REI is a highly knowledgeable store with one or more experts in every department. They are more than willing to do whatever it takes to make you happpy, and they do not work off of comission so they do not try to up-sell or try to convince you to buy something you really don't need. The bottom line is that these guys have anything you need to get started in your outdoor adventure, weather its hiking the AT or kayaking down the Perkiomen, this is a great store with great people!!!
Pros: They cater to beginners and advanced level outdoorsmen of all kinds
Cons: They do not necessarily cater to the professional/expert outdoorsmen