Best Family Friendly Adventure Gear from REI

I love talking adventure gear and today I’m going to share some of my absolute favorite tidbits from the lovely REI. It is my favorite store to peruse.

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young family in a smiling in the door of a backpacking tent

To make your shopping easier, I’ve put together a list of 29 of my top recommendations. Without further ado, here are my top picks from REI for hiking, backpacking, camping, and more (with kids!).

Best Family Friendly Adventure Gear

young family sitting in front of a snow caped peak in New Zealand

REI Clothing

REI Co-op Trailsmith Overalls

REI Trailsmith Overalls in olive green

These are a recent favorite of mine! They are widely loved on the internet. I wear them as a casual mom outfit and on adventures too. The stretchy straps make them so comfy no matter how much bending down (to pick up kids and toys and gear and snacks) you do.

REI Co-op Trailmade Shorts

REI Trailmade shorts in green

These are currently in my cart. I’ve seen great reviews from a couple people I trust and the price is right!

Nani Swimwear

Nani Swimwear top in navy blue with orange and yellow stripes at the bottom

My Nani suit is possibly my favorite I’ve ever owned. It is both super cute *and* provides all the coverage and support I’m looking for.

Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoodie

Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hoodie in teal

This has been my go-to puff jacket for the last year. It’s super warm without letting me get too hot either. Cozy, cute, and high quality.

Woman smiling in front of an lake with an iceberg in it in New Zealand
For reference, I’m 5’6″ 135lbs and I’m wearing a medium.

Sahara Sun Hoodie

Sahara sun hoodie in mauve

The sun hoodie is another item in my cart for both my oldest daughter and myself. I’m not a huge fan of sunscreen in the first place and I know I’m not great at reapplying when we’re out all day. With a sun hoodie I’m not feeling guilty about skipping sunscreen or missing reapplication midday. I’ve seen great reviews of the Sahara from multiple women I trust. Excited to get my hands on one.

Darn Tough Socks

Darn Tough sock in blue

My favorite sock brand. They come with a lifetime warranty so if you wear a hole in your pair you can get a new pair for free.

Two pairs of feet cuddling in front of Mt. Tongariro in New Zealand

North Face Thermoball Booties

North Face Thermoball Booties in pink marble color

Another item I’ll be purchasing this year as colder weather camp shoes for my kiddos – though I’m sure they’ll get plenty of casual use as well. I was influenced by Lauren Hronek (who is awesome and I trust) and the markdown is incredible.

Toddler + Kid Base Layers

Toddler base layer from REI in blue

Getting base layers is by no means a necessity for summer camping. However, I’ve really come to love having our dedicated layers. They’re great for pajamas most of the year whether you’re at home or on a trip, and they make layering easier which extends our comfort playing outdoors year round.

For older kids, these tops and bottoms are also well priced *and* they’re merino wool!

Toddler Rain Pants

Black toddler rain pants

These are just a fantastic deal. Good rain gear has helped us enjoy the rainy seasons of life and get out much more often.

P.S. If you prefer a full one piece rain suit for your toddler, try this one. I love the one piece rain suit until they get over 2 or 3 years old, then I love a rain coat and rain overalls so the coat can be used more casually as needed without the whole get up. This Reima coat and overalls looks great (Reima makes high quality gear). It’s not marked down but could be used with your extra 20% off coupon.

P.P.S. Don’t forget rain pants for adults too! If you’re only occasionally in the rain, I recommend not splurging (I used really cheap pants for years just fine).

Toddler Puff

Teal REI toddler puff jacket

A puff jacket is a top necessity for extending outdoor play. This one is a remarkable deal.

Car Camping Deals

Mother and toddler snuggling in a blanket on a bean bag with rolling green hills behind


Rumpl blanket in teal

Rumpl makes a blanket that will keep you next level warm. It’s great for around the campfire, at your kid’s soccer game, or even sleeping if you prefer it over a sleeping bag in the warmer months or for kiddos who don’t like a bag. It’s quite the investment so getting it on sale is a must.

I’ve also long been curious about trying the Nanoloft as a summer backpacking option for the kids and myself combined.

Eno Hammock

Eno double nest hammock

Hammocks are such a fun addition to camping and backpacking, especially with kids. It’s a fun swing, place to nap or read, and I love a good hammock overnight sleep (pre-kids that is). The double is great for families.

Black Diamond Rechargeable Headlamp

Black Diamond rechargeable headlamp in black

We’ve used this headlamp for over a decade. It recharges so you can skip buying batteries (and creating that extra waste) and the settings are all encompassing. You have great control of the brightness of both your red and white lights.

Young family reading a book in the dark lit by a small lantern

Luci Inflatable Lantern

Luci inflatable lantern

We have 2 Luci Lanterns (both we got at REI garage sales) and they are super fun for adults and kids alike. They’re great to light your table in the evening and for kids to play with in the dark. The bummer is they can pop. We had one pop and it still works well enough. I only recommend buying these when they are on sale.

Exped MegaMat Duo

Exped Megamat Duo airmatress

I don’t have personal experience with this one, but if I was going to invest in a high quality and comfortable sleeping pad for tent and/or back-of-my-car camping, this would be the one. It’s been recommended by people I trust (like Jacey West) and since it’s a significant investment, it’s best to take advantage of a sale.

