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Can anyone relate!

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
Even though I have all I need. A couple times a month I go to REI just to look, but it doesn't work I always buy more. Last week I went to the REI Flagship store in Seattle, I could spend hours in there. I almost bought another new pair of mid-top Altras even though I don't need them
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019)
That little comic is so true. The only way I can justify things is knowing I just have a small amount of gear. I’m a big person. I am 6 foot two 210 pounds with size 14 shoes. That is a US size. I know if I need something it’s tough to find it on the Camino. So I’d rather spend more and get good gear then have to worry. I walk just about every year so I’ve been using the same gear every year and I figure in the long run it will save me money.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Even though I have all I need. A couple times a month I go to REI just to look, but it doesn't work I always buy more. Last week I went to the REI Flagship store in Seattle, I could spend hours in there. I almost bought another new pair of mid-top Altras even though I don't need them
Does the Seattle store have more to offer than their other stores? I'll be in Seattle in a couple of weeks...
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I love going in person to REI, and I'm glad the closest one is over an hour from my home...🆒
You know Santa Monica is about twenty-five minutes away. And, eventhough it’s raining I might want to see the beach. And, well, four blocks from the beach is REI.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Lucky you! We are snowed in at the moment in Anacortes, but making road trip in a week or so down I-5 to see youngest son near Santa Monica. My early Christmas present to myself was a new Osprey Kestral 48 Liter Dragon Red backpack for my next CF when I turn 80 purchased from, where else? Ummmm hmmm.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've always been a little envious of all the REI talk on the forum by those who live nearby. I'm not so lucky, but I visited a friend in Kansas City, MO and she took me to the one she frequents. I loved it and came away with a "few" things I "truly needed"!
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
Does the Seattle store have more to offer than their other stores? I'll be in Seattle in a couple of weeks...
Yes. It's the biggest of all the stores and carries basically everything they sell (unlike the smaller stores, which only carry a selection). Worth going to (be sure to reserve a space on the climbing wall).
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
........when I realised I had five pairs of waterproof trousers, but only one pair of legs.
🙃🙃😁 But that is a mistake on your part! (The five pairs of waterproof trousers, I mean - not the one pair of legs.) I know what I have, and I don't have even one pair of collapsible walking poles. 😁😁
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I have a Post-it note in my wallet - "You don't need any more outdoor gear. No, seriously, you DON'T"
Brother of my grandmother was a member of the Parliament. He always put a note on the table when he spoke. When asked what was on the note, he showed them : "Remember, for f.cks sake: DON'T swear!"
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I am going to be a curmudgeon about REI, and vent a bit. :p

I posted this last year, but my curmudgeonly view hasn't changed. Periodically I will shop at REI for a specific item (the Sahara Pants and shirts are favorites), but I tend to avoid it otherwise.

Excuse me for a second. <VENT ON>

I am REI CO-OP member 25,707, and joined in 1965 at the age of 12 ... with my dad's permission and consent :). I still have that original card.

The reason for REI recommending ANYTHING has little to do with 'best practices' for climbing, biking, backpacking, hiking, or trekking as far as knowledge about the current and proven state of the art (which does not have to mean expensive, btw) in equipment and clothing and techniques.

It has to do with what they choose to stock in their stores, which -- at least for the big gear and clothing items -- is tremendously affected by negotiations and agreements with manufacturers. Like Walmart, if manufacturers wish access to REI's huge buyer base, they need to accept REI's conditions, which among other things, cuts the wholesale product costs to REI, and certifies an ability to meet inventory supply for its stores.

Today's REI is hardly recognizable to what REI was in the first 30 years of its existence, some of that time under the management of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest. This was at a time when REI led the bleeding edge of climbing, backpacking, and hiking gear. They actually worked with cottage manufacturers and new companies who were innovating the gear and clothing at a furious pace, trying to provide lighter and more resilient gear than the normal Army surplus store stuff that was so prevalent to that point in time.

From the original Coop store lodgings to the move into the large, refurbished, multi-story warehouse which was where REI really began to take off, no one at REI ever conceived that it would become a chain retailer and turn its back on the original concepts that brought it to life.

Anyone who spent time going to that old warehouse knows what I mean when I say that these 'new' stores are seemingly sterile places, minus the soul which made going to REI more of a 'pilgrimage' than a simple shopping event.

Now, I look at an REI and it is no different, in my mind, than shopping at Amazon or Costco. In fact, most of the items at REI have such high markups, that it is usually a better bargain to shop elsewhere. Yes, yes, I know about the vaunted REI guarantee, but most of the really innovative industry equipment manufacturers will match REI in that regard. ULA is one example.

