A person on a winter hike holding trekking poles

We’ve helped generations of people find the right gear for them since 1938. Now, we’re using our team’s hard-earned knowledge and expertise to recognize best-in-class gear at the co-op. 

Through the REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards, we honor the top-performing products in a set of rigorous field tests conducted by co-op staff and members. We also factor in how a product is made and its impact on the environment, along with REI member and customer feedback. Recipients include the equipment and apparel we’ve been recommending for years, along with the latest industry-busting products to hit shelves. 

Our awards program honors the top-performing gear and apparel from brands sold at the co-op based on 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.

REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards

Our awards program honors the top-performing gear and apparel from brands sold at the co-op based on 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.

NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair

A camper sits in the NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair.

You may never want to get up from in this ultra-comfy chair—and with its stable, accommodating design, that won’t be a problem.

The Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair packs in lots of smart features, like a suspended hammock-style seat, supportive headrest and an internal stash pocket. It all adds up to a perch that, true to its name, is perfect for hours of constellation admiring.

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

A person wears the Petzl Actik Core Headlamp.

This versatile lamp is brighter than ever and stays charged for the long haul.

Battery-powered or rechargeable headlamp? Who says you have to choose? The Actik Core’s superlight rechargeable battery can be swapped out with AAAs, offering extra runtime and flexibility (not to mention 600 lumens) for big trips … or just campers who forgot to charge before heading to the trail.

Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat

Two campers sit in the Mountain Summit Gear Loveseat.

Essentially a portable couch, this two-seater stands up to everything from windy weather to dogs who demand a spot on the furniture.

With palatial dimensions, six sturdy legs and grime-resistant fabric that looks good even after hours near an ashy campfire, the Loveseat offers the perfect lounging space for the whole crew. (And—yes!—there are cupholders.)

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Tent

A camper sits in the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Bikepack Tent.

An adaptable and spacious tent light enough for the trail, now in versions for tall folks and bikepackers.

The Copper Spur is already a favorite among testers for its high-volume architecture and thoughtful features like a fly that can be turned into a veranda, all at a minimal weight. Now, it also comes in a long version for taller camping friends and a style that stashes well on handlebar rolls for our bikepacking pals.

All Award Winners

Awards Methodology

Gear is personal. No product here will be the perfect option for every person. But we believe the REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards celebrate the gear that’s the best for most folks. Here’s how we know. 

How are REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award recipients determined? We, the editorial team, take stock of all that’s available to you at the co-op. We consider the specific needs most people who use the product may have, narrow down the list and enter what’s left into an extensive test—which can last months or even a year, depending on the category—against as many as 20 other top picks. We do this all to see how these products perform where it matters most: outside. REI expert staff and co-op member-testers head into the field to evaluate everything from a product’s usability to its features, vetting all claims from the manufacturer. We also factor in sustainability attributes. At the end of the round-robin review period, we ask our testers to rate each product on a set of criteria. Then we average the scores and scrutinize the data, also considering what our members and customers are saying about these products when reviewing them on REI.com. You’ll find the highest-scoring equipment and apparel in our Gear Guides. We recognize the best of the best with an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award. 

What products are considered? Within a particular gear category, we consider products available at REI. We don’t include items that the co-op does not stock.   

Who takes part in gear testing? REI staff and members test gear for both the REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards and our tested Gear Guides. These folks are chosen for several reasons, including their outdoor experience, knowledge of a product category and competitive landscape, and more. We aim to include testers of different skill levels and from across the country. We are committed to increasing diversity among our gear testers, including representation of BIPOC communities, women, LGBTQ+ people, different ages and people with disabilities.

When are award winners announced? Awards are given on a rolling basis throughout the year, and we’ll announce the awards on Expert Advice when there are new winners. We’d encourage you to come back seasonally to check out our latest award winners.  

Do awards carry over each year? If a brand releases an updated version of an award-winning product, its REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award carries over to the newest version of the product, unless we deem the updates significant enough to warrant its inclusion in another field test. If so, the new product will undergo extensive field testing to evaluate it.