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.
Say no to blisters. All-day comfort and tech come together in this versatile hiking sandal.
This bright, easy-to-use lantern is packed with helpful features for car camping.
This featherlight shoe is a great choice for beginners and intermediates looking to up their trail time.
High-end materials make this trail shoe a winner for speed seekers.
Supreme comfort, generous dimensions and surprising packability earn this mattress top marks.
Score support, comfort and traction on your way to the crag with this long-time favorite.
Unparalleled comfort under heavier loads makes this boot a solid bet for anyone tackling longer backpacking trips.
Hikers and fastpackers looking for a sleek, nimble boot for moving quickly through the backcountry will love this shoe.
High-quality down insulation and an entry-level price make this sleeping bag a great choice for car campers and backpackers.
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.
This coffee press offers unparalleled taste in a package that’s small enough for big trips.
Enjoy maximum living space and comfort in this two-room shelter that excels in mild conditions.
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 REI.com.
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.