What are you getting with your REI dividend?

Last year I used my REI dividend to get a new pair of Vasque hiking boots. The year before that I got a Yakima rack for the Jeep. The year before that (or maybe the previous year) I bought Vasque hiking boots.

So what will you/did you use your REI dividend for?

OK, I have to ask, what is an REI dividend? Is that like a tax refund check?

REI is an outdoor equipment store in the U.S., where you can buy all sorts of camping, hiking, backpacking, rafting, rock climbing, etc., gear – for relatively cheap.

If you sign up as a member, REI sends you a refund for 10% of your full-priced purchases every year. You can use it in-store, or wait for them to mail you a check

(the Canadian equivalent is MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op).

REI is a chain of stores selling outdoor-sports gear. Anyone can shop there, but if you become a member, you’ll receive an annual refund based on your purchases from the previous year. You also get to vote for their board of direcotrs, so yeah, it’s like a tax refund check for the Republic of REI.

Damn, Johnny, you must spend serious money there. I get enough back this year to buy some socks.

Actually, I rack up most of my dividend elsewhere. I signed up for the REI MasterCard (which they discontinued and replaced with Visa a couple of months ago) and I get 1% back on all of my non-REI purchases.

This year’s dividend is $236.54, but I don’t know what I should get. I already have two tents, three sleeping bags, a stove and a backpack. The backpack is army-surplus, so I suppose I could get a Kelty or REI pack. Or maybe a Coleman two-burner stove for car camping. I’d put it toward a kayak or a bicycle, but I’m not in Washington yet. I’d like to get some new skis, but they don’t carry Kneissl. I suppose I could always wait until July and just redeem it for cash. All in all, I think I’ve had a pretty good return on my $10 investment I made back in 1983.

Well, some of their stuff is relatively cheap. REI brand gear is excellent quality and is generally less expensive than other well-known brands. I could have got a better REI tent than the on-sale North Face I ended up with, for a little less money. Oh well; live and learn. And I got a pretty good deal on that Yakima rack system (20% off). But for some of the stuff you’ll pay the same as anywhere else.

The best thing is that using the REI credit card amounts to “free money”. I mean, I have to pay for stuff with something; why not get a nice cheque after the new year?

Oh – my $10 investment now costs $15. But it’s a one-time fee and it’s paid for itself over and over and over again. My best fiend joined before I did, then didn’t buy anything there for 10 or 15 years. He called them up and was issued a new membership card with no hassle. (I still have my old brown-printed card, but there’s no need to use it since the member number is on the Vida.)

Dang! I haven’t been hiking since last summer on Quarda Island! I’m going to have to move north soon…

Spent it on some random stuff last time I was there. It didn’t amount to much, only $25 or so for two reasons. One, I have pretty much all the gear I need. Two, I only buy stuff on sale anymore and that doesn’t get a refund.

My dividend check was in the amount of… $4.38. That’s not enough for one sock, let alone a pair.

Hey, give me a break- I joined last fall. It’ll be more a lot more this year, at the rate I’m going.

Mine was just under $50… (Bought a GPS last year.)

Let’s see… (looks in closet…) I’ve got 2 sleeping bags, 2 tents, 5 packs (don’t ask), 2 hydration systems, 2 filters, camp stove, hiking pole, boots, trail runners, teva’s, climbing harness, ATC, climbing shoes and more random backpacking gear than I can list. Oh yeah, (opens drawer) 8 pair of socks.

I have no idea what I’m going to spend mine on yet. Was actually at the store the day before yesterday but only picked up a new trail guide.

First backpack for this year is May 4 so I’ll probably spend it between now and then.

I’m not certain I’ll be getting one at all this year- I don’t think I bought anything at REI last year at all.

A shame, 'cause I LOVE the feeling of going to REI, knowing I can buy something guilt-free. What a dangerous store that is…

My dividend was about $55. I got a new Leatherman Micra (had my last one confiscated at the airport last time I flew. Meh. The scissors needed sharpening anyway.) and a pair of microfiber hiking shorts for Mrs K.

I do most of my outdoor shopping at Sierra Trading Post. They don’t always have everything, but what they do have is usually good quality and often deeply discounted. I got a North Face tent there a few years ago for 50% off.

Saved $5.68 on a bunch of rock-climbing equipment. Whoo-hoo!!

So, ya wanna play that game, do ya?

(Probably not, but what the heck…)

I’ve got 3 sleeping bags, 3 tents, 7 packs (plus a few fanny packs), 7 pairs of skis, 6 pairs of ski boots, 2 sleeping pads, 3 bikes, 6 pair of ski poles (don’t ask), 2 pair of snowshoes, 6 pair of hiking boots, and lord knows what else.

Gee, looking at the list, that’s pretty depressing. Oh well, time to buy more gear I guess…

never really get a dividend because im a cheap yankee and wont buy anything unless its on sale.

Oh goody! The gear game! As far as whitewater boats, I’ve got you all beat. Our garage contains:

3 standard whitewater kayaks
1 whitewater sit-on-top
1 Aire inflatable kayak
1 Aire raft
1 Aire cataraft
and one raft frame that is about to be traded for 2 C-1s.
And all the accessories needed for the above boats, including enough PFDs, helmets, paddles, etc. for a full load of people on the raft.
And a 19-foot Grumman canoe that does not belong to us.

As far as the general lists of outdoor gear above, I’m right there with ya. I just realized that we have 8 sleeping pads. Yikes!

Oh, and to answer the question–there are no REIs around here, so I don’t shop there often. We are members, though. We both work in the outdoor industry, so we never pay full-price for anything anyway.

I did most of my shopping at I. Goldberg’s in Cherry Hill until they closed. I used my scant first-year dividend to reduce the price of 3 pair of Gramicci pants. They rule. I’d like to get a Gore-Tex parka this year.