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Does REI Have a Waiting List for Camping Gear? A Comprehensive Guide

Does REI Have a Waiting List

When it comes to outdoor adventures and camping trips, having the right gear is essential. 

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) has long been recognized as a go-to provider for all things camping, offering a wide range of high-quality products. 

However, with the increasing popularity of outdoor activities and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, camping gear availability has become a concern for many outdoor enthusiasts. 

This article aims to address a common question: “Does REI have a waiting list for camping gear?” 

We will delve into the concept of waiting lists, REI’s policies, and explore tips on securing your gear and planning your next adventure.

Does REI have a waiting list for camping gear? Understanding REI’s Camping Gear Waiting List

Before we explore whether REI has a waiting list for camping gear, let’s clarify what a waiting list is and how it works. 

A waiting list is a system implemented by retailers to allow customers to reserve desired items when they are temporarily out of stock or in high demand. 

It ensures fair distribution of goods and gives customers an opportunity to secure the product when it becomes available again.

REI's Camping Gear

REI, being a reputable outdoor retailer, understands the importance of this system and has implemented waiting lists for certain camping gear items. 

Backpacks, tents, and other camping equipment are often in high demand, especially during peak camping seasons. 

To address scarcity issues and accommodate customers more effectively, REI has set up waiting lists for these specific items.

Joining the waiting list means you secure your place in line to purchase the item once it is back in stock. 

REI notifies customers in the order they joined the waiting list, giving them the first opportunity to complete their purchase before offering the product to the general public. 

By implementing this system, REI aims to provide fair access to popular camping gear items while ensuring a positive customer experience.

Securing Your Gear and Planning Your Trip

Booking in Advance

To increase your chances of securing camping gear through REI, consider booking your items well in advance. 

As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. REI typically opens reservations for camping gear ahead of peak camping seasons, allowing customers to plan and reserve in advance. 

By planning ahead, you can avoid disappointment and ensure a smooth camping experience.

Alternative Options

While REI is a popular choice for camping gear, it’s worth exploring alternative options if REI’s waiting list doesn’t suit your needs. 

Local gear rental shops or online platforms dedicated to outdoor gear rental can be viable alternatives. 

These options allow you to rent the gear you need for your camping adventure without the hassle of waiting lists.

Keep in mind that availability may vary depending on your location, so it’s always a good idea to research and plan accordingly.

Tips for Planning Your Trip

Planning a camping trip involves more than just securing the gear. Here are some pro tips to help you make the most of your outdoor adventure:

  1. Research the camping location and check if any permits or reservations are required. Some popular camping destinations have limited camping spots and may require advance bookings.
  2. Pack essential items such as a first aid kit, appropriate clothing, insect repellent, and enough food and water. A well-prepared camping checklist can be a helpful tool to ensure you don’t forget any important items.
  3. Double-check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. This includes packing appropriate clothing layers, rain gear, and sun protection.
  4. Arrive early at the campsite to secure a good spot and make necessary arrangements.

Popular camping spots can fill up quickly, especially during weekends and holidays. 

By arriving early, you increase your chances of finding a desirable campsite and have ample time to set up your gear.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is joining the waiting list a guarantee that I will receive the gear?

Joining the waiting list reserves your place in line, but it does not guarantee that you will receive the gear. Availability depends on the number of people on the waiting list and the quantity of gear that becomes available. While REI strives to fulfill customer demand, there may be instances where the demand outweighs the available supply.

Can I cancel my waitlist request?

Yes, you can cancel your waitlist request at any time. If your plans change or you find an alternative solution, contact REI’s customer support to cancel your reservation. This allows them to offer the gear to the next person on the waiting list.

How will I know when the gear is available for purchase?

REI will send you an email notification when the gear you are waiting for becomes available. Make sure to regularly check your email and keep an eye on your inbox, including any potential spam or promotions folders. It’s important to act promptly upon receiving the notification since there might be a time limit to complete the purchase.

Can I join multiple waiting lists simultaneously?

Yes, you can join multiple waiting lists for different camping gear items. This allows you to increase your chances of securing the gear you need. However, keep in mind that you will need to manage multiple notifications, so it’s important to stay organized and responsive when it comes to completing your purchases.


So, does REI have a waiting list for camping gear? The answer is yes, they do. As a reputable outdoor retailer, REI understands the importance of fair distribution and customer satisfaction. 

Understanding how the waiting list for camping gear works and planning in advance can increase your chances of securing the equipment you need for your outdoor adventures. 

Remember to book your gear early, consider alternative options if necessary, and plan your camping trip meticulously. 

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy the great outdoors with the right gear at your disposal. Happy camping!