Bag vs. Box: What's the Difference?

January 08, 2019 | 5 comments

You may have noticed something different about your Monthly Cairn Collection recently...its packaging! We get it, packaging is not the most exciting topic in the world; but to the Cairn Crew, it's major. In addition to getting your collection to you safe and sound, the packaging we design tells the story of who Cairn is and the collection it contains. So why are we shipping Collections in bags some months and boxes others? 

Our subscribers turn to us for curation of best-in-class, innovative, creative outdoor products and inspiration. The innovation and creativity doesn't stop at our product curation. The Cairn Crew is always looking for unique ways to provide the best possible service to our community. The bag that we've introduced on occasion since April 2018 came from a creative packaging brainstorm. 

Here's what we think is cool about the bag:

  • It's 100% recyclable (plastic #2 High-density polyethylene (HDPE)) with an average of 10% post-industrial content. You should be able to put these in curbside recycling bins, but will need to check your local rules. (Note: bubble inserts that we occasionally use cannot be put in curbside bins, but can be dropped off at any store that accepts/recycles plastic bags.
  • Weighs less than a box and can sometimes reduce shipping costs. A plus for when we find heavier, non-fragile products that we may not have been able to feature otherwise.
  • Allows us to get even more creative with designs and, ahem, think outside the box. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
  • Takes up less space. We hear from our subscribers that boxes often hang around their homes, garages, and closets taking up space. 

No, we're not getting rid of the boxes you've come to know and love. (The boxes are also recyclable in most curbside recycling bins, BTW.) But we wouldn't be Cairn if we didn't continue to try new things, explore new territory, and expand our horizons.

Thanks for being a part of the Cairn adventure and allowing us to be a part of yours!

5 Responses


March 28, 2019

@Terry… where do you live and how did you learn about the additional recycling programs? I’m in the seatle area, and it still bothers me how little we are able to recycle.

Paige Jordan
Paige Jordan

February 08, 2019

I totally agree with this concept, the reason is we have way too much pollution in the world. Weather that’s plastic or chemical or another harmful attribute it causes the world to be in such pain, to where the ocean is polluted. The forests get smaller, the state nature parks get outran by humans. Just going over some of the topics, it makes you think about what you do to world as a whole. It is important to (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) because instead of adding to the problem that’s been building for multiple years, you take whats negative and turn it into a positive. Overall, if humans love the outdoors and nature then we need to take care of it by doing the small steps that make big leaps for the environment. Having this packaging is brilliant, not only have you thought of a great impact on the environment but also makes the consumers happy as well with the project of innovated thinking of saving the planet.

Jennifer @ Cairn
Jennifer @ Cairn

January 15, 2019

Bryan and Terry,
We really appreciate the feedback, thank you for commenting.

Terry, Thank you for the insights on the hoops you have to jump through to recycle plastics. It’s definitely a challenge to find the perfect solution for packaging, and we’re continuing to explore options. We’re also working hard with our brand partners to streamline the amount of packaging used on the products we feature in our collections. Again, thank you for the support and for sharing your experience with us.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out at if you’d like to connect with us directly on this or other topics.


January 09, 2019

WE…have a HUGE plastic issue on this planet!!! See #UnitedByBlue #bluemovement

Far too much of the human population, does NOT take the time to recycle! (unfortunately, we both know this…)

We buy recycle boxes just for “plastic”, from an outside recycling company. (To handle the HUGE amount of “plastic” items, our current recycling program doesn’t!)

Most humans…won’t take the time to go to this trouble…one of the many reasons behind the world’s “plastic” issues…(think: “Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch”)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…Leave No Trace!!!

Want to ask me again, how I feel about this???

Bryan Treadway
Bryan Treadway

January 09, 2019

If the bag over the box allows us to have better things inside, I will take it!

Please continue to be best in class and innovative…..

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.