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Amazon Workers Walk Out Over Layoffs and Broken Climate Promises

Amazon Workers Walk Out Over Layoffs and Broken Climate Promises

One month after Amazon ordered its corporate employees to return to the office, some of them have walked back out. Rallies took place outside the company’s Seattle headquarters today and Amazon offices in some other cities. The employees are protesting Amazon’s return-to-office mandate and a lack of meaningful progress on its Climate Pledge.

“Morale is the lowest I’ve seen since I’ve been working here,” says a Seattle-based employee who started in 2020 and survived two rounds of layoffs this year that put 27,000 Amazonians out of work. “People have lost trust in leadership because they have made these unilateral decisions that impact workers’ lives.”

Walk out organizers say more than 1,000 workers joined the Seattle rally with demonstrations in other cities bringing overall participation to over 2,000. Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser says Amazon estimates that about 300 people attended the Seattle demonstration. The company currently has roughly 350,000 corporate and tech employees globally and about 65,000 in the Seattle area. 

While there has been a surge in protests and walkouts from Amazon’s warehouse workers in recent years, today marks the largest demonstration by corporate workers since a 2019 climate protest in which thousands of workers walked off the job. It comes with tech workers across the industry still reeling from an unprecedented number of layoffs, as companies cut back after pandemic hiring sprees.

In February, Andy Jassy, who took over as CEO from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2021, became the latest tech boss to announce that his workers must return to the office, ordering staff to appear in person three days a week starting on May 1. The day of that announcement, employees formed a Slack channel to rally support for remote work and sent a petition signed by 20,000 workers to Amazon’s leadership asking them to reconsider the mandate. Employees say the policy reversed an earlier promise that remote work decisions would be left up to individual teams and add that some workers had relocated as a result. Amazon bosses rejected the request. 

That defeat amplified a wider malaise also fed by Amazon’s sweeping layoffs and the company’s soaring emissions—despite a pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. The return-to-office Slack channel “created a place where a lot of people suddenly had a reason to talk about their gripes with Amazon,” says a Los Angeles-based employee who is walking out of his office today. “In doing so, we realized there was a lot of common ground and an overarching theme of Amazon taking us backward in a lot of big ways.”

“We’re always listening and will continue to do so, but we’re happy with how the first month of having more people back in the office has been,” writes Glasser, the Amazon spokesperson. “There’s more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we’ve heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices.”

Over the past year, remote work has become a flashpoint for many tech workers who grew to enjoy the flexibility it afforded during the pandemic and in some cases reorganized their lives around the freedom to live away from tech hubs.

To Combat the Overdose Crisis, Expand Drug-Checking Programs

To Combat the Overdose Crisis, Expand Drug-Checking Programs

Over the past two weeks, Minnesota and Vermont took steps to explicitly legalize, fund, and expand drug-checking resources. These are major developments for drug policy. Tools like mass spectrometers and fentanyl test strips provide people with real-time information about what’s in their drugs, which can help them make more informed decisions and reduce the possibility of an overdose. What’s more, they help public health and harm reduction workers understand what is in the drug supply, a necessary prerequisite for them to respond to crises and reduce risk. More lawmakers and local organizations must follow in the footsteps of Minnesota and Vermont and implement policies that emphasize drug checking as an instrument for harm reduction, and expand its use as a community-based tool.

In addition to drug checking, we can find out what’s in the drug supply through drug supply surveillance. Most of this surveillance data is collected through law enforcement drug seizures, drug screening in clinical settings or following a death, and urine-based drug screening of people in drug treatment programs. In short, this information is often collected through punitive measures. A positive urine drug screen can result in loss of custody of a child, denial or loss of employment, and incarceration. We have baked this discrimination into law with legislation like the 1988 Drug-Free Workplace Act, which requires that employers who receive federal contracts drug test their employees. Some lawmakers have gone further, pushing to drug test people who receive government supports like food stamps and housing. And choices around who to test are often discriminatory. A study published earlier this year, for example, found that hospitals are more likely to drug test Black women who are pregnant than white women, despite no difference in rates of testing positive.

When you know what might be in the drug supply, you can be better prepared to reduce harm. You might choose to use smaller amounts, avoid mixing drugs, or not use alone. You might start carrying naloxone. But for this to be possible, we need timely and accurate communication about local drug supplies, which requires approaches that aren’t punitive or discriminatory.  

Along with others at Brown University Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital, we run a pilot drug surveillance project called testRI, which takes donated samples of drugs and used paraphernalia from people across the state and tests them using a comprehensive machine at the hospital’s toxicology lab. This gives us a detailed list of all the substances that were in the sample, and allows us to understand what is in the local drug supply. Our testing data is then compiled, posted online, and distributed in the community, along with information on what substances were detected and how to reduce risk. In March, for instance, someone told us they thought they were buying fentanyl, but when we tested the sample we found xylazine, a powerful animal tranquilizer, as well. This drug can cause severe wounds and lead to prolonged sedation, which can complicate overdose responses. Once we documented the presence of xylazine, we created and distributed a zine to people in the community with information about what the drug is, how it’s showing up locally, and how people can take care of the skin wounds it causes and respond to overdoses. 

