Tuesday, April 5, 2011

REI Rocks!

Ok, I am going to break one of my unwritten rules about my blog!  I am going to put up a post without any pics or video.  I don't like to do it, but I didn't think to take any pictures so let the comments begin.

Anyway, I needed to pick up some freeze dried backpacking meals for an upcoming trip and as you saw from my last post, I am now a big fan of Mountain House meals.  I originally purchased that first test meal and my stove from Cabelas, but I searched the internet for other retailers that also sell this product in hopes of finding a location closer to my work.  Well a quick search of the Mountain House web site revealed that REI also sold these handy meals and the Dallas store was only 17 minutes from my office!  Time for a lunch break errand!

As I have said before, I love Cabelas and if my wife and children didn't tear me away from the store, I would wander there for hours, but REI comes in at a close second.  I know this isn't a new business and they have been around for a long, long time, but I have never stepped foot in one of their stores until today.  That was because Cabelas pretty much provides the best hunting and fishing gear bar none, but they don't have the a great selection of camping and kayaking gear.  That is where REI appears to shine.  They had a great selection of all things camping, backpacking, kayaking, mountain biking, and rock climbing and I was very impressed with their knowledgable staff.  As I paid for my freeze dried food at the counter, I told the grandmotherly looking lady that this is an awesome store!  She was shocked that I had never visited one of their stores and proceeded to tell me how REI is actually a cooperative and if you join (for a small fee of $20 that pays for your lifetime membership) you get dividends back on your purchases annually (I forget the percentage back).  She also handed me a calendar of events for April classes and clinics held at the store and I found a backpacking course that just happened to be tonight!

I arrived at the course that evening to find a room full of like-minded future backpackers, all taking notes and passing around gear that the instructor was discussing.   It was very informative although most of the gear and information was familiar as I have been researching the topic and slowly accumulating my gear over the last year or so, but I did pick up some useful tidbits that will coming in handy for my potential trip to Colorado this summer such as storing your food in a stuff sack in a tree so bears won't get into your tent (I bet that will freak out my Mom when she reads that).  The discussions on water filtration and purification as well as pack and sleeping bag selection were excellent and I learned that they actually rent equipment at reasonable rates which could be really handy as your testing out gear selections or needing specific equipment for an unusual trip.  If you ever find yourself near an REI, I would highly recommend taking a look.  There is just something cool about pulling up to a store and seeing other vehicles with kayak racks!  I felt right at home.


  1. Best blog yet!!! And yes, your mom WAS freaked out!!!!!

  2. I'm the opposite....REI is my number one. Then cabelas and bass pro....but I'm not a hunter! I just received my 2010 dividend from REI and can't wait to spend it. I wish there was one 17 min from my place.