Now’s the best time to buy winter gear. The season might be winding down, but the savings are substantial. When I had to buy all my mountain climbing equipment as a budding mountain climber years ago, it was during the annual end-of-winter sales. Plan a few months ahead and you could save some serious money.
Updated February 25: REI’s winter clearance sale is over, but many items remain on sale, and Backcountry’s and Moosejaw’s winter clearance sales are still going. I’ve
crossed out some sold-out items, re-added some that have come back into stock, updated pricing, and added five new deals.
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- REI Flash 18 Pack for $20 ($20 off): Taking a big, bloated pack on a day hike is unnecessary suffering. For a quick “get outside” bag, the Flash 18 is one of our favorites because it’s lightweight and cheap, but has enough room for a rain jacket, lunch, sunscreen, and water.
- Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes for $70 ($25 off): These are a solid, non-aggressive climbing shoe good for novice climbers and those who, regardless of skill level, tackle certain types of smooth outdoor rock, such as granite slab. They’re some of the most comfortable sub-$100 climbing shoes I’ve worn. The women’s version is on sale for the same price.
- REI Co-Op Multi Towel Lite for $5 ($5 off): You should have a couple of pack towels when you’re backpacking. Condensation and mist collect on the fabric of your backpack as the weather changes. To keep it from soaking into your fabric and weighing you down, it’s helpful to have a small towel handy to periodically wipe it down.
- Mountain Hardwear Crag Wagon 35 for $142 ($78 off): If you do any outdoor climbing, you’ll need a pack big enough to haul everything. A regular, little ol’ daypack can work if you’re not carrying a full rack of gear, but it’s nicer to be able to put your helmet and climbing shoes inside instead of dangling them on the outside. This 35-liter pack will swallow all of it, and the front panel unzips to make loading and unloading easier than a top-opening pack.
- Black Diamond Camalot C4 Package #4-6 for $297 ($32 off): If you want to start climbing trad or need to update your rack, you’re going to need cams. BD’s Camalot C4 series are the standard many of us use by which to judge the competition because of their long, continued existence and ubiquity at any trad route. The new generation is 10 percent lighter than the outgoing C4 cams.
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles for $135 ($45 off): (Update: sold out) I’ve banged and abused carbon fiber Black Diamond trekking poles over some nasty trail rocks and they’ve held up well. The cork hand grips are cushiony and handle sweaty palms well. I’m not sure I’d want to go back to non-cork handles. Trekking poles are useful for stability and taking some of the strain off your legs and knees. Garmin Forerunner 735XT Run-Bundle for $240 ($160 off) :WIRED writer Adrienne So, who tests fitness trackers among other things, says this is a great deal. It includes an HRM-Run chest strap that measures your heart rate. The Forerunner 735XL has GPS, is water-resistant to 50 meters, and pairs with your Android or iOS smartphone. Toaks Titanium Folding Spork for $6 ($3 off) :If backpacking had a symbol, it’d be the titanium spork. Toaks is a solid manufacturer of titanium cookware. This folder weighs only 0.6 ounces and folds down nice and small in your pack.
- Timbuk2 Division 22L Pack for $50 ($59 off): This has been my around-the-world pack for the past couple of years. It’s still holding up great without a single frayed thread, even after I started using it as my city commuter bag. It’s lightweight, the metal buckles are a nice touch over plastic, and the fabric still looks great after being slid under a few dozen airplane seats, worn on a horseback trip through the Sahara, and scooted around a lot of café floors.
- HydroFlask 32 Fluid Ounce Insulated Bottle for $22 ($23 off): HydroFlask makes some of my favorite bottles. The powder coating on the exterior is tough and scratch-proof—I haven’t managed to chip mine in three years—and in my testing, I couldn’t make it leak.
- Alps Mummy Bag Liner for $24 ($9 off): Sleeping bag liners slip inside sleeping bags to add warmth. Travelers also bring them when they’re staying in hostels or iffy hotels. The Alps version is inexpensive polyester, but if you want a warmer and more luxurious liner, try the Sea to Summit 100 Silk Liner for $100. Silk is a popular liner material, even for rugged backcountry trips, because of its superior warmth.
- Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffel Bag for $125 ($125 off): This hybrid of a rigid suitcase and packable duffel was unique, but impressive enough that it made it onto my list of favorite carry-on travel bags. It’s sized as an international carry-on, so as long as you meet your particular airline’s weight limits, you’re welcome to cram it into an overhead bin or under a seat anywhere in the world.
- Therm-a-Rest Xlite Max SV Inflatable Sleeping Pad for $129 ($61 off): Inflatable sleeping pads are very compact ways to gain a little comfort and insulation from the cold ground between you and your sleeping bag. A couple of years ago, Therma-a-Rest redesigned the air valve into the Speed Valve, which is—unsurprisingly—quicker to inflate and deflate when you’re in a hurry to make or break camp.
