Items you’ll use over and over again.

Sunset Subscription Box
Thomas J. Story

Picking products for the Sunset Best of the West Subscription box is a lot like putting together the magazine. As we test and assess hundreds of items to select the few worthy of inclusion, we ask ourselves the same sorts of questions we do before covering a product in the issue: Is this something we’d use ourselves? Does it make living the life we celebrate in Sunset easier, more joyous, inspiring, beautiful, or delicious? (which is why, if you’re a box subscriber, you’ve seen so many of the brands and products in the box in our pages). I love each and every one of the dozens of items that we’ve included in the box, but here are my five favorites, items I use again and again in my own life.

And if you aren’t a subscriber, what are you waiting for? You could have items like the below delivered to your doorstep every quarter. Head to to sign up (and maybe gift a few subscriptions to your friends and family, too). The standard box comes with four to eight products for $69.99 quarterly/$59.99 annually, and the premium box features seven to 12 products for $149.99 quarterly/$134.99 annually.

Enamelware Mugs from Winter Subscription Box

Thomas J. Story

Crow Canyon Splatterware Mugs

We’ve had some cool unbreakable wine glasses and other drinking vessels in the box, but I’m partial to the splatter-pattern porcelain enamel coated steel mugs from California-based Crow Canyon, outfitter to cowboys, hipster restaurateurs, and outdoorsy types. They’re coffee-ready, whiskey-ready, and just plain handsome in a decidedly Western way. Use ‘em as a bud vase, toothbrush holder, or pencil cup, and then pass them down to your kids.

Cutting plant with Hori hori garden knife

Thomas J. Story

Barebones Hori Hori Knife

No weekend goes by without me digging around my yard with this multifunctional garden tool based on an enduring Japanese design (hori hori means to dig). I use it to weed, saw branches, test dampness in soil, cut twine, and open bottles of pet nat when the job is done.

Diaspora Co Kitchen Towels

Courtesy of Diaspora Co.

Diaspora Co. Spicy Kitchen Towels

These mood-boosting beautiful kitchen towels are made by Oakland-based Diaspora Co., which has made a name for itself with its line of ethically-sourced and superbly fresh spices (the turmeric will blow your mind). Thick and absorbent, they work well as super napkins and pot holders. I plan on getting another set to deploy as reusable gift wrapping.

Desert Provisions Hatch Green Chile Flakes

I’m typically not what you’d call a “mild” chile kind of guy, but I reach for my jar of these dried chile flakes grown in the legendary Hatch Valley of New Mexico on a weekly basis, sprinkling them on chicken thighs before I roast them, subtly spiking pan sauces, and adding crunch and punch to pastas. While they lack the heat you typically get in dried red chile flakes, they make up for with an abundance of fruity earthy flavor and a sweetness that confirms that the chile indeed is a fruit along with a pleasant subtle crunch.

Courtesy of Kuju Coffee

Kuju Basecamp Blend Coffee

When I travel I don’t trust that a) my hotel room will have a coffee maker and b) if it does have a coffee maker that I’ll be able to figure out how to work it without first drinking a cup of coffee. Which is why I pack fancy instant coffee (thankfully a thing these days) designed for use at campsites. The Kuju Basecamp Blend is a perfect medium roast and is loaded into a little pourover-style cardboard contraption that clips onto a mug.

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