Macpac Blog | Outdoor Equipment, Guides & Adventure
Inspired by New Zealand's outdoors and tested in the world's wild backyard, Macpac's outdoor clothing, backpacks and camping equipment is the first choice for outdoor enthusiasts. On their blog, they share outdoor gear reviews, guides and other outdoor information.
In March, we celebrated the opening of nine new Macpac Adventure Hubs across Australia, growing our total number of Aussie stores to 34. The new Macpac Adventure Hubs expand on the classic Macpac stores by offering an extended range of outdoor gear from other world class brands, as well as the full Macpac range of technical outdoor equipment and apparel.
For us, the most exciting thing about the Adventure Hubs is that they combine our heritage, technical excellence and full range, together with a new carefully curated selection of apparel, equipment and accessories from some of the world’s best brands including Patagonia, Yeti and Merrell, into a one stop shop for outdoors lovers in Australia.
“We’re really excited about the Macpac Adventure Hubs. We set out to create Australia’s premium destination for outdoor product and adventure advice, and I think we’ve achieved that aim in these first 9 stores. The Adventure Hubs offer the full range of Macpac gear alongside other world-class outdoor brands such as Patagonia, Columbia and Mammut, supported by a friendly, knowledgeable team ready to give everyone adventure advice ”
Alex Brandon, Macpac CEO.
As well as extending the range that we sell, Macpac Adventure Hubs feature some exciting new elements including; pack fitting huts, where expert team members will professionally fit customers’ backpacks; maps and other trip planning tools; packing lists; chill out zones with a mini adventure library, and the list goes on.
The Macpac History Wall
Chill out/ trip planning zones
The Pack Hut
Macpac Adventure Hubs are currently located in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. There are plans to bring Adventure Hubs to other centers around Australia, and eventually to New Zealand. But for the time being, Australian customers who aren’t close to an Adventure Hub can access the full Adventure Hub range at macpac.com.au.
Down is nature’s most efficient insulator, but to get the best out of your down gear you need to take care of it properly. Washing a down jacket can seem like a bit of a confusing task, and there are a few important things to know before you get cracking. But if you want to get the most out of your gear and have it last for a long time, it’s worth doing a bit of research first. Here are the dos and don’ts of washing your down jacket.
Be gentle! It’s OK to use a front loading washing machine on a gentle cool cycle, but a hand wash in warm water is always a safer bet and will put less stress on the shell and fill of your jacket.
Use a down-specific soap, like Nikwax Down Wash. Down wash is designed specifically for washing outdoor gear, and will help prolong the life and performance of your kit.
Dry your down properly! Be sure to handle your jacket with care when it’s wet. Gently knead the down to rinse the residual water out, then lay it over a clothes horse in the shade. Finally, toss it in the tumble dryer on a low heat with a tennis ball to help separate the clumps of down.
Use fabric softener or bleach. These products damage the shell and compromise the performance of down, meaning a wash will do more harm than good.
Dry clean. Again, the chemicals used by dry cleaners are bad news for technical outdoor gear.
Wash your down after every use. A few times a year is probably enough for most people, but use common sense here – if your down jacket has grubby, oily marks on it then it’s time for a wash.
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is a global standard in the ethical sourcing of down and feathers. RDS isn’t compulsory, but we’ve chosen to use 100% RDS down because we’re passionate about making the planet a better place. Track the entire process at www.trackmydown.com.
hIf three months of snow in the mountains of Australasia just isn’t enough for you, it’s time you started looking north. Way north. Mt. Baker Ski Resort sits at the end of State Route 542 in Whatcom County, Washington. Baker boasts world class runs, bucket loads of snow (it actually holds the world record for the highest snowfall in one season) and amazing winter hiking trails, minus the intense crowds of North America’s better known snowsport destinations.
You can either fly to Seattle or Vancouver, then drive out towards the tiny town of Glacier, Washington – population 211. For daytrippers, Glacier is your last chance to stock up on supplies before hitting the winding access road to Mt. Baker Ski Resort. A flight into Vancouver gives you the opportunity to take in the many fruits of one of Canada’s most popular cities, but the Seattle option cuts out a border crossing – take your pick. You’ll lose cell service in Kendall, WA and won’t get it again until you’re at the ski resort, so keep that in mind.
