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For more than a decade, I’ve traveled around the globe, writing about my adventures and the gear I used during them. When I need to replace a worn-out piece of equipment, I’m not always heading to my local REI. Oftentimes, I stop at Costco. America’s favorite warehouse retailer may be known for selling $1.50 hot dogs and kitty litter by the cubic ton, but it’s also a great spot for getting cheap deals on quality outdoor items. Here’s what I recommend buying right now:
Eddie Bauer Guide-Series Pants (or Their Many Knock-Offs)
I’m starting this list with a bit of a cheat. You can buy these Eddie Bauer pants at any of the company’s eponymous stores, but you can get them for much cheaper at Costco. The guide-series pants are lightweight, durable and resist dirt and stains. They also dry quickly and stretch when you’re scrambling over large rocks or pedaling a bicycle. Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t always have these pants in stock, so when they do, buy two pairs. If you need pants and can’t wait, Costco sells similar versions by brand names Weatherproof and Gerry as well. I have multiple pairs of these pants and shorts by both brands and can vouch for their quality. Best of all, you almost never pay more than $20 for a pair.
Cascade Trekking Pole, 2-Pack
I sing the praises of hiking poles wherever I go — sorry dude in the next stall at Applebee’s — and these poles check all the right boxes. They’re lightweight but still strong. And they can be adjusted to fit most people’s needed size. Frequent fliers will also love that they pack down small enough to fit in a carry-on as well. (Just don’t try to fly out of Canada; they will make you check them.)
I have a pair of Leki hiking poles that have been my go-to poles for years, but they retail for more than $200. If you’re not doing huge hikes every weekend, it can be hard to justify that price. For less than half that, you get two pairs of these carbon-fiber poles and accessories. One for you and one for your favorite hiking partner.
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter 4-pack
I try to keep a Lifestraw in my pack for when I unexpectedly run out of water on a long day hike. Lifestraw claims to protect against nearly all bacteria, parasites and microplastics you might find in a stream or river. Tipping the scale at a mere two ounces, I don’t even realize it’s in my pack until I need it. I also bought this multi-pack for my brother-in-law and nephews earlier this year. Later that day, my nephews and I were hiking a short trail in the back of my father-in-law’s neighborhood. We came across a small stream, and of course, the boys had to run back and grab their straws.
Cascade Mountain Tech 2-person Travel Hammock
I’ve used an ENO hammock for years, and Cascade Mountain Tech’s version is quite similar to ENO’s DoubleNest version for about half the price. As an added bonus, Cascade Mountain Tech’s hammock comes with support straps that you’d have to purchase separately with ENO’s version.
Udap Bear Spray with Holster, 2-pack
Bear spray is a must, if you love to go camping in areas that are known to have black or grizzly bears. This two-pack of Udap 8-ounce spray cans allows both you and your camping partner to be ready for an unexpected close-up bear encounter. If you only need one, you can keep a spare can holstered on a secondary pack or your mountain bike.
Mountain House Emergency Meal Kit
If you love to backpack, you’ve probably eaten plenty of Mountain House meals. This 15-pouch assortment contains multiple packs of granola with milk & blueberries (3 pouches), scrambled eggs with bacon (2 pouches), lasagna with meat sauce (4 pouches), chicken and dumplings (3 pouches) and beef stroganoff with noodles (3 pouches), all for $100. If you were to buy these separately in an REI or other outdoor specialty store, you’d be paying a bit more. Only get this pack if you and/or your companions love all the flavors. If you’re not eating each of these the cost savings don’t work, and you’re not going to have as much fun on the trail when scarfing down food you don’t enjoy.
Thermoflask Water Bottles, 2-pack
If you see me out on the trail, odds are you’ll find either a Stanley coffee mug or Thermoflask water bottle in my hand or tucked into my pack. This two-pack is awesome for day hikes near home. Just fill it with ice and water, and you’ll stay refreshed and hydrated for hours.
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