Black Friday is traditionally the season when you shop for televisions or Christmas presents, and not so much for outdoor gear. But that has changed in the past few years with REI’s Get Up Get Out Sale and other retailers trying their hand at Black Friday outdoor deals. Now is a great time to score a deal on tents, backpacks, sleeping pads, and Garmin devices. Just know that today is the final day of REI’s sale, so many of the deals will disappear tonight. Be sure to check out our other early Black Friday deals coverage for more.
WIRED Top Deals
Updated November 20, 2023: We’ve checked prices and added new deals, including the Garmin Instinct, Garmin Forerunner 225, Garmin InReach, Icebreaker hoodie, Sea to Summit sleeping pad, and Deuter kid carrier, along with a few Smartwool merino socks and t-shirts.
Table of Contents
We test products year-round and handpicked these deals. Products that are sold out or no longer discounted as of publishing will be
crossed out. We’ll update this guide through November.
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Our favorite lumbar pack, The Tour is loaded with pockets, which gives you far more stash spaces than would seem possible in a pack this size. We’ve had no trouble fitting a change of clothes and a couple of meals in here, in addition to the gear you’ll need for a full day on the trail or on a bike. The 13L version is also on sale for $75 ($25 off).
REI brand packs are hard to beat on value. This is a lot of pack for not a lot of money. My wife has had the women’s version of this pack for around eight years now, and it’s still going strong. With plenty of internal pockets for organizing your stuff and an included rain cover, this pack has everything you need for a long day hike—and it doesn’t cost a fortune.
Mystery Ranch packs have a devoted following for a good reason. They’re tough and well-thought-out. This 27L pack is a great size for all-day use, whether you’re headed into the woods or just around town. The MOLLE webbing on the back provides plenty of expansion options, and Mystery Ranch’s trademark 3-panel zip system is one of those things you never knew you needed until you try it, and then you can’t live without it. Note that this deal is only on the black color in large.
We love GoRuck’s over-the-top sturdy packs. Packs don’t come better made than this. The Bullet is the smallest of GoRuck’s bags and makes a good pack for around town (the laptop compartment is awesome) or short, lightweight hikes. GoRuck’s packs aren’t cheap, but this deal makes the price a little easier to bear.
We haven’t tested this exact pack, but I have been testing the similar Deuter Speed Lite 30 ($124) all fall (it’s also on sale), and I own the Trail 25 ACT from a few years back, which is similar. Both of those are very comfortable, sturdy packs, and the Pro 33L here looks to be the same. It has a nice set of internal organization options, a decent hipbelt for this size pack, and Deuter’s trademark venting system to keep your back cool.
Our favorite duffel bag, the Big Haul comes in a variety of sizes to swallow however much gear you have. This is the 40L version, but all the others are on sale as well. The Big Haul is made of durable, water-resistant materials and has a clever customizable strap system. It can be used as a bag or backpack. The only downside is that there’s no shoulder strap.
My son grew up in this pack, which carried him everywhere from the mountains of Colorado to the hot barren mesas of Chaco Canyon. It’s not cheap (though this deal takes some of the pain away), but it’s well-made, and, most important, stable and comfortable. It’s also the easiest kid-hiking-pack I’ve tested to take on and off, which you will inevitably do, a lot.
Fitness Tracker and Tech Deals
Every time reviews editor Adrienne So sees a mega sporty Garmin, it reminds her of a parody headline, “Local Runner Convinces Himself He Needs $1,000 Watch to Run 50K.” As she noted in her review (8/10, WIRED Recommends), you probably do not need a sports watch that’s this expensive. But it’s big and beautiful, the battery lasts forever, and it records every sport conceivable with the most granular metrics possible. And it has a neat flashlight. You could do much worse. Check out our Best Fitness Trackers guide for more suggestions.
The Instinct 2S Solar (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best value for the money in the sports watch category. It has insanely good battery life thanks to its small, sharp monochrome screen. The Instinct can track an incredible array of fitness-related features and it has three GPS systems to pinpoint location and distance, even at sea or under tree cover.
Garmin’s Forerunner line of GPS-enabled fitness trackers is bewilderingly complex, but this is our favorite (8/10, WIRED Recommends). You get great battery life in a lightweight, comfortable watch. There’s all the detailed fitness tracking you’d expect, especially for running, hiking, and cycling. It also has pretty good sleep tracking. The Music version, which allows you to store and listen to music via Bluetooth headphones, is also on sale for $300 ($100 off). If you’re not sure which Garmin to get, have a look at our guide to picking the right model.
If you’re breaking off your toothbrush handle to reduce weight in your hyperlight pack, you need an inReach Mini. It’s tiny—a mere 3.5 ounces—and utilizes the super-fast Iridium satellite network, which will let you send an SOS from anywhere on the planet. It’s our favorite tiny satellite messenger for traveling off-grid.
This is the latest version of our favorite micro ebike. The next big trend in electric bikes is micro-mobility, which refers to tiny personal vehicles. Tiny bikes are more affordable, easier to transport, and easier to store. And just like mini anything, they’re completely irresistible.
