Gear Review – Outfitted by Costco

Where can you get olives in bulk? Large quantifies of beans? And freeze-dried meals, high quality softshells, down jackets, wool socks, thermal tops and bottoms, hiking poles and other outdoor goods? Costco!

Costco is more often thought of for it’s industrial size jars of olives, pallets full of rice and beans for the restaurant owner (or survival bunker conesouir? ;) ) and lots of free samples that my better half can’t seem to pass up when she comes me with me on the bi-weekly “Costco Run” to stock up Casa Mags.  (What can I say, I’m a sucker for the $10 large bottles of olive oil, the cans of olives, diced tomatoes and other staples that somehow show up in my cooking. Darn Mediterranean ancestry… 😉 )

In between the mega bottles of vitamins and chicken tender packages are a surprising amount of outdoor goods Besides the obvious trail food (jerky, trail mix, granola  bars, etc) there are a lot of outdoor goods for sale:  High quality down jackets. Wool socks. Soft shells. Freeze dried backpacker meals. And so on.

Going to the local Costco near Boulder, CO , I found myself picking up more items for both daily use and outdoor wear.

Below are some items I’ve noticed and/or used.

The quality is very good and the prices are extremely reasonable. Who woulda thunk  that Costco would be a favorite outfitter? 🙂


Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals ~$40 for 10 Has four flavors. Normally I do not care for freeze dried backpacking meals, but sometimes the convenience, esp. for a last minute trip, is nice.
Down Jackets $65 Member price in store.. 800 fill. About 12 oz. Obvious ‘Patagucci’ clone.
Soft Shell $30 No pit zips, but it is otherwise a functional piece of gear for stop and go activities esp for the price. I’ve used mine alpine climbing.
Fleece Balaclava $8 High-quality piece of gear that is very versatile.
Cascade Mountain Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles $25 Light and durable poles that work well for the relatively casual outdoor user. Good value for the money. (EDIT 2016: The poles now come with a flick-lock and are much better. Great buy!)
Kirkland merino wool socks $12 for 4 pairs Smart wool clones. Great value for the money. I wear them in winter and for trail work.
Paradox brand long underwear $25 for a zip  top or $20 bottom Thermal underwear with about 10% wool blend. Very good quality for the price.
Lifeline Utility Shovels 2 for $20 Sold as utility shovels, but are obviously avy shovels in disguise. 🙂  Being serious,  best for general backcountry use vs ‘real’ avalanche terrain.
Yukon Charlie Snowshoes $80 Comes with poles as well. Honestly, not great snowshoes but for a very good price for the casual user / someone looking to get into winter sports without breaking the bank.
Marmot Minimalist Rain Jacket $90 About half the price of REI. Basic, all-purpose backpacking rain jacket.


On the summit of Grand Teton with a Costco softshell jacket

In addition to the all the backpacking goodies I’ve listed above, Costco has a lot of car camping equipment too (Coleman stoves, lanterns, coolers and so on).

I’ve listed some I can think of.  What are some of your favorites? List them in the comments below!


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8 years ago

The Costco pre-packaged pasteries are great breakfast foods for hiking. They last for months on the shelf and are very dense in calories. They are my favorite no-cook hiking breakfast except that I always end up having a Starbucks Via with a hot chocolate for breakfast too.

8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Mags

Perhaps a new article post suggestion: Trail Food, Outfitted by Costco