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.
I shopped at REI for years before kids, but didn't became a member until 2003. My oldest child started kindergarten and my husband started a new job with lots of travel which left me at home with a 2 year old, a 4 year old and sparse time to go for runs to clear my head and train for races. I made the decision to join REI and buy a double running stroller, and that was a lifesaver. I was able to run with my kids in all types of weather (with the rain shield when necessary) and anytime (the 6 year old could always bike along.)
The other great benefit of the stroller is that today my adult children are athletes and enjoy running, hiking, rowing, riding and exploring. After watching me go for runs for so many years, my daughter is now a runner and just completed her first marathon. She caught the bug too!
@LillyPad it's amazing how we can pass along our love of the outdoors to our kids; I learned mine from my mom and dad and am currently trying to pass it along to my son! Thank you for sharing your story.
At any age, we can always learn something new by going walk-about.
Adventure started at REI Keizer, Oregon, store with my pal and one of your associates, who both sold me on a pair of Lekki Jannu trekking poles. I felt I got substantive comparisons from the REI associate of the different poles on display and I made a choice that was right for me.
Here I am… newbie, albeit 60+ yrs old, trekking pole walker. My terrains are typically parks, residential historic streets, and small downtowns—i.e., blacktop & sidewalks…and some uneven ground. I learned a little bit each day as I went out each day with my poles. My photos tell my story quickly… here I am with my poles, here I am demonstrating how I learned to place my hands in the straps and on the pole, and I also learned to place my poles behind me as I walk to propel myself forward (no photo here).
Walking daily I knew I had another “umph” I could get in my walk. So… here I am wanting to upgrade from my great, original Lekki round rubber tips for the end of my poles. I’m now upgrading to the L-shaped (fitness, asphalt) rubber tips that will help propel me forward even more as I walk on hard ground.
My zenith may be lower than other outdoor lovers, but I sure as heck don’t let that stop me from having one. Outdoor stories come from all levels of pursuit and all ages.
A pitch for trekking/walking poles: I go faster, I get a more vigorous workout, my strides are longer, and I feel like I'm cruising (much less effort!). Give poles a try and let me know what you experience. (More details on straps adjustment & using the poles can be found online). 😊
I grew up camping a lot. My dad was an Eagle Scout and knew I had to become one as I was his last son and my Brother quit early. I probably would have quit otherwise but I thank the stars I didn't.
Once I turned 18 I only camped every few years for a while, and really only to drink and hang out with buds. It wasn't until my early 30s that things changed for me. Instead of cancelling camping trips for other obligations and only camping once a year, I kept my car packed, and refined my gear. I started camping alone, going on longer trips, and keeping weekends open for possible trips.
Right around that time I met a woman who had camping in her priority box too. She would tell me that she planned on camping most weekends and that she would be going with or without me. I showed her how to cook on a campfire and that the food on a trip could be an enjoyable part of the experience rather than an afterthought. Eggs and bacon and glazed pork loin and curried carrots rather than just hotdogs for every meal. She taught me that if you went to bed early you could wake up and summit every peak before the sun fully rose, and that beating others to the trail meant for better views, and more of them. She showed me what my body was capable of. 5 mile hikes, 8 mile hikes, 12 mile hikes. She pushed me and I pushed her, which is what the outdoors means to me.
I married her. We bought camping land. And we continue seeking and exploring. Passing these traditions on to our kids. I'm carrying my dads boy scout pocket knife in my pocket now, just like I always do. It's cleaned, oiled, and sharp as it ever was. Just like my desire to be outdoors.
I arrived in southern Arizona in 1956, a sophomore at the U of Arizona, and soon discovered the wonderful wild country around Tucson. Most outstanding was Baboquivari Peak, SW of Tucson, a towering granite block which was the center of the Tohono O o'odham universe (they are correct!).
I climbed Babo quite a lot - in 1957 I was fortunate enough to be a member of the first group to make a first ascent of the SE arete of Babo (YDS 5.6), now a fairly popular way up the peak.
Learning about the history of the mountain, I soon realized that th trail from the west side, with its two staircases, one collapsed in 1956, was not the route of the first recorded ascent of the peak. Dr. Robert Forbes , aggie professor at U of A, had climbed the mountain in the 1890's, approaching from the east and using long grappling hooks to get over the tough spots. The staircase trail and summit lookout cabin had been built in the 1930s, a WPA or similar project.
I actually met with Dr. Forbes in 1959 and had a delightful experience. Shortly, several of us decided to rediscover Dr. Forbes original asceent route, somewhere on the NE side of the hill, an area with which we were not very familiar.
I agreed to get there early and haul gear (ropes, etc) up the hill to a convenient saddle which would be our base camp. A friend lent me his Kelty frame pack, state of the art for those days and wildly expensive...Forty dollars! Way to rich for me. I had been lugging around el cheapo, mil surp formless bags with skinny straps.
I drove down,loaded up, and set up through the brush, expecting to take the better part of the day to reach the saddle. The Kelty carried so well, that I breezed through the brush and arrived at the saddle hours earlier and fresh as a daisy.
Looking ahead, I saw I was next to the summit block, about 1500 feet below the summit. There was an inviting couloir rising before me, with a steep bit at the ery end. I decided the day was yet young, and that I would explore a bit further.
The couloir ended in a steep face, about fifty feet high, with huge handholds. I climbed up to a brushy ledge which led to the west and another short face, tricky but doable. Another short bushwhack brought to within sight of the rocky face where once had stood the second ladder. I scampered the remaining distance to the summit.
The following day, I was able to guide my companions along what is now known as the Forbes Route, the original way to the Center of the Universe.
Crucial in my success was the wondrous Kelty frame pack, a marvel in its day with an ergonomic, light aluminum frame, a lightweight, well designed pack and a waist belt (later beefed up and improved). I had never experienced anything like it.
Soon after I was drafted and got to experience the joys of military issue gear which then was pretty poor, well behind the innovations of the civilian market. Getting out of the Army, I resolved to buy quality stuff. First on my list was a Kelty pack.
I carried that pack for the next sixteen years, until it was stolen. I upgraded the hip belt, and replaced the eventually worn outbag with a hand sewn upgrade from Frostline. I would still be using that frame if it had not wandered.
The lesson I learned was that quality gear matters and is a bargain in the long run. So what if you squander 40 bucks on an exorbitantly priced bit of gear. Well chosen, it will repay itself many times over'
Soon thereafter, I got a job and joined the Co-op, the source of much of quality items ever since.....No regrets!
@hikermor This is a tremendous story. I have some relatives in Arizona, near Picacho Peak, and some friends who live in Tuscon. There is such a diverse amount of terrain there, thank you for sharing!