Do you buy Australian made hiking gear? According to Roy Morgan “[a] huge majority of 90% of Australians aged 14+ say they are more likely to buy products made in Australia”. Are you part of that 90%?
Even if you wanted to buy Australian made hiking gear the industry, for the most part, has other plans. Walk into your favourite outdoor gear store on Little Bourke Street or Kent Street and 99.9% of products are made elsewhere, mostly China.
However, you can buy Australian made if you do your research. There are few bigger players in the space with most brands that manufacture in Australian occupying the ‘cottage industry’ as it’s called. Which is nice, as not only are you supporting local, but small business too.
Here’s a list of brands that make hiking gear in Australia.
A brand best known for their ultra durable backpacks and quality sleeping bags, One Planet doesn’t manufacture all of its products in Australia but some. Products that are made in Australia are clearly labelled with a badge on their website, which is their entire range of packs, bags, and rain jackets. Everything else is presumably made in China or Vietnam.
“… One Planet still proudly manufactures the majority of its products in Australia. Products that we cannot economically produce in Melbourne are developed and tested locally, then produced in China or Vietnam in close association with our partner factories.”
Ottie Merino is an Australian owned merino hiking clothing brand that manufactures in Sydney. Their wool jersey fabric is processed and knitted in Melbourne from merino wool from happy sheep in Australia and New Zealand.
Full disclosure: this brand is owned by the owner of this site and the Hiking in Australia & New Zealand group. They will hopefully be launching in July 2020.
Established in 2012 by Dan Pitt, Wilderness Threadworks specialise in backpacks and backpack accessories such as pouches and hip belts.
“All designs go through a rigorous development period to ensure these products perform to their maximum potential. Products are built here in Australia, from start to finish. I take your order, build your gear and ship it to your door.”
Based in Deloraine, Tasmania, Tier Gear locally manufacture a wide range of hiking and camping gear from down quilts to hammocks to tarps.
Tier Gear Mala Hammock Under Quilt. Image Credit: Tier Gear
“We constantly strive to manufacture and offer lightweight products that are not only aesthetically pleasing but highly functional and durable.”
Everything Terra Rosa makes is handmade by owner and sole employee Evan Howard. That includes tarps, bags and pouches, quilts, and a range of bikepacking accessories.
“[In] 2010 Evan took the leap to officially launch Terra Rosa, with the mission to get more quality product out to the Australian hiker. He upgraded from a little Singer to an industrial sewing machine, and moved out to the rural Melbourne based workshop where he now manufactures all of the gear himself.”
For over 30 years Summit Gear have been making rugged backpacks and daypacks out of their space in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. They also retail a range of quality brands.
Summit Gear Blue Gum Canvas Pack. Image Credit: Summit Gear
“Our design philosophy dictates that we seek to remove redundancies from every product that we build. We emphasise that whilst gear will not last forever, the product should exhibit equal wear characteristics across the entire item. We are confident that our designs, material choices, and quality construction will result in products that exceed your expectations.”
One of the biggest manufacturers of Australian made hiking gear, they specialise in merino wool and merino wool blends with a large range of clothing and socks made in their own factory in Preston, Melbourne.
“Technical socks, activewear & outdoor clothing created from passion, conscience and insight for those special people among us who search for quality, purpose and inspiration. (And yes, it’s all-Australian … 200%.)”
Not a gear business but a food business. Lorded as one of the tastiest dehydrated hiking food brands on the market, Strive makes all of their meals in Hobart, Tasmania.
Strive’s Vegetable Laksa. Image Credit: Strive Foods
Another Tasmania-based hiking food business, Camper’s Pantry was founded by Andrew ‘AJ’ Jenour in 2016 who set out to make “lightweight, nutritious and tasty” meals with premium and local ingredients.
As the group what their favourite PLB is and most will tell you the KTI Safety Alert. Even better, it’s made in Australian–in Melbourne, in fact.
Image Credit: KTI
“Kinetic Technology (KTI) has been designing and manufacturing EPIRBs for over 20 years in Melbourne Australia. KTI specialises in designing and developing beacons for commercial and military use.”
Based in Sydney, Aussie Ultralight make a range of ultralight (as the name suggests) dry bags, pouches, stuff sacks, and wallets from this transparent, crinkly looking material called Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF).
Best known for their elastic-sided workboots, Rossi also make the Mulga hiking boot in their Adelaide factory.
Image Credit: Rossi Boots
“When you wear a Rossi Boot, you wear a little piece of Aussie history and little piece of Arthur’s [Rossiter, the founder] passion from 110 years ago.”
They make ultralight dry bags, pouches, and wallets in Melbourne, Australia, and retail a range of Australian made hiking products.
Their Everest hiking boots (great name) are made in Australia at their factory in Alexandria, Sydney.
To be clear, this list is for brands that make products in Australian, not just Australian owned. Mont has featured in a few of these lists on the net but their mass produced products are now made offshore, but they do some custom manufacturing in Australia and some of the components (e.g. canvas for their packs) are made here.
To be sure, the quality of much of the hiking gear that is made overseas and retailed by good hiking gear stores is very high. Additionally, there is nothing wrong with products being made overseas. However, if you’d prefer to support Australian industry or reduce the distance between yourself and the products you consume then try and seek out a locally made option if you can.
If I have missed any brands let me know in the comments below.