Wondering what it’s like to have a Cairn subscription for a whole year? Check out our rundown of the value and usefulness of a year of boxes to see if it would be worth it for you.
Disclaimer: Cairn provided complimentary boxes for review, but did not provide compensation or exercise control over the content of this post.
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That’s a good value, but the items have to be useful too. Now, we’re looking at this from the standpoint of very avid hikers (generally every week, year round, plus several trips). However, we don’t go camping at all so that will skew the usefulness of some major items for us, so keep that in mind.
Items we use a lot.
The items we use most from the past year of boxes:
HydraPak Stash – Use this constantly, for hikes where we don’t need a reservoir. Compresses when empty. Solidly in the “should have gotten one of these before” category.
Drinktanks Tumbler – Use daily. Excellent to keep my iced coffee icy while I slowly sip it, instead of it going room temp quickly. Ditto for my afternoon hot lattes, I am savoring one in it as I write this, with a splash of caramel syrup.
Mazama Water Reservoir – Despite owning multiple reservoirs, I ended up switching to this one. Large opening and handle makes it easy to fill, and I like the magnet clip for the drinking tube.
Various Energy Bars – Scarfed every one of them down, not a bad one yet, and most were ones we’d never tried.
Flowfold Craftsman Wallet – Sturdy slim minimal wallet. I switch out my wallet items to just the essentials to put in my pack and this perfect.
Items we discovered we liked.
One of the strongest features of Cairn is discovery. I keep up on gear stuff but they consistently send items I am not familiar with or never bothered trying. Some of the standout “didn’t know I needed this” items over the year were:
Xtenex Laces – Stretchy, adjustable laces that expand to accommodate foot swelling over the course of a hike and don’t need tying. After Tom kept going on and on about reduced foot irritation and bragging how he could just slip his boots off and on… I bought a pair. What a big difference these make.
Zipper Repair kit – In 5 minutes I fixed the zipper on a fleece that hadn’t worked in years… then spent 20 minutes wondering how did I not search for this before.
Salt Stick Fast Chews – Electrolyte replacement. Used these on a trip to the CA desert… like having a little non-alcoholic margarita party in your mouth.
Natrapel Wipes – We normally use Off spray and had no interest in wipes, but we found these handy and would get again.
Gobi Gear Segmented Stuff Sack – Holds a ton of things but mostly we use it most to keep boots from getting luggage dirty. It’s divided into four compartments, so one shoe goes in each.
- Light My Fire Grill – Clever grill press for campfires
- Klymit V Sheet – Sleeping pad cover
- Luminoodle – Neat USB light
- Serac Hammock and hanging straps – Portable hammock
Basically… the camping related things. Really neat stuff, just not a lot of use for us. And while the hammock isn’t camping per se and is really really cool…. we just don’t have suitable trees in our yard and we don’t hang around at parks as we’re always hiking go-go-go (someday we will learn how to relax… someday…).
We used pretty much everything else in the boxes. Even if it was something we already had – sunglasses, knife, headlamp, waterproof bags, foot glide, etc – it’s still useful, nice to have another, or is a little different than what we are using.
Check out Cairn’s Holiday 2017 Collections, such as Off to Sea the World - Featuring Eagle Creek Cargo Duffel & Eagle Creek PackLite & Marmot Featherless Hoodie & Klymit Luxe Pillow.
Grab the Obsidian Winter Collection before it sells out! - Over $300 worth of gear... "There's no such thing as bad weather..."