REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards

91 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars
A backpacker leaping into the air with a badge over the image that reads, "Editors' Choice"

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.

This summer, we’re awarding hiking sandals, camping lanterns, a sleeping pad, a hydration vest, approach shoes and running shoes galore, all available at REI. Come back seasonally to check out our newest award winners and learn more about how the program works below. 


2021 Winners






2020 Winners

Kelty Cosmic Down 20

Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag

High-quality down insulation and an entry-level price make this sleeping bag a great choice for car campers and backpackers.

Deuter Kid Comfort

Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier

This pack is a longtime favorite for a reason: It’s true to its name. It’s comfy for both adult and child and has enough storage for close-to-home trips.

Osprey Poco Plus

Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier

This luxe kid carrier backpack features a smooth-riding suspension and ample gear storage—excellent for epic adventures.


REI Co-op Kingdom 6

REI Co-op Kingdom 6 Tent

Enjoy maximum living space and comfort in this two-room shelter that excels in mild conditions.


Petzl Actik Core

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

For fast activities where brightness matters, this rechargeable light is the right lamp for the job.


Shop 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.

We canvas the landscape and take stock of all that’s available to you at REI. From there, we consider what specific needs most people who use the product may have. (If we were talking about backpacking tents, for example, we’d want to make sure we had options for various capacities, weights and prices.) We then narrow down the list, making sure there are options for every shopping need, 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 (for example, we evaluated brightness, battery life, comfort, features and price in our headlamps Gear Guide). 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

You’ll find the highest-scoring equipment and apparel in our Gear Guides. Gear that’s just about perfect? Those products are recognized with an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award, which you can find here. No product will be the ideal option for every person. But we believe our awards honor the gear that’s the best for most.