We aren’t the only ones taking this kind of approach. A lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill runs a mail-based drug-checking program, where people across the country can mail in substances to be tested. And the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offers drug-checking programs at three sites, allowing people to see what’s in the substances they have on hand and giving them advice on how to reduce risk. 

Pairing drug-checking programs with comprehensive drug supply surveillance efforts is critical for rapidly understanding—and responding to—changes in the supply. But for these efforts to be effective, they need to be community-driven, with the goal of reaching people where they already are. When we worked with local partners to post on Instagram and Twitter and distribute zines and other printed materials, it led to funding for wound care kits that are distributed by harm reduction agencies in the state, and additions to the state’s overdose dashboard.

Runaway AI Is an Extinction Risk, Experts Warn

Runaway AI Is an Extinction Risk, Experts Warn

Leading figures in the development of artificial intelligence systems, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, have signed a statement warning that the technology they are building may someday pose an existential threat to humanity comparable to that of nuclear war and pandemics. 

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war,” reads a one-sentence statement, released today by the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit. 

The idea that AI might become difficult to control, and either accidentally or deliberately destroy humanity, has long been debated by philosophers. But in the past six months, following some surprising and unnerving leaps in the performance of AI algorithms, the issue has become a lot more widely and seriously discussed.

In addition to Altman and Hassabis, the statement was signed by Dario Amodei, CEO of Anthropic, a startup dedicated to developing AI with a focus on safety. Other signatories include Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio—two of three academics given the Turing Award for their work on deep learning, the technology that underpins modern advances in machine learning and AI—as well as dozens of entrepreneurs and researchers working on cutting-edge AI problems.

“The statement is a great initiative,” says Max Tegmark, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the director of the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit focused on the long-term risks posed by AI. In March, Tegmark’s Institute published a letter calling for a six-month pause on the development of cutting-edge AI algorithms so that the risks could be assessed. The letter was signed by hundreds of AI researchers and executives, including Elon Musk.

Tegmark says he hopes the statement will encourage governments and the general public to take the existential risks of AI more seriously. “The ideal outcome is that the AI extinction threat gets mainstreamed, enabling everyone to discuss it without fear of mockery,” he adds.

Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, compared the current moment of concern about AI to the debate among scientists sparked by the creation of nuclear weapons. “We need to be having the conversations that nuclear scientists were having before the creation of the atomic bomb,” Hendrycks said in a quote issued along with his organization’s statement. 

The current tone of alarm is tied to several leaps in the performance of AI algorithms known as large language models. These models consist of a specific kind of artificial neural network that is trained on enormous quantities of human-written text to predict the words that should follow a given string. When fed enough data, and with additional training in the form of feedback from humans on good and bad answers, these language models are able to generate text and answer questions with remarkable eloquence and apparent knowledge—even if their answers are often riddled with mistakes. 

These language models have proven increasingly coherent and capable as they have been fed more data and computer power. The most powerful model created so far, OpenAI’s GPT-4, is able to solve complex problems, including ones that appear to require some forms of abstraction and common sense reasoning.

35 Best Memorial Day Sales and Deals: Pizza Ovens, Recycled Bags, and More

35 Best Memorial Day Sales and Deals: Pizza Ovens, Recycled Bags, and More

As with many other sales events, Memorial Day weekend deals can be confusing. It seems like every store on the internet is offering some sort of promotion. Not all that glitters is discounted, but we’re here to help. Below you’ll find the best Memorial Day deals and sales on reviewer-approved gadgets and gear. 

Be sure to check out our other Memorial Day sale stories for curated category highlights. We’ve got dedicated roundups for the best outdoor deals, best mattress deals, best tech deals, and best home and kitchen deals. Happy shopping!

Updated May 29, 2023: We’ve removed dead deals and updated pricing throughout.

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Tech and Accessory Deals

Twelve South StayGo Mini USBC Hub

Twelve South StayGo Mini. 

Photograph: Twelve South

This is one of our favorite MacBook accessories and favorite iPad accessories. It’s a great multi-port hub that will add a USB-A port, a headphone jack, an HDMI output, and another USB-C port for passthrough charging. It’s also compact enough that you can take it along easily. This deal is part of a larger 20 percent off promotion at Twelve South. Find more recommendations from the brand in our guides to the best laptop stands and best wireless chargers. 

The Insta360 One RS (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is our top choice for a do-it-all action camera. It’s great as an action camera and as a 360 camera, and it even supports interchangeable lenses, with three distinct modules you can mix and match. 

This is a solid 3-in-1 wireless charger, and it becomes more affordable with the coupon code. It’ll simultaneously top off your compatible iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. You can even pop the Apple Watch charger off to have a portable method for recharging your smartwatch. Just keep in mind that you need to supply your own 20W wall adapter. Here’s one we like. 

The rounded fourth-generation Amazon Echo (8/10, WIRED Recommends) packs big, balanced sound for its price, along with all of the Alexa features you know and love. It can also double as a smart home hub.

