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In addition to selling plenty of gear from other top brands in the outdoor industry, retail outlet REI has also developed and maintained its own private collection of products over the years. Often those items compared quite favorably to those offered by the more well known gear manufacturers, but generally had the added benefit of being available at a more consumer friendly price tag too. Now, just a few weeks into the new year, REI has launched an initiative to update its product line to create a more cohesive ecosystem with gear that is designed to seamlessly work well together. Better yet, it has also streamlined its product categories to make it easier to understand just which activities these items are specifically designed for.

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The revamped items in REI’s catalog includes a number of new jackets and backpacks that now fall into one of two broad product categories – the Flash line or the Traverse line. The products under the Flash umbrella are designed for shorter, faster paced adventures, and features gear that is lighter in weight. Those items include the new Rhyolite Rain Jacket, which uses eVent Dvalpine fabrics and is available for both men and women. The line also includes the Flash 65 backpack for men, and the Flash 60 for women, both of which have been updated to include REI’s proprietary Packnit suspension to help increases ventilation and comfort while carrying a heavier load. The smaller Flash 18 and Flash 22 daypacks have also been updated with new designs, and fall under this “light and fast” category as well.

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Alternatively, the Traverse line consists of products that are built for longer excursions into the backcountry, where durability and performance are more of a concern. These items include the new Talusphere Rain Jacket, which uses REI’s Elements fabrics to provide protection from the wind and rain while still managing to remain highly breathable. There are also three backpacks that fall into this category as well, including the Traverse 85, Traverse 70, and Traverse 65 the latter of which is a women’s specific pack. Those backpacks now include 3D contoured hipbelts, a new backpanel system, and REI’s own upLift compression system to help provide more comfort while out on the trail.

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I’m told that REI has been looking closely at its entire line of gear, and that similar updates could be coming in other categories as well. For now though, the company is focused squarely on its performance backpacking lines, with the products in the Flash and Traverse categories taking center stage.

All of the products mentioned here are available now. For more information and pricing, visit REI.com.

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