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Cairn Subscription Box Review + Coupon – November 2020

Christen Russo
ByChristen RussoDec 8, 2020 | 2 comments

Cairn shipping box

Cairn is a monthly subscription box that sends members outdoors, adventure, and fitness gear. Cairn's goal is to enrich your outdoor adventures by connecting you with best-in-class products. It was chosen as one of our favorite subscription boxes for men but is suited to adventurers of all genders.

FYI - COVID-19 Update, from Cairn: 

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on distribution centers, Monthly Cairn Subscribers, as well as Monthly Cairn Gift recipients that are beyond their first month of the gift term, may experience delays of up to two weeks on their Monthly Cairn delivery. Cairn products that are not experiencing shipping delays:

  • Initial Cairn Gift deliveries (the first month of the gift term)
  • Cairn Apparel
  • UnStacked orders
  • Obsidian Subscriptions

If you have questions about your order, please email [email protected]

Cairn open box

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Cairn all products from November 2020 box

About Cairn

The Subscription Box: Cairn

The Cost: $29.95 per month with discounts for 6- and 12-month subscriptions.

The Products: Outdoor gear, including apparel, nutrition/energy products, skincare, and other essentials to keep you prepared and comfortable on your adventures.

Ships to: The U.S. for free, Canada for $5, and internationally for $10.

Cairn November 2020 "Road Ready" Review


Every Cairn box comes with this newspaper-style info sheet called the Cairn Scout. The design and photos on the front are always an indication of that month's theme. I find that Cairn does a nice job of curating items around the themes clearly, giving each box a nice sense of direction. It never feels like random items tossed in a box. In the Scout, you'll also find a list of items and details about box upgrades, charitable initiatives, a community feature, subscriber perks, and more. This month's Road Ready theme acknowledges that "No one is sure what the road ahead holds, but that's not going to stop you from getting out there to explore it." While packing up and pitching a tent with a toddler as we approach a Pennsylvania winter isn't in the plans for my family anytime soon, hopping in the car to head to a further-away nature destination for a day hike isn't uncommon for us, and these types of mini road trips feel safe and rejuvenating during this time. All this to say, I appreciate this month's theme!


CAMP Topo Sunglasses by Shwood Eyewear, Black - Retail Value $79

These sunglasses are so incredibly nice. Their silhouette and color are both a great gender-neutral selection, they're polarized, and most notably, they're extremely comfortable. I noticed it the moment I slid them on my ears, and my husband exclaimed the same exact thing when he tried them on. They're roomy without falling off. I'm going to have to keep this pair under lock and key to keep my guy from snatching them — I did not have such luck last time I received nice sunglasses from my Cairn subscription (I wish I could find that review for you!). On top of all the good stuff I already mentioned, I'm pretty excited over the little sleeping-bag-looking soft case they came in and the wooden detail on the arms.

These sunglasses are part of Shwood's CAMP collection, all of which retail for $79. That is by far the most spendy pair I've ever owned, but also by far the most affordable collection on Shwood's site. The others retail at $150 and up. Are you as reluctant to trust me with these sunglasses as I am myself? I am going to try so hard to keep them nice. Wish me luck!


Bonus: $25 Shwood Gift Card

Perhaps with gifting in mind, or maybe for those among us who want to invest in a backup pair of CAMP collection shades, Cairn also sent this $25 gift card to Shwood. The two conditions are that you must make a $75 minimum purchase to use it, and it's good for full-price items only. After a quick browse I couldn't find anything cheaper than $79 on their site anyway so that $75 minimum isn't too big of a catch. And, I'm not sure what Shwood's shipping costs look like, but I can think of a few family members for whom I'd spend $50 on a really nice pair of sunglasses for Christmas. For me personally, this is a pretty stellar bonus item!


Chums Ratchet Retainer, Olive & Brown — Retail Value $11.99

I'm not much of a glasses chain gal, but in the context of hiking or backpacking, I can see it making sense. Also in the context of not wanting to lose or scratch your new $79 sunglasses. Ha! If you look at the close-up images above you can see that the rubbery parts that hug the ends of your glasses have pretty small holes in them, so you've got to use a little elbow grease to push the glasses arms in, but once they're in they feel very secure. The gear-shaped bit, then, is the ratchet part — if you gently move the strap, it softly locks into whatever position you place it in. Not having any experience with glasses straps, I don't have much to compare this Chums one to, but from what I can tell it seems like a quality product!

sunglasses with chums ratchet retainer attached

Here are the sunglasses and strap together. The look is a healthy combo of craft bagel eater and ghillie suit wearer. I can dig it.


