It seems as if 2015 has been the year of the monthly subscription box. I’ve seen them for nearly everything, taking advanage of the digital generation’s excitement about receiving something in the mail, doubly exciting if it’s something mysterious that we’re almost guaranteed to like. So, after watching several of my fellow GeekDads check out some of the geekier and nerdier end of these subscription box services, I decided to try out something on the more gentlemanly end.
I stumbled upon Bespoke Post on Facebook sometime recently. Likely spurned on by my very public love of fountain pens, it was advertising for me the Frontier box. Even after contacting the company and arranging for this review, none of the other boxes sang to me quite as much as the Frontier box (which is saying something, because they’re all impressive).
This is what it came with:
Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen (and ink)
This pen is a good starter pen and great for someone like me who can’t stand to write with a common rollerball pen anymore and needs something immensely portable. When capped, it measures just 4.1″ and expands to a comfortable 5.3″ when posted (cap on the back). The nib is nice, gold-plated steel with iridium, but not the nicest I’ve used. This pen isn’t going to unseat any of my usual writers, but it fills a spot I didn’t know I had, the “just in case” fountain pen.
Bespoke Post Soft Cover Notebook
Alongside the fountain pen came a notebook seemingly tailor-made to suit it. About the size of a standard Moleskine notebook, the paper isn’t quite as nice but is better than most other notebooks, mostly because it’s actually thick enough to work for fountain pens without bleed-through. The soft cover has a nice rubbery feel, it holds closed with an elastic band, and has the usual ribbon bookmark to hold your place. It almost immediately became the notebook I use for work, preferring to save my Moleskine notebooks for personal writing.
Opinel No. 8 Pocket Knife
This knife was the biggest surprise of the box. When I looked at the picture, I sort of wrote it off as the “also ran” of the box, but in many ways it’s the star. The handle is made of real, carved Oak, which just feels great in your hand. The blade is sharp and snug both to open and close, reinforced by a collar that spins to prevent the blade from opening or closed when you don’t want it to.
I’m not sure what you can say about a knife, but I understand why this model is considered a legend. Alongside the pen and notebook, this is a knife I could imagine Hemingway keeping at hand.
Machine Era Co. Machined Steel Bottle Opener
While sort of destined, due to the company it keeps, to be the last thing you think about from this box, the bottle opener is a near piece. It’s made of machined steel and is far heavier than I expected when I picked it up. It does its job, opening bottles competently, and looks pretty impressive in the process. My only complaint about this piece is that it came with a hole and ring to turn it into a keychain, but it’s far too heavy for me to want to keep attached to my keys. Far more likely that I’ll keep this piece stashed away conveniently close to where the beer lives.
In whole, I think this box service delivers some outstanding quality for the price. Subscriptions cost $45 monthly and get you a different box every month, which you get to choose from a monthly list of the available boxes. If you don’t like the box you get, you can swap it for a different box. If you choose to skip a month, you are not charged for that month’s subscription. Additionally, boxes are available for $55 individually.
While late for the Christmas shopping season, this is a solid answer for the gentleman who wants to get some high quality products in the mail each month or as a gift for the special guy in your life.
Disclaimer: GeekDad was provided a free Frontier Box for this review.