You can't set off fireworks inside. Don't try and prove me wrong. It's just physics. Whether you're camped out in a friend's backyard or retreating deep into the woods, you should celebrate our nation's birthday outside. A lot of retailers also celebrate with sales events, including REI, one of our favorite outdoor retailers. It has deals on everything from apparel to tents to water bottles on sale through July 4th. These deals do not extend through the holiday weekend, as far as we can tell. Here are our top picks.
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The North Face's Versatile Tekno Ridge Hoodie (50 Percent Off)
Even in the summer, many of us still need a layer for chilly nights and possible inclement weather. The North Face's Tekno Ridge hoodie is a combination of a fuzzy, insulating fleece and a wind-repelling rain jacket. It's been treated with durable water repellent (DWR) and has North Face's water- and wind-repellent WindWall technology. It also has a drawstring hood with a high collar, a kangaroo front pocket, and a butt-protecting droptail hem. The men's version is also on sale.
Camping and Hiking Deals
REI Co-op Flash 18 Print Pack for $28 ($23 off): This is a tiny, attractive, full-featured daypack that conveniently crams down into a stuff sack if you're traveling with a bigger backpack. It's compatible with a hydration pack hose and has a hipbelt, sternum strap, a padded back panel and a weather-flap seal.
Hydro Flask Bottle for $26 ($9 off): Hydro Flask makes some of the best insulated water bottles around (and some of the best travel mugs). Double-walled insulation keeps your water cool, even if you leave it in your car, and it's still narrow enough to fit in most car cup holders and bike cages. Both of my kids also use Hydro Flask's straw bottle ($22, $8 off).
REI Co-op Kingdom Cot for $111 ($48 off): This gigantic, padded cot is for everyone who is just tired of sleeping on the hard ground. A knob lets you set the back in a number of different positions if you want to lie outside and look at the fireworks.
Nikon Trailblazer Binoculars for $60 ($20 off): With binoculars, you're constantly trading off size and weight versus resolution. These compact Nikons are small, but with a field of view that's up to 429 feet, they get the job done.
Ruffwear Float Coat for $60 ($20 off): If you're paddling with your pooch, they need a lifejacket. It also provides helpful handles for grabbing them, should they fall out of the canoe or off the paddleboard.
REI Co-op Compact Chair for $20 ($10 off): This is an amazing price for a compact chair with a steel frame that can support up to 250 pounds. I'm a 5'2" woman and I also fit pretty comfortably in the kid's camp chair ($17, $7 off), too.
Rumpl Blanket for $90 ($39 off): This is an incredibly useful blanket. It's soft enough to keep me warm on the couch, but packs down into a stuff sack and repels both water and dirt when I take it outside as a picnic blanket.
Nemo 4P Wagontop Tent for $375 ($125 off): This versatile, three-season tent has a simple setup with no rain fly, a shockingly high head clearance of 78 inches, and a removable front vestibule for protecting your bags and shoes.
Accessories and Apparel Deals
Sunski Olemas for $25 ($33 off): This is a fantastic price for a pair of stylish, polarized frames. Cheaper sunglasses don't always hold up, but I have several pair of Sunskis that have withstood over a year of being shoved into backpack pockets with no qualms. They weigh less than an ounce and are covered by Sunski's Forever warranty.
REI Co-op Trailsmith Bandana for $3 ($2 off): Bandanas are the great unsung camping heroes and this is a great price for an enormous cotton one. I have this bandana and I use for everything from wiping my kid's faces, keeping flies off plates of food, and tying my hair back.
Patagonia Retro Pile Pullover for $64 ($65 off): A lot of past-season Patagonia apparel is also on sale, and this warm, comfortable, versatile pullover is one of my favorites.
Chaco ZX/1 Sandals for $60 ($40 off): A bunch of different Chacos, the unofficial shoes of summer, are also on sale. This is one of the best prices we've seen.