Where to stay
Like New Zealand’s ski fields, there’s basically no accomodation on the mountain. Glacier is a sleepy little alpine town about 45 minutes from the action, and that’s about as close as you’ll find a bed. There aren’t many accommodation options in town, so make sure you book something well in advance.
What to expect
Mt. Baker is famous for its deep powder, steep lines and accessible backcountry. Expect down to earth locals who don’t need gondolas and high speed chairlifts to ski world class terrain. When you catch Baker on a powder day, you’ll understand what the hype is all about.
When to go
The resort opens sometime in November and closes in April when the snow melts. Baker hosts the world Legendary Banked Slalom event in February. If you can visit during the week, you’ll never see a lift line.
The Men’s Powder Jacket (arriving late May 2019)
The Women’s Powder Jacket (arriving late May 2019)
A big overseas backpacking trip is a rite of passage for young Kiwis and Australians, and getting the minor details right – like what to pack – goes a long way towards making the whole experience a success. Here’s a few things we’ve learned over the past four and a bit decades of globetrotting.
Quality over quantity
If you’re off on an extended trip, say for 6 months or a year, you’ll realise very early in the packing process that space is at a premium. Invest in a few high quality items, rather than cheap, poorly made gear. This way, you’ll need to carry less because your clothes will last longer.
Your wardrobe at home might be full of different outfits for every occasion, but when you’re living out of a backpack you won’t have the luxury of choice. Pack clothes that you feel comfortable in, that you like wearing, and that are constructed from the kinds of materials that will suit the climate you’ll be travelling in.
When you’re carrying your entire life on your back, a few hundred grams here and there adds up pretty fast. Think about the climates you’ll be in, and weigh up the necessities carefully. For example, if you’re travelling in a cold climate but you don’t have much space in your pack, a down jacket is your best bet. Down has a great warmth to weight ratio and compresses really well, so it won’t take up much room in your pack.
The good news is that there’s a variety of bags to suit every style of travel. The benefit of a pure backpacker’s pack is that you can go anywhere – cobbled streets to shingle and everywhere in between. If you’re comfort focused, get something with wheels to make getting from A to B easier on the back. If you want the benefits of both, look into a pack that has wheels and straps but remember – while these are more versatile, they’re also heavier.
Braden Currie is a Kiwi multisport legend, regularly duking it out with the world’s best athletes at the toughest races on earth. He’s no stranger to a sufferfest in training, and when you’re competing at the top level, bad weather is no excuse to take a day off. We asked Braden what strategies he uses to get himself out the front door when the conditions are better suited to staying rugged up in front of the fire. Here’s his top 3.
When I’m training through the colder months, it’s definitely a challenge. Ironman events are generally taking place in warm weather, so I try and replicate that in my training as much as possible. But being from New Zealand, the reality is that you’re going to have to battle the elements a lot. There are a lot of smaller elements that all add up to an easier training experience when the weather is rubbish. But for me, I can basically boil it down to these three.
Mindset: Sometimes you’ve just got to suck it up and know that you’ll be better for getting the work done. When the weather is working against me, my mantra is always that getting out the door is the hardest part.
Gear: Kit yourself out to be successful. I find that if you can remove as many potential excuses from the equation, you don’t leave yourself with the option of pulling the pin. When you’ve got gear that performs well in bad conditions the weather becomes less of a big deal.
Adapt: Pick an activity that isn’t absolutely ruined by the weather – be flexible and willing to adapt to the conditions. If it’s howling with wind, don’t go on a really exposed road ride. And don’t put your health at risk – you’ll end up missing more training if you get sick or injured due to bad weather.
Bruno Harding is the designer behind Auckland based fashion label, Bruno’s. His designs are one offs, but that’s just the beginning of what makes a Bruno’s piece unique. Bruno’s X Macpac is a collaboration that taps into both brand’s core values of sustainable, durable designs that create minimal waste. The Bruno’s x Macpac collection – a range of six, one-off garments – won’t be on show to the public till mid-winter, but we caught up with Bruno in his Freeman’s Bay studio to talk about his process.
Hey Bruno, thanks for speaking with us. Take us back to where it all began – how did you get into designing clothes?
