REI Co-op Editors Choice Awards

REI Co-op announces the spring 2023 Editors’ Choice Awards

Accolades honor best-in-class gear at the co-op to help people get outside

Apr 18, 2023

REI announces new additions to its REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards, a designation honoring top-performing gear and apparel from brands sold at the co-op based on employee, REI Co-op member and customer field testing, REI expertise, and customer feedback and sustainability attributes. Products recognized include both time-honored standouts and the latest innovations to hit shelves at REI.  

“Our spring award winners come in handy across a range of activities, from camping to running to cycling, yet are united in their suitability for individuals with a range of needs,” said Cassie da Costa, an editor at REI who manages the Awards. “We’re excited to recognize a supremely versatile road-running shoe, a cozy yet easily packable sleeping pad, a roomy and luxurious tent, and two bike bags that allow riders to conveniently bring along more than just the essentials.” 

The REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards program is part of REI Co-op Studios. This hub produces films, podcasts and in-house editorial content published on Expert Advice and Uncommon Path. This spring’s recipients of REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards include: 

  • Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Road Running Shoes (Men's and Women's): The Endorphin Speed 3 road-running shoes are as stable as they are nimble, scoring high marks from testers for both speed and comfort. A nylon plate offers responsiveness during speed workouts while a wider base under the forefoot than in previous models will keep runners feeling smooth during long and recovery runs. Our testers awarded this shoe as the best all-around road-running shoe of 2023 adding “this might be the only one an avid runner really needs in their rotation.”  
  • NEMO Quasar 3D Insulated Air Sleeping Pad: Featuring a body-mapped depression to protect wriggly sleepers from going overboard, synthetic insulation to keep the cold out, and a built-in pillow to simplify the packing process, this sleeping pad had testers feeling well rested during their multi-day adventures. A fit for campers of many sizes with its generous breadth and thickness, the Quasar 3D was selected by our testers as the best all-around wide backpacking sleeping pad of 2023. 
  • REI Co-op Wonderland 6 Tent: Spacious and well organized, the Wonderland 6 tent has enough room for half a dozen campers or, when traveling with a lighter group, a card table and seating. It also received praise from our testers for its ease of set-up and ability to withstand the rain. Scoring high marks for comfort and storage, one tester even dubbed it the “party house.”  
  • Relevate Designs Mag-Tank Top Tube Bag: With a slim and lightweight profile, the Mag-Tank makes a rider’s favorite snacks and essential gear easy to access from the top tube of their bike. Its durability and accessibility earned the highest score in our best bike bags of 2023 gear guide (tied with the REI Co-op Beyonder Saddlebag Panniers, below). One tester was so impressed after racing with it, he also started using it for more casual rides. 
  • REI Co-op Beyonder Saddlebag Panniers: These easy-to-use panniers are low-profile yet roomy enough to carry a modest grocery haul, winning over a tester who was initially skeptical of their drape-over style with “good materials and bottom anchor straps.” The mounting system scored serious points with our testers for versatility, suiting bikes with different kinds of cargo racks. Durable bluesign®- approved nylon exterior makes it a leading contender for the elements, too.  

REI recognizes these products as top performers in a round-robin field test. Product reviews on REI.com and customer feedback, along with sustainability attributes based on REI product impact standards, are also considered in the process. Testers include REI employees, co-op members, and customers from across the nation, who evaluate everything from a product’s usability to its features in various climates, terrain and weather. They report back on their experiences with qualitative and quantitative data collected along the way.  

Depending on the category, some tests can last months, or even up to a year, to see how the products perform through various seasons and scenarios. The top-scoring products are featured in Gear Guides on Expert Advice, REI’s gear and expertise learning library. The best of the best also receives an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award.  

Gear considered must be sold at the co-op. There is no set timing or number of recipients that may receive this accolade. Products are continually tested and can be recognized with an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award designation anytime through the year. A list of past award winners can be found here

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 24 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. If you can’t visit one of our many stores, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. Everyone is welcome to shop REI, but members who join the co-op enjoy a range of benefits. More than a retailer, REI is a purpose-driven and values-led company dedicated to enabling life outside for all.