The Google Nest Hub Max (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is our favorite all-around smart display for a reason. For several reasons, actually, including a 10-inch touchscreen, pretty good speakers, and a camera you can use for Zoom calls. The price of the darker charcoal model has jumped back up but the lighter chalk color is still available for $190.

Fitness and Outdoors Deals

Solo Stove Pi Oven

Solo Stove Pi.

Photograph: Solo Stove

The Solo Stove Pi (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is the very best pizza oven for most people. It goes on sale frequently for deal holidays like Memorial Day, but this price beats previous discounts we’ve tracked. Despite the Pi’s roomy cooking surface, the overall footprint is compact. The wood fuel heats up quickly too. This deal is part of a larger promotion for up to 45 percent off at Solo Stove. There’s also a promotion offering a free Mesa with the purchase of a fire pit bundle using code FREEMESA. 

We really like this portable grill from Biolite. It doubles as a campfire and triples as a power bank that can top off your devices while you’re making grub or getting warm. You can control the flames manually or via the companion smartphone app. The whole gadget packs down into a relatively compact package when you’re done. This is part of the larger Biolite Memorial Day sale, which offers up to 25 percent off. 

The Jabra Elite 7 Active are our top pick for workout earbuds. Jabra scanned thousands of ears to come up with a design that stays snug no matter what type of ears you have, and the work paid off. Not only do they stay put on outdoor excursions, but they sound great and even get eight full hours of battery life.

Just in time for grilling season! The Thermapen One takes a split second to read temperatures, so you can pop the oven or grill lid open and shut without losing too much heat. (The fast readings also mean your baby won’t have to wait too long for a bath, which is my favorite use of a digital thermometer).

This pricing is valid on styles for men and women. We generally like Pearl Izumi’s bicycling products. The brand is featured in our guides to the best winter commute gear and the best bikepacking gear. These shorts offer some comfort and padding while wicking away moisture to prevent chafing. The price dropped again this weekend and it’s now even better than before.

Image may contain Clothing Apparel Shoe Footwear and Sock

SwiftWick Pursuit Running Socks. 

Photograph: Swiftwick 

When it comes to thin running socks, this style is hard to beat. They’re breathable and lightweight without being too slippery, and they work well for a wide range of activities—especially in hot weather. The deal is part of a larger 20 percent off promotion at SwiftWick. 

Gaming and Home Deals

Nanoleaf lines on wall illuminating game room

Nanoleaf Lines. 

Photograph: Nanoleaf

NanoLeaf Lines (8/10, WIRED Recommends) used to be our favorite smart lighting for gamers. These panels have since been replaced, but we still think they’re a respectable pick. This 15 percent off promotion also applies to Nanoleaf Shapes, which are our favorite lighting panels (though we’ve seen them drop lower in price before). Nanoleaf smart lights can be configured in all sorts of designs. You can set the lighting yourself or let it react to ambient noise—perfect for a house party this summer. 

AllClad Essential Frying Pan

All-Clad D5 Essentials Pan. 

Photograph: All-Clad

This sale has its own dedicated story! It comes around a few times per year and remains our favorite way to save on All-Clad’s amazing (and expensive) kitchen goods. If you can deal with damaged packaging or cosmetic flaws, you can save a ton of cash on a wide range of pots, pans, and other kitchen essentials. Many products also include a lifetime warranty. 

The SimpliSafe Essentials Package (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is a wonderful home security system. It’s reliable and super easy to set up. This deal includes a free month-long trial of 24/7 Interactive Monitoring, so you’ll want to either set a reminder to cancel your membership or forgo the free trial and pay $13 more. 

No robot vacuum is perfect, but the Roborock Q5+ (9/10, WIRED Recommends) comes pretty darn close. It’s simple to use, can map multiple rooms and floors around your entire home, and lets you designate certain floor types for each of those rooms. Check out our guide to the best robot vacuums for more options. 

Health, Apparel, and Furniture Deals

Helix Midnight Luxe mattress on yellow backdrop

Helix Midnight Luxe Hybrid Mattress. 

Photograph: Helix

This deal is $20 less than last Memorial Day and matches the sale price we saw on Presidents’ Day. The Helix Midnight Luxe is very expensive, but it has reigned supreme in our mattress guide since we started testing in 2019. It has a plush cushion top but a medium-firm feel, so you should be comfortable in most sleeping positions. This deal also includes two pillows. Our dedicated roundup of the best memorial day mattress sales has additional picks. 

This couch has an unfortunate name, but it’s still one of our favorites. It’s comfortable and modular. You can swap pieces in or out as needed, and there’s even an upgrade that adds surround sound and wireless charging. This deal is part of a larger 25 percent off sale at Lovesac. 

All Tushy bidets are 25 percent off through May 30. We found the Tushy Classic 3.0 to be affordable and simple to install, even if it doesn’t offer warmed water. Pair it with the Tushy Ottoman for maximum comfort. 

Cloud Paper offers sustainable tree-free bamboo toilet paper and paper towel subscriptions. It’s featured in our list of the best sustainable cleaning supplies. The packaging is plastic-free, delivery is carbon-neutral, and the paper products work just as well as their less environmentally friendly counterparts. 

