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Deane's Henry review

17/07/17 1:46 PM



Deane went on a weekend mission with his Cactus Henry and here's what he has to say about it:


A backpack is an essential biking tool. Some prefer to ride without but I like containing everything I need for a 2-6 hour ride in one place. I like the crash protection to my back, effectively cradling my spine. A chance visit to the Cactus showroom introduced me to the Henry. It's a traditional looking backpack, on first look I dismissed it as being too big for a day pack. I tried it on and was immediately impressed with the fit. 

 

It doesn't have gadgety features found on most biking backpacks. No fancy media pocket, no helmet harness and only 1 zip (normally the first thing to fail when full of mud and salty sweat). One cavernous compartment, which I didn't manage to fill on an overnight ride and a pocket in the lid for easy to get items. The Henry is very light, 480g, makes it appealing  for runners and adventure racers too. Lightweight materials make this possible but during testing in wet conditions everything stayed dry, this may change after more wear, we'll see...

 

The outstanding feature of this pack is the harness. From a heritage of packs designed for ski patrollers and heavy duty west coast bush bashing, it's safe to say Cactus know how to make a pack fit snug to your back. A secure waist and sternum strap kept the bag from flopping round and holds my hydration hose close for easy access. It has a hydration sleeve to keep your bladder separate to your gear and a hidden opening in the lid for the hose to come out of. 

 

It's not easy to replace equipment that has been faithful companions on many missions, my previous day pack was one of these items. With the advent of sophisticated bikepacking bags, strapped to the bike, it is now possible to have a bag that doubles for day trip and multi day trips. The Henry is ideal for this purpose, small enough to cinch down for a quick blast in the hills and big enough to load up for an extended bikepacking trip in the backcountry. 


Check out the Henry here. To check out more of Deane's adventures, check out his website here


Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

MICROADVENTURES

9/06/17 11:20 AM

 

 

With busy lifestyles, full time jobs, no more public holidays for a while, the microadventure concept can be a lifesaver. The idea behind a microadventure was made common by British adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys and is defined as an overnight outdoor adventure that is "small and achievable, for normal people with real lives".


When planning a microadventure, key points to keep in mind is that it's short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding. All of us here at Cactus are pretty good at microadventures - and with winter here, they become even more important to keeping us all happy (and sane).

 

A microadventure could be anything from meeting your best mates for a picnic up your local hill one evening after work, a short mountain bike ride to a new secret camping spot through to a short overnight mission to a near by DOC hut. If you have some sort of floating vessell (packraft, dinghy, SUP) you have even more options. 

 

Microadventures are an awesome and super easy thing to organise with a few mates but also just as ideal for the family. The kids will love it. 

 


 

CACTUS MICROADVENTURE #1

 

It was almost a little far away to be called a microadventure as the West Coast is a 3 hour drive from ChCh, but last weekend the Cactus Marketing department (just me (there's only one of us)) and 3 mates grabbed our tramping packs and headed for Hokitika. That's where the good weather was and we all LOVE the coast. 

 

We filled our packs with yummy food and a pack of cards and took a short 3 hour walk up to a tiny, four bed hut (luckiy we also took at tent) for the night. We found a magic spot shelted from the wind, shot the breeze while eating chips watching the incredible West Coast sunset. It was bliss. The following day we walked out, grabbed some manditory fish & ships to eat on the beach before driving home.

 

The walk up through the stunning West Coast bush. The Miklat is the perfect microadventure pack. 

 

 The tops...

 

 Our magic spot in the sunshine.

 

Better than TV.

 

 The hut which we had to ourselves for the morning.

 

We nailed it. Thanks to Mike, Amanda & Paul. 

 

We'll try and share more microadventures here on the Cactus blog. If you have had a good microadventure and feel like sharing, get in touch. Email me here

 

Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

 

Gregory is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Chile. He recently purchased a Cactus Deepwinter pack which our wonderful machinists added ski slots on the side (based on the design of the Patrol Pack) to take on his work expeditions. Here's a short blurb about the super interesting and fun things he gets up to:
 
My colleagues and I are interested in big earthquakes and the trouble these earthquakes cause. In places like Christchurch, geohazards like liquefaction was a big issue during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, but in places like the Port Hills rockfall was a major problem.
 
My colleagues and I are currently studying active faults and the earthquakes they generate in the high Andes near Santiago (the capital) of Chile (in addition to of course working on a number of cool earthquake-related things back in NZ). Of interest are a huge type of landslide called "rock avalanches". Like snow avalanches, they are extremely fast, but unlike snow avalanches they are made of rock and are often composed of huge blocks (up to house-sized). 
 
