REI Adventures vs ROW Adventures - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.4
Guide — 4.4
Activities — 4.4
Lodging — 4.4
Transportation — 4.4
Meals — 4.4
Overall — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
Horrible!1.0 August 2018
We did not do this trip with REI, but did this trip by ourselves and had the group from REI camp next to use. We were there from 7/19-7/22/2018. My girlfriend and I are experienced backpackers. This is some of the things we noticed WRONG! Most of these have to do with the Leave No Trace policy that are strict rules, especially on the PCT. Some are just common courtesy. Some of these things aren’t bad when it is one person, but when thousands do it, it poses real environmental problems. Guides, especially, should not be teaching future backpackers the wrong mentality about leaving our wildernesses as pristine as possible.Read more
LNT = Leave No Trace policy
They camped 15-25 (some tents were closer than others) feet from the water. LNT states it should be at least 100 feet away from water to minimize pollution of water.
They cooked and washed dishes and brushed their teeth 15 feet from water. LNT states it should be at least 100 feet away from water and camp site to minimize water pollution and critters in/near your campsite.
People were putting on sunscreen and then going swimming very shortly after. This clearly pollutes the water.
At one point around 7pm, the two guides left the entire group, with their packs on, and did not come back until around 9pm. What if someone tripped and fell and hit their head while the guides were gone?
While walking down a really narrow steep section from Mt. Eddy, the group was walking uphill and did not slow down or move over for us at all, forcing us to move to the side. The rule of thumb is that people going downhill have the right away because of momentum. People going up should always yield to those coming down.
The entire group hung and and swam right in front of our campsite, even-though they could have very easily gotten into the water and hung out around the water close to their campsite. People obviously go into the back-country to get away from people. Why would these ‘experienced’ guides let 10 people block the view and disturb other people when there was no need. This seemed very rude and selfish.
At one point we heard one guide talking about our bear hanging method (The Piutte or PCT method using a locking stick method), saying it was “Unnecessary”. We don’t know what they did for bear safety but we also heard the same guide telling the clients that bears and other animals were not a concern because she had “guided this for 4 years now and have never had any issues”. This is the wrong mentality. Maybe she simply got lucky for 4 years.
We heard one of the guides, while talking about glass in the area that “if you feel comfortable, you can just throw it in the fire pit. It’s better than it being on the ground or in the water”. This is the wrong mentality. They should inform the guide, and the guide should make a conscious effort to pack it out, versus simply throwing it into a fire pit where a ranger is simply going to spread the ashes away from the pit, later spreading the glass around.
Outstanding5.0 June 2017
Lightning Will Johnson Just got home from an 11 day expedition around Svalbard aboard the Ocean Nova. Quark Expeditions is a first rate outfit. Outstanding service, food, and exploration. We were able to kayak on 9 different occasions in addition to our shore excursions. The crew was outstanding and did everything they could to make our trip memorable. I rate them 10 out of 10.Read more
Tour Rei Adventures Company Reviews
Exceeded our expectations5.0 November 2016
Will Travel For Adventures
We have been on many REI trips, mainly because of the talented local guides. Our guide on this trip, Mike (a first time REI guide) has to be right at the top of the list. He did a great job of making sure that everyone got what they wanted from the adventure. And Mike's birding and wildlife expertise were unsurpassed! Highlight of the trip: The whole package, although kayaking to the penguins, hiking to the cave paintings, and the whole safari really stand out! Also, the accommodations and food far exceeded our expectations!Read more
Great5.0 July 2018
A group of us from Wyoming just did the 5 day Hells Canyon trip with ROW. Great guides (Will, Bethany, Max, Trevor, and Connie) and excellent food. I would highly recommend this company to anyone.
Tour ROW Adventures Company Reviews
we had a blast5.0 June 2018
Just got back from my first whitewater rafting trip on the Lochsa and I'm hooked. My husband and I were both river newbies and we had a blast. All of the guides took very good care of us, the lunch was very good, but Eric is hands down the best guide ever!Read more
Tour ROW Adventures Company Reviews
Best Vacation Ever!5.0 August 2017
The Family Magic Trip down the lower Salmon River in August was AMAZING! The guides were awesome! So knowledgeable, funny, and resourceful. The food was better than most restaurants and my kids loved it (as did I)! The River Jester (Lily) was such a sweet yet stern and fun lady that kept the kids entertained and they loved her. They setup camp for us each day at these amazing beaches! I have never been rafting, and they were there to make it seem easy and doable! I loved that they taught us about the local history and environments. A stop at Spalding was awesome start to the trip! I enjoyed the paddle boats, inflatable kayaks, and the oar boats. I even became part of the swim team but it was a good experience having the guides there to ensure our safety. I loved cliff jumping, the short hikes, swimming the rapids, and swimming in the river with the kids. The time with friends and family was great. It was so relaxing and good to meet so many different people I feel that I can call my friends now. Best part was sleeping under the stars with my family hearing the rushing river next to us. The guides made the trip so personal and they were caring! Thanks so much Mark, Max, Connie, Jonas, Curtis, Lily, and Bethany! Absolutely recommend going on a trip with ROW and I plan to with my children again, it was worth every penny! Thanks Jason for helping plan the trip for me!Read more
|Tours||84 Trips||77 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 413||$ 505|
|Operator Type||Mixed Land & Cruise||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Sumner, Washington, United States||Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States|
When you think of REI, you probably think first of stores that sell quality outdoor equipment and gear. But REI also has a travel division called REI Adventures, which has been leading active outdoor adventures around the world for the past 25 years.
