18 last-minute gifts you can still get from REI
From adventure classes to camping gear, REI's got you covered
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Shopping for gifts can be fun, or it can be exhausting. If you're the type of person to put it off until the last possible minute, rest assured that I'm right there with you. But the holidays are approaching quickly, and we’re inching toward that window of panic where visions of sugarplums might be replaced by visions of apologetic IOUs. Never fear! We’ve got some rock solid gift options that you can be wrapping in just a few days.
We already knew that REI is a great place to find cool, unique, and useful gifts for the outdoorsy people in our lives. But you don't have to be a big time hiker or snowboarder to appreciate what REI has to offer. Their collection is the perfect combination of practical and fun. Plus, if you order online by 9am PST on 12/20, your gifts will arrive before Christmas.
We’ve put together a list of last-minute gifts from REI that should delight everyone on your list.
1. A water bottle for anyone, anywhere
Hydro Flasks are ultra popular for a reason. My Hydro Flask is the only water bottle I’ve ever been able to confidently say I love. Hot drinks stay hot, cold drinks stay cold. Simple. We’ve been enthusiasts for a while, and we’re not alone—between Hydro Flask’s amazing functionality and its popularity as an accessory, this is a gift that could work for absolutely anyone.
REI reviewer Fly Swatter writes, "After hours of hiking and fly fishing, there is nothing nicer than to have a drink of ice cold water at the end of a long day! Coffee, tea, soup, or stew stays hot for hours—a hot beverage or hot meal cooked at home is a nice treat on the trail—the Hydro Flask makes that possible."
If you’re more worried about design than temperature control, take a look at some of REI’s adorable Nalgenes, too!
2. These touchscreen gloves that are both cozy and functional
It’s hard to say no to a new pair of gloves, especially when it’s one that’s compatible with your smartphone. These gloves from Smartwool are made from wool and acrylic, so they’re both soft and warm—ideal for the winter months. Reviewers say these gloves work well as standalone hand warmers and as layers when paired with hiking or work gloves.
3. This cult-favorite outdoor chair
You don’t have to be an avid fisherman or woman to enjoy this comfy outdoor chair from REI Co-op. It has a 4.3-star rating over more than 500 reviews, with users saying it’s a great, sturdy chair that can withstand the elements, whether you’re using it for camping or tailgating. The chair packs up easily and fits within most travel bags. When compact, it measures 4.5 by 15 inches. It makes an amazing last-minute gift for anyone on your list who enjoys outdoor adventuring, even if that just means briefly sitting outside to read in the summer.
4. A light for when all other lights go out
These aren’t your typical battery-powered string lights that run out of juice in two weeks (or become the cat’s new favorite toy). These lights are sturdy, bright, and solar-powered.
Reviewer Mond627 says, “I love the color—light yellow instead of the traditional bright white.” These lights are bright, but not harsh. It’s basically like giving someone the feeling of being in a cozy bedroom, whether they’re hanging out by a creek or setting up on the back porch.
5. A homey alternative to plastic wrap
Don’t tell anyone, but I’m giving my whole family beeswax wrap this Christmas. It’s one of those gifts that checks all the boxes: it’s thoughtful, it’s sustainable, and it’s something your loved ones can actually use. Got someone in your life who wants to go green? This stocking stuffer can help them get there. There’s also just something nice about wrapping your food up with care.
6. Great winter socks for the person who values comfort
The gift that literally cannot go wrong: a good pair of socks. (Okay, let’s amend that to “the gift that cannot go wrong for a discerning adult.”) We have a lot of opinions about socks, but no sock talk would be complete without this classic for winter sports fanatics.
These socks are warm enough to get a loved one through the roughest winters, and comfy enough to double as slippers when they’re lounging at home. "I've worn these through the wettest of seasons and have accidentally fully submerged my feet in water," writes buyer Giang. "These wick moisture like no other, they would be dry in 15 minutes while wearing them.”
7. A tote bag for fashion trailblazers
Gifting accessories can be tricky. Fashion is so personal—how can you tell if the gift will actually be used and appreciated? Here are my tips: make it functional, and make it cute. This bag is both, and perfect for the dreamy, trail-loving person in your life. Not sure it’s quite their style? No worries, REI has options!
8. For the person with their eyes on the prize
Know someone who loves watching the winter wildlife? These binoculars can take birdwatching to the next level. Reviewers love how light these binoculars are and how easy they are to focus. These should satisfy both the local hiker and the world traveler—according to the reviews, they’ve definitely been used by both!
9. A throwback survival kit to help in any bind
Whether you'd describe your loved one's adventures as "exciting" or "dangerous," this survival kit makes the perfect little gift. It's compact enough for a light packer, without sacrificing any of the survival essentials.