I’ve always loved clothing. I liked looking at how things were made and how they performed technically, so I decided to study fashion at university. I was a terrible student and struggled to keep up in class. I used to stay back at the end of the day and practice sewing, taking apart old clothes and trying to put them back together to learn the different construction methods. After graduating I traveled to New York, where I worked as a tailor at Martin Greenfield Clothiers which really developed my skills. When I moved back to New Zealand I started sourcing materials from second hand stores and eventually started my label, Bruno’s.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do now?
All my pieces are one of one, and they all start their lives as something completely different, from wool blankets to windsurfer sails. I try to buy as few new fabrics as possible and instead take materials that already exist and turn them into functional garments.
So where does Macpac come in?
My dad has had a relationship with Macpac for a long time through his work in the textile industry. One of the first really fun pieces I made started as an old canvas Great Outdoors tent. I cut it up and turned it into a jacket. And another jacket. And a vest. And a coat… it was a really big tent. My dad sent a photo to his friend, Gavin (the Head of Design at Macpac) and I guess the idea to work together sparked there. In March I travelled down to the Macpac office in Christchurch to harvest old, unsalvageable gear from their Repairs Department. Now I’m working to create six unique pieces from old Macpac tents, sleeping bags, jackets and packs.
What’s the appeal with working with old outdoor gear?
I guess I was really disappointed with what I found when I first entered the fashion world. So many brands create clothing that is only good for a handful of wears and then it goes into landfill. Outdoor brands, and Macpac in particular, set out to make durable gear that lasts a long time. The materials they use are tough. So if after a long life, I can turn them into something beautiful and unique that might live on for another 20 years that’s perfect. I don’t know how to solve the problem of over consumption, but I do know that I never want to contribute to it. Bruno’s is my way of doing what I love, but not adding to the problem.
The Macpac Fund For Good is our way of giving back to the community and sustaining the wild places that we hold so dear. We support individuals and groups whose missions fall into three different categories: adventure based social development, environmental projects, and ethical manufacturing.The ethos behind the Fund For Good is shared by every grant recipient, and it’s pretty simple – life is better when you’re outside.
Fabiola Case (or as most people know her, Fabs) is an area manager for Macpac in the ACT. She also started the women’s outdoor community, Adventures with Fitness. The group offers support to women who are facing mental health challenges, particularly as a result of trauma. But that’s not what Fabs had in mind at the beginning. In her own words…
“Originally it was a women’s outdoor fitness community, focused on training for hikes and outdoor sports. I wanted to help women who faced some kind of hurdle when it came to getting outdoors, and over time it became evident that the hurdle a lot of women were facing was due to trauma, either in their past or that they were currently experiencing.”
Today, the objective is to build a community based on strength and support. Adventures with Fitness trips aren’t holidays – they’re designed to challenge, and inspire personal growth through a powerful network of women who collectively want to achieve the same thing.
“It’s not just about finishing a hike. The sense of accomplishment that we get from completing something physically and mentally challenging is very powerful. But more important than that is the creation of a safe space that allows these women to be supported through their journey.”
The outdoors has helped Fabs transform her own life and to work through traumas and challenges. Finding and a sense of belonging through hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits gave her strength.
“Nature has been a place of healing for many cultures throughout history. There’s a lot to be said about the simplicity of hiking or just being out in the wild. It gives us the chance to shine and be completely free from our fears.”
At time of publication, Fabs is leading an Adventures with Fitness expedition through Nepal. If you’d like to follow their journey or connect with the group, search for Adventures with Fitness on Facebook or Instagram.
Have circumstances in your life ever made you feel depressed or anxious? Maybe work is wearing you down, or your bills are stacking up. Maybe you’re worried about the way you look, or an upcoming assignment. If you’ve felt this way, you’re not alone. In fact, around 20% of New Zealanders have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders, and prevalence is similar in Australia. That’s not to say that feeling stressed out by work is cause for a diagnosis of depression – the point is that every person feels the strains and tests of day to day life, and it’s important that we have the tools to cope.
It’s a no brainer that being outside is good for us. We all feel better after a bit of fresh air and some sunshine – it doesn’t take a scientist to work that out. But the science does exist. Stanford University carried out a study in 2015 that assessed the neural activity of two groups; one spent 90 minutes walking in a non-congested rural area each day; the other spent the same time walking through an urban environment. Unsurprisingly, the first group reported anecdotal improvements in their mood, but on top of that, the researchers at Stanford found that the area of the brain linked with mental illness saw a drop in activity.
