Is A Survival Subscription Box Worth It?

Cairn subscription Box

Subscription boxes are all the rage nowadays.

Whether it’s razors, skin care, or clothes we just can’t get enough of outsourcing the hard work of shopping to someone else.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone figured out that outdoors enthusiasts demanded the same.

Now there are outdoors and survival subscription services out there that cover anything from basic camping supplies to tactical survival gear.

We were curious to see if these boxes were really worth it so I signed up for a monthly subscription with Cairn.

How It Works

Cairn has several subscriptions to choose from.

You can get the monthly box that delivers 3-6 products or the Obsidian box which delivers 10 products every quarter.

The Obsidian box costs more money but the products are usually of higher quality.

Checking around with others who have received the Obsidian box you’ll find mostly positive reviews.

The standard, monthly box is $30/month, but you can prepay for 6 months or a year’s worth of boxes and save a few bucks.

Since we were just dipping our toes in we opted to pay monthly.

What’s In The Box

The fun of the Cairn subscription box is you have no idea what you’re going to get, but somehow they nail it with each box.

All of the items in the box you can be sure to use, instead of just getting more stuff that adds to clutter in your garage.

Items include gear, apparel, snacks, outdoor skin care, and emergency products.

The first month I got a nice mix of things.

Our box included an EcoVessel TriMax Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Lairo Superfood Creamer, Alpine Start Instant Coffee, and a package of Picky Oats Oatmeal.

For a $30 package, this delivered close to $70 in value and each item came in handy AND could be used with each other.

The water bottle alone goes for $30 and now I never leave home without it.

I also found the coffee, creamer, and oatmeal to be delicious and will definitely be in my pack on my next adventure.

The next month brought a Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Daypack, a package of Bottle Bright, and Natti Bar.

Again, all things that will be used either on or off the trail.

Not to mention all for a combined value well over the $30 that was charged to my credit card.

The Bottle Bright particularly has been a nice compliment to the water bottle the month before.


The apparel is absolutely on point.

Depending on the month you can receive things like jackets, socks, and beanies.

I’ve received a comfy pair of Cloudline hiking socks, that paired well with the Tread and Butter Cork insoles to keep my feet in top hiking shape.

On that same note, I’ve seen subscribers of the Obsidian box receive some primo gear.

One box included a Fineline Stretch Rainwear Shell which is a $130 value.

They’ve also sent out things like an Osprey Transporter 65 Expedition Duffel Bag which can go for closer to $200.

Should You Get A Subscription Box?

The Cairn subscription box is perfect for anyone who wants to sample items.

While you’re not going to get a box that includes a new tent or GPS, you will get quite a few items throughout the year that you may find quite useful.

You may not find everything in the box useful or up to your personal taste, but you will get a ton of value in each box.

Whether its snacks or just accessories you didn’t think about, there’s no doubt that each month is a new surprise.

And who doesn’t love surprises… Away from the backcountry.

Posted in

Love The Outdoors?

Sign up for our mailing list for our FREE gear and trail guides


Erik grew up as a desert rat in Arizona. After exploring the backcountry of the west coast he came east for a job but still finds time to explore the beauty of the northeast.