"This is the rare emergency kit with no filler," reviewer Gement writes. "Every item is practical, and it unusually includes water purification, which becomes a survival need much sooner than people realize." Pair it with REI’s first aid guide to really get the point across.
10. Cozy games for the whole family
Is your family more of an organized trivia bunch, or a rowdy Jenga crowd? Either way, REI's got you covered. Games make a great gift because you can put them to use right away. Not only are you gifting something that can be used in the future, you’re also giving the collective gift of a more family-oriented holiday. One reviewer agrees, writing that National Park Jenga is "Great fun watching my 30+ year old children playing this at Christmas.”
- Get JENGA National Parks Edition from REI for $19.95
- Get Wild + Wolf Ultimate Pop Culture Trivia from REI for $10.00
11. Enamel pins to personalize a camping backpack
Enamel pins are so trendy, they'd make a fun gift for just about anyone. These adorable pins would be especially thoughtful for a young hiker looking to show off some flair on the trail. They’re made from raised metal and enamel fill, so they’re sturdy enough to handle everyday commuting. They fit perfectly on backpacks, duffel bags, and travel totes, making them ideal for just about every adventurer on your list.
12. A guide for the aspiring campground cook
This rugged book is a crucial reminder that campground cuisine doesn't have to be limited to hot dogs and beans. More than a cookbook, "Cooking With Fire" includes both recipes and information on how to set up a cooking fire in the wilderness.
Reviewer Jeri writes, "I can't begin to describe all the helpful information and details mapped out in this book. Not only are you given delicious fire recipes, there’s also varying ways to cook with fire, explanations of techniques, and even how to make your own fire oven! I am in love and can't wait to make more."
13. The best multi-tool knife on the market
I probably don’t need to tell you that a multi-tool knife is useful—that much is in this name. But the Leatherman in particular has a real cult following.
Buyers rave about this tool’s convenience, sleekness, and reliability. And we agree with them! This year, we named the Leatherman Wave+ as the overall best multitool on the market, beating out stiff competition.
14. This foam roller that will change your workout routine
I’m speaking as a convert here—foam rolling is one of those things that sounds niche until you try it. Foam rolling is amazing for relieving muscle tension, working out knots, and preventing injury. It’s equally useful for people with highly active lifestyles, and those of us who get sore from sitting at a desk all day. It’s like giving someone the gift of a massage whenever they want it, but a lot cheaper.
This roller from TriggerPoint was one of our favorites of 2019. We especially loved how firm and dense it is, meaning it worked well and lasted longer than some other options.
15. A hammock for the person who loves to relax, wherever they are
This might be the ideal hammock: strong and sturdy, but also lightweight enough to stuff into a backpack and take with you. This is an awesome gift for a college student who could use it to relax on the campus green, or for a serious hiker, who could use it in place of a tent.
Reviewer Will Hardaway speaks to this: "What a game changer! It packs down to the size of a grapefruit and weighs about half as much. Paired it with the helios suspension system and you've got a comfortable, lightweight sleeping setup that you can put up where tents wouldn't be feasible." On top of that, it comes in a bunch of designs, so it should suit plenty of styles (I’m a fan of the “Hops” design, myself).
16. A hydration waistpack for thirsty runners
To anyone who is still trying to figure out what to give me this holiday season: this, please. A good hydration waistpack is a lifesaver for those of us who can’t run more than five minutes without gasping for water. And reviewers love this one, pointing out that it has plenty of room without getting too bulky.
“The pocket holds plenty,” writes reviewer Runtribe. “You're not struggling to get stuff in and out. Phone, earbud case, gel/keys, dog bags. This is my go-to pack when I'm not going out that long, don't want to wear my vest but do want water and/or a place for my phone/stuff.”
17. An atlas designed for road trips
Is this a genius gift idea, or do I just get lost easily? I’m going with genius idea. National Geographic’s road atlas isn’t just a map—it also includes top destinations for different cities, information on National Parks, and contact information for tourist offices. For someone considering a road trip, this could be an indispensable tool.
Reviewers gush over the atlas, mentioning that on top of being full of great information, it’s also made of durable material, so it won’t get destroyed under the front seat.
18. Something for the person who has everything
And finally, a present for the hardest person on your list. Some folks are just inherently difficult to shop for. I'm talking about the people who don't have a wish list and insist they don't need any more things. This laid-back attitude might be working great for them, but doesn't make holiday shopping any easier.
But hark! A solution: gifts of experience! REI offers a bunch of incredible classes in topics like outdoor sports, camping, navigation, and photography. Check out what’s happening locally. You might find the perfect gift for the notoriously gift-adverse.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.