So if science has proved that being outside is better for us, how can we maximise the positive effects? Ben Logan is the founder of Logan Lore, a bushcraft and survival school based in Wanaka, New Zealand. Ben works with people who lead busy, highly strung lives to alleviate some of their stress through raw experiences in the outdoors. He reckons that having a relationship with nature is an integral part of our survival.
“For me time spent outside is just part of being alive. We’re so deprived of opportunities to tap into our primal selves in the modern world that it’s vital that we create those opportunities for ourselves. Any time in nature is going to have a positive impact on us, but the more raw those experiences can be, the more noticable the benefits.”
Part of Ben’s personal approach to nature therapy is having a relationship with the cold – specifically cold water. His first experience with cold water immersion was in Lake Wanaka in 2016.
“A mate and I had done a lot of reading about the health benefits of cold water, but I’ve always been someone who learns by doing – so we went for it. Ever since my first cold water swim, I’ve made a conscious effort to build it into my routine. For me, you can’t really separate physical and mental wellbeing. One always informs the other. Cold water ticks both boxes. It gives me a mental sharpness and clarity like nothing else, and there are numerous proven physiological benefits.”
“Swimming in an icy lake might seem a bit extreme for some people, and that’s OK. The objective should be to find things that arrest feelings of anxiety or depression, and make them part of your day to day life. Maintaining a healthy mind is no different to maintaining a healthy body – it requires regular and deliberate work.”
This winter we’ve continued our close relationship with the New Zealand Alpine Team and added a number of new pieces to the Macpac Alpine Series; the Nitro Pullover, the Icefall Jacket, the Barrier Bib (available late in May), the NZAT Down Quilt and the women’s Pulsar Plus Jacket (also late May). All high performance pieces of kit in their own right, but I want to explain some of the most interesting design features from three of my favourites.
The Icefall is a hybrid insulated jacket – we’ve used HyperDRY goose down throughout the body, arms and hood to keep the jacket’s warmth to weight ratio in check; but in the chin, cuffs, and top shoulder panels we used PrimaLoft Gold insulation with Cross-Core Technology, which offers even more warmth without adding any weight. These are high-moisture areas when you’re on the mountain, and PrimaLoft continues to be an amazing insulator even when it gets wet.
The Nitro is a pullover best used as a mid layer in cold conditions. It’s constructed solely from Polartec Alpha Direct polyester insulation – which basically means it’s super light, warm, and incredibly breathable. This one will be a staple for multi-sporters, mountaineers and hikers.
The NZAT Down Quilt is probably the biggest curve ball in the Alpine Series this season. The NZ Alpine Team members are always pushing us to design lighter, more packable sleeping bags, and this is easily the best option we’ve come up with. The NZAT Down Quilt is, as the name suggests, a quilt, not a sleeping bag. It has straps that join each side so you can fasten it underneath one, two or three people. The fact that it can comfortably sleep two, and in a pinch three, means that gram counting mountaineers can make significant cuts to their packweights. But the quilt is also great for events like GODZone, or even just a family camping trip in the warmer months.
Macpac | New Zealand Alpine Team - Alpine Series - YouTube
Shop the Alpine Series here, and join the Macpac Club for first notice of new Alpine Series gear.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is the largest, and one of the most prestigious, mountain festivals in the world. Hot on the heels of the festival held every autumn in Banff, Canada the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour hits the road.With stops planned in about 550 locations across 45 countries around the globe, this year’s tour features a collection of the most inspiring action, environmental, and adventure films from the festival.
From approximately 360 films entered into the annual festival, the world’s best mountain films are chosen to travel the globe.
The New Zealand Alpine Club is the proud NZ host of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, bringing the spirit of outdoor adventure to screenings around the country. The NZ Tour is the Club’s largest fundraiser with all proceeds from the Tour going towards supporting the Club with a range of programmes like the upgrade of Club Section gear, such as helmets and crampons for use on NZAC beginner instruction courses, Club hut maintenance, volunteer development, supporting youth climbing in the Dunedin Section and the installation of new boulder mats for the North Otago Section, plus much more.
For more information or for any enquiries please contact email@example.com