REI members have done a lot of cool things, like the couple who got married at our DC flagship store and the two best friends who revisited an old trail together 50 years later. We also can’t forget the daughter who continued outdoor traditions with her dad’s beloved blue sleeping bag

We hear there are more co-op member stories out there and we want to know about them! Share your member story with us by replying below.


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

One of my favorite campfire stories involves a Great Smokey Mountain NP thru-hike with my sons, then 11 and 12, back in the 80's.

We had been warned, that if we encountered any bears - do not run!, just try to 'look big' and walk calmly on.

Well, sure enough, walking thru a large meadow we spotted a single bear, walking along side of us about 200' away.  Soon it fake charged us.

So of course we ran, with me leading the way... the bear, mercifully turned away when we did not drop our packs.

And yes, that old story about 'you don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your partner' did occur to me!

It is a great memory and a good laugh for all of us!

I don't remember how, but we managed to snap a photo.

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REI Member Since 1979

I remember my first purchase from REI - a Primus 71L stove - cost was 8 or 9 dollars.  Shortly thereafter I purchased my first real climbing rope, around 20 bucks - 120 feet of 7/16 laid nylon.  Ropes are now both longer and more expensive.



Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Ha ha! I have a Primus story to share also. Give me a second.

@Philreedshikes thanks for sharing this story!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Mine is not just a story, but a series of stories. I have a friend here in the Midlands of South Carolina who started doing solo day hikes in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Her two adult kids were concerned about her hiking alone, in areas with sketchy cell phone service. So she posted a question on social media, wanting to know if anyone would like to accompany her on a monthly hike somewhere, with a stop afterwards at a brewery, or winery. She was expecting a couple of people to respond. Instead, she had several dozen. So, about 3 years ago, she started a group and called it “Sunday Sojourns”. We have hiked in the mountains, in lowland swamps, in state parks, in National Forests, on South Carolina trails such as the Foothills Trail, and the Palmetto Trail. She has taken us to waterfalls, crossed lots of foot bridges, seen scores of birds, deer, alligators, coyotes, and many others. In the 3+ years she has been planning and leading our Sunday Sojourns, we have not hiked the same trail twice, nor have we been to the same brewery or winery twice. This is a monthly thing that we all look forward to. We get outside. See some super cool things. Hike amazing places. And enjoy good local beer or wine with great friends. And, that is what makes life fun. 

@Former community member this is a great story - goosebumps! Thanks for sharing!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

In 2015, I was in the process of buying camping equipment and wanted to join REI as a new member. Every time I tried to join, something happened that prevented me from becoming a new member. With much frustration I got on the chat line to find out what the problem was. I was surprised to find out that I had been a member since 1986. The REI records had our old apartment address, which was corrected to our present address, and I as issued a new member card. Been enjoying the savings ever since. 

@DurhamRanger ha, great story! Thanks for sharing!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Well, REI delivered my product yesterday in Salt Lake City, one day early and in a snow storm. Awesome!