With great anticipation, I awaited my first Cairn box. Cairn is a subscription service ($25/month) outdoor minded people can subscribe to for a package of new samplings of products. http://www.getcairn.com/ It’s honestly quite a bit like getting a Christmas present. Not the “5-speed with a bow on it” type present, but more that mystery present Santa brought you that wasn’t even on your list. I knew there had to be good stuff on the inside. Exactly what? I would soon find out….
The Cairn box arrived. My eyes immediately went to a similar product of one I had actually just purchased a week earlier - the Light My Fire Spork’n Case. The spork I had just purchased at REI was just that - a spork and nothing else. But this is an ingenious little idea - a case for the spork. This is a great idea. Sporks are a great product, but they get damaged loose in a pack sometimes. I know one climber who has gone through 3 of them in just a year. The case is a convenient, relatively lightweight protection for your Spork. I will use this product.
The next thing I settled on was the light. Ok, this product I’m a little ambivalent towards. It’s the LuminAID light that is completely water-proof and floats. I’m not sure what I would ever need a light that floats for. Although, from investigation, this is the most expensive sample included in the box (coming in at a whopping $20 value… almost the value of the entire box!) Perhaps other users would appreciate this product more… For me, it wasn’t worth this much, but I am impressed by the fact it’s included in this box, making the value of the $25 subscription price instantly viable.
Now I turned to the next biggest product, a cup of backpacker-type food Oatmeal. It looks good - peanut butter and strawberry oatmeal. The package seems light and convenient. I’ll take it with me on my next overnight adventure for sure and give it a go. But that’s kind of what Cairn is all about - give it a try. Maybe I will like it… maybe not. But I will never know until I try, and now I have a chance to experiment with it.
Same thing with the next thing I bring up…. the powdered peanut butter PB2. I haven’t done a lot of long haul overnight trips...but they are most definitely on the list. (Like you haven’t thought about doing the JMT sometime soon?) So this is definitely an intriguing product I also am looking forward to testing. The Cairn box gives you a lot for such a small price. We can always use these insights into possible delicious alternatives.
The last product included is a bottle of Kiss My Face Castile Soap. It is without a doubt that I will use this product. Camp soap is a never-ending battle to find what works best. Will it be my choice in the future? I don’t know. I do like that this soap is biodegradable and earth-friendly. I’m looking forward to trying it out.
And in the end, that’s the great thing about Cairn Boxes. The testing out aspect. We all feel ourselves a little bit of gear reviewers - if you’ve read this far you know you’re one of us. And to test different stuff makes us feel a little bit privileged - at least a bit more than whether that chocolate chip Cliff bar they gave you at REI was good or not. Cairn is a good value, whether you like all the products or not. Every month they send you something new - and it's like Christmas all over again! A good idea that any outdoor person should seriously consider signing up for.