What’s in the Box? October Highlight Reel

Need to see in the dark, read something inspiring, hydrate, or fuel up on the trail? Then this month’s Cairn subscription box has exactly what you’ll need.



Black Diamond Ion Headlamp

Headlamps make it possible to do what you need to do outdoors, or indoors, in the dark with your hands free. They also make things like mountain biking and climbing at night an option, which helps explain why they’re such popular additions to any outdoorsperson’s gear collection.

If you’re looking to save weight in your pack and on your head, but still be prepared to navigate in the dark, the Black Diamond Ion is a great option. The Ion weighs a mere 48 grams, but still provides 80 lumens on the high setting. The PowerSlide feature means you don’t have any buttons to fumble with, though it took me a few tries to figure it out (thank goodness for directions with pictures). A locking mechanism prevents you from inadvertently turning it on and draining the battery.

The Ion is designed to run on high for eight hours using AAA batteries, so if you know you’ll be out a while, make sure to take backup batteries with you. It’s not as powerful as larger headlamps meant to shed serious light on your backcountry situations, but it’s efficiently designed and a great value.

Trail Runner Magazine

Even if you’re not a trail runner, you’ll appreciate this addition to October’s Cairn box. According to the magazine’s website, “Trail Runner is the only magazine dedicated to the off-road running community, encouraging runners of all ages and abilities to experience the outdoors and achieve a healthier lifestyle through off-road running.” The magazine is produced by the same publisher responsible for Rock and Ice, which I’ve been a regular reader of for quite some time. Trail Runner also publishes a race directory, and magazine’s website features everything from beginner trail runner tips to nutrition guidance.

As a lover of all things outdoors, though I couldn’t directly relate to some of the stories, I always enjoy reading about others’ adventures. The “Explore” section was my favorite, and given my obsession with gear, I couldn’t wait to dig into this month’s huge section on trail shoes. If you are a trail runner, you’ll definitely appreciate some of the anecdotes and training tips Trail Runner offers in the October print issue.

Osmo Nutrition Active Hydration

Osmo Nutrition’s Active Hydration powdered drink mix is one of several products designed to help boost athletic performance and recover. The women’s Active Hydration mix is one of three products in a line formulated specifically for female athletes. If you peruse Osmo’s website, you’ll find a water bottle with the phrase, “women are not small men” printed on it; it’s a testament to the company’s emphasis on designing supplements specific to women’s needs.

The Active Hydration mix is meant for use during any and all types of workouts. It’s developed to increase power output, improve endurance, and to help women avoid premenstrual performance decline. (Yep, that’s a thing. Read more here and here.) Though it’s tough to tell if a supplement works with only one dose, I loved the way the women’s active hydration mango flavor mix tasted and any supplement that’ll get me to drink more water when I work out is a good thing. And it’s clear the Active Hydration mix was designed with performance in mind.

Justin’s Nut Butters

The Cairn team did us all a serious favor by dropping Justin’s Nut Butters in this month’s box, especially for subscribers who’ve never tried the butters before. The Boulder, Colorado-based company uses natural and organic ingredients, and all of the butters are dairy-free. The single serving packets are ideal for trail snacking, but that’s not all. I’ve taken them on hikes, backpacking trips, to CrossFit competitions, to work, even on long road trips. And if you’d prefer to have Justin’s at home, the butters come in standard containers as well.

I’ve been a Justin’s fan for quite some time, particularly the Chocolate Hazelnut and Maple Almond Butter flavors. In this month’s Cairn box, subscribers get to try one of my favorites, the Chocolate Hazelnut, which tastes like nutty frosting, and the Honey Almond. They’re both perfect for drizzling on top of bananas, in oatmeal, and on their own. (Editor’s Note: Chocolate Hazelnut not pictured because I ate it as soon as I opened the box.)

Katie Levy is a self-proclaimed outdoor adventure addict and loves sharing her passion for playing outside with anyone willing to listen. Though currently based in Philadelphia, spending her formative years in upstate New York and two years in Alaska fostered a lifelong passion for the outdoors. These days, if she’s not out on the trail, you’ll find working on her other passion, Adventure-Inspired, or getting her WOD on at CrossFit Love. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

What are you most excited about in the October box? If you’re not a Cairn subscriber, which item would you most like to try? Leave a comment!