Bespoke Post Review 3.0: The Frontier Box
Continuing our multi-month review of Bespoke Post (and our larger search for the best of these monthly subscription services) comes the “Frontier” box. Bespoke Post has indeed continued to update and release some truly fantastic looking boxes, and the Frontier box was one that as soon as I saw, I knew I immediately wanted to try it.
The box is from their “Lifestyle” collection of boxes, and its tagline is “Sturdy supplies for your everyday adventures.” It includes a cool bottle opener, a nice small notebook, the famous No. 8 Pocket Knife from Opinel, and — get this — a fountain pen (with ink cartridge refills)! I have my fair share of bottle openers, and have always made a point to purchase and use nicer notebooks. But the Opinel knife is something I have wanted for a long while but just never bought, while a fountain pen is something I have always wanted to give a shot, but never wanted to dive into the rabbit hole only own. And that is exactly where box services like this come in to play. If they are doing their job right — and Bespoke Post certainly is — they bring you items that you’ve either always wanted, or never knew you wanted, but as soon as you get them are excited to use, and continue to into the future. That cannot be more true of the Frontier box from Bespoke Post.
As we have discussed in the past, it’s not a surprise what you get in your box. They send you an email a few days before it ships with a selection they think you’ll like based on your preferences you set when you first sign up for the service. You can then either approve it, skip that month, or swap it out for any other box you would prefer. They suggested a box related to shaving, but I swapped it out for the Frontier box. So, how is everything?
Bottle opener: It’s sturdy, cool, and modern looking. Not much to say here, other than that it is a bit on the heavy side, and so therefore might not, in fact, be the best thing to carry around all the time.
Notebook: It’s a nice, sturdy, well-made notebook with a ribbon bookmark. I’ve been using it on my desk these past few weeks to scribble notes down as needed (I always have some sort of notebook on hand), and have zero complaints. It’s a nice notebook (not the nicest I have ever used, but nice).
Opinel No. 8 knife: This knife was selected by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of an exhibit celebrating the “100 most beautiful products in the world.” It’s design is, inarguably, perfect — and I highly recommend you Google around and read and learn more about it. It is an essential in many people’s knife collections (even chefs), and I was excited to have one as well. It’s always good to have a pocket knife like this handy for opening packages, letters, and so on. I’ve been keeping the Opinel on my desk near my scissors and have been reaching for the knife far more often. It’s just way more fun to open things with a nice knife than with scissors. Not to mention more effective and less dangerous. That all being said, I have two complaints here. One, the knife blade is somewhat dull. I am not sure if this is a common problem, or just mine, but it’s not particularly sharp at all. It sometimes takes a try or two to get it to slide into the thick packing tape on a box. Two, the locking mechanism is real difficult to twist, though the card Bespoke Post includes with the box promises this to loosen up over time. I can say that it already has a tiny bit. I just wish the blade was sharper.
Kaweco Sport Fountain pen: This pen is, believe it or not, a favorite amongst many fountain pen enthusiasts. Not everyone loves it, to be sure, but this is far from a bottom of the barrel, “the very cheapest pen you can find” inclusion in this box. This is a respected, albeit inexpensive/affordable, fountain pen. And I have absolutely loved using it. It is just a ton of fun writing with this pen, and I look forward to doing it. I am still nervous of the ink getting everywhere — which happened once when I accidentally hit the nib with my hand — but there is nothing at all quite like writing with a fountain pen. You really, truly have got to try it if you have not yet. And, again, a box service like Bespoke Post is a great way to get more items like this into your life. I am scared I have now caught the fountain pen bug. I should also note that they include 6 ink refills, though they are all blue while I would prefer black. But, still, not complaining.
Price, Value & Conclusion
Bespoke Post will run you $45 a month. There is no question that the value in these boxes — and this one especially — is way above that. The pen and knife alone break $45, not to mention the refills, bottle opener, and notebook. My number one complaint with box services has always been that it is often just a bunch of crap that you will hardly ever use — even if they are allegedly “classic” items like ties or pocket squares, and even if the “value” is technically above what you pay per month. I genuinely do not think this applies to Bespoke Post in this way. At almost double the cost per month of these other services, Bespoke Post truly lives up to their slogan of being the box service “for guys that give a damn.” The added money allows them to put together and curate some truly stellar boxes. Of all the services we have reviewed on this site, the items in Bespoke Post have seen by far the most use in my day-to-day life. I actually use (and truly enjoy!) just about everything I have gotten from them — not something I could say at all about most of the other services.
We are going to take a look at one or two more months of Bespoke Post before drawing any definitive conclusions, but as it stands right now, I would suggest that — if you want one of these services — the extra money for Bespoke Post seems to be well worth it. I would rather 6 months of Bespoke Post than 1 year of some of these other services any day of the week. Their curation, selections, and products are all around better. they say it best themselves. If you actually “give a damn,” Bespoke Post might very well be your best bet when it comes to monthly box services.