Kassondra Cloos

Kassondra Cloos

Associate Editor of SNEWS / Freelance writer & editor / Co-founder of Adventures in Wikipedia / Boulder, Colorado

Cairn review: Finally, an outdoor-themed subscription box

I am a sucker for free trials and surprises that come in the mail, and unfortunately for me, Facebook knows this. It's always showing me posts promising fun surprises in my mailbox and I am not so good at resisting. "Naturebox! Eat yummy snacks!" "Plated! Grocery shop no more!" "Love with Food! More snacks!" You might notice a trend here. No regrets.

Anyway, I had been wondering for a while when someone would create a subscription box with fun outdoor things. ("Surprise! A spork!") Facebook, not to be outdone by Google, suggested I try Cairn. It's $25 per month and they promised me toys like hammocks, sporks and fancy outdoor underwear.

I couldn't find too many reviews online (hence, my review, for the greater good) but looked at some of their previous boxes and figured, what the heck?

June's box came pretty quickly - I signed up on a Thursday and had it on my doorstep by Tuesday. 

Surprise! Things you never knew you needed. Not shown: a second marshmallow roaster. Marshmallows not included, but you don't want these anyway. They've been in my cabinet since New Year's Eve, at least. Photo by Michael Ciaglo (with somewhat-significant assistance from yours truly).

Surprise! Things you never knew you needed. Not shown: a second marshmallow roaster. Marshmallows not included, but you don't want these anyway. They've been in my cabinet since New Year's Eve, at least. Photo by Michael Ciaglo (with somewhat-significant assistance from yours truly).

Here's what was in it:

-A shiny, lightweight Light My Fire titanium spork, valued at $15. I haven't used it yet, but I have plastic Light My Fire sporks and I like them very much. It's really a sporknife. Also, as my boyfriend pointed out, if a bear is coming at you and all you have is a spork, would you rather it be made of plastic or titanium? Probably titanium. Win.
Update: I fortunately did not have to fend off any bears with my spork this weekend, but I did cut an apple into slices for oatmeal with the forknife side, and I scooped half a watermelon with the spoon. Success. This is my new favorite spork (not that there was much competition).

-Two Light My Fire "Grandpa's FireForks," also known as high-tech marshmallow roasters, valued at $10. Haven't tried them yet because Arizona is no fun (and hot) and I can't have a campfire where I'm backpacking next weekend, but they seem legit. Marshmallows and sticks not included.

-Dragon Fire Tinderbox firestarter, $6.50. A cardboard carton of twigs, moss and sawdust with a twine fuse. Open box, set on fire, roast marshmallows.

-BRICKS Grass Fed Beef & Bacon Bar, $3.50. Also includes cranberry and sunflower seed.
Update: I do not think I would buy these, at least not in this flavor. It's such a strange texture for a snack/trail bar. It's basically a bar of beef jerky, which is kind of weird. Not great for a hot day on the trail. But I'm also not super huge on meat. Meat lovers, rejoice.

-Simple Squares Whole Food Snack Bar, Cinna-Clove, $2.50. The packaging claims it is "fun to eat!"
Update: Simply delicious. The ingredients are basically nuts, honey and spices. Can't get any closer to baklava without actually lugging around baklava. And it's much less messy.

Total retail value, according to Cairn's prices: $37.50.

You're probably wondering: Is this worth $25? Math says yes. I say, decide for yourself. I likely never would have bought any of these things in the store on my own, but it's definitely cool to come home from work and have a mystery box of outdoor toys on your porch. I'm going to give it at least another month before I decide for sure.

You can sign up here. If you feel like you want to let them know you heard about it from me (Kassondra Cloos & kassondracloos@gmail.com) so I get points toward more boxes, have at it. But if you don't want to, I'll never know.

Whitewater on a work day

Whitewater on a work day

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