REI Flexlite Air Camp Chair

REI Flexlite Air Camp Chair

I *love* bringing a chair backpacking. I felt that way before kids and even more so with nursing babies and cuddly toddlers. My current chair is no longer in production, but if I need a replacement, this will be my pick.

If you don’t plan to ever take it backpacking, no need to spend extra on the air. We have the larger and more comfy Flexlite Dreamer Camp Chair for car camping.

Stanley Cook Set

Stanley cook set with pot, pan, plates, utensils, etc.

I’ve been using this for the last few months in our camper van. I am seriously impressed with the amount of products Stanley fit into such a small little footprint. If you can believe it looking at all the items in the product photo, they all fit into the pot. If you’re looking to start your camp kitchen, or you’re ready to upgrade, this is a great place to start. The frying pan is too small for 4 people in my opinion, but it makes sense within the cook set.

Stanley cook set pot on a picnic table

Coleman Stove

Coleman cook stove

I’ve been using Coleman camp stoves for as long as I can remember. Our current one is over a decade old and still going strong. This one is a great entry level stove that will work great for years to come.

Adventure Medical First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical first aid kit

This is what I carry on all our trips. I like the easy to find color that doesn’t hide in your bag when you really need it. I tried making my own kit once, thinking I’d save money, and by the time I got enough of everything it was way more annoying and expensive than it was worth. Though it is nice to have gathered all the items for replacing the items I use as we go.

Hiking & Backpacking Deals

REI Half Dome Tent

REI half dome tent 3+

My husband and I got the Half Dome 2+ as a wedding gift (we made a wedding registry at REI, did you know you can do that?!) and have loved it dearly for a decade. Before that, I had a Half Dome 2 myself that we still use when we take friends with us and it’s still going strong. It’s a great entry level tent that can last a long time. The 3+ is a great option for a young family.

Big Agnes Copper Spur Tent

Big Agnes copper spur UL3 tent

We just upgraded to a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4 (4 person) tent and it feels so luxurious after squeezing the 4 of us into a 2 person tent. The reviews are super high. It is more of an investment for a high quality and more space and weight conscious tent.

Mountain Hardwear Lamina Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 15 sleeping bag

I’ve had a Mountain Hardwear Lamina sleeping bag since I was about 14. I got a new model a few years ago but we still lend out my old one to friends. It’s an incredible bag, especially for the price. Great for entry level backpackers and seasoned campers alike.

Deuter Kid Comfort

Deuter Kid Comfort hiking carrier

I am an Osprey Poco gal. It’s a big purchase and doesn’t get marked down on sale much if ever but you can consider using your 20% a full price item coupon on it during sales.

However, the Deuter Kid Comfort comes highly rated by tons of seasoned hikers-with-kids that I know and trust and it is a part of sales sometimes.

I *highly* recommend going into REI and trying on different models with your kiddo in them and walking around the store a bit. Have an employee help to fit it to your body if you’re not experienced with pack fitting. Different bodies tend to do well with different brands so it’s worth a check before you buy.

Check out my Choosing a Carrier for Hiking blog post for more details.

Woman with backpacking pack on in front of a waterfall in Yosemite's Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
Peep 26 year old me, loving life, guiding a backpacking trip full of rad women through Yosemite’s Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne with an Osprey Ariel 65L pack.

Osprey Ariel 65L Backpack

Osprey Ariel 65L backpacking pack

The 65L pack is a great choice for families since it has a *ton* of space. I’ve always found Osprey packs to be quite comfortable, but as mentioned above, it varies by body type. Again, I recommend going into the store and trying one on. REI even has pillows and weighted bean bags to put in a pack to help check the fit – just ask!

FYI, if you’re planning to use a Trail Magik carrier on your pack, I’ve found a backpack with a more firm structure to be more comfortable. I’m currently using a Mountain Hardwear pack and I’ve heard Gregory packs are more comfortable too.

Side note: For epic day trips that require lots of gear (towels, picnic supplies, etc.) I love my Osprey Tempest 40L which we use with a Trail Magik as well. It doesn’t go on sale much, but could be a good use for your extra 20% off coupon during a sale.

Exped Sleeping Pad

Exped sleeping pad

Another item we were gifted from our REI wedding registry, we’ve been using the Exped for a decade now and it’s still very comfy for side sleepers like myself. It’s plenty small when packed up, but thick enough inflated to keep my hips and shoulders off the hard ground.

I also just upgraded to this Exped Ultra 3R Duo since our kids are bigger and harder to share a pad with now.

Pocket Rocket

Pocket Rocket backcountry cook set

This kit from Pocket Rocket is a great price, especially if you’re looking to start your backpacking cook set or upgrade. I’m tempted by this as my current backcountry flatware and utensils are cobbled together from dollar store and Walmart items I’ve picked up over the years – which work just fine by the way if you’re looking for a budget option.

Bear Canister

Bear canister

If you’re backpacking in bear country, this is a must. There are lots of options for renting them, from private companies and also from Parks’ Service locations, so I really only recommend investing in one if you’re going quite regularly.

Phew! I am a huge proponent that a lack of gear should never stop you from getting outside. *And* these items can elevate and expand your adventures, make them easier and more comfortable, and help you get out more often. I highly recommend buying an item or two (or three or four if you have the budget) during the REI Anniversary sale (or other sales) as its a great way to build up your gear supply over the years with high quality items that’ll last decades. Don’t be afraid to look for used items as well.

Happy adventuring 😉

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