Who Makes REI Backpacks (Are They Good? Quality + Review)

who makes rei backpacks

Do you know who makes REI backpacks for hiking, travel, and school? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

It isn’t currently known who makes REI backpacks, the popular pack of choice for many hikers, travelers, and school-goers. According to REI’s website, many of their backpacks are imported; although it isn’t known where they are imported from, many believe that much of REI’s stock is imported from China.

Who makes REI backpacks?

REI’s website states that many of their backpacks, and much of their other stock, is currently imported. However, this is all we know for sure about where REI backpacks are made and who is making them. Many believe that REI’s backpacks are made in China, where much of their stock is manufactured.

REI’s list of manufacturers is publicly available through their website and offers the details of many of the manufacturers they use.

However, it is not clear which products are made by which manufacturers, meaning it is difficult to tell who produces REI’s backpacks.

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Who is REI?

REI refers to Recreational Equipment Incorporated, a reference to the outdoor equipment REI sells. With over 80 years of experience selling outdoor equipment, REI’s catalogue of items includes everything you need for outdoor activities like hiking and camping, from backpacks and clothing to gadgets and electronics.

At $30 for a lifetime membership, REI also offers a membership program that comes with a number of benefits for anyone signed up.

Members of the program gain access to things like exclusive discounts, free shipping, and early access to limited edition items. Members are also given exclusive access to REI’s community boards, where members can ask questions.

What are REI backpacks used for?

REI backpacks are typically used for hiking, particularly the larger, more spacious packs. However, they are not confined to being used for hiking or other outdoor activities.

Their backpacks are also loved by travelers, as they offer plenty of room for packing everything needed, as well as school-goers, who appreciate the room given for essentials. 

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Are REI backpacks good?

REI backpacks are typically thought to be a good option for backpacks. Coming in an option of either 32 or 60L, they are spacious enough to hold plenty of items and versatile enough to securely hold whatever you need them to, be it essentials for school or your hiking gear.

The backpacks are also sturdy and durable, making your items safe.

What is the quality of REI backpacks?

With over 80 years in the industry, REI has a lot of experience with making quality, durable backpacks.

REI’s backpacks are thought to be high quality, securely holding your things without tearing or fraying. The use of nylon is greatly appreciated by many, as the material is considered durable and sturdy enough to last. 

Are REI backpacks sustainable?

REI states that a number of their backpacks are considered sustainable, something which is becoming more important to people all the time.

As well as using ecologically-friendly parts to produce the backpacks, manufacturers tend to repair products instead of replacing them, lowering the environmental impact of the backpack.

Textile products are considered sustainable if they are bluesign-approved, as many of REI’s backpacks are.

This means that the products have been manufactured with the environment in mind, using chemicals, materials, and processed that are safe for the environment, the buyer, and the workers. 

REI states that they will continue to develop their sustainability in the future, starting by using standardized parts, so that repairs are easier to do and items do not have to be thrown away when broken. It is also looking to improve its rental programs so that items can be reused that way.

What do the reviews of REI backpacks say?

Reviews of REI’s backpacks differ between backpacks. Some are reviewed much more highly than others, often due to price point or durability.

One of the most reviewed of REI’s backpacks is the new Flash 55, which we will look at here. Let’s look at some of the positive and negative reviews of the REI Flash 55:


  • Compared with other backpack brands, the Flash 55 was considered more affordable and therefore better for those on a budget. Reviewers were generally particularly impressed with the features, size, and quality that REI’s Flash 55 backpack offers for its price point.
  • The Flash 55 was also found the be very comfortable, offering support for both the hips and shoulders. Reviewers found that the backpack still felt comfortable after walking for miles and appreciated the lack of rubbing and chafing that comes with many other backpacks.
  • Finally, the Flash 55 is very customizable, something else many reviewers enjoyed. Parts like pockets can be removed and adjusted as necessary, the strap is adjustable to fit correctly, and the top lid can be removed to create more room.


  • REI claims this pack is weather-resistant, something many people appreciate for taking hikes in all weathers. However, reviewers found that the weather resistance was lacking and some of their items got wet when walking in the rain. To properly protect items, a dry bag was recommended rather than relying on the pack alone.

Final Thoughts

The manufacturers of REI backpacks are not currently known. Although REI states that many of their backpacks are imported, there is little clarity on where they are imported from and who is behind their production.

Due to many of their products being made in China, it is believed by some that their backpacks are also imported from China.




Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Rvandplaya.com. Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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