GQ Best Stuff Box Subscription Box Review – Summer 2021
The GQ Best Stuff Box is a quarterly men’s subscription from GQ magazine that’s $50 a box with free shipping. The box features $200 worth of products the editors have curated after testing and finding them to be the best in their class. Although this subscription is geared towards men, women love it for themselves as well.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About GQ Best Stuff Box
The Subscription Box: GQ Best Stuff Box
The Cost: $50/quarter + free shipping. Save with an annual subscription.
The Products: “The GQ BEST STUFF BOX is a quarterly subscription box featuring the things we love—rigorously tested and loved by GQ editors. It includes our favorite electronics, grooming products, and accessories—every box valued at over $200 each”
Ships to: The U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico)
GQ Best Stuff Box Summer 2021 Review
The GQ Best Stuff box always comes with a fold-out info sheet that lists the included items and a little bit about each. It also tells you where you can purchase the item on the internet, along with the listed price.
This quarter’s box is all about looking good on your summer adventures, along with some Earth-friendly items to help the environment.
Raen West Sunglasses – Listed Value $150.00
I have never been one to spend much money on a pair of sunglasses. I’ve always been a function first, style second type of guy. The quality of this pair was notable as soon as I put them on. The glasses are very robust. They are heavy, bold, and feel great on my face. According to the website, the style of this eyewear is called “West” and is best suitable for round or oval face shapes. I enjoyed the taller lens, which are CR-39 lenses manufactured by Carl Zeiss Vision and featuring 100% UVA/UVB protection and 6 base curve. (I don’t know what any of that means.)
The sunglasses come in a nice soft case, with a swath of leather that carries the company’s logo. It also has a nifty little ribbon with a leather tab that holds the glasses in the case. While researching, I noticed Raen’s website offers a hard case and polishing cloth with purchases. If you are a subscriber that wishes they had gotten a hard case instead, I noticed in the comments under these glasses that they are apparently offering a case and cloth to those who want it. I’m happy with the soft one, but maybe it’s something you’d like to look into.
While I really like the glasses, I think these were a big risk. One that not all subscribers will appreciate. Three-quarters of the stated value of this box is tied up in one item, which is by far the most expensive item I’ve seen GQ Best Stuff offer. The risk is that sunglasses are very much a personal style thing. For that reason, I wish this could have been a voucher or gift certificate situation. Even to have the option of different colors would have gone a long way.
Context Vitamin C All Day Eye Cream, 0.5 oz. – Retail Value $35.00
The website says the “lightweight formula contains a powerful combination of preventative botanicals” including things like angelica and echinacea extract, licorice extract, grape seed extract, and of course vitamin C. These things do all kinds of soothing, calming, and comforting for the area around your eyes. While I probably wouldn’t buy any eye cream for myself, I do enjoy using the products that I receive in this box. I wish I could use them for a bit longer so I can say whether or not I see any difference. At least there is no fragrance to this product, which I typically prefer.
GQ Pake Zipper Bags – Listed Value $15.00
These reusable storage bags are waterproof, airtight, and exclusive to this box. Pake bags aim to make the world a little greener with these Earth-friendly bags. I could see them being used by the pool, the beach, or something like a kayak trip. In the airtight department, I suppose one could use these bags to conceal things with a pungent fragrance. I like that the smaller, green one (5 x 5-1/2 inches) is opaque (O-Pake?) in case you don’t want people to know what’s inside. The larger one (6-3/4 x 7 inches) is big enough to hold my iPhone XR and I can still use it inside the bag, but I’m not going to test how waterproof it is. While I’m not wild about branded merchandise counting toward the overall value of the box, at least they serve a function and a well-meaning one at that.
These GQ bags are not for purchase anywhere I could find, but here is a link to Pake’s website.
Harry’s Odor & Sweat Control Deodorant – Listed Value $5.00
GQ says scents will vary for subscribers. I happened to get “Redwood,” which is the same scent as a body wash from the fall box, which I like. I dig the color, design of this stick, and that it’s a full-size item. Harry’s offers a few options including non-antiperspirants and extra-strength formula, but GQ made the wise decision to include the odor- and sweat-control for summertime.
Mantl Face + Scalp No-Shine Sheets – Listed Value $10.00
This is a new one for me. Geared toward men with bald heads or buzz cuts, this paper is meant to dab on your skin to eliminate oil and dirt from your scalp. The paper comes in a roll, which is in a handheld container. You pull out your desired length and tear it off, just like you would tin foil or plastic wrap. As a balding man who hasn’t given up hope just yet, I used this on my face, which is also a use for it. I don’t know if it’s considerably different than using a tissue or wipe, but it certainly collected oil from my face. I found this product fascinating. I would have never thought to sell rolls of thin charcoal paper to wipe your face/scalp with.
