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REI Alternatives & Competitors

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REI Alternatives & Competitors

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The ReturnPolicy score is calculated based on several factors including: convenience, customer service, speed of refund, flexibility and users’ ratings.

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When it comes to gearing up for outdoor adventures, REI.com has been a go-to destination for enthusiasts for over eight decades. Founded in 1938 by a group of mountaineering friends, REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) began as a cooperative to help outdoor enthusiasts obtain high-quality equipment at reasonable prices. Over the years, REI has grown into a nationwide retailer known for its comprehensive selection of outdoor gear, clothing, and footwear, as well as its commitment to environmental stewardship and outdoor education.

Battle of the Outdoors: REI and Its Competitors

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Dick's Sporting Goods
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4.0 / 5

Dick's Sporting Goods

4.0 / 5

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4.0
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4.0
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4.0
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0
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Despite its strong reputation and community focus, REI faces stiff competition from a variety of retailers. Some of these competitors are specialized in outdoor gear, while others are broad-ranging department stores with a significant presence in the outdoor market. Their competition comes in the form of pricing, product offerings, online presence, and market reach.

Let's take a walk through the virtual aisles of REI's competitors to understand what they bring to the table and how they stack up against the seasoned veteran of outdoor retail.

REI Competitors Breakdown

Backcountry

Backcountry.com is a strong competitor for REI with a focus on serving the needs of the outdoor enthusiast. Much like REI, Backcountry offers a wide array of gear for various outdoor activities, including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping. Their competitive edge lies in their curated selection and the expertise of their 'Gearheads,' customer representatives with personal experience and knowledge about the products they sell.

Backcountry.com also has a strong online presence and customer service, making them a go-to for many when REI doesn’t have what they need. They've cultivated a loyal following with their high-quality gear and apparel, though their pricing can sometimes be on the higher side, positioning them in a similar market segment as REI.

Moosejaw

Moosejaw.com operates in the same outdoor space as REI, providing a mix of products for camping, hiking, climbing, and water sports. They have a fun and quirky brand personality that resonates with a younger demographic. Moosejaw's competitive prices and frequent sales, along with their rewards program, draw customers looking for deals on reputable brands.

Furthermore, Moosejaw's online platform is user-friendly and they provide excellent customer service, which includes easy returns and a price match guarantee. They might not offer the same level of expertise as REI's in-store staff, but their online chat support is highly regarded.

Dick's Sporting Goods

ReturnPolicy Score

4.0 / 5

Dick's Sporting Goods

4.0 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
4.0
Customer Service
4.0
Speed of Refund
4.0
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0
Read Dick's Sporting Goods’s return policy

Dick's Sporting Goods is a major player in the sports and outdoor retail arena. Unlike REI, Dick's offers a wider range of sports equipment, covering everything from golf to basketball, in addition to outdoor gear. They compete with REI on the basis of their extensive network of physical stores across the U.S., which allows them to serve a broad customer base.

Their regular discounts and promotions, along with exclusive brand partnerships, make Dick's Sporting Goods an attractive alternative for customers looking for variety and value. However, their focus on a wider range of sports sometimes means their outdoor gear selection is not as specialized as REI's.

Pros
  • Wide range of sports equipment
  • Extensive network of physical stores
  • Regular discounts and promotions
Cons
  • Outdoor gear selection is less specialized

Campmor | Paramus NJ

Campmor.com is a smaller, more specialized competitor that has been serving the outdoor community since 1978. Campmor focuses on camping, hiking, and paddling gear, with a keen selection that rivals REI's. They have a strong following among traditional outdoor enthusiasts who value their knowledgeable staff and quality customer service.

Although Campmor’s online store is comprehensive, they may not have the same breadth of products as REI. They do, however, offer competitive pricing and a satisfaction guarantee that keeps their customers loyal.

Eastern Mountain Sports

Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS.com) operates in the northeastern United States and shares a similar ethos with REI, focusing on outdoor gear and apparel for activities like camping, climbing, and kayaking. EMS distinguishes itself with a focus on local outdoor activities and often supports community events and clinics.