- ALPS Mountaineering Roamer Chair for $31 ($14 off): If you’re car camping, you may as well bring a few luxuries you wouldn’t ordinarily bring on a backpacking trip. This fold-up camping chair holds 250 pounds, is made of 600-denier polyester fabric and powder-coated steel, and comes with a shoulder strap to free up your hands while carrying it from the trailhead to the campsite.
GSI Outdoor Wilderness Backpacker Chair for $48 ($17 off) :(Update: sold out) The hideaway backpack straps free up your hands when you’re carrying it to the beach, campsite, concert, or stadium for tailgating. The straps can loosen after a long time of sitting, but it’s a comfortable, though low-to-the-ground, chair. GoPro Hero9 for $400 ($50 off): (Update: discount ended) It shoots in 5K resolution, lets you capture 20-megapixel stills, and you can schedule it to capture sunrises while you sleep. WIRED reviewer Scott Gilbertson rated it a 9/10 in his review.
- Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask for $15 ($5): WIRED reviewer Adrienne So includes this in her Best Cloth Face Masks guide, saying its fabric has been treated to be antiviral and antibacterial. It runs a little large, so there’s a smaller one available for $13 ($5 off).
- Grayl Geopress Water Purifier for $80 ($10 off): A water purifier and bottle all in one, you fill the Grayl and then press to purify the water inside it. The Grayl filters out 99.9 percent of viruses and protozoa, 99.99 percent of bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, and sediment. It’s heavier than I’d prefer for long backpacking trips, but it’s my personal pick for a small water filter if you’re traveling overseas to a destination with sketchy water, or if you’re car camping.
- Nite Ize Nite Dawg LED Dog Collar for $14 ($6 off): Dogs can be hard to see in the dark. Even ones with light-colored coats. The Nite Dawg uses a tiny 3V lithium-ion battery to light up the collar so that you (and others) can see your pal. You can set it to glow steadily or flash.
- Delta Cycle Bkin Personal Safety Light for $10 ($5 off): Clip it on your jacket or backpack while you’re running, biking, or just going for a walk so that drivers can see you. It’ll run for 10 hours on a charge and can be set to blink or light up steadily.
- Mountain Hardwear Ghee Baselayer Hoody for $60 ($15 off): The Ghee hoody was my favorite all-synthetic baselayer tops of 2021. It’s as good or better than the more expensive competition and has everything I like about a baselayer. The men’s version isn’t on sale.
- Altra Timp 2.0 Trail Running Shoes for $98 ($42 off): Reviewer Parker Hall is a huge fan of Altra running shoes. They’re gaiter-compatible, and the mesh will keep your feet dry on warm days. The women’s version is on sale for $100 at REI, and on sale for $97 at Backcountry with, as of now, more availability of different colors and sizes.
Petzl Actik Headlamp for $37 ($13 off): (Update: sold out) This is what I use for long mountaineering and backpacking trips. There are a lot of good headlamps out there (and a lot of bad ones), but the Actik strikes the right balance of lightweight and brightness. It runs on three AAA batteries and shines up to 300 lumens worth of light.
- Mountain Hardwear Ghee Hoody for $53 ($22 off): The Ghee Hoody is my favorite all-synthetic base layer. It has flat seams positioned off the top of the shoulder, so backpack straps won’t cause sore spots, and the fit and weight are spot-on. REI doesn’t have the men’s version on sale, but you can get the non-hoody version for $42 ($18 off).
- Outdoor Research Echo Ubertube Neck Gaiter for $9 ($10 off): For serious outdoor trips, I stopped tying bandanas around my neck years ago in favor of neck gaiters. Basically a tube of polyester fabric, it goes around your neck without any annoying knots. You can pull it up over your mouth or over most of your head, or just leave it loose to prevent sunburn.
SmartWool Merino 250 Gloves for $26 ($12 off) :These 100-percent merino wool gloves are a little too thick to be used as liners under heavier gloves, but they come with touchscreen-compatible thumb and index fingers so you won’t have to take them off to text or navigate. The sale is only available for the navy blue color. Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Jacket for $111 ($28 off) :Thick, fluffy pile was among the first fleece to hit the market decades ago, but in the ‘90s it began to fade out of popularity. But like everything old, it’s come back into fashion. The women’s version is also on sale. Fjallraven Greenland No. 1 Down Jacket for $350 ($150 off) :(Update: no longer discounted) Waxed cotton is heavy, so I wouldn’t pick it over the cutting-edge Patagonia and Arc’Teryx shells for long backcountry trips, but for the city, working in the yard, or day hiking in cold weather, my Greenland jacket is what I reach for. The down insulation adds warmth, and the waxed cotton brushes off rain and snow. Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody for $149 ($100 off): Filled with synthetic insulation, the Nano Puff is an ultra-lightweight belay jacket perfect for wet conditions—that is, temperatures around freezing and up—as synthetic insulation dries out more quickly than goose down. It also packs up very small. Size up to fit it over your mid-layer insulation and shell jackets. The sale is only available for the blue color. The women’s version is on sale for the same price.
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