I have spent some quantity of time at ULA's shop and warehouse in Logan, Utah. The first time I was invited to visit, I came away with the same sense of feeling I used to get when visiting the early REI. During that visit, the owner was actually on the phone with a customer quickly agreeing to replace a pack sent out 6 months prior, with a different model from their backpack lineup because the customer couldn't get used to the 'feel' of the pack. When I asked about why he did it, he just grinned and told me that he had not only made a lifelong customer, but that this would bring in even more customers based on word of mouth. Plus, he said, the returned pack will be refurbished to a near new condition and be put up for sale on their discount listings.

Does REI carry ULA? Nope. Nor Gossamer Gear, or ZPacks, or Mountain Laurel Designs, or ..... REI doesn't carry the bleeding edge and innovative stuff anymore. Nor does its sales staff usually ignore what the store inventory carries when recommending gear, regardless of what exists elsewhere and regardless of the superiority of gear not available thru REI.

Does that mean that one should avoid shopping at REI? Nope. The above was simply to give background as to why REI recommendations are no longer the gold standard, and should be taken with a grain of salt. REI does have some good stuff: I like their Sahara shirts and lightweight zip-offs, for example; they are within the range of a lot of very lightweight clothing options. Although Kuhl makes a long sleeved, button up backpacking shirt that is the standard to beat, IMHO.

<VENT OFF>
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I agree with @davebugg My relationship with REI just began about 3 years ago, when I started planning my first Camino, but in that time I've noticed less variety, at least in my local store. (which is why I asked about the flagship store in Seattle) If you want a backpack it's Osprey or Gregory, or a few models of Deuter, which is why I have purchased my backpacks online.
 

Juanajoanna

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to bike spring 2017
Have to agree with @davebugg. I also joined years ago in Seattle, when the store was truly a smelly dump. I remember being shocked when I saw the first “Flagship” store. The coop was founded as a way for outdoor enthusiasts with not too much money to pool resources and get bulk deals. Now it is like a Nordstrom.
I do believe that in general, the employees are very knowledgeable about their product lines, because they live the life.
Im not sure when they switched to a for profit take-over-the-world mentality. Probably in the late 1980’s or 1990’s.
That said I still love to go and browse all the departments.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Luckily for me my walking approach is minimalist which stops me buying more gear. I’m currently in the process of applying the philosophy to books and wool and fountain pens;-) For those items, the cartoon could well be true.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Luckily for me my walking approach is minimalist which stops me buying more gear. I’m currently in the process of applying the philosophy to books and wool and fountain pens;-) For those items, the cartoon could well be true.
Especially wool and books
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way, 2016 & 2019 SJPDP to Santiago, 2020 Porto to Santiago
Sorry, not in Australia!
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
I bought collapsible poles online. Not right.
Without naming the brand, could you please tell us what is not right about the poles you bought on line? There seems to be quite a selection of poles at MEC, but I am still having a difficult time making a decision.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
There are really telescopic not collasible.

They adjust to near backpack storage size to walking height.

But, when I walk I like the poles which fold into three easy parts when I wish to carry them or unfold easily when I need them.
 

Caligal

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 4- May 12, 2018
CF Sept 10-27 2019
CP Sept 28- Oct12 2019
C Finisterre Oct 16-Oct 20
I am going to be a curmudgeon about REI, and vent a bit. :p

I posted this last year, but my curmudgeonly view hasn't changed. Periodically I will shop at REI for a specific item (the Sahara Pants and shirts are favorites), but I tend to avoid it otherwise.

Excuse me for a second. <VENT ON>

I am REI CO-OP member 25,707, and joined in 1965 at the age of 12 ... with my dad's permission and consent :). I still have that original card.

The reason for REI recommending ANYTHING has little to do with 'best practices' for climbing, biking, backpacking, hiking, or trekking as far as knowledge about the current and proven state of the art (which does not have to mean expensive, btw) in equipment and clothing and techniques.

It has to do with what they choose to stock in their stores, which -- at least for the big gear and clothing items -- is tremendously affected by negotiations and agreements with manufacturers. Like Walmart, if manufacturers wish access to REI's huge buyer base, they need to accept REI's conditions, which among other things, cuts the wholesale product costs to REI, and certifies an ability to meet inventory supply for its stores.

Today's REI is hardly recognizable to what REI was in the first 30 years of its existence, some of that time under the management of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest. This was at a time when REI led the bleeding edge of climbing, backpacking, and hiking gear. They actually worked with cottage manufacturers and new companies who were innovating the gear and clothing at a furious pace, trying to provide lighter and more resilient gear than the normal Army surplus store stuff that was so prevalent to that point in time.

