Story and Photos by Joshua Swanagon
It’s time to join the SMKW Army – they have candy!
Subscription boxes have made their way onto the scene in recent years and have been a great avenue for people to learn about and try new products they may not have considered before. If you aren’t aware of what subscription boxes are, they are a way for different companies to curate various products they believe you will like and deliver them to your door each month for a nominal fee.
Companies can do this because they are able to broker lower costs for the products in the box, by purchasing the items in bulk – with some companies having the ability to get surprisingly low prices. There are even companies that have been created solely around the subscription box model.
With that said, Smoky Mountain Knife Works recently began their subscription box service and it is very evident that they took careful consideration with the items in their box. When they sent me the first SMKW Army Care Package I didn’t know what to expect but was immediately impressed with the contents – it was evident that this was a subscription box done right.
I was sent the Officer’s Club Box, let’s take a closer look inside.
The subscription box service from SMKW is an extension of the massive SMKW Army and fits the theme beautifully.
There are three levels of subscription box available.
The entry level box is the GI Box – which starts things off right with a good list of solid products – and runs for $29.99/month. The next level up is the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) box, which includes everything from the GI Box and adds a few higher priced items for $59.99/month. Finally, the Officer’s Club Box (as shown in this article) combines the contents of the GI and NCO boxes and adds a higher-level item to round out the whole package for $99.99/month.
What I thought was nice about the way they did this, is that each level contains items that are worthwhile. SMKW did not use the GI Box as a ploy to make you upgrade in order to get to the good stuff. When you get the GI Box, you are getting some good stuff that is worth the subscription fee. Same goes for the Officer Box.
Right off the bat the branding and theme of the box was on point (pun intended). From the SMKW Army stamp on the front of the box to the camouflage tissue and “Confidential – Eyes Only” envelope, the military theme is well portrayed.
The first thing you will see when you open the box is a manila envelope marked “Confidential – SMKW Army Eyes Only” sitting right on top. Alright, I’ll tell you what it is. But ssshhhh! Don’t tell anyone that I told you. Inside the envelope is the list of the items in that shipment – broken down for each subscription level – along with MSRP and SMKW’s prices for each item. Adding them up will quickly show you the value you are receiving with this service. Nice touch guys.
After looking over the item list I lifted the camouflage tissue to find a box stuffed with all kinds of goodies – very literally. Sprinkled around all of the great products in the box was a handful of assorted candies, stickers and other swag. Along with the swag was a personalized Mammoth Tumbler, that was part of the NCO Box. Sometimes the little touches can make a big impression.
Next out of the box were some great maintenance items; such as a container of Coon P all-purpose oil (negatively charged to repel dust and dirt), a Lansky Roadie 8-in-1 tool (with built in sharpener, as you would expect from Lansky) and a Gerber Mini Suspension Multi-Tool (which is part of the NCO Box).
Moving on I found a product that I thought was pretty funny, yet totally functional – Sasquat Toilet Elixer. From Turdcules comes a product that just might save office reputations and first dates the world over. Simply shake well, spray in the toilet bowl and send forth the troops. And, just in case you would like to document the success of your new turd perfume, there is a three pack of Field Notes notebooks (part of the NCO Box), which I tore into right away because I am old school and carry a notebook in my back pocket and pen in my front pocket. This product was very timely because my old notebook was ready to retire.
For the main event, there were three knives included in this month’s package, two from the GI Box and one from the Officer’s Club Box.
First up is a three pack of disposable field skinning knives from Smiths Sharpeners, with surgical grade stainless steel blades – just in time for hunting season.
Next is the Marttiini Hunter, a quality knife from a quality Finland company, featuring a traditional Scandi grind. The inclusion of two hunting knives – both of which are part of the GI Box – demonstrates that Smoky Mountain Knife Works takes their product selection seriously, with consideration for seasonal needs.
Finally, from the Officer’s Club package, is the Spyderco Tenacious, which is part of Spyderco’s more budget friendly line and features 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. If you know anything about Spyderco you know that even their budget friendly knives are high quality and built to last.
When my SMKW Army Care Package arrived, I was quite impressed with how well thought out it was, and the level of quality merchandise included. Where some subscription box services use a lot of filler and fluff to make it look like you got a lot of stuff, the SMKW Army subscription box service is chock full of stuff I would have bought myself.
Granted, you are not going to be getting super high dollar items with this service, but that is not the point of subscription boxes. What you will get is a box full of hand selected items that you will use and appreciate.
When you total the amount you would have spent to purchase each item separately at Smoky Mountain Knife Works you quickly notice the value in a service like this. Even if you don’t use every item in the box, you can give some of it away and still come out ahead. The SMKW Army Subscription Box is a fun way to take advantage of Smoky Mountain Knife Works’ buying power and get some cool knives and other gear each month.
It’s worth the price of admission just to see what the gang down at Smoky Mountain Knife Works will come up with each month.
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GI BoxLansky Roadie – MSRP: $9.99, SMKW: $6.99Coon P all-purpose oil – MSRP: $9.99, SMKW: $6.99Marttiini Hunter – MSRP: $29.99, SMKW: $19.99Sasquat Toilet Elixer – MSRP: $12.99, SMKW: $9.99Smith’s 3 Pack Field Skinning Knives – MSRP: $14.99, SMKW: $9.99Subscription Cost: $29.99Itemized SMKW Total: $53.95
Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) BoxSet of 3 Field Notes Notebooks – MSRP: $9.99, SMKW: $9.95Mammoth Tumbler – MSRP: $17.99, SMKW: $12.99Gerber Mini Suspension Multi-Tool – MSRP: $19.99, SMKW: $12.99Subscription Cost: $59.99Itemized SMKW Total: $89.88
Officer’s Club BoxSpyderco Tenacious – MSRP: $73.00, SMKW: $54.60Subscription Cost: $99.99Itemized SMKW Total: $144.48
Smoky Mountain Knife Works(800) 251-9306www.SMKW.com
Smoky Mountain Knife Works
Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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