Testing new gear has never been easier. Subscription boxes provide a way to have vetted, desirable outdoor gear show up at your doorstep with little effort on your part. While there are hundreds of boxes to choose from — there’s one for just about every outdoor interest — not all of them are created equal. Here, we cut through the fat and gather four that we’re actually excited about and are worth subscribing to.

The Runner Box

For $20 you get 11 to 14 items that are tested by athletes to help runners improve performance. With marathon season looming, it can be a daunting task to try and figure out what your body can eat before, during and after a race. It can also be easy to quickly drop $50 on food to test. This box narrows your list of potential snack buddies on your long run. With partners like RXBAR, Bia and Rise Buddy, there will be snacks you’ve likely heard of before, and some that are brand new. If you’re not a runner, check out the TriBox (for triathletes) or CycleBox (for cyclists), or special edition boxes like the Race Survival Kit, a one-time gift that is ideal for anyone running their first race.


Many subscription boxes only mail out sample sizes of products, so if you like something, you have to go out and buy it. Cairn does the opposite. Each month, you’ll get six full-sized items curated to get you outdoors more. Pick from a monthly, 6-month or yearly plan. Each box has up to $50 in goodies. Think Cotopaxi daypacks, Clif bars, a LifeStraw — even a hammock. Products may be items you’ve never thought about buying, but will vastly improve your outdoor experience — or it might be a snack you’ve tried before, but don’t regularly stock up on. The gear ranges from apparel to food to skincare; the sky is the limit. When you order, you’ll fill out a survey to highlight what activities you enjoy, and so that each box is tailored to you.


If you’re looking for a fresh upgrade to your EDC, Battlebox is the subscription for you. With four options to choose from (basic, advanced, pro or pro plus), you’ll get three to eleven items each month that will help you survive anything from a subway delay to an apocalypse. Once you sign your life away to receive the products (you might get knives in the mail), you’ll open up a welcome box that’ll get you through a 72-hour survival stitch. All your EDC staples are in there: flashlight, survival bivvy, water purifier, snacks and waterproof tinder — and that’s just the basic box. Each month features a different theme and a new scenario that you’ll soon save the world from.

Freestone Fly Fishing Company

If you’re looking to get into fly fishing, or you know someone who is, the Freestone Fly Fishing company crafts the perfect box for trout lovers. Each box includes 12 trout flies, a fly list and a one-year Trout Unlimited membership. Trout Unlimited is a nonprofit that aims to preserve local streams and rivers, so that there are plenty of fish in your lifetime and your kid’s. It’s a good way to stock up on flies for your fly box, and start planning for your next fishing trip.

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