REI stands for Recreation Equipment, Incorporated – a company devoted to providing outstanding equipment and training for everything related for the great outdoors. They started off simply as a group of nature enthusiast who shared a passion for outdoors activities and equipment, and since then evolved into a huge brand that consists of 140 retail shops in 33 states and a large number of internet stores and catalogues.
REI was founded in 1938, when Lyod and Mary Anderson bought a high quality Austrian pickaxe to serve them on their mountaineering trips. Soon enough they started thinking about setting up a company that could help people at home to acquire sporting good of similarly high quality at affordable prices. Company’s success followed their intention precisely as they wanted too, and soon REI became the leading name in serious mountaineering, climbing and backpacking industries. Jim Whittaker, first American citizen to climb on top of Mount Everest, served as the company’s CEO during the 60s, and was hired as the company’s first full time employee. During the 1980s they slowly shifted their focus from specialized mountaineering, climbing and backpacking gear to the more family oriented outdoors sports such as bicycle riding, kayaking and hiking, as well as sporting outfits and various clothing items.
Recreation Equipment, Incorporated takes pride in its co-op essence, they provide many special benefits for their members. Lifetime membership in REI costs 20$, and with it come a vast array of benefits. Members usually get a dividend check that equals 10% of the amount they spent on regular goods in their stores. The refund can be taken as cash or used as credit in one of their stores. Members also obtain access to REI damaged, used and returned goods at the Used Gear Sales, as well as discounts on rentals, discount coupons, special shipping deals and even rock wall access at some stores. If you are interested in outdoor sports and related skills but do not know where to start learning all about them, REI is the perfect place to start. Beside their offer of large quantity of top tier merchandise, they also provide teaching services in many different activities and skills. You can become an expert kayaker by taking their paddling class, or learn all the skills you need for camping, get familiar with natural remedies in their wilderness medicine class, or learn to climb mountains and cliffs. Registration process for events they organize is extremely easy; you can set parameters such as distance from your home, location, and what type of activity you want to be a part of – and they will show you everything that matches those parameters. It is easy to buy their products online too, there is a retail online store and everything you need to do is place items in a virtual shopping cart, confirm your order and wait until the items you ordered arrive straight to your front door. They have a truly impressive catalogue, everything from clothes to sports gear and camping equipment.