 

 
We (researchers and students from the University of Chile and the University of Sheffield, UK) went up into the High Andes with our drone (UAV) packed into the Deepwinter Cactus backpack in order to document one of these huge rock avalanche deposits. For someone that owns too many backpacks, it is interesting to note that only my Deepwinter pack can accommodate my drone in the carrying case it came in. On the 22 km round trip day hike, the pack was super comfortable and had room for extra clothes, water, and food to keep us motivated.
 
We hiked up to just over 3,100 m (in the middle of the valley) and underneath the 5,500 m-high peaks towering above us and flew the drone around to document from the air, sampled the deposit, and enjoyed the fine views. Here are a couple of photos from Dr Melanie Froude and that I took from the drone.
 

 
 
 
The photos show how small we look compared to the huge blocks in the rock avalanche deposit (from the drone). Rock Avalanches are fairly common in the Southern Alps as well (for example the 14 July 2014 rock avalanche off of Aoraki/Mount Cook - see Cox et al., 2014) and very much a topic of interest not only from the hazard perspective, but also as a paleoseismic tool for researchers as the biggest rock avalanches are most often trigged by large earthquakes.
 
Thanks for making such cool packs Cactus and clearly the Deepwinter is also of great use for non-work related high Andes adventures involving boards strapped to your feet.
 
Cheers from Chile (Greg De Pascale - Department of Geology, University of Chile).  
Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

A YEAR IN CACTUS IN AFRICA

19/04/17 3:25 PM




Mat is the perfect Cactus ambassador. He has an amazing job, travelling the globe, filming wildlife for numerous impressive documentaries including for the BBC. He also doesn't hold back when he has time off for some personal adventuring. Here's something he wrote about his year living and filming in Africa. 

Since purchasing my first pair of Cactus Supertrousers before a shoot for BBC’s ‘Spy in the Wild’ in New Caledonia, I have been interested to see how ‘tough’ this piece of clothing really is.. After spending 20 days, every day, in the trousers on that shoot, I was convinced they were made of a mythical material similar to what may be seen in the Lord of the Rings…. I continued to use and abuse them in many different locations until I was offered the chance to work on a Natural History Documentary in Tanzania, Africa. 
 
Before the trip to Africa, my understanding of the place was that the entire continent was either bone dry or in constant thunderstruck jungle - it proved to be more of a mix (although the locals are becoming more and more confused as to what season is what now)….. Armed with a Miklat Pack, Cactus Merino Tee and the SuperTrousers mentioned before, I was thrown into an environment that initially felt very flat and foreign. As my knowledge grew, it felt like the land began to reveal itself and the flat, featureless Savanna was being etched into my memory - trees would become catching features, certain terminate mounds would be referenced in my diary as where we filmed certain animals. My attention to detail adapted itself, and what initially appeared to be ‘nothing’ evolved into a very feature full landscape. 
 
To spend a year in Tanzania was a truely unbelievable experience. It was a rollercoaster year for the planet - with Brexit, Trump and the ever increasing horror stories of what the planet is revealing to us about our expanding/ ‘progressing’ activity. Despite all this, being out here, such political and social influences really don’t change anything (immediately anyway) - if you can eliminate contact with the outside world and just react according to the local environment, life seems much slower and ‘real’. The psychological influence such lengthy exposure has allowed me to once again be reminded what is truely important in life - witnessing the life of key characters (animals) we filmed day after day revealed to me what the essence of life is for almost every other species we share this planet with - it seems we have deviated from this natural pathway, neglecting some of the most important characteristics of what makes us human. After 10 trips to the country, seven books of notes taken, I have come away much more aware of the natural world and these ecosystems that are so different than the Avian wonderland I came from…. 
 
To witness constantly an ecosystem that seems complete was absolutely incredible. The most obvious example is the aftermath of a hunt. When witnessing a lion hunting it instantly attracts many nosy neighbours. Vultures from the sky begin circling and settling in near by trees, hyena begin popping their heads out of holes and bushes, Jackal bravely begin trotting about on the outskirts of the kill site. When the lion’s belly looks as though they have swallowed a barrel, the others sequentially move in… Hyenas rush to the site (always keeping an eye on the activity of the lions) they begin a frenzy feast (the laughing and howling is something that you cannot help but laugh at). Vultures and Hyena seem to have an alliance that seems them (mostly) feed side by side, later the hyena move on and the Jackal move in (they often get chased and chase the vultures). Eventually the vultures are the last ones left and will stay about for a number days (depending on the size of the kill). Finally when the food is digested, the dung beetle go to town (there are other contributors but these mentioned are the obvious - consistent ones). The sequence of visitors to an event like this is such a brilliant example of how key components of the ecosystem are imperative to the function of the ecosystem. Other than witnessing it underwater in New Zealand, I haven’t been able to see a real example of ecosystem processes in such an obvious way. This really got me thinking about what back home we have lost and what would have given a comparable spectacle. I feel that the legacy of what I was able to see and film will forever be an example of what the natural world should be like ( Although this is a pocket of what there once was here - it still can be a great reference to future conservation goals). 
 
