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REI Store Guide: Find the Best Sales and Deals

Aug. 2, 2016
Shopping, Store Savings Guides
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There are certain times of the year that are best for buying a car, selling a house and, yes, shopping at REI. Adrenaline junkies, use this guide to get the best prices on your outdoor gear purchases.

About REI

REI is an outdoor retailer that provides an expansive selection of clothing and gear in a number of recreational categories, such as camping, climbing, cycling, running and paddling. Some locations also offer services like equipment rentals and repairs.

Sale events

If you’re an REI shopper, you’ll want to know how to snap up great products at the lowest prices. Time your shopping right by using this REI-specific store sale calendar as a guide to savings opportunities.

  • REI Anniversary Sale. The retailer’s biggest sale of the year takes place each May. It typically features impressive percent-off discounts.
  • Black Friday. Last November, REI closed all of its locations for the day on Black Friday. If the retailer follows suit again this year, make sure to check their site, where you’ll likely find plenty of cyber deals up for grabs.
  • Garage sales. REI garage sales are in-store, members-only events that offer great deals on used or returned gear. Check online or at your local REI store for garage sale dates and details.
  • Sales. You can find discounted products throughout the year at REI. Visit the store’s Deals page to see which items are on sale at any given time. You can search markdowns by category or brand.
  • REI Garage. The REI Garage (formerly REI Outlet), is a section on the retailer’s website where you can find deals on previous models and clearance merchandise year round. 

Love deals? We'll find you more of them.

Explore cash-back offers at nearby shops and restaurants.

Rewards program

For devoted REI shoppers, the co-op store offers a rewards program in the form of an REI membership. This program offers exclusive deals to members, such as in-store discounts on bike shop and ski shop services at most locations. REI also gives its members an annual refund, which the retailer estimates is typically 10% back on eligible purchases. A lifetime REI membership costs $20.

The store also offers the REI MasterCard, available exclusively to REI members. It gives cardholders 5% back at REI, 2% back on groceries and 1% back everywhere else. Despite these benefits, as a general rule, the Nerds don’t recommend opening up retail store credit cards as a new line of credit.

REI coupons

Paying full price is overrated, especially when coupons are available. If you’re looking for a collection of official REI coupons, coupon codes, rebates and discounts, head to the store’s Promotions section.

If you’re new to REI, you could save even more. Add your email address to the retailer’s REI Gearmail membership list to get 15% off selected items.

Shipping and returns

Don’t want to ever step foot in an REI store? If you prefer to skip the lines and shop from home, REI has shipping and return policies that should satisfy the savviest online shopper. The rugged retailer offers free standard shipping with a $50 minimum purchase. Consider combining orders to get that perk.

If you’re dissatisfied with a purchase, REI offers an impressive one-year return policy. As long as you can show proof of purchase, you can return or exchange products at any retail location or by mail.

NerdWallet takes you shopping

Some retail store memberships are “take it or leave it,” but REI’s is one you should take: A lifetime of membership benefits is worth the $20. Maximize your savings by shopping during the Anniversary Sale, and always check for coupons before you make a purchase.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

This post was updated August 2, 2016. It was originally published August 28, 2015.

Image via iStock.