What Makes REI Adventures Stand Out?
Known for their top quality outdoor gear, REI’s trips are specifically designed for the active adventure traveler. As a company they are dedicated to helping people see the world through the lens of nature and outdoor adventure. Even though this is their focus, they do also enrich their itineraries with cultural encounters, great meals with local touches, and exploring the destination off the hiking trail.
Aside from their many trip options, from women-only departures to family friendly outings, they also offer volunteering trips, for those travelers interested in making a difference through their travel. These are also outdoor focused and involve things like wildlife habitat restoration and trail maintenance. It’s clear that REI takes their role as an outfitter as well as travel provider seriously and strive to help protect the areas they explore to keep them as pristine and undisturbed as possible.
Most trips are small groups, and are intended for those who are physically fit. Satisfy all your active adventure cravings on a trip with REI where you’ll meet like minded travelers and come home with stories to tell.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With REI Adventures?
REI trips are very active adventure focused, with the emphasis is on getting outdoors and enjoying nature. If you are the kind of traveler for whom putting on a pair of hiking boots and hitting the trail for a several hour excursion in the wilderness is an ideal and really, crucial, aspect of your travel experience, these trips are for you. The space in your suitcase that might have been dedicated to makeup, ties, jewelry, or cufflinks is replaced with outdoor travel accessories.
Getting out in nature with REI means anything from hard core activities like extreme whitewater rafting and trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro, to family safaris and cruises to Antarctica. The focal point is being outside, learning about nature, and being active.
That said, this is travel after all, albeit adventure travel, but that doesn’t have to mean no time to slow down and get some cultural experiences in too. Simply that exploring culture and history is secondary to the outdoor travel aspect.
Everyone from mild adventure travelers to hard core adventurers and adrenaline junkies will be right at home on a trip with REI. Trips are moderately priced, with several family friendly, solo traveler, and women-only options available. Because their core focus is in active travel, a certain level of physical fitness is expected.
A wide range of ages are welcome, though the core age group is between 18-40. On Family Friendly trips it is recommended that children be no younger than 8 years old. Not all activities will be open to the younger travelers in the group, but these trips are specifically designed to make sure everyone has something fun to do!
REI travels to destinations with an eye toward the outdoor activities to be enjoyed. Whether this means an African safari camping under the stars, a multi day hike through some of the world’s most incredible National Parks, or a trekking journey in Nepal.
They offer departures on all 7 continents, with an impressive number of Antarctica tours available. they focus on National Parks, mountain regions, hikes, and popular safari and white water rafting locations.
REI Adventures Travel Style
Each of REI’s 150 trips -- which reach all seven continents -- is rated 1 through 5 for activity level. Trips rated 1(Relaxed) and 2(Easy Active) are ideal for families with younger kids, older travelers seeking some invigoration without, you know, climbing cliffs or barreling through whitewater, or completely novice active outdoor travelers.
Trips that are rated Moderate are also great for novices, but those interested in a slightly bigger challenge physically. Those trips rated 4(Vigorous) and 5(Strenuous) often require a doctor’s note to ensure you are aware of the risk, and able to keep up with the physical demands of 10+ hours a day of extreme activity, dramatically changing elevations, and steep uneven terrain.
Camping is a common accommodation style for REI Adventures trips - though you usually will not be required to do your own set up and break down, and in most cases (not all) hot running water is available. Other types of accommodation include rustic lodges, and basic hotels.
Why Choose a Tour With REI Adventures?
For an exhilarating and invigorating deep dive into nature and the outdoors, choose REI Adventures. This is their core focus and they do it remarkably well. Travelers who like to explore destinations through the lens of active travel will be right at home with REI Adventures. If you’re looking to expand your horizons and perhaps challenge what you previously thought you were capable of (such as learning to scale a mountain, or graduate from class 3 to class 4 whitewater rafting) these trips are for you.
This is a also a great travel opportunity to make new friends with like interests! You are sure to meet many fellow outdoorsy, active travelers -- whether you’re hiking through Tuscany, trekking to Machu Picchu, exploring Utah’s Zion National Park by bicycle, or kayaking the South Island of New Zealand.
These trips are not for you if the idea of being outside constantly, among the elements, pushing your physical boundaries is less than appealing. They also focus far less on museums, history, and classic tourist attractions, so if this is important to you, we’d suggest looking into other tour companies where this is more prominent in the itinerary.
If you love the outdoors and being active when you travel, REI is the perfect tour operator for you. They specialize in active adventure travel, as evidenced by their outfitters, so if you love shopping at REI for all your outdoor needs you’re sure to enjoy touring with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to be an REI member to go on their trips?
