Cairn Subscription Box Review: Is This Really a Hiker’s Dream in a Box?

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Cairn subscription boxes were started by a group of people who love the outdoors and like to share their insider (or outsider) knowledge around. They’re based in Oregon, so they know their way around hiking and the outdoors. Each month the box is filled with useful trinkets and snacks that open your eyes to the possibilities of making camping, hiking and everything in between that much better.

I’m pretty thankful they started the box because, for $360 a year, you can get a lot of high-quality camping and outdoor gear for a reasonable price. Way cheaper than going to the normal stores. Unlike some subscription boxes, Cairn doesn’t skimp out and give away the little single-use samples of stuff. You get good quality and good quantity products at a low price.

cairn subscriber box

Cairn subscription boxes give out some of the coolest outdoor gear ever, and for a pretty good price. For only $29.95 a month you receive necessary items for camping, hiking, basically any outdoor activity. They also offer discounts for 6 and 12-month subscriptions. Shipping is free for the US, only $5 for Canada and only $10 for international orders.

It’s also super helpful if you’ve got a dad, husband or friend who’s super keen on camping and the outdoors. Cairn offers subscription box Gift Cards, to make the perfect present for your nature-loving pals.

Our friends over at Cairn make sure that each month is a different load of goodies so that by the end of the year you’ve got all the camping equipment necessary. There may be a lot of camping subscription boxes out there, but I’ve gotta say Cairn is definitely putting up a fight for the title as the #1 camping subscription box.

Let the Review Begin!

cairn subscriber box


Pros: The packaging is pretty light, which is great because it takes up less room in the trash can. Although it’s light does not mean that it’s frail. The bag itself is pretty durable and stayed sealed all the way through delivery, so none of my goodies were damaged or faulty in any way.

My other Cairn subscription box literally came in a little cardboard box. I thought that was pretty good too as it was easily foldable for recycling. I think I prefer the cardboard as all the treats inside stay in their place, but the soft packaging is fine too.

Cons: Zero… It’s just ordinary packaging that does its job. Not much else to say here.

Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow

sierra designs

First and foremost is the Sierra Designs DriDown Pillow. There are definitely more pros than cons for this one. It’s a super soft, tiny pillow. It’s pretty comfortable for the standards of sleeping on the ground. Another good aspect is that the cover unzips and you can take the pillow out. So when you’ve camped too hard, it’s easily machine washable and ready for the next outdoor adventure!

I’m not saying I’d throw away my many fluffy bed pillows for it, but it definitely makes sleeping in a tent more comfortable and homely, without having to worry about the hassles of bringing bulky pillows from home. If you’re an adventurer who doesn’t have time to pack up all the bedding every morning, this pillow just slips into your backpack, and away you go!

It’s perfect for those who prefer to just get up and go! I, personally, am more of a ‘wake up for an hour and enjoy the quiet’ type of camper. I always bring way too much stuff.

Pros: First off is the fact that it’s so compact, it fits easily into a backpack.
It’s lightweight but big enough to be comfortable for a night or two camping.
It’s also water resistant, so a quick wipe with a towel and it’s ready for the next hike.

Cons: The only downside I found was the noise. Turning and moving your heard wriggles the fabric, meaning a pretty noisy night but still, it’s a minor detail as long as you don’t toss and turn all night.

My Vote: 8/10

You can get the DriDown pillow for $29.95.

Itch Fraser

itch fraser

Next is The Itch Eraser. Now this one I was super excited about, as it’s getting to mosquito season. I didn’t purposely try to get itchy to use this, but I’m glad I had it on hand. This is the type of stuff that would be amazing to just slap all over yourself during the summer months.

While it does have a bit of a scent to it due to the aloe and tea tree oil, it’s not overpowering. I think it adds a certain outdoorsy feel to the trip. Like you’re Bear Grylls in the wilderness.

The fact that it is a gel and not oily spray like most bug repellants is super helpful. You can put this on without having to worry about wiping your hands or tasting it in your food!

For normal skin types (dry or oily, it’s not good for the pores either way. But, that’s the risk you take when roughing it out in the wilderness). I say go right ahead, but even though its dermatologist recommended, those with skin conditions should probably ask a doctor first. Better to be safe than itchy and red.

Pros: It’s definitely all pro and no cons for this one.
The gel goes on smooth and relief is near instant. I can’t speak for those with especially sensitive skin, but for me there were no irritants or red marks, just itch relief!

