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 or Rundle Street and 99.9% of products are made elsewhere, mostly China.
You can buy Australian made if you do your research. There are few bigger players in the space but 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.
So, here’s a list of brands that make hiking gear in Australia. Couple of hunting/tactical gear brands, and a bit of food and canvas on here too.
An Australian brand since its beginnings in 1979, ONE PLANET has always focussed on designing outdoor equipment for the unique conditions of Australia and New Zealand. The brand is best known for its rucksacks – from the ultra-durable range made from Waterloc canvas to lightweight Diamondloc models – as well as its innovative bushwalking tents and extensive range of sleeping bags. All gear is designed in the ONE PLANET factory in Melbourne, where the rucksacks, rainwear and gaiters are also made, and down sleeping bags are filled and finished to order.
There’s a lot more to read about ONE PLANET’s Melbourne factory, 40-year history, and social and environmental responsibilities, and it’s all here: www.oneplanet.com.au/about
One of a few Australian backpack brands.
Ottie Merino is an Australian owned merino hiking clothing brand that is based in and manufacturers in Melbourne, Australia. They use 100% merino wool from Australian sheep that’s 100% mulesing-free.
Ottie’s first short sleeve merino wool t-shirt was designed with feedback from members of the Hiking in Australia & New Zealand group, making it genuinely a products that’s designed by hikers, for hikers. Ottie is one of the newest Australian outdoor clothing brands.
Full disclosure: this brand is owned by the owner of this site and the Hiking in Australia & New Zealand group.
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. They make some of the best hiking quilts in Australia.
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. Lauded 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.
Here’s a Google Review their received: “I’ve tried all the others and the Campers Pantry menu is by far the best and the tastiest! I actually looks, feels and tastes like homemade meals”. Go team! 🙂
On Track Meals
Some hikers might dismiss a 250g meal as too heavy. But, if you’re having to carry the water you need to prepare that dehydrated or freeze dry meal, what’s the difference? What’s more, the non-freeze dry tend to taste a bit more ‘real’.
On Track Meals are made in Brisbane by a bunch of outdoors enthusiasts.
We learnt recently that Kinetic Technology International (KTI) are no longer and have sold the design/rights for the Safety Alert to Jotron, a European company, that was responsible for making the first EPIRB back in the day. That means the GME MT410G PLB is the only Australian made option for people looking for a lightweight PLB
Ask 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).
They make ultralight dry bags, pouches, and wallets in Melbourne, Australia, and retail a range of Australian made hiking products.
Not your traditional hiking boots, but Mongrel Boots are made in Australia and will suit some hikers.
Another business that makes an Australian made hiking boot. Their Everest hiking boots (great name) are made at their factory in Alexandria, Sydney.
The Redback Everest hiking boot is one of the few remaining Australian made hiking boots.
Merino clothing brand based in Bowral, New South Wales.
Merino clothing brand based in Hobart, Tasmania.
Wool socks brand based in Crookwell, New South Wales.
Ultralight backpacks and accessories.
Alps & Amici
“Aren’t they a speciality food store and cafe in Launceston” you say. Well, did you know, they actually make a range of freeze-dried meals? Well they do.
Forager Food Co
Healthy freeze-dried hiking fruit and snacks. Based in Red Hills, Tasmania.
You won’t find this guy via a shop front or factory or even a website. Undercling deals through the Bushwalk.com forum and makes his in-demand hiking quilts at home. True cottage industry stuff. Love it.
Feed The Hike
A new lightweight food brand. Check out their lightweight meals.
The Trekkers Friend
Innovative hiking trailer, made in Canberra.
Be gone those blisters. What is Trekkers Wool? Straight from the sheep’s mouth: “Prevent blisters, hot spots, black toes and relieve painful pressure points with 100% pure, natural, lanolin rich Australian Merino lambs’ wool”. Ah, Australian ingenuity.
Outback Packs & Gear
If you’re into tactical looking stuff, then these guys have you covered with Australian made backpacks, bags, and pouches.
Snowshoeing is a form of hiking, right? Made down Geelong way in Victoria. Used across the globe.
Canvas gaiters. Made in Tasmania for Tasmanian (and Australian) conditions.
More of a hunting gear brand, but what that generally means is hard-wearing clothing that’s made for the outdoors. They retail all sorts of stuff, but a large range of what they sell they make themselves in Melbourne.
A popular brand with boaties and 4WDers, GME’s PLBs, EPIRBS, and radios are all made in Australia. They even carry the Australian Made mark.
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.
Edit 30/9 – Removed Rossi as they don’t appear to do their Australian made Mulga anymore.
If I have missed any brands let me know in the comments below.