COOL AS ICE PURCHASES
Costco is a retail time machine that wants to only move forward. It isn't unusual to see back-to-school items or Halloween candy stocked in early summer, Christmas trees before Labor Day, or gazebos and grills during blizzards. Costco sells large amounts of items at a discount, and it doesn't want its floors loaded with seasonal items long after people have stopped caring about that season. That makes it somewhat difficult to find winter items when it's actually winter, but we managed to locate the best of what this warehouse store still has among its winter supplies.
(Prices and availability are subject to change. Some items available for members only have been excluded.)
OC HOT TUBS SERENITY 85-JET 5-PERSON LOUNGE SPA
Price: $6,000 | Buy it Whether you want to park this at your cabin for an aprés ski soak with friends or in the backyard, this tub (which sold for $1,000 less during a Costco sale) tries to meet you where you're at. With two pumps, 85 adjustable massage jets, multicolor LED lighting and an integrated Bluetooth sound system, this tub is trying its best to provide you with a midwinter party.
SKI AND LIFT TICKETS
Price: Varies | Buy it
Costco keeps most of its lift tickets and packages for members. But if you're lucky enough to live near Oregon's Mount Hood (two lift ticket vouchers for $145 or three for $125), Whitefish Mountain in Montana (two lift tickets for $120) or New Jersey's Mountain Creek (two adult lift tickets for $93), Costco can get you on the slopes at a discount.
MICHELIN COMPACT ALUMINUM SNOW SHOVEL 2-PACK
Price: $30 | Buy it
Some winters, a brush, and scraper just aren't going to get it done. While having a shovel to dig out your wheels, shovel out a quick parking spot, or scoop snow out of a truck bed is a great idea, having a 3-foot handle or a wide plastic snow shovel kicking around the trunk or bed just isn't practical. This shovel handle pulls out from 15 inches to 30 inches, has a shovel only about 9 inches wide and comes in a two-pack to share with friends, family, or a passenger who needs to pull their weight.
NICOLE MILLER METALLIC YARN CARDIGAN
Price: $17 |Buy it
Cardigans aren't just sweaters, they're a season unto themselves. They're cozy, take minimal effort, and they can be fairly inexpensive. Winter is kind of the cardigan's last hurrah, which explains this one last push before Costco starts stocking lighter garments well before spring.
MARC NEW YORK LADIES' QUILTED JACKET
Price: $20 | Buy it
Not Marc Jacobs and not Donna Karan New York, this warm-yet-lightweight diamond-quilted jacket is made for everyday wear. A lined interior pocket for a smartphone, secure front zipper pockets, and just three colors (metallic gray, navy, and coral) give this jacket a whole lot of utility without making it bulky or boxy. It may be doing a poor impression of a designer brand, but it's incredibly effective at just being a good jacket.
MICHELIN COLOSSAL SNOW BRUSH AND SQUEEGEE 2-PACK
PANTHER VISION POWERCAP LIGHTED BEANIE 2-PACK
Price: $25 | Buy it
While there are a bunch of places that a warm beanie with LED lighting could come in handy (night work, fishing, hunting, dog walking) the one that comes to mind immediately is snow shoveling. There is a reason why two of the LEDs are angled down at 55 degrees toward your hands, while the other two point forward and light an area up to 72 feet away: Because it helps for others to be able to see you while you're trying to see what you're doing. Four tiny batteries in the band are not only replaceable, but are good for up to 68 hours.
DK2 82" X 19" RAMPAGE SNOWPLOW KIT
Price: $1,650 | Buy it
This probably isn't the answer if you want to run a full-time snow removal business, but to plow out neighborhood driveways and parking spaces, Costco's robust automotive department has you covered. An electric winch lifts and lowers the plow from a wireless remote, while one lever moves the plow blade left, right, or center. You'll get plow markers to avoid running into things, skid shoes for rough terrain, a deflector kit to prevent snow spray, and locking casters for easy removal and storage. You won't be a one-vehicle department of public works, but you'll be able to move a whole lot of snow without leaning into a shovel.