The one animal out here that had the biggest influence on me (literally physically) was the Tsetse fly (Like a sandfly, but instead of a micro needle, a horse tranquilliser needle). The situation of needing to have the most precise focus filming while this (f***ing) fly drilled its way into your spine was something that Cactus Canvas really saved the day with. It appeared that although my top half was open to attack, my legs were shielded with a Tsetse proof fabric. I soon found that the heat of the dry season made the SuperTrousers incredibly hot to wear, fortunately the SuperShorts proved to be a welcome exchange. 
 
The longevity of the clothing I wore certainly surprised me. Having spent my entire life in the outdoors (mainly in New Zealand) I have worn out a good amount of gear. 
 
In 2012 I began Conservation work in Fiordland. For this we were provided a Cactus DeepWinter Pack. Despite being constantly filled with eggs and meat (which in the Summer would sometimes turn into a concoction of meaty egg juice), thrown from Helicopters, dragged over rocks and through thick bush, The packs were unbelievably hardy (they could be filled with water at the end of a trip and still seemed waterproof!!!), it was fantastic to find a company that was prioritising quality and hardiness, especially for the way we Kiwis like to travel in the outdoors. My loyalty for New Zealand Made outdoor equipment was strengthened not only because of the quality and fact that real ‘people’ could be consulted, but because the ethics from production to sales were completely inline with what I want to see more of in society.
 
For my time in Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia (Africa) I had the following Cactus Clothing: 
 
- Miklat Pack (Accompanied every field excursion) 
- Slim SuperTrousers (Ultimate Tsetse Fly Shield - Featured in the 'Making of Spy in the Wild') 
- Mens Merino Tee (Blue - Tsetse Flies Favourite Colour - Yet only discovered this after arriving)
- Lightweight SuperShorts (Worn for 45 days consecutively - 16 hours a day) 
- Mens Merino Daily Fix Long Sleeve (Worn every morning) 
- Windhoody (Worn every morning) 
- Gold Digger Hat (Washed Once when Covered in Hyena Slobber - Worn Every Day = 3920 Hours) 
- POD Wallet (Very useful - Stored Memory Cards and Pain Killer) 
- BBB - Big Burly Bag (Handles 32kg No Problem - I had a UK Canvas bag of a similar size that has accumulated numerous holes - the Cactus BBB is hole free!!)  
 
To check out what else Mat gets up to take a look at his Instagram here. It's truly amazeballs! 

Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

 

 

This summer Nigel spent a month living and working at King Edward Point on the island of South Georgia one of the most isolated places in the world, the climate is extremely harsh and the landscape is inhospitable but also magnificent. Nigel very kindly took the time to write to us to tell us about it:

 

The Allardyce range which dominates the interior of the island contains several towering peaks including Mount sugar-top and Mount Paget which at almost 3000 meters is the tallest peak on the island. This along with dozens of extensive glaciers such as the Neumayer and Nordenskjöld glaciers which sweep down the into the bays and inlets that cluster along the coast make this island a wonder of the natural world.

 

Not only is the landscape incredibly beautiful but the island is an important breeding site for Albatross, petrel and penguin population and also Antarctic fur seals and elephant seals, some 3 million Antarctic fur seals make South Georgia there home during the summer months.

 

I was working for a New Zealand based company called Indigena Biosecurity International which has the contract for the control of Invasive plants on the island, these include grasses and herbaceous plants some introduced from the Falklands 1,550 kilometers away.

 

While working on the contract I was able to visit many amazing places on the island not only many of the beaches, glaciers and coastlines but also the remnants of the whaling stations, which made this isolated island a huge industrial center while they were open and making money for there owners.

 

Now the workers than ran these stations have disappeared along with the whales that once swam in these waters, leaving only the rusting remnants and industrial wreckage behind.

 

While I was there I was comfortable wearing a pair of Trade plus supertrousers and Cactus collared jacket and was able to pack the gear needed for the days work in a Cactus miklat backpack.

 

All the Cactus gear I brought with me I found to be stylish, hard wearing and most importantly warm, the Supertrousers in particular were great at keeping out the wind and light to moderate rain a big plus in a place like South Georgia!

 

The collared jacket was perfect for both work purposes and also relaxing after work with its comfortable but practical look and minimalist functional design.

 

All in all the Cactus gear lived up to its reputation as durable, practical outdoor gear, and I would recommend them to anyone interested in them for work or play.

Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

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