Proof makes some of our favorite menstrual underwear. You can save 20 percent on three pairs, 25 percent on five pairs, and 30 percent on seven pairs. There are different styles on sale each day as well. Each pair of underwear can hold up to five tampons’ worth of fluid. Period undies can make monthly cycles a whole lot more comfortable. 

Tentree Parka on yellow backdrop

TenTree Daily Parka. 

Photograph: Tentree

It may not be quite in season yet, but this price is the best we’ve tracked for TenTree’s Daily Parka. We included it in our list of the best clothing made from recycled materials. It’s warm, comfortable, and features plenty of pockets. This sale is part of a sitewide promotion that takes up to 50 percent off. 

Girlfriend Collective is also featured in our recycled clothing roundup. We quite like the brand’s Compressive Hi-Rise Leggings ($78), which are made of 25 plastic bottles and are 79 percent recycled polyester. Pair them with the coordinating Paloma Racerback Bra ($48) and your total should be around $100 instead of $126. 

When it comes to airflow, this is our favorite office chair. It has a mesh back and seat, so no matter how sweaty you get during the hours you spend at your desk, your butt won’t get swampy. The chair also allows for minute adjustments to the arm rests, back, and seat so you can find your perfect fit. Your purchase includes a free Elemax Cooling, Heating, and Massage Unit. We haven’t tested it, but a freebie’s a freebie. 

An honorable mention in our guide to the best office chairs, the Mavix M7 is comfortable and supportive. It has solid airflow and locking wheels, and the sturdy construction makes it feel more luxurious than the price tag would imply. Just keep in mind that if you’re like my 5’1″ self, you’ll want to contact customer service for a shorter cylinder. Like the chair above, which is owned by the same company, this purchase includes a free Elemax Cooling, Heating, and Massage Unit. We haven’t tested it, but it’s valued at $129. 

Zappos is an Amazon-owned store that sells shoes, clothes, and accessories, all with free shipping. Brands range from fashionable (like Steve Madden) to functional (like Hoka) and everywhere in between. This sale is massive and varied, but if you’re in the market for some new duds, it’s worth browsing the selection. (It may take a second, since there are over 7,000 items.) One standout is the Prana Luxara Dress for $89 ($31 off). It’s one of our favorite gifts for moms. Check out the rest of the sale here. 

Timbuk2 Spark Mini backpack

Timbuk2 Spark Mini Pack. 

Photograph: Timbuk2

This bag strikes the perfect balance between fun and functional. It’s included in our guide to the best recycled bags, since it’s made from 100 percent recycled nylon and polyester. It has room for a 13-inch laptop, plus a tablet and a cell phone. The back straps can be stowed away if you’d prefer to carry the bag like a tote. 

Another standout from our guide to the best recycled bags, this adorable mini tote is made from deadstock yarn that would otherwise go to waste. There are several bright and fun colors to choose from. This is part of a 25 percent off sitewide promotion. We also like Verloop’s adorable recycled slippers. Learn more about them in our guide to the best recycled clothing. 

This vibe made our list of the best vibrators, as well as the best sex tech in general. It has a companion smartphone app that you can use to both control the toy and customize your own vibration patterns. It’s also super flexible and waterproof. Did we mention that there are six internal motors? 

Alleyoop Pen Pal makeup pen

AlleyOop Pen Pal. 

Photograph: Alleyoop

AlleyOop is offering 20 percent off sitewide with this coupon code. We love all the brand’s multi-use and travel-friendly beauty products, but this gadget is our favorite. Remember the multicolored crayons you used in elementary school? This is that, but with makeup. The pen has eyeliner, lip liner, a brow pencil, and a highlighter. I kept mine in my purse at all times before I wore the products down to little nubbins. It’s great for touch-ups in the car or between clubs. 

Add $50 in items shipped and sold by Amazon to your cart and enter the promo code during checkout to get a free $10 Amazon credit via email. This is a good way to save money if you need to restock essential supplies. Just note that the credit is only redeemable on beauty purchases. There are tons of items to choose from, ranging from this viral lip mask to everyone’s favorite makeup wipes. 

Deals on Everything Else

New subscribers will get free shipping on their first HelloFresh meal kit delivery, plus 16 free meals spread across nine boxes. Deals on meal kit subscriptions aren’t particularly hard to come by, and they’re almost always for new subscribers, but if you’ve been considering a subscription, you’ll save some money. HelloFresh is an honorable mention in our guide to the best meal kit subscriptions. It’s a good alternative to Blue Apron; the services are largely similar.  New subscribers can also save at Green Chef with code GCMDW2023, or at EveryPlate with code EPMDW2023. (Note that all three of these brands are owned by the same parent company.) 

Bokksu makes some of our favorite snack subscription boxes. The Bokksu Boutique is full of individual Japanese snack offerings from past boxes. Shopping these items individually is a good way to save on previous favorites or to try something new. Shipping is expensive—it starts at $20 unless you spend at least $199. But with snacks on sale for as low as 50 cents, the sale is worth checking out if you’re interested in BYOB (building your own box). 