CHAMPION 50" UNIVERSAL ATV SNOWPLOW
Price: $350 | Buy it
Don't have $1,600 kicking around, but have a quad that's feeling unloved after hunting or dune season? A fraction of the price of a truck plow gets a plow that will clean out the driveway while leaving plenty of space to mess around and make figure eights. We don't recommend that, but if you can get an extra season out of your ATV, that's worth celebrating.
WINTER TREASURES CABINET
Price: $100 | Buy it
Forget the New Year's resolutions. Nature built you to add layers in the fall and winter and subtract them during spring and summer. Nobody's saying you should make yourself unhealthy, but maybe you could stop trying to inhale kale in the dead of winter and delve into this packed gift cabinet. This includes the wooden cabinet, a golden glitter ornament, and a full 20 kinds of treats, starting with Covington Manor Fudge Mint Cookies; a DeBeukelaer Pirouline Dark Waferolls Tin; Dr. Kracker 3-Seed Klassic Snackers; a Fischer Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce Cup; Harry & David Butter Crackers; and a Petit Etoile Smoked Gouda Cheese Cup. Enjoy your continued hibernation.
ORVIS MEN'S CANVAS BARN JACKET
Price: $30 | Buy it
Costco squirrels away the North Face and Patagonia gear for its members, but it's impressive to see Vermont-based outdoor chain Orvis in the mix. A go-to for fly-fishermen, bird hunters, and outdoor sports enthusiasts of all stripes, Orvis built its brand on quality products and a generous return policy. This canvas jacket with corduroy detail, quilted lining and multiple pockets looks a step removed from Orvis' flannel-lined $169 barn coat, but at $30 it's a reasonable facsimile.
SPORTSSTUFF SNO-NUT SNOW TUBE
Price: $60 | Buy it
If you're looking for the snow tube that ski resorts bring out for the kids, this is as close to it as you'll get. A commercial-grade snow tube with a slick, puncture-resistant tarp bottom, foam-filled extra-large handles to accommodate mittens, a durable PVC bladder, and a pull handle for getting up the hill, this tube is built for snow days and mountain ski getaways.
PELICAN UTILITY SLED
Price: $330 | Buy it
If you've ever tried to use a wheelbarrow or utility trailer in the snow, you know exactly why this exists. Whether hauling a cord of firewood up the driveway or trying to get stuff out to the lake for some ice fishing (no, city mice, this really isn't for you), it's a lot easier with a sled when there are a few inches of snow involved. This trailer has a 500-pound capacity, fits in standard pickup boxes and includes a shock-absorbing, reinforced metal tow hitch and an adjustable travel cover. While the manufacturer hints that this pairs best with a pickup, it could be useful with just about any four-wheel drive truck or utility vehicle.
CLINTON OPTI-MYST WALLMOUNT ELECTRIC FIREPLACE
Price: $450 | Buy it
Costco does not employ masons who can build you a fireplace or plumbers who can install a gas fireplace for you. Instead, they offer this plug-in, wall-mounted fan heater with rocks and lighting designed to emulate a gas fireplace. The illusion of smoke comes from "flame" created by a fine mist created from a built-in water tank. It can run for up to 12 hours on regular tap water and creates no emissions. As a source of heat, the Opti-myst is weak; even the manufacturer might suggest keeping the actual heat on. As ambience for a home where a fireplace of any kind is impossible, it's a viable alternative.
US STOVE ASHLEY PORCELAIN GAS STOVE
Price: $1,900 | Buy it
Costco will sell you pellet and wood stoves. But for something that won't require building or fixing a chimney or drilling a hole for an exhaust line, this porcelain stove is a visually appealing natural gas- or propane-powered option. Good for up to 31,000 BTUs per hour and capable of heating 1,000 square feet, it needs a gas hook-up, a hearth, and a thermostat to get going. With real flame and a real-enough log set, this is the wood stove for folks who either can't have or don't want the "wood" part of that equation.
ANCONA COMFORT ELECTRIC TOWEL WARMER AND DRYING RACK
Price: $200 | Buy it
The towel warmer/drying rack is an amenity widely embraced in Europe and largely lost on the United States. This Italian-designed towel rack features its own 24-hour/seven-day digital timer, dry-lined electric power, and heat that reaches its ideal temperature in 15 minutes. Until you've taken a winter shower that chills you as soon as the water turns off, you may not see the need. Once that happens, you'll wish every towel was a warm towel.
