Lifestyle

17 things from REI that make traveling easier

Don't go on your next adventure without these items

17 things from REI that make traveling easier Credit: REI

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Deciding what to take on a trip is never easy. You want to be prepared, but not over pack; you should travel light, but still have the necessities you need to stay organized while on the go. Then there’s unexpected weather, unexpected delays, and hopefully some unexpected adventures that require extra juice in your phone, the beach towel you left behind, and maybe even a tiny little speaker to fill the air around your journey with that one song that inspired you to go in the first place.

Luckily, REI has you covered for whatever trip you’re planning to take. Packing cubes for a backpacking trip to Europe? Check. A sturdy cooler for a fishing trip with the family? Check. Even a way to wash your clothes when you’re 500 miles from the nearest washing machine? Yep, check. REI knows adventure, and the items below are some of the very best travel products available right now to make sure you’re packed, ready, and prepared for whatever this big, beautiful world throws your way.

1. A duffle bag for any occasion

Duffle bag
Credit: The North Face

Forget bringing hard-shell bags on your trip—bring a high-quality duffle instead.

Though roller bags are having a serious moment thanks to Instagram-friendly brands like Away, a durable duffle bag should not be overlooked, and no shocker, but The North Face has a great version. The Base Camp Duffel holds up to 50 liters of clothes and other supplies that are protected with a weather-resistant zipper flap. The bag has an interior zippered compartment while an exterior, end-cap pocket is perfect for tucking away smaller objects. Unlike most duffles, the standout feature of this bag is detachable shoulder straps that allow it to easily transform into a backpack.

Get The North Face Base Camp Duffel at REI for $120

2. These comfy socks that protect your heels

Smartwool
Credit: Smartwool

Blister-free hiking? Sign me up.

Whether you’re hiking the Rockies or just hiking through the airport, a comfortable pair of socks is necessary to keep your feet breathing and free of moisture. This pair made from Merino wool will do just that, all while protecting your feet from chafing. One five-star review noted that these unisex crew socks are “great for daily use in cold weather,” meaning they’re the perfect pair to pack for you next winter vacation.

Get the Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks at REI for $21.95

3. A lightweight rain jacket for impromptu showers

Rain jacket
Credit: The North Face

You can't travel outdoors without a rain jacket.

No matter where you’re traveling, a rain jacket is a necessity that should live in your suitcase, but not take up too much room. This lightweight version from The North Face is the perfect year-round option with a breathable zips in the armpits and a waterproof, DryVent 2.5-layer shell. Available in multiple colors for both men and women, this jacket is versatile, sturdy, and even packs down into its own pockets to create the perfect portable pouch.

4. Pants that can turn into shorts

Cargo pants
Credit: KUHL

Why pack pants and shorts when you could pack one pair that turns into both?

Having a versatile pair of pants is essential for exploring the four corners for the world, and Renegade has created a pair that’s both durable and comfortable. Made with Duralux fabric that’s 95% Nylon and 5% spandex, these pants feel like cotton but are breathable and repel water. With built-in UPF 50 sun protection, they’ll protect you from the elements, but when it starts to get too hot, simply unzip the bottom half to transform the pants into shorts.

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Get the KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants at REI for $99

5. Hiking pants that are as comfy as sweatpants

Aphrodite pants
Credit: The North Face

Buy these pants for travel, but don't feel bad once you start wearing them for running errands.

The perfect pair of women’s pants to wear on the trail, the plane, or just about any other daily activity, the North Face Aphrodite 2.0 is as affordable as it is versatile. Made with elastic stretch and drawcords in the leg and waistband, these pants were designed to provide flexible comfort throughout the day. “Buy these in every color ASAP,” one reviewer wrote, and lucky for you they’re available in six different color options.

Get The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants starting at $48.93

6. A speaker that clips onto your backpack

JBL
Credit: JBL

This portable speaker can help you jam while hiking.

No journey is complete without a little music, and bringing your favorite sounds is easier than ever with this Bluetooth speaker that’s waterproof up to 1 meter and offers up to 10 hours of playtime on one charge. Use the built-in carabiner to clip to your backpack or coat to carry the sound with you—or, even better, use the wireless daisy chain to link multiple speakers together.

Get the JBL Clip 3 Portable Speaker for $69.95

7. A blanket that literally fits in your pocket

Pocket blanket
Credit: Matador

Get cold easily? Pack this pocket-sized blanket in your duffle.

From music festivals to lush, green parks, having a comfortable and portable blanket is a must to enjoy the great outdoors. This handy blanket is small enough to fold up and fit into a fanny pack, according to one REI customer, and is even perfect to spread out in the airport during long layovers or delays. Though it can fit up to four adults, this compact blanket with built-in corner stakes folds up into roughly the size of a deck of cards.

Get the Matador Pocket Blanket at REI for $30

8. This straw that lets you drink from puddles

Lifestraw
Credit: Lifestraw

Forget your water bottle? No worries—bring a filter with you.

No matter where you’re traveling, there’s one thing you always need—clean water. Whether you’re trekking to another country or camping with friends, carrying a portable water filter is a great call. The LifeStraw Water Filter has a cult-following, and our Ecomm Editor Courtney Campbell swears by its quality.

Get the LifeStraw Water Filter at REI for $19.95

9. A soft cooler that can hold your favorite drinks

Yeti Cooler
Credit: Yeti

This highly rated cooler is a buyer favorite for a reason.