Memorial Day Sale Pages

If you want to venture out on your own, here’s a list of Memorial Day sales at various retailers. Be sure to check out our many buying guides for additional advice and product recommendations.

45 Best Memorial Day Outdoor Deals: Tents, Camp Chairs, and More

45 Best Memorial Day Outdoor Deals: Tents, Camp Chairs, and More

Every year, the sun emerges from behind the clouds. Like newborn horses, we shake out our wobbly legs and totter, blinking, back onto the trails. And every year, outdoor retailers like REI, Backcountry, and Moosejaw hold massive sales so we can replace that leaky old tent before the first camping, climbing, or mountain biking trip of the year. 

This year, REI’s anniversary sale runs from May 19 to May 29, with up to 30 percent off select gear. If you’re an REI Co-op member, you also get 20 percent off one full-price item at REI and REI Outlet with the code ANNIV23. There are also some deal that are available only to members. You can join today for a one-time fee of $30. Outdoor retailer Backcountry is running a competing sale, and Moosejaw is offering 20 percent off one full-price item with the code CHEESEBURGER.

Still trying to figure out how you’re going to navigate all this bounty? Don’t forget to check out the rest of our summer guides, including our guides to the Best Hiking Boots or the Best Camping Cookware. 

Update May 28, 2023: We’ve added more deals and refreshed links and prices.

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Apparel Deals

Don’t see anything you like here? Check out our guides to the Best Fitness Trackers and the Best Base Layers. 

REI Outdoor Afro Pants

Photograph: REI

All spring, all the cool girls have been wearing these pants to go climbing and hiking, and I want a pair. This is REI’s collaboration with Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit that celebrates, connects, and inspires Black leadership and community in the wilderness. These pants fit a wide variety of body types, are made from breathable, durable-water-repellant nylon/spandex fabric and come in an array of eye-catching colors. 

Janji makes sustainably minded running apparel and frequently collaborates with artists and athletes for limited editions. The company has committed to eliminating PFAS from its rain apparel and its clothing has a five-year guarantee. I have had this running bra for almost that long, and it’s still in great condition after years of weekly use.

If you need to re-up on rain jackets, now is a good time. Outdoor Research’s Helium line is a great, moderately priced hiking rain jacket. It’s also available at Backcountry in a somewhat more limited size and color range, in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Smartwool boxer briefs

Smartwool Merino Boxer Briefs 

Photograph: Smartwool

Wool isn’t just for cold weather. These boxer briefs are made of itch-free merino wool just thin enough to provide comfort without capturing excessive heat on warm hiking days. There’s 13 percent nylon mixed in to give them the right amount of stretch, and wool has a tendency to stink a bit less than polyester base layers.

Product reviewer Scott Gilbertson and I are in agreement—merino wool is the lightweight, versatile fabric of kings. You might think that summer is not an ideal time to buy base layers, but if you’re camping or climbing at altitude, it will probably get cold at night. These are soft enough to double as camp jammy-jams. WIRED-recommended Smartwool base layers are 25 percent off, too. 

I have a $15 down jacket I bought off Alibaba that looks (and feels) like a live goose stuffed in a trash bag. Don’t be me. Spend a little more and get something that actually fits you, like this REI down jacket. It’ll keep you warmer and last far longer than the cheap stuff. If you’re not into sleeves the vest is also on sale for $56 ($24 off) in men’s and women’s sizes.

Shoe and Sandal Deals

ZTrail Sandal

Photograph: Xero

Our favorite barefoot sandals are on sale right now. These are the only shoes that have ever inspired me to write 1,000 words. They are really that good. Think of these as the barefoot answer to Chacos. Except where Chacos are like putting tractors on your feet, the Z-Trails still flex and bend as you walk, giving your feet the freedom of movement you expect from a barefoot shoe. If you’re new to barefoot shoes, read through our guide for some pointers on making the switch from tractors to your feet.

Buying adventure shoes for little kids is tough. Go too cheap, and they won’t be able to hike or enjoy themselves because of blisters and other issues. Go too expensive, and you’ve blown big bucks on shoes that will fit them for five months, tops. I usually pick up my kids’ shoes and rain jackets during the annual REI sale, but you can find sales at Amazon too. 

Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoes

Altra Lone Peak

Photograph: REI

Altra is a small Utah-based company that makes shoes that replicate the barefoot experience as much as possible. They have zero heel-to-toe drop and a wide toebox to let your tootsies spread. This year’s iteration has a more streamlined, stitchless upper (and better colors) than last year’s, but it still has the rock plate and the big lugs on the soles. These are one of our Best Hiking Boots and Shoes picks. 

If you’re looking for one barefoot shoe to rule them all, I recommend these. Xero calls them “athleisure” shoes, which gets most of their appeal into a single word. They’re trim, light, flexible, and well ventilated, making them good for a run, but they’re also nice enough to wear around town as a causal shoe. The Prio Neo Suede, which I am wearing as I type this, are also on sale for $82 ($27 off).

My daughter lives in these boots. When she wears shoes at all, these slip-ons are the only ones she’ll wear. It does have an adjustable strap that runs from the top of the arch down to the sole and then through a buckle near the back, which means you can snug it down a little if you need to. The fit on these is pretty true to size, so unless you have a very low arch, you shouldn’t need the strap much.