PROGRESSO CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP CANS 19 OZ, 8 COUNT
Price: $11.50 | Buy it
It's the only chicken-noodle soup Costco sells, and it's still a bargain by comparison. How? Well, Costco also sells eight-packs of 11-ounce, single-serve cans of Campbell's creamy chicken soup for $10.50. That puts Progresso at little more than 7 cents an ounce, compared with almost 12 cents an ounce for Campbell's. If you're going to shop Costco like a pro, a little basic home economics comes in handy.
MUCK WOMEN'S ARCTIC WEEKEND BOOT
Price: $50 | Buy it
Costco will totally sell sets of Uggs, or cute leather or suede ankle boots. These are not those. These lightweight, neoprene-lined, waterproof boots that wipe clean with soapy water and air dry are working boots -- sidewalk-shoveling boots, mail-fetching boots, warming-up-the-car boots, slogging-to-the-train-in-slush boots. They're for gross northern winters where rock salt stains suede and blackened snow streaks Uggs wool. These boots are for surviving the worst of winter: The others are for celebrating when the sidewalks are actually clear.
SWISS MISS HOT COCOA MIX PACKETS, 60-COUNT
Price: $7 | Buy it
It's either this or a 48-pack of Starbucks peppermint cocoa for $37. Buy some clearance candy canes and grind them, and you'll still make out better with Swiss Miss. Is it actual chocolate? The "milk chocolate flavor" says no. Is it inexpensive enough to get you through this winter and maybe the next? Absolutely.
OUTLAST TEMPERATURE-REGULATING BLANKET
Price: $80 to $85 | Buy it
If you didn't see them launch a satellite every so often, you'd think NASA was dedicated to helping the country sleep better. Not only did it contract for the technology that would become Tempur-Pedic and foam beds in general, but its technology is also behind the heat-absorbing/heat-emitting Outlast fabric that regulates temperature based on your sweat patterns. A 300-thread count, 100 percent Cotton sateen weave packed half with Outlast and half polyester fiber fill, the Outlast blanket is great for the hot sleeper who just can't stop kicking off the covers.
DAUPHINE SQUARE MISSION MOCHA 46,000 BTU PATIO HEATER WITH LED BASE
Price: $200 | Buy it
Patio heaters are typically ugly, utilitarian fire belchers that look like robot monsters from '50s sci-fi films. Most at Costco fit that description, too -- but not this heater that seems stolen from Frank Lloyd Wright's deck. Painted in a deep mocha and featuring a box for the propane tank that's lit with LEDs and molded to look like a mission-style lamp, this heater is actually a lovely accent piece for enjoying the deck, patio, or outdoor kitchen on a brisk evening.
MICRO FLANNEL HEAT REFLECTING MATTRESS PAD
Price: $60 to $100 | Buy it
Heat escapes the bed every time someone lifts a blanket, shifts in the night, or twists themselves out of their cocoon of covers as they sleep. Do you need a mattress sucking away heat, too? Gel foam mattresses are great for the majority of the year, but get awfully unyielding and chilly once temperatures drop. This mattress topper calls itself "heat reflecting," but all it's doing is keeping body heat from leaching into the mattress by putting a layer of synthetic flannel over it. It's simple, and may need to be bought only once.
KIRKLAND SIGNATURE LADIES' CREWNECK SWEATER
Price: $20 | Buy it
Costco's Kirkland-brand clothing isn't for making a fashion statement: It's for beating into oblivion and wondering years later how it's held up so long. These are the everyday sweaters that do most of the working and shopping and living in the wardrobe. These are the sweaters that repel stains like champs and hold up to smelly, sweaty days of shoveling. These aren't going to be the best sweaters in your collection, but they'll end up being the most worn and most durable.
FREEDOM FOUNDRY MEN'S CHAMOIS FLANNEL
Price: $13 | Buy it
It comes in exactly four monochromatic colors (black, navy, brown, and green), but also big-and-tall sizes and is priced to be the worn-all-the-time work-around-the-house shirt. This is a wardrobe filler that's just warm enough to keep out the winter chill. While Costco has great Pendleton wool flannels on sale, these merely good flannels are the store's workhorses.
