Mass Exodus of Summer Travelers Spotted Escaping City Limits

REI Makes Outdoor Escapades Easy – All Summer Long – With Expert Tips, New Online Tools and Innovative Products

SEATTLE, May 18 /PRNewswire/ — Memorial Day marks the kick-off to summer — a welcomed arrival for the more than one in three travelers planning nature-packed excursions at least once this season (1). Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national retail cooperative providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, is a one-stop shop for campers and wanderers-at-large looking to gear up and leave the traffic jams, cell phones and the daily grind behind.

In time for Memorial Day adventures, REI has developed the perfect getaway planner that’s sure to help outdoor recreationalists with a plethora of summer planning needs. There’s no smoke and mirrors with the new “Escape Hatch” on REI.com, www.rei.com/planyourescape, where visitors can easily peruse popular hikes specific to their area, get inspired by other like-minded adventurers — REI-dubbed “Escape Artists” — and learn about the season’s hottest gear and apparel for more memorable travel.

To make sure travelers are geared up to take on whatever Mother Nature throws their way, REI offers everything from tips and recommendations, accessible online or in-store, to travel packages through REI Adventures to the latest news and information on hot new products at REI, including women-specific gear, light and fast innovations and products enjoyed by the entire family.

School’s out for summer. Camping, second only to walking, remains the most popular outdoor activity in the country, attracting more than 55 million Americans in 2004 (2). And family camping has never been more fun. Sure to be a favorite among forest fairies and families alike, REI introduces its seemingly Lord of the Rings-inspired REI Hobitat 4 & 6 tent, incorporating vertical sidewalls and tons of head room. For mom- and sis-friendly gear, check out the REI Sub Kilo sleeping bag and the REI Aries pack. And after a day of climbing, paddling or hiking, treat the kids to homemade ice cream with the portable Camper’s Dream Ice Cream Maker.

Does the backcountry beckon? From climbing Kilimanjaro to trekking local trails, peruse a list of REI Escape Hatch’s most popular trips. Get advice from the experts by consulting with the REI “Escape Artists” for tips on great trips and gear. For enthusiasts who don’t think it’s possible to pack a tent, sleeping bag and backpack for under 10 pounds? How about nine? Even less? REI takes it down to 8.5 lbs with the ultra-light and fast trio including the REI 45L UL pack, REI Quarter Dome UL tent and REI Sub Kilo +20 sleeping bag.

In search of summer solace? Witness nature in extraordinary form by referencing the REI Escape Hatch for the latest listings of upcoming meteor showers and eclipses. Fill your new REI Vista daypack with tasty treats, grab your REI Mistral II soft-shell jacket, and lie in wait for the next celestial phenomena. Although, if you’re hankering for hybrid, try the REI Taku Jacket, combining hard- and soft-shell fabrics for the ultimate in weather protection and breathability.

About REI

REI is a national outdoor retail cooperative, committed to inspiring, educating and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventures. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is today the nation’s largest consumer co-op with more than 2.5 million active members. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor cross training, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company’s profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. REI currently operates stores in 25 states, two online stores — REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com — and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. A portion of REI’s profits is set aside each year for support of environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation causes.

(1) Travel Industry Association of America, May 2004

(2) National Sporting Goods Association, March 2005

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