REI -Recreational Equipment Incorporated- started out as a club of like-minded outdoorsman who wanted equipment that was not being provided in any other location. They wanted climbing, hiking, survival and camping equipment, and there were no specialty stores at the time selling that type of outdoor stuff with any validity or certainty.
Now, REI has stores all over America as well as a vast online catalogue. The stores are usually fun and adventurous, with climbing walls, rough-terrain indoor hills to test your boots on, and plenty of interactive displays so you can find the piece of equipment that will suit your needs, like a pond full of water filtration devices so you can find the style you adore. Its easy to spend several hours in REI without noticing time has gone by. They even stock clothing now, including the much-coveted quick-dry, rip-stop fabric that outdoorsmen find so valuable.
While REI stocks only the best brands, we’ve experienced a few REI brand products and have come away very happy. My women’s frontloader backpack is beyond ideal, and the frame is designed with women in mind, so it rides atop my hips. The frontloader means I’m packed and ready in under 5 minutes, and the high-quality fabric means it just might be Lauren-proof (we’ll see! I’ve ruined 4 bags so far, this is the only one to last this long!) I also have several pairs of REI hiking socks, and at any given time you have a 50/50 chance of catching me in them because they are so comfortable, breathable and versatile than I hardly wear any other type of sock. My silk inserts when hiking for long durations make for a wonderful combo.
I’m in the market for a water purifier. Anyone have any great recommendations? I’m fond of the lever pump designs myself, but with the costs so high, I’m wondering if boiling and iodizing isn’t just faster. Ideas?
I’m a huge REI fan too (I was just at the Portland, OR store yesterday in fact!) they have the best return policy of any company I have ever encountered, and they seem to truly care about the quality of their products and their customer service.
The Steripen is great— it essentially sterilizes your water by blasting it with UV rays.http://www.steripen.com/ A caveat: don’t forget extra batteries or you’ll be back to boiling!