DYSON HOT + COLD AIR PURIFIER
Price: $390 | Buy it
Costco has no shortage of cheaper heaters (such as this $50 model), but for one with an intelligent thermostat that will maintain temperature year-round while cleaning dust, pollen, and pet dander out of the air, this is a good option. With a remote control, sleep timer, and personal settings for air flow, the Dyson makes a strong bid to stick around long after winter ends.
1 MADISON LADIES' MAXI DOWN JACKET
Price: $90 | Buy it
Much of Costco's name-brand outerwear is members-only and moving its way out the door. But if you're in a bind and need a warm coat to get you to spring (and maybe into next year's holiday season), you could do worse than this ankle-length, lined, water-resistant down jacket with removable faux-fur hood. Sure it's polyester and, sure, it only comes in black, but it's a fine option for the frugal shopper.
THERMEE MICRO FLANNEL ELECTRIC HEATED BLANKET
Price: $140 | Buy it
With their wires, cords, and bulk, electric blankets aren't often the most enjoyable experience.This blanket's soft wire is enclosed in seven layers of fabric to keep sleepers from getting uncomfortable and feeling as if they're wrapped up in an electric fence. Throw in a programmable timer, dual controls for king and queen sizes, a 10-hour safety shutoff, eight heat settings, and a 16-foot cord, and this electric blanket is doing its best to earn a spot among the winter linens.
MICHELIN 12-VOLT HYBRID COOLER AND WARMER
Price: $90 | Buy it
Tailgating season can be year-round, which makes a cooler that chills drinks to 40 degrees and warms prepared dishes to 135 degrees indispensable. This 11-pound, 15-quart cooler and warmer holds up to a case of cans, three 2-liter bottles or as many dozen wings as you can cram in it. A brushless fan motor delivers even air circulation and is powered by a 12-volt plug that fits into just about any home or vehicle outlet. Whether doing some cold-weather camping, taking a day trip to the slopes, or just hitting the road for a chilly excursion, this cooler-heater combo has your climate-appropriate provisions covered.
GROCERY VARIETY KIT
Price: $100 | Buy it
Costco just opted to build a giant care package of winter comfort foods. Stocked with an 18-pack of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a 52-count variety pack of Quaker Instant Oatmeal, a 24-count pack of Nissin Cup of Noodles, an eight-count pack of Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup, two 67-ounce jars of Prego tomato sauce, an eight-count pack of Garofalo organic spaghetti noodles, and a whole lot of Skippy peanut butter, Kirkland strawberry spread, and Nutella, this pack isn't going to impress any foodies. But it can keep a hungry, cold crowd contented and warm for much of the winter.
MICRO FLANNEL QUEEN SHEET SET
Price: $50 | Buy it
There's still a fair amount of cold, flannel-sheet weather yet to go. This synthetic flannel is a bit more resistant to shrinking than cotton, comes in eight colors, and is built not to pill. It isn't exactly flannel, but it also isn't priced like actual flannel.
VELLUX PLUSH MICRO MINK BLANKET
Price: $30 to $5 | Buy it
For a lot of kids, college students, and young adults out on their own for the first time, this was their blanket. Plush, soft, warm, and surprisingly durable, these blankets made their reputation being dragged from beds to couches, serving as an extra layer between sheets and seasonally inappropriate bed-in-bag comforters, and standing up to multiple seasons of washing. The Vellux faux-velvet blanket is a cost-effective gem, and it's still an inexpensive way to add a layer of warmth.
PLANKET FROST-PROTECTION BLANKET 3-PACK
Price: $33 | Buy it
Better luck next winter. If you're buying these now, your most delicate shrubs, flowers, and small trees are probably already dead. That lavender you heaped snow on isn't coming back. That juniper that wilted in the ice storm will be brown by next summer. It didn't have to be this way. This pack's 6-foot, 10-foot, and 10-by-20-foot blankets and 14 landscape stakes could've protected those plants from the elements until the spring thaw arrived. If you don't want that to happen, or don't want it to happen again, stock up now.