Fitness and Camping Deals

Garmin Fenix 7S SapphireSolar smart watch

Photograph: Garmin

For years, multiple reviewers at WIRED have agreed: Garmin’s Fenix series is the best outdoors fitness tracker if you love every outdoor sport. It connected to multiple satellite positioning systems faster than any GPS watch I’ve ever tried, even under cloud and tree cover; it measures every biometric under the sun, collects loads of sports-specific data, is durable and sharp-looking, and has excellent battery life. During the sale, all the Garmin Fenix and Epix watches are $200 off, but you can’t apply your member coupon.

Exped is known for its durable, no-nonsense, moderately-priced outdoor gear. I’ve been testing the Typhoon pack for about a month. The rolltop closure and seam taping make it the perfect waterproof daypack, either for an extremely variable climate or if you like paddleboarding or other water sports. All Exped packs, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are 25 percent off; I also have my eye on the Megamat for my family tent. 

I have a lot of backpacking gear, but probably the items that get the most use are these camping chairs; I’ve had versions of these that are over a decade old. This latest version is made from Bluesign-approved polyester, but it has the same basic four-leg pole design with a seat suspended via tension points. It’s pretty comfortable, easy to set up, and packs down very small. 

Garmin inReach Mini 2

Photograph: REI

Not everyone needs a satellite messenger—and having one does not mean you can call Search and Rescue if you’re scared you won’t make it back before dark. However, if you’re an experienced backpacker or mountaineer, or you frequently hike alone, you probably have an inReach Mini dangling from your backpack. As with any satellite messenger, you will have to subscribe to a safety plan, in addition to buying the device itself. If you only go on one or two big trips a year, you might want to consider a personal locator beacon (PLB) instead. 

This no-nonsense day pack is comfortable with loads up to about 10 pounds, and has plenty of pockets for organizing your gear. This is an updated model from the version my wife has been using for years, and adds the ability to remove the hip belt, which is nice for smaller, lighter loads. It’s also now made of recycled materials.

Our new guide to sleeping pads will be published soon, but in the meantime here’s a great deal on one of our favorite car camping mats. The MegaMat is a legend in some circles and for good reason, it’s a 4-inch thick, non-slip, reasonably quiet, double bed size square of comfort. The larger and wider size is also on sale for $300 ($100 off).

This is the top pick for ultralight sleeping pads in our forthcoming guide. It weighs a mere 14 ounces, packs down to a 3-inch roll, and somehow, miraculously, is super quiet to sleep on so you won’t wake your tentmates swish-swishing around all night.

Camp Stove and Gear Deals

Coleman 1900 Camping Stove

Photograph: Coleman

Coleman’s ubiquitous green camp stove has been a mainstay of campgrounds since your grandparents were kids. It’s well-built, sturdy on a table, and just works. It’s not the most powerful stove, but it’s capable of holding a low flame, simmering soups, and cooking scrambled eggs without browning them.

An upgrade from the Classic above, Coleman’s Cascade (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is our favorite luxury camp stove. It’s well-made with sturdy cast-iron cooking grates and includes a griddle and grill plate for more cooking options. The latch and handle keep it securely closed, and it’s easy to carry around. Combine that with the electronic ignition and the excellent flame control that can even simmer, and it’s hard to find anything to complain about other than the price. That’s why you buy it now, on sale.

While most campsites provide a picnic table that you can use to cook on as well, sometimes it’s nice to keep the stove away from the table, which is where this camp table comes in. It’s not huge (a 27-inch square), but it’s enough room to stick your stove and have a little space left over for fee prep.

Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

Photograph: Nemo

Why do you need to shower outside, you ask? This is video producer Alicia Cocchi’s favorite piece of surf gear, for easily rinsing off skin-irritating sunscreen and salt when you’re heading off the beach. My son has extremely sensitive skin that gets red and rashy after a few days of camping, so we’ll be picking up one of these this year. 

This is the time of year when we all go through our camping bins and discover that every water bottle we owned has somehow walked away between the ski lodge and the gym. REI’s Nalgene’s are cute, classic, and oh so cheap. This latest iteration is made from Tritan Renew, a recycled, BPA-free resin, is dishwasher-safe, and has a wide mouth for fitting in ice cubes. 

We wrote about these for 2022’s Wish List, and I still have two. They’re made from a light microsuede, soft enough to wipe noses with and tie around your neck but absorbent enough to suck up a whole water bottle if you accidentally forget to screw the top on tightly when you throw it in your climbing bag. 

Domestic Water Jug

Photograph: REI

Dometic’s Go jug has two features that set it above the average plastic water jug: the large opening that allows you to reach inside and clean it and the spigot that screws in when you want to dispense it. If you really want to get fancy you can add the pump faucet for $80 ($20 off) to turn it into a running water system.

I was skeptical of this when it first came out but have since become a convert. Fill the water bottle and press to filter out not only viruses, giardia, and protozoa but also off flavors and odors. This is a great way to keep from buying single-use bottled water when you’re traveling. 