Cons: 0

My Vote: 10/10

I 100% recommend, and you can get The Itch Eraser for only $4.99

Rite in the RainTop Spiral Pocket Notebook

spiral notebook

Here’s the Rite In The RainTop Spiral Pocket Notebook. This one had me very excited as well because being able to write notes in a thunderstorm?! Awesome. To be totally honest I don’t know how many times that situation actually happens in real life, but with this notebook, you can always be ready.

I’m also not sure what notes there would be to write in a thunderstorm? If it’s that loud you can’t hear each other chances are they’re not going to be able to read it in the rain anyway. Still, it’s pretty awesome though and I’m excited for the day I can use it properly.

I’d say this is probably a really good idea instead of taking your phone out while camping. When it’s raining and storming, this notebook is a good idea to keep kids entertained for hours!

Pros: It actually works. Having a crayon helps to write while the notebook is wet.

Cons: Sad to say there are some cons here. The main being that you need the special Rite In The Rain pens to be able to use the notebook. The pens are separately sold and are more expensive than a pen should be. Unless you’ve got kids, I don’t know how many crayons you’d have just laying around in the camping gear.

My Vote: 5.5/10. It’s helpful when necessary, but I don’t know how necessary it is.

You can buy the Top-Spiral Pocket Notebook for just $3.95. The special rain writing pens and mechanical pencils are sold seperately, you can buy them for $15-$35 per pen, or $10.95 a pencil. The refills are $5.95 also. I suggest just buy a cheap pack of crayons, but that’s just my imput.



Last but definitely not least is the Skratch LabsAnytime Energy Bar. It was truly delicious. I’m not sure what was even in it other than cherries and pistachios, but it is the perfect snack for on the go. It’s a little sticky, which was no problem for me because I thought it was amazing.

For a small-sized energy bar, it was surprisingly filling. I think this would be perfect for a quick energy refill while hiking, or a good breakfast/lunch/dinner when you can’t be bothered cooking at camp. These bars come in two other flavors and I’, honestly considering buying them just for the taste.

Pros: Yum. 5g of protein and only 210 calories per bar. I ate it while just hanging around and home and it was energizing, so I imagine snacking on one of these after a workout would be an experience.

Cons: Only that I didn’t have more. Just a recommendation Cairn but throw in all three flavors next time! Many thanks.

Well done Skratch Labs, well done. I’ll be checking your website every so often and waiting for there to be some more tasty flavors out!

My Vote: 10/10

You can stock up on Anytime Energy Bars for only $2.65 each. They also come in chocolate chips & almonds and ginger & miso.

cairn box


The Verdict: 100% worth the $30. If you’re Canadian or international the shipping adds to the price but it’s only an extra $5 or $10 and the Cairn box full of goodies is still well worth it. The Cairn monthly subscription box is fantastic and filled with goodies. They don’t skimp out on the cheap stuff, and everything you get would come in handy. I’ll definitely be a loyal customer from now on.

Conclusive And Detailed Thoughts

cairn outdoor kit

There may be only four items in this box, but taking them camping, I believe, would definitely improve the experience overall. The pillow makes sleeping more comfortable, the energy bar is filling so you’re ready to take on anything nature throws at you. Well, maybe not a bear. The notebook is good for like grocery lists you don’t want to get wet. The most useful thing in there right now is probably the itch eraser gel. It’s coming to mosquito season and I don’t know about you, but they are definitely the worst part about the outdoors for me.

If you’re the super outdoorsy type, this is brilliant because you would use everything in the box. If you’re really interested then each Cairn subscription box comes with a small booklet that just has a little information about Cairn and outdoors stuff. Lumberjacks here’s your glory.

On the other hand, you don’t need to be extroverted and one with nature to enjoy the treats in this subscription box.

Everything in there comes with instructions and labels and explains why they’re there and what they’re for. It’s super simple and may come in handy for that one day you actually decide to go explore the wild.

Value For Money: The DriDown Pillow itself is $30, so you’ve already got your money’s worth. Added with the other items the total value for the box is around $41. Basically, you’re getting $10 worth of camping freebies, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Go buy it now. There’s no point in waiting, subscribe now, plan a camping trip or a quick hike and wait for your goodies to arrive!

Check back in the future for honest, and supremely detailed subscription box reviews!

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