Pesky little buggers - but they work so well. Zips are often the Achilles heel of any product we use them in. There's no real substitute for them though. We use the best quality YKK zips for maximum durability. As the end user you can definitely have a say in the lifetime you can expect from your zips. Zips require a bit of love every now and again. Typically they wear most when used when dirty - the dirt particles accelerate the wear of the slider (which is made of fairly soft materials so that it wears rather than the teeth). Keep zips clean and if you are really keen, a wee spray with silicon so they glide easily.

In use:

Try and de-stress the zip when you are sliding it. By this we mean take any load off the zip by making sure you are holding the ends together. For example, on a pair of pants, do up the button before you do up the slider (and, conversely, undo the zip before the button if you are taking them off.) If a bag is really full, do up a compression strap or get someone to help you by holding the sides together. A sign you are doing things right is if the slider can run freely - you don't want to be using it to pull the zip together.

Make sure the zip is free of any foreign objects before you run the slider over them.


The Washing Machine

To put it bluntly, the standard New Zealand top loading washing machine is a heavy handed brute of a thing. It uses way too much water, and shortens the life of your clothes with it's central agitator and harsh spin cycle. The longer, gentler wash cycle of a front loading machine is somewhat out of pace with modern life - no throwing a load on when you get out of bed and realise it's a good day for hanging laundry out - but on the other hand you can put a load on and squeeze in a ride in the evening while it goes through.... So:

Definitely no packs in the washing machine - it's simply too harsh on zips and buckles, and straps can and do cause fights with the washing machine, generally to the detriment of both parties. Hand washing with mild soapy water and a soft bristled brush, followed by a good rinse is your best bet.

Clothing: No rocket science here - close any zips, inside out is a good idea to protect the outer face of the fabric, and an eco friendly washing powder is generally best for the washing, the environment, and your wallet (yes the boxes are more expensive but check out the little baby scoop that's inside). 

Fabrics and Materials

All our fabrics are carefully selected to be as hard wearing as possible. A bit of tender loving care when required will keep them performing for years to come. The general principles are to clean or wash things as gently as required to get the product clean, as often as necessary.

Salient points include:

Don't store your pack or clothing wet. It's pretty tempting to throw things into a pile when you get home shattered from a long day's work or a hard mission, but storing things wet is probably the number one factor in shortening the life of a product. Particularly if there is canvas involved, which can mildew. At the very least hang your gear up to air before you hit the couch - although if things are still wet the best thing is to give them a wipe down with some mildly soapy water and possibly a gentle brush to get ingrained dirt out. In our experience this happens a lot more easily if you've got a bucket with a couple of good brushes ready to go under the sink in the laundry - just add soap and water, and in a few minutes you'll be done.


Like all waterproof breathable fabrics, WTF-3 works best when it's cared for properly.

Your waterproof garment should be washed regularly, this is important because grime, sweat, dirt, etc can stop the membrane in the fabric from breathing properly. Go for a gentle warm wash on a short cyle, using a mild liquid detergent - we use and recommend Gear Aid Revivex Pro Cleaner. Tumble dry your garment on a medium heat. Do not dryclean or bleach.

The DWR coating on the outside of your garment repells water by encouraging it to bead off, which stops the fabric wetting out. When the face fabric wets out (becomes soaked) its breathability is compromised. With time, this DWR coating will wear off. To replenish the DWR coating, use Gear Aid Revivex DWR Spray on a clean and dry garment - then go play in the rain.


Specific Care :: Supertrousers

The fabric we use for these, an exclusive 12oz proofed canvas, is a fantastic fabric, perfect for these pants. It does require a bit of special care in the first few days of ownership though.

Essentially, C-Canvas Supertrousers and Supershorts require a bit of a wear-in period to soften the fabric. When new, the stiffness of the fabric means it creases into points rather than nice soft folds – washing them in an agressive machine when new can cause damage on the crease-points. The first three or so washes should be done by hand, then you should be right to machine wash them - use cold water with a mild powder detergent, rinse thoroughly and line-dry. Do not iron, dry clean, spin-dry or use bleach.

C-Canvas is embedded with a water-restistant treatment that works very well when new, but after lots of use, this treatment eventually becomes less effective. We've found if you want to add additional water-repellency, Otter Wax Fabric Wax works a treat.

Still not sure? Check out Rob's advice in the vid at the top of this page. 


Specific Care :: Canvas packs and other gear

C-Canvas is a wonderful material. A blend of polyester and cotton C-Canvas is highly breathable while retaining a reasonable level of water resistance. Traditionally valued in New Zealand for it's utility in tramping packs (we have a lot of water and mud) we also use this fabric in our Dreadnought HD trousers where it excels in creating a long lasting and highly breathable trouser for cold mountain conditions.

Like most natural things canvas is pretty easy to look after:

Store your product dry, so that no nasty mildew will grow on its

If soiled, sponge or light brush with mild pure soap (a woollen wash or sunlight soap) to clean any biological (mud etc. can harbour enzymes and acid or alkali components which can damage canvas) material on it and drip dry.