LA CROSSE 5-IN-1 PROFESSIONAL WEATHER STATION
Price: $75 | Buy it
"Just look it up on your smartphone"? Does a smartphone have information on what the temperatures and conditions are like right in your backyard? Does it have access to historical weather patterns there and updated National Weather Service data? Does it have a tablet-sized readout screen? No? Well put La Crosse's smartphone app on it, tie into a new weather station, and maybe your little device won't seem so clueless.
WEATHERPROOF VINTAGE MEN'S FLEECE-LINED PANT
Price: $19 | Buy it
Don't fear the lined jeans and pants: If you do any work outside, they come in handy. These pants come only in straight-legged tan canvas work pants, largely because it's a great job-site fabric and a fleece lining comes in handy when temperatures drop. Granted, you can wear them out a pair of these fishing, hunting, bowling, barstool sitting, or television watching, but the folks who actually need them tend to buy them in bulk.
32 DEGREES LADIES' RAIN JACKET
Price: $20 | Buy it
If it isn't snowing in much of the country, it's definitely raining. This stretchy, light, waterproof raincoat is especially useful for travel when packed into its own bag. It's another example of Costco apparel's strength being durable clothing you don't have to think about.
72-HOUR TACTICAL BACKPACK SURVIVAL KIT
Price: $99 | Buy it
Why are we putting this on here? Because winter driving is dangerous, and you'll want something around if you get trapped, stuck, or stranded and help can't get to you for a while. This kit includes a backpack with its own water bladder, enough 3,000-calorie meal kits for three days, emergency food bars, and water pouches, Ready Fuel for the included canteen stove, a water filtration bottle, a sheath knife, a canteen, a compass, a first-aid kit and an Eton Red Cross Dynamo Crank charger/flashlight that can charge smartphones and other electronic devices through crank-generated power. We'd recommend tossing some hand warmers in there too, but we're also hoping you won't need all 72 hours' worth of those supplies.
32 DEGREES MEN'S SHIRT DOWN JACKET
Price: $15 | Buy it
It's the most- and best-reviewed item in Costco's men's outerwear section, and it's 15 bucks. It comes in three uninspiring colors -- gray, blue, and black -- but, with four outer pockets and the down that's indispensable in the winter and shoulder seasons, it's all it needs to be for guys who'd rather be warm than look like they've just finished a light 10K.
AIRHEAD 48-INCH PLASTIC TOBOGGAN, 2-PACK
Price: $130 | Buy it
We'd love to say this comes in handy for hauling goods or children around on snowy days, but plastic, slick-bottomed toboggans exist for one reason: to go really fast. Those handles on the side aren't to make sure that a toddler doesn't tip over when you're dragging them merrily behind, but to hang onto for dear life while bounding down the nearest snow-covered incline. The fact that the models pictured riding it on the Costco page are doing so in motorcycle helmets should tell you just how effective these toboggans are at completing their primary objective.
KIRKLAND SIGNATURE 42" ROUND PET BED TAN PLAID/FAUX SUEDE
Price: $45 | Buy it
Your dog is miserable. You're going on fewer walks because you hate the snow and cold. You're spending a lot more time sitting on furniture that's off-limits to the animals. You're going to bed in warm flannel sheets while certain others have to sleep on the floor. Don't you want your dog to be comfortable? Don't you want your dog to be happy? Don't you want your dog not to act out by tearing apart everything your own? Yeah, just spring for the bed.
GO CARD OAHU
Price: $189 | Buy it
If you've paid for airfare and a hotel on Oahu during the winter, you might be looking for other places to cut corners. The Go Card takes some of the guesswork out of tourism spending by letting you pay one price for everything. Its value is based largely on how much you do, so if you decide to skip the Polynesian Cultural Center, snorkeling, and the USS Arizona Memorial and just sit on the beach, this likely isn't going to work out for you. But if you do all of the above and still want to hit Sea Life Park, play with the dolphins, see the Dole plantation, tour movie sites, go out on a catamaran and then rent some beach gear and relax, this might be for you. Costco sells similar cards for Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Las Vegas, NV; San Diego, CA; New York City, NY; and San Francisco, CA.