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November 2017 Issue
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Gear news, November 2017

Enter the Fjallraven competition to win a Scandinavian sledding adventure

Fjallraven’s Arctic adventure for NZ

Two people from Oceania will be wrapped up warm next April as they experience a 300km dog-sled adventure in the Arctic.

The two will be guests of Fjallraven, the Swedish outdoor clothing and equipment company, established in 1960, and whose products are now available in New Zealand.

The company is offering two seats for the week-long 2018 event to hopefuls from New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and China. Entrants will need to submit a video of themselves and full entry details can be found at

Winners will travel between Signaldelan in Norway to Vakkarajarvi in Sweden.

Initially, Fjallraven apparel, packs and accessories will be sold here, but the full range of equipment will eventually be available at

The Cactus workshop – gear is still made in New Zealand

A worthy quarter

You may not know Gwilym Griffiths-Jones, Rob Gray or Ben Kepes, but 25 years ago they designed and made a climber’s chalk bag. It was a small beginning for Cactus Outdoor, a company you will have undoubtedly heard of.

The company’s products are made for trampers, mountaineers, mountain bikers, skiers and latterly, builders and other tradespeople. The reputation is tough, simple and well-designed items that, similar to a cactus plant, will survive in harsh environments.

A key attribute is that the Cactus head office and one of two retail outlets (the other’s in Wellington) sits in front of the factory – that’s right, Cactus gear is made in Christchurch.

Packs are still made from canvas and, if it ever breaks, they’ll put it back together.

The team’s a bit bigger now, but Rob and Ben are still involved.

Jacket for heat and cold

A lightweight jacket that performs like skin and keeps you warm as well as cool? We’re probably not quite there yet, but The North Face’s Ventrix jacket ($390/440g) looks to be getting close.

TNF claims Ventrix to be ‘the next evolution of synthetic insulation technology’ and that its lightly insulated, slim-fitting jacket will help keep a wearer’s body temperature balanced, especially during high aerobic activity in variable weather. It works like a kind of magic with perforations in key areas expanding to allow heat to dissipate or contracting to keep heat in.

One-hand knife

The US-Assist opens one-handedly with the assistance of Balls of Stainless Steel, or, as Gerber says, B.O.S.S technology.

The US-Assist ($149.99) is the latest assisted-opening knife made by Gerber and the company claims it to be their ‘smoothest, most consistent’ reduced friction knife to date.

The 76mm blade – locked opened or closed by a cross-bolt plunge-lock – can be opened by either right or left hand and, when closed, slots into a glass-filled nylon handle.

Technical tramper’s sock

Thorlos has long been recognised for making technical socks and the Outdoor Fanatic ($49.90) has been designed for tramping, speed hiking, trail running and canyoning. Woven into its length is no less than seven fabrics, all for a specific purpose.

So, for example, there’s copper-ion yarn with odour reduction and anti-fungal properties; Teflon for durability and skin protection; Thor-wick cool wicking and softness fibres.

The crew-length socks have a compression-grade ankle and arch support, ventilation panels, cushioned instep and arch and a low profile toe seam to reduce irritation.

Camp Goodies

Colour-coded – that’s mine, that’s yours – Glacier Stainless Steel pint cups from American brand GSI Outdoors. There’s four in a set ($63.90), they’re stackable and super durable for years of use.