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Driving 20,000km in a 1200cc tin can car, across mountains, deserts and the steppe of Europe/Asia dressed in a Penguin suit sounds like an adventure of....ridiculous proportions. But best mates Luke Gardner and Josh Brinkmann’s motto is “life is short, and should be filled with adventure and shenanigans”. So when faced with injuries hampering their usual weekend mountain climbing, hill running, camping and tramping lifestyle, the boys decided entering the great Mongol Rally was the closest thing they could find to an armchair adventure.



Dubbed ‘motoring stupidity on a global scale’, the Mongol Rally has no set route and no backup, it’s just you, ‘your rolling turd’ (think crappy $1 reserve, roller skate type car) and one heck of an adventure between London and Mongolia – if you get there. Sound bonkers? The lads from Dunedin certainly hope so. Cruising in a 2006 Suzuki Wagon R for the next two months, Luke and Josh have donned permanent penguin costumes (in 30 degree temps) in order to raise funds for their chosen charities The Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust and Cool Earth. Two amazing trusts doing great work for conservation and our climate.


No international car rally would be complete without the obligatory (multiple) car breakdowns, a dodgy/terrifying border crossing, and near death experiences on the road. If you read the lad’s blog there’s plenty of top gear-esque fodder there.



Josh and Luke also happen to be Cactus Outdoor fans. They’ve made sure to take sticky stick-ster on their trip (see bumper) and Cactus Miklat packs. Josh says “Every day I'm stoked that I've got the Miklat Tramping Pack. It's a great adventuring bag. From day trips climbing mountains in France, to exploring underground towns in Turkey, it holds a good amount and there's always space for the penguin suit.” We’ll keep in touch with the lads as they progress on their journeys.


If you want to read more about their adventures check out their blog here. If you want to donate to their charities please do so here:

0 Comments | Posted By Michelle Panzer


It’s not everyday you have a baboon rage through your kitchen but your chances are far higher when your ‘not so ordinary office’ is the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Serengeti (the series) is a dramatised Natural History series based on the behaviour of the animals that live in this region of east Africa. Local Nelson lad Mat Goodman is one of only a few cameramen to spend the last 15 months capturing these incredible African animals in their natural habitat.


Tell us about your work on Serengeti:

I am working for a company contracted to the BBC. My role in Tanzania was to get as close as possible to the animals and follow their behaviour and the ecosystem they live in. We use lots of different cameras, technology, remote sensor cameras and other techniques so we can get an intimate perspective on the animals with a real focus on being invisible in order to capture the animal’s normal behaviours.


What are your biggest challenges?

It’s always fairly challenging recording wildlife. It’s a real waiting game. Some days the animals will sleep for hours on end. Other days you’ll be really surprised by the animals, they might be really peaceful or they might be behaving badly…..perhaps a bit like humans? Sometimes you will come back with great footage and other days you’ll get back to base with nearly nothing and there is a certain pressure in that knowing you are out there getting paid to get good footage while respecting the animals and their habitat so that’s a challenge. Day to day you have to treat the Serengeti with respect and remember you could step out of a ute and stand on a snake or something.



You must have had some awe inspiring moments out there?

We were filming one day and were surprised by a visit from a huge male elephant. It was a beautiful moment because he was so relaxed and peaceful, he had huge tusks and would have been about 55-60 years old. You don’t see many like this in the wild anymore. He was only about a metre from our car but he just looked at us and kept on eating his grass. He was so chill, normally male elephants do a bit of a parade to show you who is in control but this guy was just so peaceful. It was a special moment. You must have also had a few hairy moments out there too? You get good at reading the animal’s behaviour but then animals can surprise you. The other day we were out in the vehicle and came across a bunch of juvenile lions. These are teenage cubs who had no adult cub with them. Usually the female lions cruise around with the juvenile but for whatever reason these teenagers were alone. They were hanging out in the middle of the plains and were looking for shade. When they spotted our vehicle I think they saw the opportunity for shade and so while we were sitting there filming they parked themselves under our vehicle. I could have put my hand out and touched them. Normally this proximity is ok except that this time a few of them were right under the wheels and so we didn’t have an exit strategy if we needed one. A few of them started to get a bit restless and were biting our tyres and getting a bit worked up. That was probably when we all started to sweat a bit. We knew we had to get those guys out from under the tyres somehow so that we could move the truck. One of the team hurled a cap (maybe a Cactus one?) which tapped one of them on the head and it gave them enough of a fright to scarper off. We did breathe a bit of a sigh of relief!! You wear Cactus on these epic adventures.



