Outdoor classes and day trips during COVID-19

The health and well-being of our guests, our guides and the communities we visit is always our top priority. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we've worked tirelessly to enhance the health & safety precautions for every REI class, day trip and event. With these changes in place, we can now offer some of our most popular programs in selected locations—with more to come soon.

Updated May 21, 2021

We have modified our policies based on the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 13, 2021.

Now, if permitted by local authorities, we won’t require fully vaccinated customers and employees to wear face coverings on REI Experiences, except when riding in shared vehicles (as recommended by the CDC).
Anyone over the age of two (or as specified by local authorities) not yet vaccinated must continue to wear CDC-approved face coverings as recommended in their latest guidance, and we fully support those who choose to wear masks even when they're not required.
In many cities from coast to coast, you can now join us for some of our most popular outdoor programs like kayak tours, guided hikes and backcountry navigation classes. Find out what's happening near you.
Read on for details about the specific changes we've made in response to COVID-19 and the latest CDC guidelines.

Health & Safety Protocols

Health assessment

Participants, guides and instructors will perform health screenings prior to the event, evaluating any possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. On the day of the event, participants will again be asked about any symptoms or exposure and may have their temperatures checked. We also require all employees to check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift and to stay home if they feel unwell.

Face coverings

For the safety of our guests, guides and instructors, CDC-recommended face coverings  will be required at various times throughout each experience. Fully vaccinated guests will still need to mask up in certain situations. While being worn, all face coverings must fully cover the nose and mouth. Face coverings made of mesh or other loosely knit fabric are not permitted.

Sanitized vehicles and equipment

In our vehicles, high-touch surfaces are sanitized frequently during the trip, and the entire vehicle gets disinfected between groups. Gear and equipment intended to be used by one person for the duration of the event will be issued on an individual basis. Everything gets cleaned and disinfected after each event, or will be regularly sanitized throughout, depending on its use.

Dining and food preparation

For trips that include a snack or meal, no buffets or family-style options will be provided. Instead, we'll offer individually packaged food and beverages, serve each guest and cohort group separately, or dine at restaurants committed to following CDC guidance.


For overnight trips, tents will be assigned for the duration of each trip and cleaned upon their return.

Contact tracing

If REI is notified that a member of a program tested positive for COVID-19 we will follow CDC guidelines and contact all participants.

Social Distancing

Small group sizes

REI classes and day trips have always been designed for smaller groups. Because of the pandemic, we are further reducing group sizes and offering private group bookings. Smaller groups create more space in vehicles and let us spread out more during meals and activities.

Physical distancing

Whether on the water, on the trail, on bike or on foot, guides will support physical distancing for unvaccinated participants. The bright side: more space between people makes it easier to bask in the beauty of the surroundings.


To maximize distance between guests, we will leave an empty seat or aisle space between all guests who aren't traveling together. We'll also have clean masks on hand for guests to wear. While inside the vehicle, we'll require masks for all guests in accordance with local health guidelines.


We believe that getting outside is an important part of everyone’s well-being. Our classes and day trips offer a way to get outside when many of us crave it most. We’ve made adjustments to our operations and how we guide in light of COVID-19, but ultimately participation is a personal decision.

Our knowledgeable guides offer field-tested backpacking advice and introduce you to the history, flora and fauna of the Smokies.