About Cactus

WHAT MAKES CACTUS THE BEST CHOICE?

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 nearly 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.

MADE IN AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND

We make our stuff right here in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is not out of blind patriotism nor a fear of the Asian manufacturing devil. No, we make our stuff here in NZ because it works best for a business like us. We can be more flexible, do shorter runs, have greater control over quality and we have good long-standing relationships with most of our suppliers.

There have been times in the past when we have manufactured or sourced products offshore. This was not done just to increase margins; it was done when we couldn’t get the products we needed at the quality our customers expected from local manufacturers.

Currently we retail some non-Cactus products that were made overseas, but all Cactus-branded products are made here in NZ. The important thing for us is transparency. We are 100% committed to allowing our customers to make informed decisions and will never get cute with the truth when it comes to where our products are made and who makes them.

OUR FACTORY

In July of 2019 we made a huge move (well, for us, anyway) and acquired Albion Clothing, a business that has been making incredibly high-quality clothing for well over 40 years.

Albion has a proud history of making uniforms for the New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Defence Force and other government organisations. It also manufactures for a bunch of Kiwi fashion labels you've likely heard of (but, sorry, we can't tell you who they are).

We bought Albion Clothing partly to secure our product supply but, more importantly, because we fundamentally believe that it is important to make things here in New Zealand and we want to be part of rebuilding the local apparel sector.

We're also super proud that Albion has workers from well over 30 countries and many of the people who make our gear are new New Zealanders making a better life for them and their families. So, when you wear a piece of 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!

FABRICS

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 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: 20-30,000mm.Breathability: 4,500gm (A1 test ) + 8-12,000gm (B-1 test).
  • Nuyarn Merino. 91% merino, 9% Nylon. 185gsm. Warmer, stronger, and faster drying than regular merino. Made in NZ.
  • 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.

EMPLOYMENT

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.

Between Albion and Cactus we currently employ about 120 people in Christchurch & Wellington and also use other factories within New Zealand. 

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

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. 

ETHICAL CONSTRUCTION

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