Apparel and Footwear Deals
An Icebreaker hoodie was my introduction to merino wool, and it remains one of the best jackets I’ve ever owned. This jacket is 100 percent merino and incredibly warm, despite not being all that thick. That makes it a great option for days when the weather may vary considerably–it’s warm enough for a cold morning but won’t be a burden in your pack the rest of the day.
This shirt seems to be an updated version of the all-season version below. This one is 100 percent merino and fits fairly snug, making it a good choice for layering. The women’s version is also on sale, in some cases for even less (select colors).
I like these zero-padded socks for everyday use and hiking. They’re plenty soft and not too tight. They’re only about 50 percent merino (the rest is various forms of nylon) so they won’t be quite as odor-resistant as full merino socks, but they make a good intro to the world of wool socks. If you prefer some extra cushion in the heel and toe areas, the Light Cushion and Full Cushion versions are also on sale.
Icebreaker’s Tech T-shirts are some of our favorite 100 percent merino wool T-shirts. They’re comfortable in all but the warmest weather and are great for layering because they do a passable job of blocking the wind (compared to a cotton T-shirt). There are a variety of designs and colors to choose from.
Merino wool underwear might sound, well, uncomfortable, but trust me. These are the best boxers you don’t own yet. I’ve been testing these for a while now, and they are incredibly soft, comfortable, and odor resistant. They’re not cheap, but this deal helps ease the sticker shock.
These minimal socks are a great choice for runners. They work especially well with barefoot shoes if that’s your bag. They’re 54 percent merino wool, with enough stretch to keep them nice and tight inside shoes, even when you’re trail running.
Reviews editor Adrienne So wears these pants at least once a week to hike or climb. They’re nylon (boo!), but they’ve held up to several years of relatively hard wear with air drying. I like the loose fit, unobtrusive design, roomy zip pockets, and internal drawstring. These are also great travel pants and come in several colors. She will probably buy the OV running leggings ($74, $24 off) too.
We included Danner boots in our Buy It for Life guide and our guide to the Best Hiking Boots. They’re not the lightest boots, nor the most nimble. But their standout feature is that the upper is made from single, beautiful pieces of full-grain leather, including the attached tongue. No leaking here!
In 2004, running company Brooks merged with pioneering run bra company Moving Comfort to make some of the best (and most expensive) sports bras on the market, especially if you’re larger-busted. This bra features molded cups and incrementally adjustable hook-and-eye straps to reduce bounce as much as possible.
We love these long-sleeve Smartwool shirts for how soft they are. The heavy-duty seams (read: sturdier, longer lasting) are not so heavy that they cause any discomfort—the shirts lie flat and sit off the shoulder, as any half-decent base layer should. These aren’t 100 percent merino, but the 12 percent nylon might be welcome if you’re a merino newbie. The men’s version is also on sale for the same price, though you can grab last year’s colors from REI Outlet for even less.
I have not tested these exact socks, but I own and love several other Smartwool pairs that have stood the test of time. And yes, you really can wear them on the trail for several days in a row and they won’t smell. I do suggest letting them air out each day if you can.
This is our favorite 2-person backpacking tent that we’ve tested. It’s rugged, easy to set up, and offers generous living space for two with gear. The mesh design, when coupled with the rainfly and good staking, will stand up to storms and not roast you when camping in the midsummer heat. The vestibule is on the small side—big enough for boots and an empty pack, but not much else—but if you want more room, the three-person version is also on sale, for $285 ($94 off).
Our favorite lightweight family backpacking tent, the MSR Elixir 4 tent isn’t quite as pricey as options like the Big Agnes Copper Spur, but it’s not much heavier. I used this with my three kids, and there was plenty of interior space. That said, three adults will be more comfortable than four. The mesh at the top provides great ventilation on warm summer nights and the crossover pole helps it stand up well in the wind. The 1-person, 2-person, and 3-person sizes are also on sale.
Our top pick for family tents, the MSR Habitude is strong and light. It fits easily on a canoe or paddleboard and is easy to set up—the design is simple and the poles are color-coded. In our testing, there was plenty of floor space for two adults, two toddlers, and a large-ish dog. It also has storage pockets, places to hang lights, and a vestibule. It doesn’t have the best airflow in warmer situations, but otherwise this is a great option for families.
Nemo’s sleeping pads are the lightest, smallest pads we’ve tested. The Tensor-insulated sleeping pad sports an R-Value of 4.2 and weighs just 15.2 ounces. I also love that the Tensor is thick, comfortable, and nearly silent. (I hate that swish of nylon that’s pretty much synonymous with backcountry sleeping.) The REI deal is the best, but if you want the mummy version, it’s also on sale at Backcountry ($130) and Moosejaw ($140).
This pad was my intro to backcountry sleeping, and I remain a fan (though, technically, mine was a no-name brand). The Z-Lite and its ilk weigh next to nothing (10 ounces for the small), fold up small enough to lash to the outside of any pack, and double as a chair, extra padding on cold nights, or a table.
