Flash Java system boils two cups of water in about two minutes, making it faster, and likely cheaper, than a morning run to the local Starbucks. —W.E.
Smartwool PhD Running Ultra Light Micro Socks ($12; 25 percent off)
It may not be the most glamorous item on sale, but a good pair of socks is the unsung hero of running. And seeing as how I just wrapped marathon training, pretty much every single sock in my drawer has blood stains or holes. Time for a new pair (or three). —Carly Graf, assistant editor
Pearl Izumi Pursuit Attack Bike Tights ($60; 25 percent off)
I’m a weather wimp, so I’m worried that my mountain biking might come to a screeching halt once the colder temps arrive. With these tights, though, I may be able to eke out a few more weeks in the season. —C.G.
Light and Motion Urban 700 ($60; 25 percent off)
Don't be fooled by the name. This light is for rippers. And now that daylight savings time has ended, you're going to need a bomber light for shredding your local trails after work. —Nicholas Hunt, assistant editor
MSR WhisperLite International Backpacking Stove ($75; 25 percent off)
The redesign of this classic piece of kit is ten percent lighter than its predecessor while keeping everything I love about the original: a bomb-proof design and the ability to burn practically any kind of fuel you can get your hands on. —N.H.
Superfeet Blue Premium Insoles ($39; 20 percent off)
Unless your feet are perfect, you should not be walking without insoles. Every time I've gone without my Superfeet insoles I've developed phantom back, knee, and foot pain. Choose the right level of support for your feet, but you likely won't go wrong with the low-to-medium volume blue premium models. —S.R.
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Arm Warmer ($26; 25 percent off)
You bike, but do you own arm warmers? If you answered No you need to click Buy Now right now. Arm warmers are the ultimate apparel upgrade. Long-sleeve jerseys suck. They make your arms look small. And it's far too easy to overheat while wearing one. For all but the coldest of days, opt for the arm warmers. They'll keep you toasty but are easy to shed when you heat up. —S.R.
Lodge 7-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set ($136; 26 percent off)
This cast iron set includes an oven and a pan—all you need to cook up a campfire feast. —Luke Whelan, assistant editor
Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socks ($24; 25 percent off)
These merino wool socks won't fail you on long hikes and are comfortable enough to wear around the house on cold nights. —L.W.