As the year winds up, let's look back at some of our favorite 2011 blog posts and a few that you may have missed. Thank you, REI fans, for your readership and all of your comments.
The most popular outdoor item ever? Love it or hate it (and, surprisingly, some of you really seem to hate it), The North Face Denali Jacket has been incredibly popular for 20 years running. Find out why and weigh in with your thoughts.
REI packaging gets a makeover. You really responded to REI's efforts to reduce REI brand packaging overall (and, yes, eliminate those annoying plastic "clamshell" packages). It's a true win-win story.
No more icy fingers. Our friends at the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS regularly contribute posts about medical topics, but this recent one about Raynaud's Phenomenon really touched a nerve, so to speak, with many of us.
Dedicated volunteers at Mount Rainier. The REI Blog loves to shine a light on selfless acts of outdoor kindness. With more than 17,500 hours of volunteer labor behind them, the Miltimores are true trail heroes.
Crossing paths with wildlife. Whether it's a snake underfoot or a bighorn sheep on a ridgetop, it seems that we all have an interesting story of two to share about a wildlife encounter on the trail.
10 weird outdoor words. If you love the outdoors or like to play Words with Friends (or, if you're like me, it's both), you should read this post about cwm, mizzle, petrichor and other unusual outdoor words.
Confessions of an outdoor shoe junkie. This personal, and somewhat embarrassing, ode to my out-of-control athletic shoe collection (17+ pairs!) apparently hit home with many of you. It feels good to share though, right?
Bonnaroo: a camping and music odyssey. In June, we sent our chief blogger T.D. Wood to capture the camping scene at this massive music festival in Tennessee. And what a hot, dusty, crazy scene it was!
A Mother's Day remembrance. T.D. Wood's heartfelt appreciation of his mom's unflagging support for his outdoor adventures gets my vote for the most touching blog post of the year.
Nepal through the lens of an REI photographer. This trek to Everest Basecamp—a trip led by REI Adventures—resulted in a bevy of spectacular images thanks to the expert eye of Damon, an REI staff photographer.
New apps for hikers. The REI Blog covered the latest smartphone apps for outdoor adventurers in a series of posts. This review of must-have hiking-related apps was the most popular post of the bunch.
Life lessons from Yosemite. Karen is a Yosemite guide for REI Adventures who has hiked regularly in the park for 30 years now. Her musings on how this place of incredible beauty has made her a better person are a must-read.
Best outdoor videos of 2011. Lastly, there were some amazing videos this year. We collected 9 of our favorites and crammed them into this single, eye-popping roundup.
What are your favorites above? What would you like to see more of in 2012?
Photo below: Southwestern Washington © T.D. Wood