About Cactus


Every brand out there tells its customers and prospective customers that it's the best thing since sliced bread. There's plenty of self-promoters around and we've always been happy to sit back and let the legion of satisfied users who chose Cactus product sing our praises. But some of you may be new to us and hence, while we're normally quite modest about what we do, here's some reasons why we believe purchasing a Cactus product is a wise choice:

We've been doing this for over 30 years now, but despite this pedigree, we're still a young company run by people who spend most of their spare time in the outdoors in various different pursuits. We have an innate understanding of what works, and more importantly what doesn't, and that understanding is shown in our products - high quality items that have been crafted with care to include all the features that are important, nothing superfluous and, above all, that are more durable than anything out there in the marketplace.


We've been in the game longer than most (30+ years) and over that time we've come to the realisation that broadening our supply chain is necessary for long-term sustainability. We stand strongly committed to New Zealand manufacturing and make a number of our products, along with repairing all clothing, in our Christchurch factory. 

We make a bunch of stuff right here in Aotearoa New Zealand which gives us the ability to be more flexible and do shorter runs of products. The important thing for us is transparency. We are 100% committed to allowing our customers to make informed decisions and will remain transparent as ever when it comes to where our products are made and who makes them. 
The products that we do make outside of New Zealand are made in our partner-factories in Vietnam, Bangladesh and China.


We are a small company. But yes, we are big enough to employ a few people and we like to think we treat them with respect. We currently employ about 60 people in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown & Wellington and also use other factories within New Zealand and internationally. We're a certified social enterprise through the Ākina Foundation. 

We source from a wide variety of first and third-party suppliers both domestically and internationally. Suppliers must meet a range of certifications and internal controls to ensure social and environmental standards are met. 
Our Christchurch based factory employees a diverse team of skilled machinists who build a large percentage of Cactus’ products, as well contract work for the NZ Police and NZDF. We also repair all Cactus clothing here in Christchurch. 
We're super proud of our team with representation from well over 20 countries and many new New Zealanders. 
So, when you wear a piece of NZ-made Cactus gear, not only are you supporting a local industry, but you're also making New Zealand a more diverse place and helping some folks settle into their new home. Well done!


At the heart of everything we do is fabric.

Once upon a time every town of a decent size in New Zealand had a fabric mill and it was possible to source most raw materials domestically. Those days have gone and hence we source our raw materials (fabrics, webbings, buckles, zips) from a variety of locations, both in New Zealand and overseas.

In some ways we are in a slightly luxurious position in this regard - as we make a lot our products in New Zealand the labour component of what it costs to make a product is usually the greatest component. Thus, there's no compelling reason to go down-spec'ing a fabric for the sake of saving a few cents here and there - relative to our major costs it isn't going to make much of a difference.

So, by way of introduction (and in hopes of a long and fruitful relationship):

  • Premium C-Canvas. A 12oz polyester/cotton canvas with an acrylic coating. Used across our apparel, packs and bags ranges. Truly wears in not out.
  • Ultra C-Canvas. A 12oz Polyester/Cotton canvas with a stiffer finish than the Premium variety. Used in our Trade-style Supertrousers.
  • C-Canvas. A 12oz Polyester/Cotton canvas - the same properties that have kept canvas relevant through the years with the added dimensional stability of polyester. Used mostly in our packs range.
  • C-1000. Still the best value cordura for strength, tear resistance, and abrasion resistance. PU coated. Used in our packs range.
  • Cactus WTF-3. A waterproof 320-denier nylon face fabric with bi-component membrane with excellent balanced performance. Used in all our waterproof garments. Water resistance: 25,000mm.Breathability: 4,500gm (A1 test ) + 8-12,000gm (B-1 test).
  • Merino. 91% merino, 9% Nylon. 185gsm. Warmer, stronger, and faster drying than regular merino. Made in Australia.
  • Windpro Fleece. 100% Premium Quality 350gsm Italian Polyester Microfibre Wind Shield Fleece.
  • C-Hypalon. Our monolithic, reinforced, super-tough fabric. A synthetic rubbery fabric used in areas of packs and bags requiring particularly high strength and resistence properties.
  • C-600N6. A light and tough multipass PU coated nylon 6 oxford. Used for our 'fast and light' daypacks.
  • C-Aircell. A cunning 3D mesh that makes great breathable harness parts.
  • C-210N6. 210 Denier Nylon 6 multipass PU coated oxford used in our lightweight products.
  • C-MFleece. Quality Italian microfibre polyester fleece. Very warm for its weight.
  • Tees Cotton. 95% cotton and 5% lycra (elastane). Durable, comfy, and ever so slightly stretchy.
  • Supershirts Cotton. 100% cotton drill.
  • Flannel. 100% cotton, 233gsm brushed flannel.
  • Polycotton Drill. 60% Polyester/40% Cotton, with mechanical stretch. Used in SOS trousers and shorts.


Occams razor - if it's simpler then it's probably better and function should lead form. It's all been said before but not many people seem to remember this and, sadly, in a world with manufactured brands conjured up out of thin air, educating the world on design realities is an important role for us. We have it tattooed into the eyelids of every staff member (not really).

Cactus had long had the following principles at the core of our design development....

  • Making a product to endure is of primary importance. We use synthetic materials with a high embodied energy and in order to justify this energy (and your investment), our products are designed with strength as the primary driving parameter. No lightweight disposable products here.
  • We aim to reduce material usage and cost through constant questioning of features, if that extra zip just isn't that useful it's not going in.
  • No processes which would hinder repair. We have a factory and staff who know how to build each product which means if you have a run in with a sabre tooth tiger and need it fixed we can do it no worries. Better to fix than throw out.
  • Always look for more friendly processes and materials.
  • We design so our products are easy to manufacture. This lets us specify really high-quality fabrics and components. 


Our 'Ethical Construction' principles are something we've been working on ever since we started our business. It is our pattern language for making things strong, simple and appropriate to the task.

Our aim is to design and build durable, useful products. We do this by utilising quality fabrics and components, and design sensibilities gained in over a decade of experience of their properties.

  • Internally bound seams for water resistance, added strength, and reduced wear on the seams
  • Reinforcing at high wear areas
  • High density webbing reduces buckle slippage
  • Fabrics selected for specific uses
  • YKK zips - still the best
  • Nylon duraflex buckles - light, strong, and durable
  • 1000 denier external edge binding - for strength and abrasion resistance
  • Quality woven labels
  • Reinforced eyelet construction to help stop eyelet failure
  • Double layer bases and reinforcing at the bottom of the harness on our bigger packs