Roadtrippers Plus 3-Month Membership — Retail Value $20.97 ($6.99 per month)

This isn't the first time Cairn has sent app memberships in this box, and I think it's a really clever way of adding to subscribers' outdoor experiences. We all have our phones handy as we hit the trail anyway — or at least I do after seeing 127 Hours — so why not make use of it with a cool app? I'm familiar with Roadtrippers and have used the free desktop version over the years to plug in my destination and see if there are any cool stops worth making along the way, but I've never given Plus a try. You can plan a full road trip in the app, collaborate on planning with friends who also have the app, follow its offline maps, benefit from exclusive discounts from travel partners, and more. I want to wait to sign up until a time when I know I'll be planning a road trip, but I'm excited to see what it's all about.

And, a note on value for this one: while a 3-month membership costs $20.97 if you're paying the $6.99 month-to-month fee, an annual membership costs $29.99. So if you decide to sign up on your own dime after your free trial ends, you can save a bunch of money with an annual membership.


RXBAR Vanilla Almond Butter, 1.13 oz, 1 packet — Buy a 10-pack here for $15.99

Give me all the RXBAR nut butter! These are always a good idea to have on hand for nature outings and road trips alike (although, I guess if your car is your home base, you could easily bring a whole jar). These packets have staved off hangry episodes more times than I can count — for both me and my kid. I haven't tried the Vanilla Almond Butter flavor yet, and want to save this packet for a time of need, but I've never tried an RXBAR flavor I haven't enjoyed. Tip for first-timers: definitely knead the packet for a solid 45 seconds or more before opening it up. Since the nut butter is natural, it separates and needs to be massaged back together.


RXBAR Apple Cinnamon Oats, 2.18 oz, 1 cup — Retail Value $2.69

This is my first time trying RXBAR oats. Back when I worked in an office, I used to visit the vending machine when the 3:00 drowsies kicked in and want to cry thinking about the awful options. I often landed on a Quaker apple-cinnamon oatmeal cup and would chug coffee while I ate it to try to counteract the saccharine sweetness. Needless to say, RXBAR does an apple-cinnamon oatmeal right. It's flavorful but not sweet really at all, which is how I like my oatmeal, and for someone who does prefer theirs sweetened, honey or maple syrup is easy enough to add. I also appreciate that the cinnamon flavor isn't overpowering. As for the egg white, I'm not sure what form it takes, as the oatmeal mix is dry until you add water. I probably would have found the inclusion of an egg white unusual up until a couple of years ago when my husband introduced me to cracking in egg in homemade oatmeal as it cooks, just to add a little boost of protein. It hides in there pretty well.

Verdict: Was this November 2020 box the best Cairn ever? I think maybe yes! The sunglasses are such a score — something I never would've invested in but am so excited to have, and the bonus Shwood credit came at a great time for the gifting season. The glasses strap is another item I hadn't considered for myself, but they feel like a well-suited pairing to the fancy sunglasses. If I don't end up keeping them for myself, I'd feel good about passing it on to someone who I think would use it, because it's a quality product. The Roadtrippers app free trial is a neat, useful idea that would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone not interested in trying it themselves. And finally, the two different types of RXBAR snacks are totally my jam. Scores all around! This box costs $29.95 (less if you subscribe for longer)+ free shipping, and the contents add up to about $116.25 (using an estimated cost for the nut butter). Woah! This is more than double the typical value from Cairn! Pretty epic. If you add in the bonus $25 gift card, the total in-box value comes to $141.25. Dang.

To Wrap Up: 

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Based on their subscription model, your items may vary based on your survey responses and boxes you have received in the past. 

Value Breakdown: This box costs $29.95 + free U.S. shipping, but I estimate it contained $116.25 worth of goods. That comes down to a value of approximately $23.25 per item.

Check out all of our Cairn reviews, and learn more about our readers' favorite fitness boxes.

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

What do you think of Cairn this month? Did you receive any of the same items as me?

Christen Russo
Christen Russo

Hi there, I'm Christen. I am all sorts of things:

🌳 a writer who loves to convey feeling

🌲 a mother who wants to have just as much fun as my kids do

🌳 an outdoors-lover who's achieved #1000hoursoutside with my family

🌲 a low-maintenance self-carer

🌳 a general hungry person with an unstoppable sweet tooth

You'll find me collecting stationery and squirreling away stickers, riding bikes and swimming with my family, creating outfits in colors and silhouettes that make me feel amazing, wearing big earrings, drinking beer and asking my husband to feed me harmonies to sing, taking my vitamins, living for dancing to live music, roping everyone into a craft, being human and vulnerable, and celebrating the phenomenon of being alive.

...and doing it all with energy, delight, and jokes along the way.

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Awesome review!

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Christen Russo

Hey Beka, thanks so much for reading my review and dropping a line here to let me know you enjoyed it. Really appreciate it!

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