While they have a smaller footprint compared to REI, they maintain a strong regional presence and offer gear that caters to the conditions and needs of the local outdoor community. Their commitment to quality and customer service is comparable to REI's, making them a noteworthy competitor.

Mountain Steals

MountainSteals.com is a newer player in the outdoor retail market, but they've quickly earned a reputation for offering high-quality brands at significantly discounted prices. They compete directly with REI by targeting cost-conscious outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for the best deals on gear and apparel.

Their narrow focus on discounts means they might not offer the same range or depth of products as REI, but for those who prioritize price over selection, Mountain Steals is a compelling alternative.

Pros
  • High-quality brands at discounted prices
Cons
  • Limited product range compared to REI

Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops (BassPro.com) is a giant in the world of outdoor retail, especially known for their fishing, hunting, and boating gear. While their focus is more on hunting and fishing rather than the general outdoor activities that REI covers, they do offer a significant selection of outdoor gear that puts them in competition with REI.

Their large physical stores, complete with aquariums and wildlife displays, offer an experience that's distinct from REI's more traditional retail setup. Bass Pro Shops' merger with Cabela's has further expanded their reach and product offerings, making them a one-stop-shop for many outdoor enthusiasts.

Cabela's

Cabela's (Cabelas.com), now part of the same family as Bass Pro Shops, is another heavyweight in the outdoor gear market. They are particularly known for their hunting, fishing, and camping gear. Cabela's competes with REI by offering a wide variety of outdoor equipment and their own line of products that appeal to outdoor hobbyists.

Their large-format stores and comprehensive online presence, along with educational resources like workshops and seminars, offer an experience that rivals that of REI, with a more pronounced focus on hunting and fishing.

L.L.Bean

L.L.Bean (LLBean.com) is a heritage brand that has been outfitting outdoor enthusiasts for over a century. They are best known for their quality clothing and their iconic Bean Boots. L.L.Bean competes with REI in the apparel space, offering a wide range of outdoor clothing that's both functional and stylish.

With a focus on customer satisfaction, L.L.Bean provides a generous return policy and high-quality products that resonate with a similar customer base as REI. Their emphasis on durable, timeless pieces makes them a popular choice for customers seeking investment pieces for their outdoor wardrobe.

MEC

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC.ca) is Canada's answer to REI, operating as a cooperative and focusing on quality outdoor gear and apparel. MEC competes with REI in the Canadian market, offering a similar range of products for activities like camping, climbing, and skiing.

Their commitment to sustainability and community involvement mirrors REI's values, making them a strong competitor in their region. MEC's quality products and knowledgeable staff have earned them a loyal following among Canadian outdoor enthusiasts.

Costco

11 Costco
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4.6 / 5

Costco

4.6 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
4.5
Customer Service
4.5
Speed of Refund
4.5
Users' Rating
5.0
Read Costco’s return policy

Costco (Costco.com) is a bulk retailer that occasionally offers outdoor gear at competitive prices. While not a specialty outdoor retailer like REI, their sporadic deals on high-quality items such as kayaks, tents, and outdoor apparel attract budget-conscious shoppers and can divert some business away from more specialized retailers.

Costco's limited selection and lack of outdoor expertise mean they are not a direct competitor in the traditional sense, but their aggressive pricing on certain items makes them a wildcard in the market.

Macy's

12 Macy's
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3.8 / 5

Macy's

3.8 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
4.5
Customer Service
4.5
Speed of Refund
4.5
Users' Rating
1.5
Read Macy's’s return policy

Macy's (Macys.com) is a department store that has expanded its online presence to include outdoor clothing and gear. While their primary focus is on fashion, their inclusion of outdoor brands such as The North Face and Columbia positions them as a competitor to REI for casual outdoor apparel.

Macy's frequent sales and wide distribution network make them accessible to a broad audience, though their gear selection is not as specialized or extensive as REI's.

Nordstrom

ReturnPolicy Score

5.0 / 5

Nordstrom

5.0 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
5.0
Customer Service
5.0
Speed of Refund
5.0
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0
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Nordstrom (Nordstrom.com) is another department store with a strong online presence that competes with REI in the luxury outdoor apparel market. They offer a curated selection of high-end brands and outdoor lifestyle clothing that appeals to fashion-conscious consumers.

