Costco for Camping Gear, Part 1

June 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I’ve been meaning to write something about how great Costco is for camping stuff for about 3 months now.  It’s an excellent source for getting all the gear and necessities for going camping, mostly of the car camping variety but they do have a couple of things that work for backpacking as well.  Over the years Dave and I have bought quite a few of our camping items from Costco:  Kelty tent (we refer to it as Tent Mahal because it sleeps 8 – 10), lanterns, flashlights, Leatherman multi-tool, portable chairs, a hand held GPS unit, coolers, and our most recent purchase a 5 quart cast iron dutch oven too.  We also get the majority of our food there when we’re going car camping. And of course, there are things like bug spray and sunscreen that are definitely a necessity when going camping.

Here are all the things you can get at Costco that will get you all ready to set off on a summer camping trip.

Costco.com: Coleman 3 person tentTents:  Costco has a nice variety of tents from small to full family sized tents.

  • They’re big on the Coleman brand at Costco, so all of the tents for going car camping are made by Coleman and range in price from $49 – $99 (they’re a little higher if you order them online).  Over the weekend at our Costco, they had the Coleman 3 person tent for only $29 because it used to be $49!  It was practically half price and certainly that’s the cheapest you’re going to find a decent tent for anywhere.  I wish they would have had this the year we bought our Tent Mahal since it seems like it is a little more reasonably sized.
  • They have one backpacker tent at Costco.com.  However, it weighs a fairly enormous (for backpacking) 9 pounds!  Trust me, that’s going to feel like 50 pounds after you’ve had your pack on all day and been hiking for a few hours.  For reference, that’s more than twice the weight of our backpacking tent.

Sleeping Bags: Costco has a variety of sleeping bags from Coleman too.Costco.com: Coleman Sleeping Bags

  • The cheapest bags are rated to about 20 or 25 degrees and both are less than $30 (in the store) or $40 (0nline).
  • The more expensive Coleman bag that you can find at Costco.com is rated to -5 degrees and sells for $54.99.
  • They do have one interesting bag online that sleeps 2.  So, instead of zipping your bags together (if you can even do that) you just have one sleeping bag to deal with.  It’s $54.99, as well.
  • All of the Coleman bags use synthetic fill, but if you’re looking for a down filled bag, Costco finally has an option for you – the Backside goose down mummy bag.  It’s rated to -40 degrees!  I’m guessing most people don’t need that but if you do it’ll set you back $399.99 (right now, they have it for $369.99 on sale through July 7)!Costco.com: Selk Sleep + Wear System
  • The most unusual sleeping bag system that Costco.com offers comes from Selk and is more like a snow suit that you sleep in.  They call it the Sleep + Wear System and Costco has two of these; one rated to 14 degrees for $199.99 and the other to only 40 degrees for $139.99.  They’re really odd but would probably be great if you were out hunting or perhaps climbing in the mountains.

Air Beds:  It really is best to have something between you and the ground when you’re out camping, and you’re going to want it to be something a little thicker than your sleeping bag most likely.  Even when backpacking it’s a good idea to have an air mattress.

  • I am happy to see that Costco.com has finally gotten one of the self-inflating camping mattresses.  These are great!  You don’t have to air them up, they do all of that themselves when you open the valve.  Costco.com: Coleman 4-in-1 Air MattressPlus, they are enough of a padding to keep you off the hard ground and that allows you to be more comfortable when you sleep, as well as warmer.  I haven’t seen this in the store, just online, where it costs $54.99.
  • You can also get the Coleman 4-in-1 Quick Bed that is one of those mattresses that you pump up but have something similar to a real bed.  This one from Coleman can be arranged into 2 twin size mattresses, one king size mattress, or stacked up to make one tall twin sized mattress.  It’s really cheap at just $36.99 but you do have to pump it up by hand.

Costco.com: Coleman Portable ChairsPortable Chairs:  You need a nice chair for when you’re sitting around the campfire at night after a day of hiking or other outdoor adventures.

  • There’s really only one choice available at Costco for camp chairs – a 2-pack of Coleman chairs.  They look reasonably comfortable but it’s a shame they don’t have a cup holder at least.  Since the frame is made of aluminum, they chairs only weigh just slightly more than 5 pounds.

Camp Cooking:  It’s kind of a romantic belief to think you’ll cook on the campfire, but I’ve got to tell you it’s much better in theory than it is in practice.  It’s really hard to get things done without being burnt or cooked unevenly.  So, it is nice to have a camp stove, at least as a backup plan.Costco.com: Igloo Stainless Steel Portable Grill

  • The Igloo stainless steel portable grill is every bit as nice as it looks.  It’s also the one that I have, though mine didn’t come from Costco (I know, I’m shocked too).  It’s a nice size and can accommodate up to two pots or pans, which will  help you get things actually prepared together. Plus, it’s got a removable grease tray so cleaning isn’t so awful.  I’ve only seen it at Costco.com, not actually in the stores, and costs $79.99.
  • Costco.com also has a 2-burner Coleman portable grill that is reasonably priced at $69.99.  It’s got an adjustable cooking temperatures and a wind block.  It’s nice and small, so it’ll be easy to take with you.  Plus, it comes with a heavy-duty removable chrome cooking grate and non-stick cast-aluminum grill grate.
  • Now, I figured I should mention the cheapest camp stove that they have at Costco.com too.  It’s the ultimate in portable because it folds up!  The Coleman Fold-N-Go 2 burner stove pops open and is ready to go. I’ve heard it’s really nice because it’s so easy to transport and works out really nicely for camping.Costco.com: Coleman Pack-n-Go Stove
  • If you must cook on the open campfire, you need a cast iron dutch oven.  It’s almost mandatory for anything but s’mores.  Luckily, Costco has them in the stores lately.  We bought one this past weekend for $9.99 – which is an unbelievable deal, especially since they were $29.99 just a couple of weeks ago.  The nicest part is that it comes pre-seasoned from the factory.

LanternsGE Steelbeam LanternYou’ll definitely need a good lantern to shed some light on your campsite while you’re cooking or when you need to run to the restroom in the middle of the night (always the way it is when you have to walk to the bathroom).

  • Costco has a really nice fluorescent lantern that runs on the big D batteries and puts out a really nice amount of light in a wide area.  It’s perfect for a campsite.   You might be thinking you’d run through batteries really quickly, but we haven’t had that problem with ours.  It’s available in the stores for $14.99.

Apart from food and a few other items, you’re ready to go camping now and all thanks to Costco.  I’ve decided that there’s other stuff that I want to post about so I’m going to have a part two post to cover things like great food for camping, and other fun things you can pick up at Costco.

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1 Response so far ↓

  1. 1 italian wallet // 2009.12.29 at 9:44 am

    Thanks that was a good read!

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