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I was from Seattle and still have most of my family there so, ""of course", I'm familiar with your stores. But I live in France now. I was in need of gear for an upcoming backpacking trip and checked your (very good) website and saw that, even from afar, your equipment is not only great but competitively priced without even counting on your dividends. So my question is: is it possible to be a member from abroad, (which would make buying equipment even more advantageous)? And a corollary of sorts: can you manage sending packages overseas?
Thank you for your answer.
I'm not an REI employee but I do live outside the US (in Canada.) Yes you can join REI and yes you can have stuff shipped to you.
However you will face several challenges that may make this impractical:
@Pyrob thanks for the question! We definitely have international REI co-op members and @Wanderer captured all of what we would have mentioned - there are brands that have restricted international shipping, we are experiencing international shipping delays, and returns can be lengthy. Let us know if you have additional questions!
Thanks for the response.
What would the reason be for the restrictions concerning the shipping of certain brands? I can understand restrictions for the gas canisters for stoves, for example, but I don't get the reason you can't ship a tent or a sleeping bag...
Licensing. The manufacturer or country distributor places these restrictions on REI. They don't want someone in France to import their products from another country where that item may sell for a lower price.
There can also be technical issues, e.g. the version of a product that sells in the US may not have identical identical specifications, come with localizations, or have the same certifications as the similar version that's designed to sell in the EU.
@Pyrob in the same vein as @Wanderer's response, unfortunately, there isn't 1 simple reason why we can't ship specific brands/items internationally. Restrictions on international shipping are complex (governed by local and international laws) and are typically determined by our vendors. We recognize this is disappointing for our members and customers living abroad and hope that transparently providing the list of restricted vendors helps with decision making.