GoalZero Nomad 10

Photograph: GoalZero

This 100-watt folding panel set is one of the most compact options we’ve tested. It’s not the cheapest—you typically pay more for compactness—but if you’re short on space, this is our top pick in our forthcoming solar panel guide.

This is the most compact of Goal Zero’s portable power stations. It’s also the lightest and easiest to carry around. It holds 187 watt-hours, which is enough to keep phones and tablets charged up on your next trip. It pairs well with the Nomad 100 solar panels above if you’re going to be away for a longer period of time and need to recharge.

With over 3,000 watt-hours, this massive power station can keep your life running even when the grid isn’t. There’s a wide range of plug options, including AC plugs to power your refrigerator or power tools and charge up ebikes and whatever else you need to fend off the zombies. If they just keep coming (and zombies always do), the even bigger Yeti 6000X is on sale for $4,800 ($1,200 off).

Tents and Sleeping Bag Deals

REI Half Dome SL2 tent

Photograph: REI

This is your chance to save on our favorite two-person tent. It’s rugged, easy to set up, and offers generous living space for two with gear. The mesh design, when coupled with the rain fly and good staking, will stand up to storms and not roast you when camping in the midsummer heat. The dual doors with dual vestibules ensure you aren’t climbing over your partner in the middle of the night. The only real drawback is the vestibules, which are on the small side.

Big Agnes tent

Photograph: Big Agnes

Our favorite ultralight backpacking tent, the Big Agnes Copper Spur series is tough to beat. I’ve used both the two-person and four-person models over the years, and Big Agnes has continually refined the design to the point that I have nothing left to complain about. We recently tried the updated one-person Copper Spur (8/10 WIRED Recommends) and loved it. If you can afford it, this is one of the best tents on the market.

I tested the one-person version of this tent, the Alto TR1 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), and surprised myself with how much I liked Sea to Summit’s first entry into tent-making. The Alto is a semi-freestanding design—meaning some guy lines are required to maintain the full shape of the tent—but it remained rock-steady in high winds and there’s above-average headroom. This is a premium tent, and you pay for the fact that it weighs a scant 3 pounds, 4.3 ounces. But alongside the Big Agnes Copper Spur, it’s among the very best three-season tents on the market.

I don’t get to do many solo trips these days, but when I do this is the tent I want. It’s super light (just over 2 pounds) yet roomy and comfortable. It guys out very securely, and the steep sidewalls and decent headroom make it feel larger than it is. It’s also made of the same chemical-free fabrics as the Dagger below.

Nemo Osmo Dagger Tent on blue backdrop

Photograph: Nemo

Nemo’s Dagger Osmo 3P tent (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is one of my favorites. It’s incredibly sturdy, well-made, and lightweight. That is pricey, and if you’re into a million pockets and interior organizational options there are better tents. But if you want a light, virtually bombproof shelter to see you through the night, this is a great option. We also like that it’s made of 100 percent recycled nylon and polyester yarns, with no flame-retardant chemicals or fluorinated water repellents (PFC and PFAS).

Don’t let the name fool you. The Blizzards can be used for both snow and sand. As you head into the deserts, you’ll find that standard tent pegs don’t stay put very well in deep, shifting sand. You need wider stakes. With the Blizzards’ greater surface area, they’re better at resisting pulling out. The quality of these lightweight-but-tough aluminum stakes impressed me after deflecting a few ill-placed strikes by my fellow climbers with their metal shovels, so I know they can take a beating. You can also buy them individually for $7 ($3 off).

REI Magma Sleeping Bag

REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag

Photograph: REI

I’ve been testing sleeping bags for over two years (guide forthcoming), but when I need a bag that can handle just about everything, this is the bag I reach for most often. It’s warm enough for those iffy shoulder season trips, but not overbearing in the summer (when I often use it as a blanket rather than bag. It is a little on the small side, it might be worth trying it out at your local REI if you’re unsure, but overall this is a very good deal on a very good sleeping bag.

Yeah, it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, but those nighttime temperatures can still drop low enough to chill you. Still, you don’t need a full-blown three-season sleeping bag. For summer hikes and camping, I use the NanoWave 55. It’s warm without being too warm, its synthetic insulation dries out quickly during the day, and it weighs practically nothing and packs down to the size of a fist.

Biking, Climbing, and Water Sports Deals

It’s biking season! Don’t forget to check out our guides to the Best Bike Accessories and the Best Electric Bikes. 

Burley Encore X

Photograph: REI

I liked the Burley trailer’s moderate price point and ease of use when I tested it several years ago; I had some concerns about its durability, but it’s slimmer and easier to assemble and pack down (and much cheaper) than the Thule Chariot. It needs a lot of attachments to make it useful, but luckily, all Burley trailers, accessories, and strollers are 20 percent off. 

Thousand’s helmets are standard for anyone who wants to casually bike around town without looking like a committed biking dingus. It has the multidirectional impact protection system), which protects your noggin against rotational forces during an impact, along with delightful Thousand features like a pop-out loop to lock it to your bike, plus lights and a visor. 