These products smell sweet and feel sweeter. What hair I have was left feeling soft and smooth. It is made with “rare, sustainably sourced ingredients”. And check this out. The company, which gets its name from the Amazonian tree nut rahua, says they use symbiotic rahua. In order for an ingredient to be classified as such, it “must be rainforest grown (wild) in undisturbed virgin forest, harvested and prepared using indigenous knowledge by people indigenous to the virgin forest environment, and it must be purchased at a price that helps to grow and sustain these traditions, build economies, and empower the indigenous people”. That sounds awesome. I do wish we could get full-size bottles, which cost $34 and $36, respectively, but I understand that is not always possible.
We’ve all heard how single-use plastics are terrible for the environment and ending up in our oceans at an alarming rate. Among the top culprits are plastic straws. It’s estimated that the average person uses 38,000 straws in their lifetime. Enter Klean Kanteen and their reusable metal straw. Keep this in your car, above your sink, or just leave it in your favorite cup. It’s stainless steel and comes with a flexible, food-grade, silicone tip. I personally just don’t use straws at all, but I know some people prefer and even need them. If that is the case for you, look into one of these.
Art of Sport XL Body Wipes (6 pack) – Estimated Value $4.80
Use these XL wipes on the go. Each wipe is 10 x 9-1/2 inches. I really, really, enjoy the peppermint smell. Very refreshing, but not overpowering. One side of the wipe is smooth and the other is textured. They don’t tear easily either. These would be great after a hike, workout, or day on the job. Especially if you can’t make it home for a proper shower before your next thing. I don’t know if they recommend it, but I actually used one to clean off my kids’ shoes.
GQ says a pack of 10 would be $8.00. So I adjusted the price for six. I may be crazy, but I don’t actually see these for sale on Art of Sport’s website. You have to buy them as part of a kit. FYI.
Koshū Wabi-Sabi Key Fob – Retail Value $12.00
This imperfectly shaped leather key fob is much smaller than I expected. It’s not much bigger than a quarter. I’m all about not carrying around a bunch of keys, but this feels more decorative than functional. The fobs are made from hand-selected Grade A American Leathers. They are offered in polished brass or rubberized black hardware and are cut from the same hides as Koshū’s wallets, allowing as little waste as possible, which is cool. GQ suggests using it to trim down the collection of keys you carry around, but this would only hold two keys at best. If you can trim your keyring down to this fob, I am in awe of you. I will say, it will give a special significance to whatever key you put on it. Maybe something you don’t use every day. I think I’m going to use it to hold keys to my parents’ and in-laws’ and keep them in my car.
Verdict: This quarter’s GQ Best Stuff Box was a huge risk. In my opinion, the main item of this box has never been more “make or break.” I personally liked the sunglasses, but I’m interested in reading the comments on this one. (I always am, folks.) Eyewear is such an extension of one’s personality. I don’t know how it works on GQ’s end. I’m sure they were aware of the chance they were taking, but I’m predicting subscribers will be bummed they didn’t at least get a choice of color, let alone style. I can at least appreciate GQ’s gutsy move. Beyond the glasses, I found most of the other items just OK. The Pake bags were pretty cool and, while tiny, I dug the key fob. It feels classy. I’m always a fan of receiving a new stick of deodorant because I’m not picky and it’ll always get used. And I was impressed by the XL wipes. The eye cream, no-shine sheets, shampoo & conditioner, and metal straw were not overly special to me. Let me put it this way, if this box didn’t have the sunglasses, I would be underwhelmed. So the glasses are truly “make or break.” Again, I’m happy with them, but how did you feel about this box? What’s your take on the sunglasses?
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, the Summer 2021 box is available now.
Value Breakdown: The total listed value of this box clocks in at $247. Of course, $150 of that is just the sunglasses. So your perceived value is really going to come down to whether or not you like the glasses. Regardless, that is an incredible value for $50 – essentially five times as much. Even if it was just the other items (no glasses), it’d be twice the cost of the subscription.
For $50 for this box, here’s approximately what you’re paying for each item:
- Sunglasses ($150): $30
- Eye Cream ($35): $7
- GQ Pake Bags ($14): $2.80
- Deodorant ($5): $1
- Mantl Sheets ($10): $2
- Shampoo & Conditioner ($10): $2
- Straw ($3): $0.60
- Body Wipes ($8): $1.80
- Key Fob ($12): $2.40
Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist.
Would you grab the Summer 2021 GQ Best Stuff Box for a guy in your life… or yourself?