Posted by on in Cairn Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews | Tags: | 9 comments

Cairn Subscription Box Review – September 2016

This post may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


Cairn is a subscription service that delivers outdoor gear every month. They bill their service as “Your Monthly Box of Outdoor Discovery.” My family loves to get outdoors as much as possible, and we love discovering new gear!


My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)


The Subscription Box: Cairn

The Cost: $25 per month with discounts for 3-, 6-, and 12- month subscriptions

The Products: “A recurring delivery of outdoor related products sent to your doorstep! Get introduced to new brands and products, including gear, apparel, nutrition/energy, skincare, and more.”

Ships to: US for free, internationally for an additional price

Check out all of our Cairn box reviews and the Lifestyle Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!



When I signed up for Cairn, they asked me to do a huge questionnaire for customization purposes. It asked questions about the types of outdoor activities I like, and I chose hiking, camping (car), backpacking, and yoga. They had loads of options, though, like rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing — just about everything I could think of! They also asked a few lifestyle questions (kids? dogs?) plus basics like t-shirt size.

All this leads me to believe that contents may vary from subscriber to subscriber, so if you subscribe but get different things, please let me know!



Stanley Insulated Switchback Mug – Value $35

So obviously my first thought was, “$35 for a thermos? What?” But as it turns out, it’s worth it. It’s vacuum sealed, so drinks stay hot for a long time. It has a grit guard to keep grit out of your mouth / drink. It’s BPA free and rust-proof. And it’s completely leak-proof so you can clip it onto your belt and not worry about it! This is the best thermos I’ve ever owned!



UST Collapsible Brewer – Value $6.26

File this one under “miracle of modern technology.” This is a silicone, BPA free coffee brewer that you just place on top of your mug, insert a paper filter, pour in ground coffee, and then pour in hot water. Awesome!


Kuju Coffee Pocket Pourover – Value about $2.50

I have tried many of these coffee-and-filter-in-one packs thanks to subscription boxes, and they are really handy to have in the great outdoors!



Phive Bar, Blueberry – Value $2.99

This little snack (or meal) bar is full of superfood and is super yummy! Plus it’s all non-GMO, organic fruit, nuts, and seeds, which gets my seal of approval as a mom.


We used to get an envelope from Cairn with lots of coupons in it, but Cairn recently switched to a card with all the promo codes printed on it. That’s so much more handy and eco-friendly!

Verdict: We love our Cairn subscription! This month’s box was all about the coffee, which is fine by me since I love a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning in the mountains. This month’s value adds up to about $47, which is great for a $25 box! Cairn’s values are consistently good!

Do you subscribe to Cairn? What are your outdoor activities? What did they send you?

Written by Anna Rodriguez

Anna Rodriguez

Anna has been a fan of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013, but didn’t become a true addict until discovering subscriptions she could share with her children. Her favorites include Kiwi Crate and Fab Kids.

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. I got the same as yours with the coffee mug, but I specifically indicated in my questionnaire that I am a coffee drinker. I may not be addicted and crazy about it, but I do love a good mug. I had not filled out my questionnaire until the second month and I’ve noticed you can go in and change your preferences at any time. I’ve gotten 3 boxes so far, and I’ve loved them all (I only drink coffee 3-4x a week but I would use the the drip and the mug for sure!). I got the Better Bands in the previous box, and I’ve already purchased them and wanted more so that made me happy. I don’t know about everyone else, but I live in the mountains by a ski area and am an avid outdoors person, whether road biking, hiking, backpacking, and world traveler (41 countries so far), so maybe I just happen to be their target market. It’s like Xmas every month for me. I’m gonna splurge on that big Obsidian one of these days as well…

  2. I got a completely different box. I got Betterband stretch bands, a one year subscription to the Roam map app, BlackStrap neck/face mask, lip balm, and the Phive bar.

    • I got that one too, Shari. I was pretty unimpressed, especially since all those things had been in previous boxes! (Except the bar, whoopdedoo.)

      Once I saw what everyone else got (the very nice $35 bottle), I was really upset. Hopefully next month is way better.

      Celyn, yours sounds ok!

      • I got the same one and was very disapointed. I would rather had the coffee one too. I didnt feel this one was worth the 25 bucks. Hopefully we get good ones next time.

    • I got the same as Shari, it was an okay box. Id rather get more goodies than discount cards

  3. After seeing the reviews this month, it seems like everyone got this box. I was not thrilled as I don’t love coffee. I received my box tonight and it is totally different! A hybrid solar/usb powered headlight, reflective tape, bug repellent, and a stroopenwaffel! Totally pleased. I love Cairn!

  4. What is an Obsidian box?

    • More expensive Cairn box that comes out quarterly is their Obsidian Box. More expensive but also more incredible product value. Based on my listed outdoor activity profile, Ive received 3 boxes since Spring, and I’ve gotten things like hiking sticks, a small stove that works off of biomass (small twigs), a growler thermos (v large), a slackline, a long thermarest, a foldable grill, a warm thermal baselayer, a small backpack, a small warm blanket (throw size)…. and those are just the things I remember off the top of my head. All good brands, some you will recognize others are new innovative companies. Highly recommended.

  5. Got the same box, and I am consistently impressed by the quality and value of the Cairn boxes, particularly the Obsidian boxes. My Obsidian box came early last week: a thermal pad that is longer than any Thermarest I’ve ever seen and packs so much smaller; a grill that packs flat (great for car camping) were the big things, but there were like 4 other things in there….

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