17 things from REI that make traveling easier
Don't go on your next adventure without these items
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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
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.
2. These comfy socks that protect your heels
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.
3. A lightweight rain jacket for impromptu showers
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.
- Get The North Face Venture 2 Jacket—Men’s at REI for $99
- Get The North Face Venture 2 Jacket—Women’s at REI for $119
4. Pants that can turn into shorts
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.
5. Hiking pants that are as comfy as sweatpants
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.
6. A speaker that clips onto your backpack
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.
7. A blanket that literally fits in your pocket
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.
8. This straw that lets you drink from puddles
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.
9. A soft cooler that can hold your favorite drinks
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.
10. A solar panel that provides on-the-go power
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.
11. A flat toiletry bottle you can fly with
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.”
12. These tiny travel containers perfect for light packers
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.
13. A durable set of packing cubes
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.
14. A highly rated backpack from The North Face
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.
15. A bag that allows you to wash clothing
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.”
16. These durable travel containers
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.
17. A quick-drying travel towel
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.”
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.