Once per month, a box shows up at the GearJunkie office and nobody has any idea what’s inside. But everyone is stoked! Cairn is here, and it’s like Christmas morning.
Founded in 2014, Cairn is among the earliest examples of the popular “subscription box” programs that have proliferated in recent years. Once per month (or once per quarter, depending on your subscription), a box of outdoors gear will show up on your front porch.
The contents tend to be unique and unexpected, and that’s half of the fun. Read on to learn more about this monthly surprise in a box.
Cairn started in 2014 with two college buddies that wanted to give people a new way to explore new outdoors gear. They launched Cairn in Bend, Ore., as a monthly subscription that gives customers unexpected new products to enjoy in the outdoors.
The brand notes that its first board meetings were held atop paddle boards.
And from those humble roots, Cairn has amassed a loyal following of both consumers and brands.
One observation on Cairn’s boxes: They don’t contain old, dated products. GearJunkie has based several reviews on products first discovered through Cairn boxes, and the brand touts that its recent shipments contained first-to-market exclusives from big brands.
For example, Cairn sent subscribers Marmot Featherless Hoodies and new LuminAid products shortly after they had come to market.
Part of the joy of the boxes is the surprise in opening them. The brand doesn’t give any spoilers. It works to be among the earliest adopters of new products giving its customers early looks at products recently hitting the shelves.
For 2018, Cairn launched a new program to keep old gear working longer.
Customers can now send old versions of products or their used gear to Cairn. The brand’s partner, The Gear Fix, will repair and sell the gear and donate proceeds to the Conservation Alliance.
Cairn: How To Join
Cairn offers two subscriptions: a monthly Cairn box and a quarterly Cairn Obsidian box.
The Cairn box contains three to six products each month, containing up to $50 worth of gear at $30 per month. If you subscribe for six months, you receive a reduced monthly rate of $28.25. Customers will find useful products like pocket knives, cooking utensils backpacks, headlamps, and water bladders. There are fun products and some real gems, like the super fun Pocket Bellows.
Cairn works with subscribers and brands to ensure they offer products relevant to their specific outdoors pursuits. A new subscriber simply answers a few questions to ensure they get gear matching their activities and tastes.
Cairn Obsidian comes once per quarter and is filled with more than $300 worth of gear. But the box costs just $250. These are larger items, like jackets, insulated growlers, or even stoves.
Sign up here and start getting your monthly box of outdoors goodies soon. You never know what it’ll be, but the surprise is half the fun!