No, however if you are a member, you can receive substantial discounts!
2. Is airfare included?
No, only ground transportation during the trip is covered by the trip price. You are responsible for purchasing your airfare to and from the trip start and end locations.
3. Does REI Adventures provide travel insurance?
Travel insurance is required when traveling with REI. Due to the potentially dangerous and risky nature of adventure travel, REI has a partnership with TripAssure, and recommend all travelers purchase the “Adventure Protection Plan” which you can do through REI. Should you choose to purchase independently, know that certain events that can arise from active travel may not be covered, so do so at your own risk.
4. How difficult are REI Adventures trips physically?
This will vary by the trip, but in general it will be good to expect some parts of the trip to be physically challenging, relative to the trip classification. REI separates their trips into five main categories:
1. Relaxed: These trips are ideal for new adventurers with no background in active travel. They usually involve easy hikes - expect to walk no more than 3 miles a day, and to be active between 1-3 hours a day. Elevation changes are rare, so most hiking and walking is relatively flat. Great for families with young kids looking to enjoy being out in the fresh air!
2. Easy Active: Another good option for families or slightly older travelers looking to push their limits. These trips are active and exciting without being extreme. Expect to be active between 2-5 hours a day, hiking up to 6 miles; cycling between 10-30 miles.
3. Moderate: Here’s where it begins to get more challenging - though REI states that these trips are perfectly doable for novices to outdoor travel. Expect to be active between 4-6 hours most days, and covering distances of up to 10 miles for hiking; between 20-40 miles for cycling.
3a. Moderate plus: Moderate plus indicates that some experience in active outdoor travel would be beneficial. These trips are a combination of Moderate and Vigorous activities.
4. Vigorous: These trips are best suited to those travelers with a bit of active travel already under their belt, and basic outdoor travel skills are recommended. Or at least willing to undergo some training to be ready and able to keep up with the group. You’ll be active for between 5-8 hours a day, hiking 12 miles most days; cycling between 30-50 miles.
5. Strenuous: This designation is reserved for long distance trekking, dramatic changes in elevation, and it is required that travelers be fit and able bodied. A doctor’s note is required for you to be permitted on these tours. Expect consistently uneven terrain, and long days of activity - hiking 12 miles or more, or cycling 50 miles or more. Prepare to be active upwards of 10 hours a day.
Established in 1979, by ROW Adventures began as a whitewater rafting company, which now offers many different kinds of active adventure trips.
Their award winning trips have been featured in National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” and Travel and Leisure has named them one of the “World’s Best Tour Operators.”
What Makes ROW Adventures Stand Out?
ROW Adventures has grown over it's 30 years as a family owned business to include all sorts of adventure travel offerings. They have a high guest to guide ratio, and specialize in small, customized tours, highlighting history and culture with the help of authentic local connections.
Most trips involve some camping, but lodge-based options as well - higher end lodging, motels, and ecolodges are available as well, depending on the location and type of trip.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With ROW Adventures?
At first blush, ROW Adventures may seem to only be intended for hard core adventure travelers and adrenaline junkies. In reality, they are less niche focused - striving to create active tours that will appeal to a wide range of travelers. It’s not just about Class 4 rapids!
If you are active travel minded, relatively physically fit, and enjoy being outside - you will definitely find a tour to enjoy with ROW Adventures. They cater heavily to families, as well as couples, and even retired-aged adults, provided you don’t require mobility assistance, as these trips usually involve walking, hiking, and being active in general.
ROW is particularly well suited to travelers who maybe have hesitated to book active travel tours in the past out of fear that cultural travel experiences will not be included. Rather than focus 100% their time on active travel, ROW itineraries also do an impressive job of incorporating visits to historical attractions and cultural activities.
Additionally, it’s not all camping and roughing it - ROW has a very wide range of accommodation styles available from glamping to more traditional hotels.
Row offers trips on five continents, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Antarctica. Almost all trips take place on or around water, and many involve kayaking, rafting, or other multisport activities.
Among some of the most popular activities offered are sea kayaking in Baja, kayaking with Orcas in British Columbia, and they are the world's only tour operator through which guests can beach camp inside of the Galapagos National Park.
ROW Adventures Travel Style
While some of the main activities you’ll experience on most ROW trips are of course water based given their name, they also offer safaris, biking, and hiking trips. For those who can’t make up their minds, multisport itineraries are also available.
Many trips utilize self-powered means of transportation, either sea kayak or raft. Others are cruise or yacht-based, hiking-based, or are supported by gear boats. All trips are accompanied by an extensive support staff. In fact the impressive guide to guest ratio on ROW Adventures trips is a huge plus for travelers.
Accommodations on ROW Adventures trips are quite varied depending on the trip theme, time of year, and budget. You can find everything from luxury yachts in Croatia to camping the stars along the Idaho River.
Why Choose a Tour with ROW Adventures?
Whether you are a thrill seeker or just dipping your toe in the waters of adventure travel, ROW has the trip for you.
With their focus on authentic local experiences, highly qualified guides, and intent to make each trip as special and personalized as possible, they are one of the best choices available for your next adventure trip.