1. Don
    Don October 22, 2013 at 6:26 am

    While there are some things I buy at REI it is not a place I would recommend if you’re interested in lightweight gear, particularly the big three (tent, pack, sleeping bag). There are many small gear makers that sell only online that specialize in light/ultralight. Section hiker has a fairly complete list of various “cottage” manufacturers http://sectionhiker.com/backpacking-gear-directory-2/
    Many of these companies will make/customize their gear to your specification. As for cost, you might find it light gear is often cheaper than what you will find at stores like REI. My 15oz $130 Borah Gear pack I used this year on a JMT thru couldn’t be matched by anything found in REI.

  2. Brian R
    Brian R October 22, 2013 at 6:37 am

    If you are leaning towards a major purchase at REI, consider signing up for their credit card first. You will get an additional 5% back on your purchase and they will send you a gift card ($75, I think) upon making your first purchase.

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