Tell us why you wear Cactus Outdoor gear?

Well firstly, it’s cool that it’s NZ made, the crew use NZ made cameras too so little old NZ and NZ designed/made is featuring well out here even though I’m the only kiwi. Africa is hot as you will well know so the CNC gear is durable and lightweight. It’s easy to wear and is a good balance between keeping me protected and making sure I don’t get too overheated. I kneel down a lot on the harsh Serengeti plains so I find my Supertrousers save my knees from thorns and other rough stuff. My longsleeve Supershirt is awesome. There are nasty bugs that bite so having your arms protected is important but again, it’s really hot and I find I don’t get overheated in my Supershirts. When it gets really really hot I switch to my Supershorts which are just light enough but really durable.


My Miklat Pack is used each and every day with me in the field. It houses essential day to day gear such as first aid kit (kept inside a Cactus SUB), my lens and camera cleaning kit (kept inside a Cactus SUB), tools and spare parts that may be lost or need changing due to wear. Along with this I carry my Cactus TUB which fits all the other tools and bits and bobs that are often needed to repair out in the field. Both bags are with me each and every day - they are essential to operations out in the field and ensuring we don’t need to make the often 2 hour bumpy journey back to fetch spare parts. I take pride in having everything and anything that may be needed in a given day - organising it all in the packs and bags Cactus have really helps (especially the different colours).


I wear my Cactus stuff everywhere, they are comfortable to work in but also when I’m on the plane for 12 hours. Mat and his team’s work is now airing on BBC One in the UK and will air in the USA on the Discovery Channel in coming months.


Check out some of Mat's work on the Serengeti Trailer here:


0 Comments | Posted By Michelle Panzer

Cactus acquires Albion

8/07/19 4:16 PM

Christchurch, 9 July, 2019


Cactus Outdoor, the Kiwi brand that manufactures the world’s toughest workwear and outdoor products, today announced that it has acquired Albion Clothing Limited, one of the few remaining large-scale apparel manufacturers in New Zealand.


With this acquisition, Cactus will have the scale and technology to maintain and grow the scale of apparel manufacturing in New Zealand. The demand for locally and ethically manufactured apparel is huge and the business has already had significant interest from other brands looking to return all or part of their manufacturing here.


“We have, over the past 25-plus years, been staunch advocates of local manufacturing and maintained our local focus in spite of the reducing size of the domestic apparel sector,” commented Ben Kepes, majority shareholder and director of Cactus Outdoor. “We have always believed that market trends, technological developments and a consumer focus on provenance means that a brand can successfully retain domestic manufacturing. This acquisition gives Cactus the scope to scale its own operation, and we are also proud to offer contract manufacturing services to other brands that want to offer their own customers a locally sourced, ethically produced and high-quality product.”


Commenting on the news, Ryan Jennings, Executive Director of Buy NZ Made said that “This is a clear win for New Zealand. The acquisition of one Kiwi brand by another and the successful retention of domestic manufacturing shows what’s possible when businesses collaborate in hyper-competitive industries.”


Albion Clothing was established in 1977 by the late George Steele and has a proud history of manufacturing high-quality garments for some of the toughest customers including the New Zealand Defence Force, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the New Zealand Police. Cactus is committed to continuing the long legacy of Albion Clothing and will continue to call on public and private sector organizations to support local employment and chose to “Buy NZ made.”


Rather than a traditional model, however, Cactus has a vision of a modern, automated and connected facility that combines the best aspects of hand-made, artisanal products with the benefits that technology can bring. A recently installed robotic fabric cutter is an example of this, allowing for quicker, more efficient and safer cutting.


About Cactus Outdoor


Cactus Outdoor is a 26-year-young manufacturer of extraordinarily dependable outdoor gear, workwear and clothing. Manufactured in New Zealand, Cactus products are crafted to the highest quality, and purposefully designed to include all the features that are important and none that are superfluous. Above all, Cactus products are more durable than anything else in the marketplace.


