In some ways it seem like REI is trying to cover too many outdoor pursuits, and not serving their traditional core areas as well.
A full third of many regional stores is cycling gear. With the shoe and clothing sections it leaves limited space for Backpacking and Climbing gear.
There are some things they do very well. Water treatment options, sleeping pads, and stoves are still usually well stocked with lots of options.
REI has been slow in supporting light weight backpacking, with more focus on family campground gear. This year they now carrying Hyperlight Mountain Gear and the lighter Osprey packbacks which is encouraging.
REI is still best local source for outdoor gear. Ultimately their prices need to be competitive with the internet retailers.
Some gear like packs, pads, down sleeping bags, and tents are expensive. But there is no need to replace them for many years.
-------------- “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...” ― Henry David Thoreau
With REI's membership kickback, I can buy my shoes for less. I can't seem to find my size and preferred model on sale, ever, anywhere. The kickback makes me cheerier.
-------------- What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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