You're just getting farther out there now. REI made that policy so that you could do exactly what I said. If it didn't want people doing that, it would have limited it to a year, six months, 30 days, whatever a long time ago. Or limited it to gear in new condition. Or with the tags still on.
If you can't get that through your head, here's Backcountry's policy, which was designed to compete with existing players like REI. It did customers the service of leaving 0 ambiguity:
Unlimited returns. Unlimited lifetime warranty. 30 years. No mincing words. That's what the policy is for. Period.
...if you look up about 3 posts above your post... I stated that REI HAS updated its return policy.... now to a year for new items.