For information contact:


Michelle Panzer

Sales and Marketing Manager, Cactus Outdoor Limited

027 462 8444


Cactus in the media: 


> Radio NZ 


Radio NZ News (Listen: 3:21 - 5:05)




NZ Herald





> Scoop

0 Comments | Posted By Michelle Panzer

Whether you are a hot shot on the slopes or your crew's designated lunch table dibs-er, good gear in alpine conditions makes all the difference. And that's why some of NZ's best mountain crews wear Cactus kit.


We chat with the legendary Sarah Webster, HR Manager at Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) about snow-business on Ruapehu and about why they wear Cactus gear.


Tell us about RAL


Ruapehu Alpine Lifts operates both Whakapapa and Tūroa Ski Areas on Mt Ruapehu in the Central North Island. The ski areas are on the north and south facing slopes of Mt. Ruapehu respectively and we are located within Tongariro National Park, a Dual World Heritage site in the Central Plateau of New Zealand’s North Island. Our core business is during the winter months between late May to the end of October with snow-related activities.

How is the season at Ruapehu shaping up so far?


Whakapapa opened back on the 1st of June with beginner skiing and riding in Happy Valley which was followed closely by sledding. We were lucky to have a storm come through right before opening day which gave us a great opening weekend for those that having been hanging out for snow over summer. Our snowmaking crew has been working hard with the Snow Factory and snow guns to help build a base for when the Sky Waka gondola opens later this season for upper mountain skiing and riding. We have the first of our Turoa team starting this week with Turoa due to open on the 29th of June for the season.


What are your biggest challenges with regards to crew gear/equipment?


Our biggest challenges in regards to gear and equipment for the crew is the variable weather across both ski areas. We need gear that can be versatile and hard wearing while protecting our team from the elements. Our outdoor teams can face some pretty chilly mornings and some harsh conditions to get the mountain open and operational so it’s important they have the right gear to be able to do their jobs.


Why do you buy Cactus gear for your team?

We’ve found over the years the outdoor crew really like the Cactus gear and it’s held up well. Our ability to work with Cactus and make modifications that meet the needs of our team has been great and this has been important for us to make sure they have the best equipment to do their jobs. From the vests with multiple pockets and harness access to the lifty knees pants everything has met its purpose and keeps our team warm and dry during the toughest of conditions.


Any moments where your Cactus gear has saved your bacon?

I’m lucky to sit in a warm office for most of the day when it’s a particularly challenging day outside but I’m sure our maintenance and Lift De-icers would have some stories to tell. Especially from those mornings where they’re removing inches of ice from towers and getting us open for the day.


Thanks Sarah. We reckon your crew are legendary and we love seeing Cactus Outdoor Clothing working hard out there in the elements.


Check out further detail on Mountain Jackets, Down Jackets or Lifties Trousers (due in next week!).

Comments | Posted By Michelle Panzer

This month we ran a story and photo competition for those who got out in the Roar season. The Cactus team loved seeing the adventures many of you went on, thanks for sharing! 


And a huge congrats to Mike Evans who won a Cactus voucher (it sounds like he is eyeing up some Cactus jackets and packs for his next adventure!). 


Sexy-as legs poking out from under the Cactus Tradeshorts. They’re getting a LOT of use. What a fantastic product.

Here is a snippet from Mike’s story... 

Taking my daughter out for her first Roar trip, by Mike Evans

There had been a couple of missed opportunities in recent months however in late March the promise was reaffirmed - I would take my daughter deer hunting during the school holidays in the hope she could secure her first deer and, hopefully, her first stag.

Mikayla is 14 and is no stranger to hunting and shooting having been out with me regularly since turning 3. Her abilities have flourished in the last 18 months. Goat hunting, wallaby hunting and frequent rabbit shooting trips have honed her skills and I now stand watching her on the hills, immensely proud of her confidence and competence. Mikki enjoys the challenges that our recreation presents on each and every outing, be it the walk, the hunt or the shooting.

In late April we headed into Milford Sound. It was the first time Mikki had been there and she seemed to enjoy the stories and history lessons I told to fill in the long drive. The short helicopter ride to our hunting spot was a thrill of course as was that incredible silence that envelopes you once the noise of the helicopter dulls to just the sound of the trees.

