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By Diane Spicer
REI classes are hosted by REI Co-op, a gear cooperative with an ambitious goal: to get more people outdoors to make some happy memories.
Which Hiking For Her heartily endorses!
And that's why HFH is an REI affiliate, meaning your purchases through this website result in a small commission for HFH, plus great trail tested hiking gear and outdoor clothing for you.
But REI does even more to get you comfortable on outdoor adventures, with an impressive schedule of classes, events and trips.
Let's take a close look at five reasons why REI classes can help you in your quest for more outdoor time as a day hiker, backpacker, car camper, backcountry camper, and all around explorer of Mother Nature.
Fear keeps us off trails and out of tents far too often as females in the outdoors.
Why do I say this?
You should read the emails Hiking For Her receives!
One way to eliminate, or at least minimize, fear is through education.
When you know you have the right gear, and you know how to use it, you're going to be a much more confident hiker and camper.
And that translates directly into safety, comfort, and enjoyment of outdoor time.
REI classes are designed to give you the time, materials and guided practice you need to become a confident outdoors woman.
The class rotation is ever changing, so what is mentioned here might not be available right now.
We'll use a few examples to whet your appetite for some outdoor learning, but be sure to check here for the current course offering in your location.
The first thing to do: When you check the course offering web page, use the left hand panel to set the skill level to beginner.
Then select the activity you're interested in, such as "hiking and camping".
You can also specify a date and location, to focus on what's right around your area.
As an example, after choosing settings of "beginner, July, Seattle WA", here's a class that popped up:
This class will teach you how to set emergency priorities, pick different types of suitable shelters, locate drinking water, build a fire, and other critical outdoor survival skills.
There are planned scenarios within the class to not only learn what to do, but to practice your skills.
And your knowledgeable instructors are focused on creating a low key, encouraging learning environment for you.
So no worries about being a beginner, the atmosphere for learning is safe and supportive.
As noted, you can specify what, where and when you want to learn.
You can also select an activity level to find classes just right for where you are right now with your physical conditioning.
See how you can start from absolute scratch and build your skills?
You're also able to shop for free offerings!
For paid classes, the price ranges are:
Note that pricing has two tiers: members and non-members (who pay more).
Just one of many reasons why it pays to join REI!
Now let's look at another reason to take a few REI classes.
So you've been hiking for awhile.
You might have taken a short backpacking trip or two.
But you're wondering about how to do certain things on the trail, like water filtration.
Or how to keep a safe, clean camp.
REI classes on some of the following topics might be exactly what you're searching for: (again, no promises on availability at the time you're reading this)
Many of these classes are offered as hands on workshops, meaning you'll get expert guidance but also have a chance to handle gear and learn how to finesse it in outdoor conditions.
This gives you insight into the types of gear that will work well for you.
It also introduces you to top notch outdoor brands that you can handle, assemble, tweak and experiment with to see the full range of scenarios you will face on a backpacking trip, day hike, or car camping adventure.
And I'm sure you can see the value of making your mistakes under safe, controlled conditions, right?
Not to mention the value of having immediate feedback from the instructors when you have questions or concerns.
But let's keep going for even more reasons to explore REI classes!
Do you have a secret wish to be a rock climber?
Does outdoor photography call to you, but you don't know where to start?
What about snowshoeing, kayaking, or cycling?
REI classes are there for you!
And everything is conveniently organized in a pull down menu under "Activities".
Check out the full list of possible classes and begin to dream!
Hiking For Her gets mail all the time, asking how to find a hiking partner.
REI classes are a fantastic way to find a trail buddy or a group of outdoor women you'd like to hang out with.
And let's just say it right here: you might also find a life companion in one of these REI classes ;)
In our increasingly insular digital age, it's wonderful to meet other hikers face to face and to share time building skills along with great memories!
And who doesn't love the idea of sharing belly laughs as you learn how to ignite a backpacking stove without losing your eyebrows?
Or practice hanging a bear bag without walloping yourself on your backside?
"The more the merrier" rings true when you're in an REI class with like minded folks.
Some of us seek to explore new skills in a safe environment, free of potential distractions and focused on ways in which women learn best.
And some of us prefer to spend outdoor time only in the company of other women, for a variety of personal reasons.
That's why it's exciting to see that there is also an option to select women only classes on a wide variety of topics, under the pull down menu labeled "Featured Activities".
For more background on REI's Force Of Nature, read Hiking For Her's take on the FON initiative here
There's another avenue open to you in your quest for women only classes.
If you can get a group of women together around a common interest, REI can put together a private class tailored to your needs.
How cool is that?
As mentioned, there are two price tiers for REI classes, with members always paying less.
On line sign up is easy, but payment is required at the time you register.
For popular classes, there may be a wait list.
For classes which require you to bring items from your personal gear locker, you'll receive an email giving you all the details.
REI will also let you know what they're going to provide for your learning in each class, so you don't have to wonder.
You will be asked to provide your own food and water during class time.
This keeps costs down, and allows you to tailor fuel and hydration to your individual needs.
And here's where REI really shines.
They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their classes.
All of the details about general class FAQs are covered here.
So many topics geared toward outdoorsy women!
And what could be easier?
REI handles all of the logistics, and the teachers and potentially new friends and trail partners are waiting to meet and work with you.
REI Co-op Classes