To quote the REI web site, 'what began as a group of 23 mountain climbing buddies is now the nation's largest consumer cooperative with more than three million active members.' That means that REI is a rare successful not-for-profit company: the profits made during the year are returned to the Members at the end of the year - as in-store credits. In addition, REI has this apparently mad policy that they will allow a no-questions return of any gear bought from them - cases of gear being returned years after purchase (and use) have been cited. You would think this would be commercial suicide, but that has not happened yet. Apparently the commercial advantages of giving potential customers that assurance outweighs the small number of cases where it gets exploited.

REI is obviously not a cottage industry by any means. Gear sold under the REI brand is not 'flash', but they are usually solid functional items. It may be a case like that of the modern Toyota Corolla vs and an old Rolls Royce: the Corolla is reputed to have a higher quality. Why so? When you sell hundreds of thousands of something you get very good at eliminating the bugs. However, like several other American manufacturers, they were not that good at estimating pack volumes - at least, not according to the ASTM Standard.


  • REI Flash 65 Pack
  • REI Flash 50 Pack

# WORDS: 1450

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