From the original Coop store lodgings to the move into the large, refurbished, multi-story warehouse which was where REI really began to take off, no one at REI ever conceived that it would become a chain retailer and turn its back on the original concepts that brought it to life.

Anyone who spent time going to that old warehouse knows what I mean when I say that these 'new' stores are seemingly sterile places, minus the soul which made going to REI more of a 'pilgrimage' than a simple shopping event.

Now, I look at an REI and it is no different, in my mind, than shopping at Amazon or Costco. In fact, most of the items at REI have such high markups, that it is usually a better bargain to shop elsewhere. Yes, yes, I know about the vaunted REI guarantee, but most of the really innovative industry equipment manufacturers will match REI in that regard. ULA is one example.

I have spent some quantity of time at ULA's shop and warehouse in Logan, Utah. The first time I was invited to visit, I came away with the same sense of feeling I used to get when visiting the early REI. During that visit, the owner was actually on the phone with a customer quickly agreeing to replace a pack sent out 6 months prior, with a different model from their backpack lineup because the customer couldn't get used to the 'feel' of the pack. When I asked about why he did it, he just grinned and told me that he had not only made a lifelong customer, but that this would bring in even more customers based on word of mouth. Plus, he said, the returned pack will be refurbished to a near new condition and be put up for sale on their discount listings.

Does REI carry ULA? Nope. Nor Gossamer Gear, or ZPacks, or Mountain Laurel Designs, or ..... REI doesn't carry the bleeding edge and innovative stuff anymore. Nor does its sales staff usually ignore what the store inventory carries when recommending gear, regardless of what exists elsewhere and regardless of the superiority of gear not available thru REI.

Does that mean that one should avoid shopping at REI? Nope. The above was simply to give background as to why REI recommendations are no longer the gold standard, and should be taken with a grain of salt. REI does have some good stuff: I like their Sahara shirts and lightweight zip-offs, for example; they are within the range of a lot of very lightweight clothing options. Although Kuhl makes a long sleeved, button up backpacking shirt that is the standard to beat, IMHO.

<VENT OFF>
When i wanted to order pants from Kuhl $80. shipping ( from i think Nevada) was around $10. Lets see $10 for lightweight item sent in envelope stuffed in my mail box from hundreds of miles away. When i voiced my objection looking for free shipping i was told Kuhl has an agreement with REI not to offer free ship to keep their prices competitive. I went with Patagonia.
 

witsendwv

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
Even though I have all I need. A couple times a month I go to REI just to look, but it doesn't work I always buy more. Last week I went to the REI Flagship store in Seattle, I could spend hours in there. I almost bought another new pair of mid-top Altras even though I don't need them
If you know what size you wear in Altras- wait until July and shop on their website. Great sale- that is when we buy new!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
When i wanted to order pants from Kuhl $80. shipping ( from i think Nevada) was around $10. Lets see $10 for lightweight item sent in envelope stuffed in my mail box from hundreds of miles away. When i voiced my objection looking for free shipping i was told Kuhl has an agreement with REI not to offer free ship to keep their prices competitive. I went with Patagonia.
Yeah... I can see that. As the manufacturer, Kuhl doesn't want to directly compete with the larger vendors they are under contract with :(. That's why it's hard to shop with a lot of wholesalers IF they also sell to the retail market. They won't discount the product and they won't cover the shipping. Not all are like that, but many are.

I have found that online retail vendors, like Backcountry, will do the free shipping with Kuhl products and often beat REI prices when I have shopped around Google. Plus, the return process is as simple as REI's as well.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I've always been a little envious of all the REI talk on the forum by those who live nearby. I'm not so lucky, but I visited a friend in Kansas City, MO and she took me to the one she frequents. I loved it and came away with a "few" things I "truly needed"!
I am going to be a curmudgeon about REI, and vent a bit. :p

I posted this last year, but my curmudgeonly view hasn't changed. Periodically I will shop at REI for a specific item (the Sahara Pants and shirts are favorites), but I tend to avoid it otherwise.

Excuse me for a second. <VENT ON>

I am REI CO-OP member 25,707, and joined in 1965 at the age of 12 ... with my dad's permission and consent :). I still have that original card.

The reason for REI recommending ANYTHING has little to do with 'best practices' for climbing, biking, backpacking, hiking, or trekking as far as knowledge about the current and proven state of the art (which does not have to mean expensive, btw) in equipment and clothing and techniques.

It has to do with what they choose to stock in their stores, which -- at least for the big gear and clothing items -- is tremendously affected by negotiations and agreements with manufacturers. Like Walmart, if manufacturers wish access to REI's huge buyer base, they need to accept REI's conditions, which among other things, cuts the wholesale product costs to REI, and certifies an ability to meet inventory supply for its stores.

