5 Items that Make a Costco Membership Worthwhile for the Outdoorsman

Pretty much every season I end up staring at amazement at some item Costco has decided to sell, because the prices are just So. Damn. Low.  Earlier this year the buzz was around a midweight down jacket with 800 fill down and a very light ripstop outer, comparable to puffy jackets from Patagonia costing $300.
What did they want for their Kirkland-signature-logoed jacket?  $80.  That’s less than the wholesale cost from a major manufacturer, and it still has a Costco warranty.  Amazing!  Unfortunately those jackets are long gone, but there are still some items (apart from the awesome deals on hand warmers, AA batteries, Ramen noodles, toilet paper, and other sundries).

2-pack of really decent Avalanche Shovels
These shovels, which are perfect for backcountry rescue, building snow shelters , making kickers at your local kill, or just leaving in your trunk in the wintertime are really excellent.   They adjust from 23-32″ in length, and have a pointed edge for biting into hard post-avalanche snow.  Made out of lightweight aluminum, they’re only 1.3 lbs each.  And you can get 2 of them for $29.99 online, or $19.99 at the store!

Marmot rain jacket
We are all familiar with Marmot clothing, the manufacturer of some pretty high end stuff.  It’s 100% seam-taped, has 4 exterior pockets, 2 interior pockets, and the hood rolls away when not in use.  Normally this waterproof-breathable jacket made from Marmot’s proprietary MemBrain fabric would retail at $275.  What does Costco want for it online?  $129.99.   An absolute steal.

2-pack of self-inflating sleeping pads!
With an r value of 5.68, these super-warm pads are an excellent choice for winter camping.  There is a contoured foam structure, head rest, side rails, and they even come with a stuff sack.  Yes, they’re REALLY heavy at 4lbs per pad, but for car camping or other camping options when weight isn’t an issue, these will be tremendously comfortable and warm.   With the contoured internal foam structure, built in head rest and 3” wide side rails, you’ll stay in place as you comfortably sleep through the night. The foam creates an insulated barrier between you and the ground, and with an oversized carrying bag, packing these pads up is effortless.  At $89 for the two-pack, that makes these pads less than half of what Thermarest wants for their LE Camp Rest!

Snowshoes and Trekking Poles
Available either for men or women, Costco is selling a bundle of Yukon Charlie’s snowshoes with trekking poles for $79!  Let me be perfectly clear that you can buy just trekking poles for $79 these days, so the idea of getting free snowshoes with your trekking poles is amazing.  They have a simple binding and relatively non-aggressive crampons, but for most people these snowshoes are perfect.  6000 series aluminum frame, HDPE decking, forged crampons, and cool graphics!  What’s not to love?  They even come with a carrying bag.

Inexpensive Stand-Up-Paddleboard
Designed to work well for beginners  and experts alike, and with a weight capacity up to 275 pounds, this SUP package is phenomenally priced.  You get the foam, epoxy, and wood board along with an adjustable carbon fiber paddle  and a fiberglass fin for only $899.  This made-in-the-USA board could normally retail for twice as much without the paddle, let alone the storage bag and leash that are also included!  The deck is padded with soft EVA memory foam for kneeling and all-day paddling, and it has a built in handle in the center.  Only 30 lbs, with a 220 liter buoyancy capacity.  The lightweight (29oz) paddle extends from 56″-87″ so the whole family can use it.  The SUP measures 12′ by 31″ for stability and speed.

By Hans Schneider