We really like the slightly thicker Ultra 7R, but if you don’t need extra insulation (for example if you’re headed out in warmer climes), this is a good deal on a solid inflatable. As with the 7R, I suggest going for the wide version. I found the regular to be a bit on the narrow side, and the weight difference (5 ounces) doesn’t justify the lost sleeping space.
The Best Super-Comfy Car Camping Pad in our guide to sleeping pads, Therm-a-rest’s MondoKig is a burly mat at a full 4 inches thick. It weighs 4 pounds, so you won’t want to lug it far, but even a large-bodied side sleeper won’t bottom out on this thing. This deal applies only to the large size.
I have not had a chance to put this pad in our Best Sleeping Pads guide, but I’ve spent quite a few fall nights on it now and recommend it for anyone who wants to go lightweight but still have some insulation for warmth. This pad is surprisingly light and compact for the comfort level it provides. With an R-value of 4, it’s enough for winter camping, though I prefer to pair it with a Z-Rest ($35 at Backcountry, $10 off) when there’s snow on the ground.
Stove and Water Filter Deals
This lightweight, efficient, compact stove is perfect for car camping and bike packing. It’s easy to use, and the fuel is cheap. We have seen the price dip lower, but this is still a good deal.
MSR’s answer to the all-in-one Jetboil type of stove, the WindBurner is perfect for those solo adventures. If you end up making friends, the Windburner Duo is also on sale for $165 ($55 off)
The WhisperLite Universal is a legend for good reason. It’ll burn just about anything (isobutane-propane, white gas, gasoline, kerosene), making it a great choice for traveling internationally or wherever you don’t know what kind of fuel will be available. Flame control is a little tricky, but I have managed to get it to simmer, as long as the wind isn’t too bad.
This gravity water filter made backpacking with my family fun again. Seriously, fetching water for five on the trail can be a lot of work, but with MSR’s Guardian filter it’s as simple as scooping some water and waiting a few minutes. It’s expensive, but if you backpack with a large group it’s totally worth it.
This little filter lives at the bottom of my daypack because it’s so light. Why not? I don’t have to worry about lugging a ton of water if I know that my trail crosses active streams and I have this thing with me. In fact, if you’re an uber-ultralight weightist (and a little silly) you can skip the bottle entirely and just squirt this thing into your mouth while you vault across streams, sailing toward that summit.
I got my first Petzel Tikka in 2000. It lasted 15 years and would probably still be going if I hadn’t accidentally run over it. These will stand up to a lot, but not the full weight of car, as it turns out. I am now on my second Tikka, and it’s still the best headlamp I’ve ever used. Truthfully, these days I use a USB headlamp most of the time, but when I hit the trail I still take the Tikka and a set of extra (rechargeable) batteries.
This one is for REI members only, but it’s a great deal. These things make great stocking stuffers or white elephant gifts. The inflatable Luci light is frosted and has 10 LEDs and a color cycle mode. It’s fully waterproof and dirtproof, is collapsible for easy storage, and charges in direct sunlight for about six hours of run time.
For luxury camping trips, this is the chair to get. The Stargaze’s seat swings and reclines using straps to suspend its seat from an aluminum frame. It can hold up to 300 pounds. WIRED commerce director Martin Cizmar says his only problem with the chair was that, like a palace throne, maintaining possession required constant vigilance over covetous and duplicitous vassals.
I love this little coffee mug, which is nearly indestructible. It’s hard to find a mug that isn’t giant. If you’re a fan of small mugs and need one for camping (or anywhere really) this is a great option.
One of our favorite barefoot shoe brands is also having a sale right now. If you’re new to barefoot shoes, have a look at our Best Barefoot Shoes guide before you dive in feet first.
Once my favorite shoe (I’ve since moved to the even more minimalist Z-Trek Sandal), these remain a great choice for beginners and experienced barefooters alike. Think of these as the barefoot answer to Chacos. Except where Chacos are like putting tractors on your feet, the Z-Trails still flex and bend as you walk, giving your feet the freedom of movement you expect from a barefoot shoe. The kids’ Z-Trails are also a great deal at $30 ($30 off).
The HFS is our favorite barefoot shoe for running on human-made surfaces, like concrete and asphalt. It has a bit of extra cushion that’s nice when you’re pounding the pavement (although you shouldn’t be pounding anything when running barefoot). These are comfortable and durable, and they offer about 7 millimeters of padding to soften the impact of hard surfaces.
If you want a heavier lug sole for hiking on rough ground but don’t want a full boot, Xero’s Mesa Trail II are a good choice. They can also double as trail runners when you want to move faster. The price varies a lot by color so it’s worth clicking around. If you don’t mind the red pair, they can be had for $36.
The Tari is our top pick for a solid winter boot. My daughter has worn these for two years— everywhere from the icy, windy Colorado plains to the windswept Outer Banks—and she’s had toasty toes throughout. While technically a slip-on, it does have an adjustable strap that runs from the top of the arch down to the sole and then through a buckle near the back, which means you can snug it down a little if you need to.