December Cairn Original Collection Review

December '15 Highlight Reel

It’s officially winter, whether the weather where you are feels like it or not! This month, we’re taking a look at items designed to keep your electronics charged up, your skin in tip top condition in the cold, your hands warm, and even a snack that’ll help you eat your coffee.


Power Practical Lithium 4400 Battery Pack

As much fun as it is to disconnect from daily life when we're outdoors, being able to use our electronic devices can still be pretty important. If your phone doubles as a camera or if you need it to call for help, it's important to keep it full of juice. But phones aren't the only devices the folks at Power Practical want to help us manage.

The Lithium 4400 portable battery pack takes 4.5 hours to fully charge, but once it's ready, it packs a capacity of 4,400 milliamp hours (mAh). That means the 4.2 oz hand-held charger will charge your smartphone two or three times, depending on the model, and it'll charge your GoPro around four times. Better yet, the Lithium 4400's 1A USB output charges any USB mobile device. The capacity indicator makes it easy to see how much juice the battery has left, but the real best part? It comes with a built-in crazy bright LED lantern that'll last 30 hours or more. For those of us who hate rummaging around in our bags and packs in the dark, that'll come in handy.

Sierra Sage Green Goo Dry Skin Stick

Winter weather can be tough on your skin, without a doubt, and most of us don’t want to waste time with products that claim to help combat dryness, but aren’t effective. Sierra Sage makes a variety of products designed to keep our skin looking and feeling healthy, and the Green Goo Dry Skin Stick is no exception.

Long-time Cairn subscribers got to try Sierra Sage Bugs Be Gone spray as well as the Green Goo and Arnica Salve in handy little round tins. But if you’re looking for dry skin relief and general skin care in an easy-to-apply, easy-to-carry stick, you’re in luck. The Green Goo Dry Skin Stick is perfect when it comes to soothing problematic dry areas, it’s easy to carry around, and easy to apply. Plus, it’s made with calendula flowers for their anti-fungal, anti-yeast and anti-microbial properties; and other delicious-smelling flowers like chamomile, red clover, and violet. Soothe everything from dry patches of skin on your face from a day on the slopes to dry elbows, dry hands, and more.

New Grounds Foods Mocha Latte CoffeeBar

For those of us with a passion for coffee, drinking a cup of java can be the highlight of any morning. But when making a cup isn’t convenient, or when you’re in need of a little boost of energy on top of something that’ll keep you fueled like a snack bar will, the folks at New Grounds Food came up with a solution.

Co-Founders Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari came up with the idea to “eat their coffee” as a way to get their morning cup of joe and breakfast in one tiny, delicious package. They launched a Kickstarter campaign in September of 2014, and 44 days later, the two college freshmen had their project fully funded. Now, they offer everything from sampler packs to subscription boxes and more.

The New Grounds Mocha Latte CoffeBar isn’t just a tasty snack; it’s a tasty snack infused with a full cup of fair trade coffee. Ingredients include high-quality energy bar staples like organic dates, organic gluten free oats, and organic crisp brown rice, but halfway down the ingredient list, “organic coffee beans” appear. Given coffee and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly, it’s obvious why Mocha Latte is their best-selling bar.

UST Brands Heat-Up Hand Warmers

Regardless of where you are in the country this winter, you’re going to contend with cold weather. With cold weather comes cold hands and feet, especially if you’re out skiing, hiking, or participating in other cold weather outdoor activities. And sometimes, no matter how vigorously we’re exercising or playing, our bodies can’t keep our extremities warm enough.

UST Brands is known for producing everything from survival tools and kits to signaling devices and other items key for staying safe outdoors. Their Heat-Up Hand Warmers are ideal for keeping your hands warm for hours in cold weather when you just can’t keep them warm enough on your own. They’re non-toxic, last for up to seven hours, and at $1 per package, they’re a cost effective item to keep in your gear stash when you need an external heat source for your extremities.

Subscribers, let us know what your favorite item in this month’s box is in the comments below! Not a subscriber? What item would you most like to try?

Katie Levy
Katie Levy


7 Responses


January 21, 2016

Coffee in a bar, not at a bar…..Genius! Taste was good, practicality great, caffeine kick less than hoped for, but to be honest it takes me at least two cups of coffee to get my fix. So needless to say, how about a double strength version???
Green Goo works well but the scent is a little strong for my nose.
Power Practical worked right out of the box, got two charges on my phone before I had to recharge. The added light is a nice “added feature for those just incase moments”.
Hand warmers, who doesn’t need hand warmers.
All of the above will be put to the test this weekend in NH camping.


January 08, 2016

Power Practical Lithium 4400:
I ran a test and while it took 3 hours to power up my iPhone 5s (it was at 10%), it never could power up my iPad Air. After 3 hours the iPad was still only at 32% and not budging. I’m going to give it another test run to see if that changes. Like others, the weight is a bit of a concern. The Lithium 4400 comes in at 4 1/8 oz (118g). I’m currently hiking with an Ankar 3000 that’s almost half the weight at 2 7/8 oz (82g). Its about the size of a large lipstick and easily fits in my pocket.

Sierra Sage:
Love the smell. I’ve got a couple of rough spots I’m using it on. It says it can help with things like that. We’ll see if it can make a difference over the next few weeks.

Still waiting on actual cold weather to try out the hand warmers. I suspect when that day comes the Coffee Bar will be a goner at about the same time! :)

All good stuff. Fun to run tests and compare against stuff I already use. Never hurts to have backups.


January 06, 2016

Loved the battery pack. I took it out and tested it. It worked well for my iPhone. Even though it’s a little heavy, it will still accompany me on my outings.


December 24, 2015

Love the latern/battery pack. Bright and very comfortable to hold. My wife immediately put the green goo to use on both her and our dog, Desiree. Desiree, the dog, appreciated the goo on her dry paws. Thanks!


December 23, 2015

Great box this month! I have to agree with Chad on this one….the Power Practical Lithium 4400 is an excellent item. I had backed Power Practical on their Pronto Battery Pack Project on Kickstarter earlier in the year. That project yielded a two series portable battery back system (Pronto 5 and Pronto 12), both of which were much larger in size and weight than the Lithium 4400. The box included Lithium 4400 has an overall nice design aspect to it. It fits well in the hand, it has an ergonomically pleasing softer outer layer, and seems very sturdy. The LED Lantern is an extra added bonus. It took me a couple of days to realize there were two settings (low/subdued to maintain a milder light profile and high, which really puts out a lot of light. Recharged my Blackberry battery fully and quickly with no issue.

The other item I really like is the Green Goo Dry Skin Balm. I get dry skin in the winter and have traditionally turned to established OTC remedies and creams with varying degrees of relief. The Green Goo went on easy and almost immediately began calming my itchy skin on my arms. It lasted for about four hours before i reapplied another coating. It does go on “wet”, more like an ointment than a cream, but being mostly comprised of natural ingredients, staining of my shirt was not an issue. It has somewhat of a very soothing odor that kinda resembles tea-tree oil a bit, but infused with other ingredients as well. The balm size makes it quite handy.

As it is 64 degrees out in NYC on December 23, forgive me for not trying out the hand warmers yet!

Lastly, I like the Cairn patch designs. I would recommend considering a hook and loop type velcro backing in the future so that the patches can be swapped around from hat, to backpack or other bag platforms!

Thanks again for a great December Box.

Happy Holidays!


December 23, 2015

The battery pack is awesome! One of the best boxes yet!


December 23, 2015

It’s hard to say because they each are great in their own way but I’d probably go with the battery pack. Thanks!

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