I’ve been quiet lately. I didn’t get any hiking done this winter. I’ve been running, but not really feeling like talking about it. I figured that it was time to spruce things up and start blogging again. What better way to get things started than to review the new subscription box that I’m getting from Cairn!

Though I find I like the idea of getting semi-random presents in the mail, Mrs. Portmandia and I like to keep an uncluttered home. That strikes out the various boxes of toys and such that seem to be the mainstay of these subscription services.

Recently, I ran across Cairn, a monthly subscription box for hikers and other outside enthusiasts. They’re based down in Bend and seem to have fairly interesting tastes, so I signed up to give it a try.

My first box arrived mid-February. I waited for a sunny day to open it up, and everything inside was new to me.


An interesting mix of stuff, to be sure.


The biggest item was this strange tube from Stanley. Like a lot of adults, I have a certain nostalgia for that beaten green finish, so there was an instant attraction. At first, I thought that the container was a kind of flask, which left me disappointed in the plastic cap.

Then it came clear: the ‘flask’ is actually a case for the four steel shot glasses. Okay, now this is a product that I wouldn’t mind using. Sadly, I’m not very social in my outdoor activities, so a set of four is overkill for me, but I fully intend to get these handsome little cups out of the house and take them for a spin this summer.


The next item was an innovative key ring. The rings are made from coiled strips of steel instead the usual rounded stock. The larger loop is where the interesting features come to play: by squeezing the ring in the correct spot, the layered ends flex open, making it easy to separate the smaller rings.

I can definitely see this product having a market with people who struggle with the old-school design. For me, these will just end up in a drawer. I already have a beloved ring for my keys.

This was the least outdoorsy item in the box, but since just about everyone carries keys, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.


I am notorious for failing to use sunscreen. The Mrs regularly gives me the ‘look’ when I return from a hike after a little too much sun. I’m looking forward to trying this sunstick out on my spring hikes. I’ll say more once I’ve used it!


I love a good bar! I’ve given up on trail mix, preferring something that I don’t have to worry about spilling. Though this bar was mango and coconut (not my favorites), it was quite tasty. The texture will be familiar to anyone who likes Larabars, but a little denser and a larger portion. I also like that the wrapper is compostable. It always bugs me that I have to use/produce so much plastic to feed myself on the trail.

Sadly, I don’t think anyone in the Little Bay Root area is carrying the brand. Bearded Brothers does sell through their website, so I’ll probably order a case or a sampler to fuel some hikes in the future.


Based on the included information card, my box was a $38 value. Not too shabby for the $25 subscription price. So far, I really like the feel of this service. In my first box I got to see an old brand making interesting products and new brands that I’d never heard of. I’m looking forward to next month’s box!