Nothing says “celebrate Labor Day” like roaming around in the wilderness. We at WIRED might be absorbed by our gadgets, but many of us take every chance we get to head into the great outdoors. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer weather by snagging a Labor Day deal on some of our favorite outdoor gear.
Retailers like REI, Moosejaw, and Patagonia are having Labor Day sales that run through the long weekend. Moosejaw shoppers can save 20 percent off one full-priced item with the coupon code BURGER, and REI members save an extra 20 percent on one eligible REI Outlet item with coupon code LABOR22 until September 5.
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Your street clothes might be OK for short afternoon hikes close to home, but wearing the wrong thing for long hikes is a quick way to introduce discomfort and even danger. Check out our guides on How to Layer Outdoor Clothing, Best Base Layers, and Best Rain Jackets for more.
These are my favorite socks. I’ve been pushing myself rather hard this past year to make up for two years of pandemic-induced isolation, and I’ve done hiking trips of up to 80 miles with these on my feet. No complaints here. The secret is that each sock is made of two layers, like two thin socks sewn into one. This allows the inner and outer layers to slide against each other to help prevent blisters.
The women’s sizing is on sale for the same price. Think ahead to the cold weather and save a good chunk of change on my favorite affordable goose-down jacket. The price of goose down keeps going up lately, but for little more than the cost of a synthetic mall jacket, you can wear this bonafide down puffy. It’s warm and well-made (mine’s seen three years of frequent use and counting). Depending on how you size it, you can wear it underneath a shell jacket as a mid-layer or over all your layers.
The men’s sizing is selling for the same price. Moabs are tough as nails yet relatively lightweight. These aren’t lined in waterproof material, but that’s what I prefer for all but snowy conditions. Water crossings and rain showers are inevitable while hiking, and despite waterproofing, nothing prevents water from spilling over the top and into shoes. In my experience, when waterproof shoes do get completely wet, they don’t dry out as quickly. You won’t have that problem here.
The men’s sizing is available for the same price. Senior associate reviews editor Adrienne So named it the best affordable rain jacket, due to its high-quality laminated construction, which handily beats cheaper competition that uses a thin waterproof film. It’s made from recycled nylon and features pit zips (for venting) and taped seams for extra water protection.
The women’s-sizing Give-N-Go 2.0 Bikini Brief is $13 ($5 off). These Give-N-Go 2.0 briefs may be pricey for underwear, but because of their polyester fabric, they’ll dry out much more quickly than cotton or wool. That means less of a chance of rubbing your legs raw from fabric that always stays damp. I usually get a couple of years of regular use out of each pair, so you’ll get your money’s worth whether you’re day hiking near home or on a weeklong outing.
These are, hands-down, the most comfortable folding chairs I’ve ever sat in. The foam padding prevents sore spots, there’s a buckle that keeps the chair from popping open during transport, and there are backpack straps built into the backrest. Lately, these have been going in and out of stock. Your best bet for the padded version is to check early in the morning; you might get lucky. There are several versions of the Outward, and all are on sale for the same price right now.
Use code LABOR22 to see the full discount at checkout. The Divide+ is my recommended camping lantern for the same reason I recommend it in Best Home Emergency Gear; it’s bright and runs for up to 330 hours (on the low setting) on just 3 D-cell batteries. Other lanterns run on up to 8 D-cell batteries (!) or can’t match the Divide+’s 425-lumen brightness. You can also twist the lid to separate the batteries from the contact terminals when it’s in storage, which keeps the batteries from leaking and going bad.
At just under 5 pounds, this model is about a pound heavier than the Half Dome SL 2+ that superseded it, but at this sale price, it’s half the cost. The SL 2+ version was our favorite two-person tent in our Best Tents guide. The 2020 model is still a great tent, especially if you’re more the type of camper who sets up in a designated campground for the weekend.
Inflatable sleeping pads are warmer and far less bulky to store than closed-cell foam pads. The downside is that they cost more and you have to blow them up with your mouth when it’s time to make camp. Any inflatable pad is going to need careful handling to avoid tearing, but I haven’t exactly babied my NeoAir Xlite over the past four years.
When I decided to do more real cooking on my hiking and camping trips, I looked long and hard at skillets and landed on the Jetboil Summit. It has a non-stick ceramic coating, a foldaway handle, and a spatula that snaps into the handle. Iron and steel skillets are heavy, if you’re concerned about weight, while titanium is often thin and conducts hot spots that scorch food. Aluminum is the way to go for lightweight camping cookware.
Hiking and Climbing Deals
Sometimes getting started can be the hardest part. No big deal—read through our guides on Hiking 101, the Best Climbing Gear for Beginners, and the Best Hiking Apps, and you’ll be able to call yourself an outdoors person in no time.
The men’s sizing is available for the same price. These are the most comfortable climbing shoes at the low end of the price market, and I recommend that anyone new to climbing try them on. Don’t think that once you get some climbing experience under your belt you’ll outgrow these, though. The flatter, less-aggressive soles allow for plenty of smear (shoe-bottom-to-rock contact) for slick climbing routes, such as on granite.
The women’s sizing is also going for the same price. I could hang comfortably in the Solution harness all day. OK, maybe not all day, but it is one of the comfiest and most well-padded harnesses I’ve used, and with Black Diamond’s reputation, you know it’s built like a tank. You may need to step up to something with more gear loops for trad climbing, but the Solution has more than enough for any outdoor sport or indoor climbing.
The archetypical belay device is still the best, in my humble opinion. It has a simple, proven design for rappelling and belaying climbing partners. I’ve used mine for multiday mountaineering trips, outdoor rock routes, and indoor climbing gyms for four years and counting. There’s also the Petzl GriGri 2 on sale for $75 ($25 off) if you want a device with assisted braking.
Trekking poles can be a serious hiker’s best friend. They take the stress off the knees during descents and offer stability in sketchy terrain. The carbon-shaft Alpine’s cork handles are comfortable and grippy, even when I’m holding them for 14 hours a day. The FlickLock Pro adjustment latches were redesigned not that long ago, and they don’t have the regular, plastic-covered FlickLocks’ tendency to shatter. You can attach snow baskets ($11) to the poles in powdery conditions and rubber tip protectors ($10) to keep the carbide tips from scratching rocks and damaging the trail.
If you hike in grizzly country, you’re going to need a bear canister to put your food in at night so you don’t wake up to a pile of bear-spit-soaked crumbs. The BV450 easily fits into most overnight packs, and if you’re economical with your food choices, you can store four to five days of food for a single hiker. The lid is secure but easy to unscrew, and the clear sides let you see what grub is left without having to open it.