A few weeks ago, I came home from work and mosied up to my bedroom, as I always do, but this time I found a shoebox-sized package sitting on my bed. I had no idea what it was, completely forgetting that I was expecting a Cairn Adventure Box package in the mail. I picked it up, slightly baffled at the arrival of this seemingly random box, perfectly addressed to me so it couldn’t have been a mistake. I turned it over and finally understood when I saw the hashtagged #CAIRNROCKS boldly printed on the side.
Cairn had offered the editors at Almost Fearless a test month to see what sort of outdoor gear they offered, and I quickly volunteered to be the reviewer. Their monthly subscription service is billed at “Outdoor Inspiration Delivered Monthly” and their website features kits filled with the kind of gear you’d pick up at REI. Each month, the company, headquartered in Bend, Oregon, puts together a curated box of items and half the fun is never knowing what you’ll get.
I was excited but tempered my expectations. There are a lot of subscription boxes out there, but this is the only one I had heard of for active, outdoorsy people. What could they come up with? I had expected it to be fun, of course; Something that pushed me outside and helped me enjoy myself. But I didn’t expect much more. And while the package did end up being a lovely motivation tool, the quality of the arrangement and the individual items stood out to me.
In its May collection, the package used for this review, Cairn proved its commitment to high-quality items and inspiring products. It featured: a Serac hammock and accompanying TreeHugger straps, a Clif Whey Protein Bar, and Natrapel Insect Repellent Wipes.
Clif Bar: A brand that has enjoyed some much-deserved popularity for a long time, Clif Bars are the perfect snack for a day spent outdoors. Do be forewarned, though: this delicious bar does not hold up long in the heat, at least not in the roasting, dry June heat in Garden of the Gods in Colorado; be careful because it will melt and it will make a mess (speaking from experience – I tried to think of it positively as a microwaved dessert).
Natrapel Insect Repellent Wipes: Many a time have I been outdoors, surrounded by an onslaught of buzzing preditators and unable to simply relax for fear of relentless itching. These handy, compact wipes are ideal for any type of moderate outdoor activity—especially on a hot, humid day that is bound to attract all sorts of insects. They are also DEET-free, which which removes the guilt associated with many common, environmentally damaging insect repellents.
Serac Hammock: The jackpot of Cairn’s June box, and its centerpiece, is undoubtedly the Serac hammock tucked inside. This sturdy hammock can serve as a balmy repose after a long day or the very reason you head outside in the first place. I firmly believe that there is no better way to enjoy a lake view than the view from a nearby hammock. Cairn provides both the hammock and the accompanying TreeHuggers (special straps designed for easy hanging), giving you all you need to hammock in peace. Despite its low price, this hammock has no noticeable difference in quality from other brands, and felt like a steal at such a cost. It is definitely the thing to bring along for a day trip or even a little camping extravaganza.
For less than $30 per box, this haul is pretty impressive. Cairn subscribers also are automatically eligible for an “Adventure Upgrade,” where lucky subscribers win an extra bonus gift such as a bike or tent (they also have an “Obsidian box” subscription for hardcore enthusiasts that gets you up to $300 in outdoor gear each month for $199).
Though Cairn offered this box to us for free to review the service, I feel confident saying this is one of the better subscription services out there, especially for those who are already avid campers or outdoorspeople, and for those who are looking to add a bit of outdoor excitement to their lives. I love the idea of receiving a box of adventure each month then challenging myself to find ways to get out there make the most use of what I’ve received.
Bottomline: Worth it