Inside the BivySak March 2017 Subscription Box

BivySak, Now with a New Logo!

I received my second BivySak subscription box shipment the first week of April. Remember, this is a quarterly box (but you’re billed monthly, which gets a little confusing, especially when it comes time to cancel, but more on that below).

BivySak March 2017 Subscription Box

I thought the items in the first BivySak I received were rather nice (even if they didn’t necessarily apply to my lifestyle), so I was really looking forward to this one. The box itself was a little beefier than my previous shipment, so I was doubly curious about what might be inside. So let’s crack it open!

Grand Trunk Single Parachute Nylon Hammock

BivySak March 2017 Grand Trunk Hammock

This purple Grand Trunk hammock is the second hammock I’ve received in a subscription box (the first was in the October 2016 Isle Box), and my opinions on them haven’t wavered. I’m just not a hammock guy. However, my kids do enjoy sleeping in them, so I’m glad I now own two. At 23.5 ounces (665 grams), though, this is not an item I’d be dragging along with me on an extended hike. However, it packs down to the size of a loaf of bread, so it’s easy to bring along on a car camping outing. Retail price: $60.

  • Usefulness: 7/10. This earns points for kid satisfaction.
  • Purchasability: 4/10. It’s unlikely I would ever buy a hammock, but if I did, this would be a contender.
  • Usability: 5/10. Again, not an item to lug with you on a backpacking trip. But for car camping, it’ll likely get lots of play.

point6 Hiking Peak Medium Crew Socks

BivySak March 2017 point6 Socks

Nothing can ruin a hiking trip faster than a bad pair of socks. And it seems the folks at BivySak know this, because with this shipment they included these a mighty fine pair of point6 hiking socks. These are made from a blend of wool (70%), nylon (25%), and spandex (5%) and feel quite comfy. Retail price: $24.

  • Usefulness: 10/10. I’m a sucker for a good pair of socks.
  • Purchasability: 8/10. When it comes time to buy more socks, I would definitely consider a pair of these, even though they’re somewhat expensive.
  • Usability: 10/10. I can’t wait to give these a field test.

Aloe Up Pro SPF 15 Lip Ice (x4)

BivySak March 2017 Aloe Up Lip Balm

I always carry a container of lip balm with me when I’m on the trail. I don’t use it often, but it’s certainly nice to have should my lips become cracked and dry. This balm is mostly aloe (the company is called Aloe Up after all) along with avocado oil, sunflower oil, beeswax, and sunflower seed oil. All good stuff. This 4-pack of Aloe Up’s Pro SPF 15 Lip Ice includes one tube of each flavor: cherry, mint, medicated, and natural. I prefer the natural flavor, but the medicated has a nice zing. Retail price: $12 (the information card listed the retail price at $3, but that’s only for a single tube).

  • Usefulness: 8/10. I don’t need to use lip balm often, but when I do, I’m glad to have it.
  • Purchasability: 6/10. There’s a wide array of lip balms available to the outdoor enthusiast, but I wouldn’t be opposed to buying this one again.
  • Usability: 10/10. One of these will be going into my backpack on my next hike.

FRESHeDRY 20 Liter Waterproof Bag

BivySak March 2017 FresheDry Waterproof Bag

I’m not much for rafting adventures. I don’t have anything against rafting, it’s just not my favored form of recreation. So the FRESHeDRY Waterproof Bag isn’t something I’d normally pick up, but I can’t deny this heavy duty vinyl bag is a good piece of gear. If rafting is your thing, this seems like a great item to own. Plus, with a little air trapped inside it’ll float, which can be very useful. Also, it has an astronaut on the outside, so that’s cool. Retail price: $13 (the information card lists the price at $15).

  • Usefulness: 8/10. A dry bag is an essential piece of gear (I always carry a one liter Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil dry bag), but for hiking, this one tips the scales a little too much for my liking.
  • Purchasability: 5/10. Should I need a dry bag, I’d definitely consider this one, but I’d probably go for something a little lighter that suits my usage a bit better.
  • Usability: 6/10. This won’t be coming with me on hikes. It’s simply too heavy. But I will be bringing it with me anytime the family ventures toward the beach.

Other Value Items

Para’Kito Unidose

BivySak March 2017 Para'Kito Unidose

Although it’s not listed as an official item, this shipment contained a single dose of Para’Kito, a newish insect repellent that uses natural essential oils to keep the stinging and blood-sucking beasties at bay. I’m skeptical about any essential oil solution for insect management—in my experience they just don’t work. That said, I’ll give this a go and see what happens. There was also a brochure about Para’Kito and all the products they sell, like wristbands and roll-ons, as well as a coupon for 20% off at the Para’Kito website.

Combined Goods Total

At $109 in retail value, this subscription box is definitely a solid value over the $74.97 I paid (three installments of $24.99 each). Even if you use BivySak’s valuation of $102, this is box was a good deal.

Unboxed Gear Score

This box totaled 87 points out of a possible 120, earning an Unboxed Gear Score of 73.

Canceling BivySak

When it comes time to stop receiving your BivySaks, things get a little complicated. Because of the monthly billing and quarterly shipping, you have to wait until the last charge of the quarter comes through on your card before canceling. Then, before they can charge you for the next cycle, you have to email them using the website’s contact form and ask to cancel the service.

It’s a little involved, but it all worked okay. Josh, the gentleman I was dealing with, was always very polite and a tad apologetic that it’s a little challenging to cancel your subscription.

Final Thoughts

Even though the  December 2016 BivySak wasn’t all that useful to me personally, this one may be my favorite of all the subscription boxes I’ve signed up for so far. The gear seems to be carefully chosen and is often quite useful. Even if it’s not something I can use directly, the rationale behind why it was included makes sense.

If I decide to sign up with a subscription box service when this grand experiment ends, I would definitely consider BivySak. The only problem is that I wish it came more frequently.


Unboxed is the continuing report of my personal foray into the world of subscription boxes aimed at the outdoor enthusiast.

 

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Written by Tom Fassbender

An amateur hobbyist, expert generalist, and outdoor enthusiast who recently traveled around the world with his family.

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