REI Co-op honor best-in-class gear at the co-op to help people get outside
REI announces new additions to its REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards, a designation honoring top-performing gear and apparel from brands sold at the co-op based on employee, REI Co-op members and non-member field testing, REI expertise, co-op member and customer feedback and sustainability attributes. Products recognized include both time-honored standouts and the latest innovations to hit shelves at REI.“Our latest award winners are great picks for camping trips to check out peak fall foliage, hanging out in your backyard or tailgating,” said Michelle Flandreau, managing editor at REI. “We’re excited to recognize two comfortable and durable camping chairs, an updated rechargeable headlamp packed with even more lumens and additional versions of a beloved backpacking tent.”The REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards program is part of REI Co-op Studios. This hub produces films, podcasts and in-house editorial content published on Expert Advice and Uncommon Path. This fall’s recipients of REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards include:
This lightweight backpacking tent features, comfort and durability. Our testers appreciated the tent’s high-volume architecture, with its tall peak height and steep walls. Plus, most versions in the lineup include dual vestibules for easy entry and exit. The Copper Spur received an inaugural Editors’ Choice Award in 2020. This fall, REI extends the award to the bikepack and long versions of the tent.
This loveseat stands out for its sturdiness. The double folding chair—with six legs and 15-pound steel frame—scored the highest marks for stability in field testing. This style of chair is inherently hefty—the Loveseat is packable—and best suited for a front-country campground or the backyard.
“There’s nothing better than kicking back in this chair around the campfire after a big day on the trail,” said one tester. A suspended hammock-style seat and auto-reclining hardware provide comfort and let you stretch out. The Stargaze also features adjustable legs and a low center of gravity, which creates stability. When done lounging, users can fold this it easily into a padded carrying case.
For fast activities where brightness matters, this rechargeable light is a great option. It comes with a superlight lithium-ion Petzl Core battery that provides usable light for days. Between uses, the core battery can be plugged into a wall, computer or power bank via its integrated USB port. A single, easy-to-press button cycles through three brightness levels and red light. This updated version features more lumens than its pervious iteration, also an inaugural Editors’ Choice winner.
REI recognizes these products as top performers in a head-to-head round-robin test. Product reviews on REI.com and customer feedback, along with sustainability attributes based on REI product impact standards, are also considered in the process. Testers include REI employees and co-op members from across the nation, who evaluate everything from a product’s usability to its features in various climates, terrain and weather. They report back on their experiences with qualitative and quantitative data collected along the way.
Depending on the category, some tests can last months, or even up to a year, to see how the products perform through various seasons and scenarios. The top-scoring products are featured in Gear Guides on Expert Advice, REI’s gear and expertise learning library. The best of the best also receive an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award.
Gear considered must be sold at the co-op. There is no set timing or number of recipients that may receive this accolade. Products are continually tested and can be recognized with an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award designation anytime through the year. A list of past award winners can be found here.
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 21.5 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 178 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.