The #1 Store
I have to make a special shout out to REI. With so many brick and mortar stores losing out to the web store-front, REI clearly demonstrates its value to exist. I was hesitant to even walk in the door at first, it seems more expensive and therefore more pretentious, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone we talked to at the store was a true-to-form avid outdoor type who loved helping people explore. As for price, you actually don’t end up spending more than most other places. As a member you get 10% cash back per year on your purchases AND you can return anything, anytime, in any condition, for up to a year for a full refund. Beyond the policy, the staff was incredible. I bought my first bag in SF and returned in in VA. The staff was always super helpful and informative in both stores! To retain a great customer service attitude 3K miles apart is nothing short than amazing. So, in short, I am a fan. If you haven’t yet, you should try them out.
#2 goes without saying. Of course, it goes without saying, there are something that you just can’t beat Amazon on. For any smaller items that don’t require a feel or explanation we got it delivered.