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Don't buy trekking poles from Costco

I saw trekking poles at Costco yesterday. Boy, they are super heavy and cheaply made. Do yourself a favor, buy quality made ones such as Komperdell (made in Austria) or Leki (made in Germany).

Posted by
890 posts

This is so true. I don't recommend buying any outdoor gear and clothing from Costco, based on the same principle.

Posted by
358 posts

Always a mystery as to the logic of people purchasing things, from a retailer, that doesn't specialize in that category of item.

Posted by
6509 posts

Always a mystery as to the logic of people purchasing things, from a retailer, that doesn't specialize in that category of item.

Usually boils down to economics. Not everyone has endlessly deep pockets and items sold by specialist retailers are almost always quite a bit more expensive. It may depend a lot on what the item is, how often you intend to use it, specifically what you need to use it for, etc.

For instance I bought my trekking poles from Walmart for $15 back in 2007 and used them until 2019 when one of the adjustment knobs finally gave out. I didn't use them more than a few times a month hiking on weekends and never needed super light weight ones to take to Europe. They suited my purpose.

Posted by
441 posts

I don't know about trekking poles, but my waterproof Kirkland raincoat has outperformed my Orvis one in every way. It is actually waterproof, has lots of internal and external zipped pockets, and a sturdy zipper as well as snaps. My Orvis coat left me drenched, had no internal pockets, and had a hood I had to modify because it wouldn't stay up. I could have bought five Kirkland coats for the price I paid for my one Orvis coat. I don't think you can paint purchases from any vendor with such a broad stroke.

Posted by
804 posts

Well, I agree somewhat about quality of Costco items.. the wool socks from them wear down quickly. However, I love the snowshoes purchased from Costco 3 years ago. Still holding up well.

Posted by
890 posts

I also have a pair of Kirkland brand pants that are pretty good. However, they change their styles/quality/sizing every year and I can't buy those again.

Posted by
9904 posts

The $15 puffy vest that I bought 4 or 5 years ago is my go to winter outerwear. It is awesome. 32 degree brand.

Posted by
5750 posts

Not sure exactly what the OP's axe to grind with Costco is, but FWIW I've bought plenty of trekking poles from Costco (along with oodles of other stuff) and my experiences have generally been great. If not, returns are easy and no questions asked. Tough to beat the price, and IME quality on most items is good. All that goes for my trekking poles.

Costco sells a lot of different stuff, in some cases it's not going to be perfect for everyone, but IME most items there are pretty good for most folks. Now, if I was going to summit Everest or spend a month bushwhacking through the Amazon, I'd probably shop at REI or someplace else that specializes in high end gear (and I'd be prepared to pay 4X what Costco gets for something similar but not quite as extreme).

But for my typical (modest) use case, for what's essentially a glorified walking stick? Sheesh, many people get by with literally picking up a downed tree-branch at the trailhead (nothing wrong with that if it meets your needs). My Costco-bought hiking poles are great -- at least great enough for my needs: they're light enough, adjustable, carbon fiber, collapse down appropriately, have comfortable handles and straps, and they cost just a fraction of the expedition-grade ones I've seen at specialty outfitters. They work for me and lots of family/friends. YMMV.

Posted by
6782 posts

Always a mystery as to the logic of people purchasing things, from a retailer, that doesn't specialize in that category of item.

No mystery. Not everyone can afford quality. Either buy cheap or go without. At Costco/Sam's Club you can get everything you need in one trip.

Posted by
890 posts

Just to clarify: I am not saying that everything is bad from Costco. Just those trekking poles that I saw yesterday. They are really heavy for overseas travel. Sierra and even REI are offering pretty decent deals for well-made, lighter poles.

I buy stuff from Costco all the time.

Posted by
158 posts

Who doesn't look at something for an activity like trekking, and not consider things like weight, reliability, and cost together versus singularly?

When I'm trekking Mt Everst I don't buy my down jacket from a garage sale.

When I am on a casual trek to a place where I might lose something, or leave behind, I'm not going to pay REI prices.

My guess ... Kirkland poles are like made at same plant as one of REI suppliers.

Caveat ... I haven't really done Mt Everest.

Posted by
935 posts

We have a pair of Costco poles from about fifteen years ago. They're great. Still going. Can't say anything about the newer versions, haven't bothered to look at them. I imagine the same could be said for their snowshoes, golf clubs, and kayaks.

Posted by
167 posts

I have four, yes four, pairs of the Costco carbon blend trekking poles that are about $29-39 as far as I can recall. They are heavy. However, they are incredibly durable and an excellent value. The grips are almost as good as my Leki grips and better than my ultra light Black Diamonds by a mile. Why four, well, we have guests visit us all the time at our mountain house and I do not want to worry about a novice jamming them into a crevasse or slamming the hatch on them. Both things have occurred.

If you are just occasionally hiking, I would not hesitate to use these and highly recommend them. If you are an avid hiker and have $200 to spend, then yes, nothing beats a lightweight pair of carbon poles with an ergo cork grip.

On another note, I have bought truckloads of fleece, base layers and socks from Costco. They do get some crap, but they also stock some very good quality stuff. In fact, my go to mountain biking shirts are Bolle branded tech fabric polo shirts. Comfortable, moisture wicking and durable as all get out. For $20, they are actually far better than nearly every name brand cycle specific shirt I have tried over thirty years. And, a quarter of the price.

Posted by
5507 posts

I was a little dismayed with this thread. I can see sharing products that you like and recommend, but to what purpose bashing a product you haven’t tried?

Posted by
35 posts

My Costco trekking poles have served me well for years, including to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back, and The Narrows at Zion.