Their emphasis on customer service and a seamless online shopping experience make them a competitor for REI's more style-oriented outdoor products.

Kohl's

14 Kohl's
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4.6 / 5

Kohl's

4.6 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
5.0
Customer Service
5.0
Speed of Refund
5.0
Users' Rating
3.4
Read Kohl's’s return policy

Kohl's (Kohls.com) is a value-oriented department store that carries a selection of outdoor gear and apparel. While their focus is broader and includes many non-outdoor categories, they compete with REI by offering affordable options for customers who are less concerned with high-performance gear.

Kohl's strong suit is their pricing and frequent promotions, which can make them a go-to for budget-conscious shoppers looking for basic outdoor equipment and clothing.

Zappos

15 Zappos
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5.0 / 5

Zappos

5.0 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
5.0
Customer Service
5.0
Speed of Refund
5.0
Users' Rating
0
Read Zappos’s return policy

Zappos (Zappos.com) started as an online shoe retailer but has expanded to include clothing and outdoor gear. They compete with REI in the footwear and casual outdoor apparel categories. Zappos' free shipping and returns, extensive customer reviews, and exceptional customer service make them a strong contender for shoppers prioritizing convenience and selection in their purchasing decisions.

Their product range is not as focused on outdoor gear as REI's, but their ease of use and customer-centric approach give them an edge in the online retail space.

Poshmark

ReturnPolicy Score

3.0 / 5

Poshmark

3.0 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
3.0
Customer Service
3.0
Speed of Refund
3.0
Users' Rating
0
Read Poshmark’s return policy

Poshmark (Poshmark.com) is a peer-to-peer marketplace for buying and selling used clothing, including outdoor and athletic wear. While not a direct competitor in terms of new gear, Poshmark competes with REI's used gear market, providing a platform for customers to find pre-owned outdoor apparel at lower prices.

Their model supports sustainability by promoting the reuse of clothing, which resonates with environmentally conscious consumers, a demographic that often overlaps with REI's customer base.

Temu

17 Temu
ReturnPolicy Score

3.8 / 5

Temu

3.8 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
4.0
Customer Service
4.0
Speed of Refund
4.0
Users' Rating
3.0
Read Temu’s return policy

Temu (Temu.com) is an emerging online marketplace offering a wide range of products, including outdoor gear. They compete with REI on the basis of price, offering low-cost alternatives to branded gear. The quality of products on Temu can vary, and they may not match the performance level of items found at REI.

However, their competitive pricing attracts budget shoppers who are willing to sacrifice brand recognition for cost savings.

The North Face®

The North Face (TheNorthFace.com) is a well-known outdoor brand that sells its products directly to consumers. They compete with REI by offering specialized, high-quality gear and apparel for outdoor sports and activities. The North Face's focus on innovation and technology in outdoor wear attracts a similar audience to REI's.

Their brand recognition and loyalty are strong, but their narrower product line means they don't offer the same variety as a multi-brand retailer like REI.

JCPenney

ReturnPolicy Score

3.1 / 5

JCPenney

3.1 / 5

Convenience & Flexibility
3.5
Customer Service
3.5
Speed of Refund
3.5
Users' Rating
1.9
Read JCPenney’s return policy

JCPenney (JCPenney.com) is a traditional department store that carries a variety of goods, including a modest selection of outdoor apparel and gear. They compete with REI on the basis of accessibility and affordability, targeting families and casual outdoor enthusiasts.

While they do not specialize in outdoor gear, their inclusion of popular outdoor brands at competitive prices provides an alternative for consumers not seeking high-end performance gear.

Runner's World

Runner's World (RunnersWorld.com) is a niche competitor focusing on running gear and apparel. Though their primary audience is runners, their selection of running shoes, clothing, and accessories competes with REI's offerings for trail running and active lifestyle products.

Runner's World's expertise in running and commitment to quality products make them a destination for runners, a group that often intersects with the outdoor community that REI serves.

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