I feel obligated to inform you that if your little one is ready to start on a bike with pedals, there are probably dozens of newly outgrown bikes floating around your neighborhood for free. The main reason to go with REI’s kids’ bikes (besides this very reasonable price) is to take advantage of REI’s in-house shop services, which are quick and extremely affordable for co-op members. I’ve spent only $20 for a new tube in more than three years of getting my daughter’s bike serviced. 

If you haven’t picked up paddleboarding, let this be the summer. It’s a low-key, versatile sport that lets you dunk your feet, get a workout, or explore hidden corners of a marsh. Gilbertson says this board (7/10, WIRED Recommends) packs up small, is stable enough for beginners, and has lots of fun accessories.

These dry bags from Sea to Summit have double-stitched, tape-sealed seams that have held up well over the years. I also really like the external lash loops that make it easy to strap to anything with a tie-down anchor, like the Bote paddleboard above.

Scarpa Origin shoe

Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes

Photograph: Scarpa

These are great shoes for beginners. They’re much less aggressive—your foot is flatter and much less flexed than it would be in a more aggressive climbing shoe. These are comfortable, they smear well, and they last for quite a while.

Time to replace your carabiners? Or maybe you just want to lighten the load on your harness? These Dyons are only 33 grams each and have a unique hybrid gate that tapers into a single, thick wire at the opening end, which allows for a snag-free hook that won’t catch on gear loops and ropes. 

Leave it to the Italians to make a piece of ordinarily nondescript gear into a fashion statement. Whether you want leopard print, rainbow, (faux) python skin, or plain ol’ black, the Trend offers four gear loops for plenty of carabiners, a sturdy belay loop, and padded leg loops for comfort. Plus, it’s Grivel, one of the originators of climbing equipment, so it’s dependable and fully tested to a safe standard.

Remembering GitHub’s Office, a Monument to Tech Culture

Remembering GitHub’s Office, a Monument to Tech Culture

It was the spring of 2016, and I was in the Oval Office, waiting to interview for a job. Only I wasn’t in Washington, DC. I was at the headquarters of GitHub, a code hosting platform, in San Francisco, sitting inside a perfect, full-size replica of the office of the president of the United States.

A woman arrived to retrieve me. Shaking my hand, she explained that the Oval Office was being dismantled and replaced with a café for employees. We’re trying to make things a little more practical, she said, with a shrug and a barely detectable roll of her eyes.

“But but but—” I sputtered silently in my head, eyes careening left and right. “It’s the Oval Office!” Who cares about practicality! It was like I’d been told they were razing Disney World to make room for more condominiums.

I got the job, and unbeknownst to me, stepped into a weird world that became one of my most formative experiences in tech, working at a company that pushed the boundaries of what corporate culture could be.

GitHub—which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018—announced this past February that, in addition to laying off 10 percent of its employees, it would permanently shutter all offices once their leases expired, including its beloved San Francisco headquarters. While this announcement may have looked like just another in a string of tech company office shutdowns, GitHub’s headquarters was notable both as a living testament to tech culture and as one of its first disputed territories, whose conflicts presaged the next decade of the tech backlash.

GitHub’s San Francisco office—spanning 55,000 square feet and christened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by then mayor Ed Lee—caused a stir when it opened in the fall of 2013, even at a time when lavish startup offices were commonplace. The first floor was designed as an event space, complete with Hogwarts-style wooden banquet tables, a museum, a sweeping bar, and the Thinktocat, a giant bronze sculpture of GitHub’s mascot, the Octocat—a humanoid cat with octopus legs—in the pose of Rodin’s most famous work. Upstairs, there was a speakeasy, an indoor park, and a secret lounge, lined in wood and stocked with expensive whiskey, accessible through either a false bookshelf or the Situation Room, a conference room designed to look like the one in the White House.

Despite its opulence, the office was designed not to alienate but to make everyone feel like a “first-class citizen,” as early employee Tim Clem told InfoWorld at the time. GitHub cofounder Scott Chacon, who led the internal design process, explained to me that to lure local and remote employees in, instead of making mandatory in-office days, GitHub’s executives challenged themselves to design an office that was better than working from home. (It certainly worked on me. I generally prefer to work from home, but I came into the GitHub office almost every day.)

The Oval Office, for example, came about because Chacon and his colleagues realized that the lobby would be a place where visitors would be forced to sit and wait for five to 10 minutes— normally a boring or unpleasant experience. How could they create “the most interesting room” to wait in, which would help pass the time? As Chacon explains, “Most people don’t get a chance to sit in the Oval Office, but as an employee of GitHub, you could go there anytime you wanted.”

The office was a fun house that distorted the mind, not just with its flashy looks, but by playfully blurring the lines of hierarchy and power. Chacon’s comments reflect an organizational culture from GitHub’s early days, when there were no managers or titles. At the previous headquarters (“Office 2.0”), they flipped the rules of a private office that had belonged to the former tenant’s CEO, outfitting it with swanky leather chairs and declaring that anyone except executives could go in there. At Office 3.0, they connected the lighting and calendar systems, so that the lights would blink as the meeting approached its allotted time limit, then turn off completely—no matter who you were or how important your meeting was.