By Betsy Cribb/Southern Living
October 13, 2018

Fact of life: Everybody loves Costco. The free samples around every corner are reason enough to go; throw in the $1.50 hot dog-and-drink combo, and it’s a veritable wonderland. Loyalists of the wholesale retailer know what to shop for (bacon, maple syrup, those 14-pack razors you can’t find anywhere else) and what to avoid (4 pounds of chia seeds, which you’ve never liked, but talk yourself into buying because it seems like a deal). But even Costco’s biggest fans may be missing out on the retailer’s more under-the-radar gems, and we’re here to save you from this massive misstep.

Listen up, y’all: It’s all about outerwear.

In preparation for my much-anticipated (and likely premature) seasonal closet changeover, I began mentally taking inventory of my fall and winter lineup, making note of favorite sweaters, party pants, and every last stitch of outerwear I own.

And that’s when it hit me, right there between my tally of vests and fleeces: A solid quarter of the outerwear in my closet was purchased at Costco.

Yep, the place that sells those addicting peanut butter-pretzel nuggets by the tub sells equally satisfying outerwear.

Over the years, I’ve amassed a small collection of cold-weather gear from Costco: There’s a sage green Kenneth Cole vest that’s served me well everywhere from oyster roasts to trips to the family farm; a 32 Degrees packable puffer that saved me from freezing to death in the Swiss Alps (dramatic, yes, but not totally untrue); a heathered purple quarter-zip that I always wear for nippy runs around the neighborhood; and a gray zip-up fleece that’s my go-to for every cold-weather outdoor adventure, be it a quick trip to the grocery store or a morning hike. (People assume it’s a Patagonia and compliment me on it all the time. Because I have no manners and am also on an insatiable quest for truth, I correct them every time and note that it was approximately $20 at Costco. After all, steals and deals are worth bragging about, my people!)

Now I can’t promise that Costco’s outerwear will become family heirlooms that you’ll one day pass down to little Betty Lou or Joe Junior, but gosh darn it, it’ll serve its purpose for a few winters, at least. My own collection has ventured with me near and far, and I intend to wear them all until they fall apart … or at least until I need to replace my vat of peanut butter pretzel nuggets.

Do you have any tricks for scoring the best finds and deals at Costco? Tell us about them in the comments.

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