Today's REI is hardly recognizable to what REI was in the first 30 years of its existence, some of that time under the management of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest. This was at a time when REI led the bleeding edge of climbing, backpacking, and hiking gear. They actually worked with cottage manufacturers and new companies who were innovating the gear and clothing at a furious pace, trying to provide lighter and more resilient gear than the normal Army surplus store stuff that was so prevalent to that point in time.

From the original Coop store lodgings to the move into the large, refurbished, multi-story warehouse which was where REI really began to take off, no one at REI ever conceived that it would become a chain retailer and turn its back on the original concepts that brought it to life.

Anyone who spent time going to that old warehouse knows what I mean when I say that these 'new' stores are seemingly sterile places, minus the soul which made going to REI more of a 'pilgrimage' than a simple shopping event.

Now, I look at an REI and it is no different, in my mind, than shopping at Amazon or Costco. In fact, most of the items at REI have such high markups, that it is usually a better bargain to shop elsewhere. Yes, yes, I know about the vaunted REI guarantee, but most of the really innovative industry equipment manufacturers will match REI in that regard. ULA is one example.

I have spent some quantity of time at ULA's shop and warehouse in Logan, Utah. The first time I was invited to visit, I came away with the same sense of feeling I used to get when visiting the early REI. During that visit, the owner was actually on the phone with a customer quickly agreeing to replace a pack sent out 6 months prior, with a different model from their backpack lineup because the customer couldn't get used to the 'feel' of the pack. When I asked about why he did it, he just grinned and told me that he had not only made a lifelong customer, but that this would bring in even more customers based on word of mouth. Plus, he said, the returned pack will be refurbished to a near new condition and be put up for sale on their discount listings.

Does REI carry ULA? Nope. Nor Gossamer Gear, or ZPacks, or Mountain Laurel Designs, or ..... REI doesn't carry the bleeding edge and innovative stuff anymore. Nor does its sales staff usually ignore what the store inventory carries when recommending gear, regardless of what exists elsewhere and regardless of the superiority of gear not available thru REI.

Does that mean that one should avoid shopping at REI? Nope. The above was simply to give background as to why REI recommendations are no longer the gold standard, and should be taken with a grain of salt. REI does have some good stuff: I like their Sahara shirts and lightweight zip-offs, for example; they are within the range of a lot of very lightweight clothing options. Although Kuhl makes a long sleeved, button up backpacking shirt that is the standard to beat, IMHO.

<VENT OFF>
So, Chris, based on what our guru @davebugg says, those of us who live in rural Illinois are actually lucky not to be near a REI store! We’ve got the forum with its recommendations, and online shopping. So though the returns may be more of a hassle, we will be fine without an REI (and Trader Joe’s, and Costco’s, and Whole Foods, but I digress.....)
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
So, Chris, based on what our guru @davebugg says, those of us who live in rural Illinois are actually lucky not to be near a REI store! We’ve got the forum with its recommendations, and online shopping. So though the returns may be more of a hassle, we will be fine without an REI (and Trader Joe’s, and Costco’s, and Whole Foods, but I digress.....)
Well, do you at least have a Sprouts and Walmart?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
So, Chris, based on what our guru @davebugg says, those of us who live in rural Illinois are actually lucky not to be near a REI store! We’ve got the forum with its recommendations, and online shopping. So though the returns may be more of a hassle, we will be fine without an REI (and Trader Joe’s, and Costco’s, and Whole Foods, but I digress.....)
Yep, Laurie, we've had none of those stores around and we still survive and find ways to eat healthy anyway! Everything you say is true! That said, I did enjoy my "one time" visit to see what all the REI hubbub was about!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Walmarts, oh do we have Walmarts. 3 within in five miles of my house, and my town is under 100,000. But Sprouts... I had to google it, only to find that there is a preschool called Sprouts, and a therapy center called Sprouts, but I realize that is not what you meant!
My Kansas City, Missouri camino friend often talks sbout "Sprouts" too...food related, that is!
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Walmarts, oh do we have Walmarts. 3 within in five miles of my house, and my town is under 100,000. But Sprouts... I had to google it, only to find that there is a preschool called Sprouts, and a therapy center called Sprouts, but I realize that is not what you meant!
Sprouts grocery store.

Great for popsicle lamb chops.

And, Paleo diet cookbooks.

Lots of Wally’s.

I have to drive twenty to thirty minutes for a Walmart. Not a single one in Los Angeles. Well, maybe the Valley has one.

Anyway, I need new poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2019) Frances
I'm a native of Seattle and I agree with davebugg 100%. I live in a little town in north Idaho now and have shopped at a nearby REI in eastern Washington and found the staff to be few and far between, and not very helpful.
 

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