We set up camp and in true tradition, enjoyed a brew before heading out for a hunt. Mikayla is not a tea drinker. Kids these days rarely seem to be. But to humor me she had a cup of tea and seemed to be happy enough with the bitterness - no milk, no sugar. It was probably a bit mean of me in retrospect. I note she's not had any since returning.

Brewing tea

The first afternoon we hunted up a creek bed with no water. This is of course quite strange for Fiordland. About 2 kilometers up we found the point where the stream of perfectly clear flowing water ended its tumble down the rounded rocks in the creek to eventually make the rest of its seaward journey underground… at least until the next rainfall. There was plenty of evidence of how this lame excuse for a creek becomes a raging torrent, several meters deep in places judging by the huge debris trail up on the higher ground. Huge trees were laid flat in tormented, twisted bundles. I was very pleased to not witness their demise but it must have been impressive all the same.

No water today


Not far from the last pool in the river we arrived at the bottom of a very long slip. I cautiously peered around a huge rock and was pleased to see a hind feeding nearby. I positioned Mikki between the rock and a tree trunk so she could see. She looked back at me and held up 3 fingers. Sure enough, 3 hinds were now visible. I used the rangefinder to confirm what I already knew... the deer were just 45 metres away and with the slightest of zephyr in our favour, they had no idea they were being watched. I took several photos and a couple of videos for prosperity. We discussed our options in a whisper. Mikayla made a judgement call - wise beyond even my maturity! We already had enough meat in the freezer and where there are Girls, there might be a Boy lurking. The hinds would be left to have babies in Spring. We backed off, quietly retreating back down the creek in the hope of seeing a stag instead.


Fiordland beauty

With the last of the sun’s rays glowing through the beech we hunted back towards camp. Eventually we broke out onto a clearing where a sharp bark had us searching the shadows. I saw an animal move from right to left about 80m ahead but it was almost dark now and I couldn't quite make out what it was. By the movement I guessed it was a hind but moments after it disappeared into the bush to our left, it seemed to reappear again. Whether or not it was the same animal I couldn't say but I was now very definitely looking at a stag. I raised my binoculars to try and check out the rack. In the dark it was difficult to tell but he was either a very good 8-pointer or an average 10-pointer. His body bulk looked too small to be anything better than that. I whispered to Mikayla... "Be quick... he's not going to stand there for long!" Mikki, meanwhile, had dropped herself onto a small mound and had organised herself into a perfect prone shooting position. Good girl!! I didn't want to move to her side as the stag was very aware of my presence but seemed unaware of hers so I raised my binos and waited for the “bang” and the flash from the muzzle that was certain to happen any second. It never came. Eternity passed. The stag bolted back to the safety of the bush to live another day.

In the subsequent debrief it seems there must have been two deer on the clearing, first a hind, then a stag. Mikki informs me she lined up on the hind and was just about to pull the trigger when it turned and fled. That hesitation was all it took to miss out on her first deer. She never saw the stag which was standing further to her right, in the darker area of the clearing. Meanwhile she was confused as to why I was encouraging her to shoot something that had already departed. Arrr yes, the joys of hunting. 


Last light

The remainder of the trip was wet as only that part of the world can be, interspersed with sandflies and more rain. There were a few 'moans' from the local stag but we couldn't entice him back into our sights and no other animals were seen. One additional highlight before our departure was watching a single Blue Duck enjoying the rain. I really have a soft spot for those birds, they're bloody funny characters.

As a side note I took my son to this same location about 6 years ago and we shot an 11-pointer in the very same clearing we'd seen the stag on this trip. My recollection was he enjoyed the experience however, little was said about how he felt or what he did and didn’t enjoy. My daughter was polar opposite – everything was ‘amazing’- the shear walls of the Sound, the multiple waterfalls, the sun in the trees, the musky smell of the forest, the cold wet rain... everything was magical in the eyes of my teenage daughter. Nothing was left for granted, nothing was left unseen. Nothing was simply black and white, rather it was all hues of colour. Hundreds of photos were taken and I came away with a new appreciation for the bush myself. Taking my young lady hunting was pure joy and despite the cold, despite the hardships, despite the sandflies, despite my cups of tea morning and night, Mikayla can’t wait to get back into the hills and try to locate her first deer. Nor can I.

0 Comments | Posted By Michelle Panzer

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