It’s safe to say that people love Yeti coolers, and the brand’s cult following swears by every single one of their products. For people just getting introduced to Yeti or simply looking for a small, sturdy cooler, the Hopper Flip 12 is easily the best on the market. Made with “Waterproof, tough-as-nails DryHide,” this cooler is guaranteed to stay ice-cold, intact, and ready for action. A handy shoulder strap makes it extremely portable while Yeti’s HitchPoint grid lets you add accessories, like a bottle opener, that are sold separately.

Get the YETI Hopper FLip 12 Soft Cooler at REI for $250

10. A solar panel that provides on-the-go power

Solar panel
Credit: Goal Zero

Charge your devices without scrounging for an outlet.

The biggest problem with portable USB chargers is that, well, they have to be charged. But that’s all changed thanks to this convenient and portable charger that’s powered by the sun. Perfect for backpackers and campers, this solar panel will charge the majority of 12v devices like phones, and GPS systems, though not bigger devices like tables. Offering smart charging features, the Nomad 7 Plus optimizes the amount of energy delivered to each device and has a handy detachable kickstand for easy charging.

Get the Goal Zero nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel at REI for $99.95

11. A flat toiletry bottle you can fly with

Toiletry bag
Credit: Matador

This bag is perfect for carrying (and storing) your necessary toiletries.

This TSA-approved bottle is made to hold your favorite liquid or gel products (toothpaste, hair gel, bodywash) while you’re on the go. Made of nylon, this leak-proof bag holds up to 3 fluid ounces and a handy snap loop makes it easy to attach to a bigger bag or dopp kit. “The perfect solution to toiletry travel,” one revier wrote, adding that it’s “easy to fill, easy to use.”

Get the Matador FlatPak Toiletry Bottle at REI for $12.95

12. These tiny travel containers perfect for light packers

Containers
Credit: humangear

These hard-shell containers are great for carrying small knick-knacks, like safety pins, buttons, and mints.

Not all travel containers are made the same, especially after taking a look at humangear’s Go Tubb containers. Designed to easily open with one hand by simply squeezing the sides until the lid pops up, they’re perfect to put those easy-to-lose items like ear plugs, pills, guitar picks, safety pins, and more. REI customers have also used these durable containers for jewelry, coffee grounds, mints, nail clippers, and sewing kits.

Get the humangear GoTubb Containers at REI for $9.95

13. A durable set of packing cubes

Eagle creek
Credit: Eagle Creek

Packing cubes can save you an immense amount of space while packing.

Whether you’re new to packing cubes or a seasoned pro, this set from Eagle Creek gets the job done. In fact, it’s one of the best sets we’ve tested. The three piece set comes with a cube, half cube, and quarter cube to help divide your bag into easily manageable sections. The mesh top lets you easily see what’s packed away in each cube while the double zipper makes it easy to close, even if you’ve overpacked.

Get the Eagle Creek Original Pack-It Cube Set at REI for $27.95

14. A highly rated backpack from The North Face

Backpack
Credit: The North Face

Invest in a durable backpack before you go camping.

With over 500 5-star reviews at REI, this women’s backpack holds up to 27 liters of gear, including a protective compartment for a laptop and organized front pocket with a separate padded area for a tablet. The North Face’s FlexVent suspension gives the bag sturdy, yet flexible shoulder straps and a padded back panel. Keep your glasses safe in an external, fleece-lined pocket while a large side compartment is perfect for a water bottle. Available in four colors, this backpack is stylish, timeless, and great for your next adventure.

Get The North Face Borealis Pack at REI for $89

15. A bag that allows you to wash clothing

Scrubba
Credit: Scrubba

Stop washing clothes in the creek and calling it "authentic."

This bag is a washing machine on the go—all you have to do to keep your clothes fresh is fill this bag with your dirty clothes, soap and water, then seal it up and rub it. Using a method that’s “a modern take on the old fashioned washboard,” this compact bag saves time and money on washing wherever your travels take you. Though it will never replace a real washing machine, one reviewer said, “It got my clothes surprisingly clean and fresh smelling and was super useful when I was in remote hostels that didn’t have laundry facilities.”

Get the Scrubba Wash Bag at REI for $49.95

16. These durable travel containers

Squeeze bottles
Credit: humangear

These squeeze bottles are perfect for toiletries.

With strict TSA regulations, you never have to throw away your favorite bathroom products again thanks to these 2.5 fluid ounce squeeze bottles. These silicone bottles have large openings for easy filling and no-drip valves to prevent leaks in your bag and wasting products after squeezing. A handy LoopLock system lets you easily hang the bottles while a textured collar gives you a dedicated space to label each bottle with the product inside. Sold in a set of three, these bottles are dishwasher safe and 100% BPA-free.

Get the humangear GOToob+ Medium Squeeze Bottles at REI for $23.95

17. A quick-drying travel towel

Travel towel
Credit: Nomadix

Don't use your dirty shirts as towels anymore.

A good travel towel serves many purposes: it’s ready for a hostel bathroom, the beach, a last-minute fitness class, or a camping trip in the mountains. Offered in four patterns and made with recycled material, this towel is totally compact to take on the road and designed to stop the growth of odor-causing bacteria. One customer who gave the product five stars said, “It dried me off amazingly well and took up half the space of my usual towel.”

Get the Nomadix Uinta Towel - Single-Sided at REI for $39.95

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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