Behind the Design: Macpac Alpine Series

5 mins

The Alpine Series is Macpac’s premium, technical mountaineering range, resulting directly from our partnership with the New Zealand Alpine Team (NZAT).

At its core, the NZAT is simply a group of climbers from NZ (and a couple from Australia) who live for mountaineering. They travel around the world completing some of the most challenging and technical alpine routes there are, and of course, always leave time for Aotearoa’s Southern Alps.

These elite mountaineers demand premium, lightweight equipment that won’t compromise performance. Macpac’s high-performance range, the Alpine Series, is tested by the NZAT in harsh environments to ensure the gear can meet any challenge. We have been working alongside the NZAT since 2013, and our gear has grown with this relationship. 

When we say they test our gear, we don’t mean taking it on a stroll. Our equipment gets taken to the extreme. We’re humble enough to know it won’t survive every time, and that’s the beauty of it. When it gets destroyed, we learn and make the next one better. Every detail is intentional.

Sometimes, only by pushing products to the limit do you learn some necessary lessons. That was the case with one experimental version of the NZAT Pursuit – those few extra grams saved resulted in a substantial fabric tear on the corner face of the pack that then needed some innovative DIY stitching in the field. Only by some serious ingenuity did the team keep the pack together and in use. 

Our latest NZAT Pursuit has since seen an update. Made using Challenge ULTRA™ 100X main fabric with a 100% 500D Cordura® Nylon base fabric, this updated version has an improved strength-to-weight ratio and continues to perform in challenging terrain.

It features a frameless ActiveX™ alpine harness with a moulded and laminated closed-cell foam back panel for reduced moisture absorption and freezing potential. It also has a removable internal foam back panel which doubles as a minimalistic but handy bivvy mat.

It has an adjustable sternum strap and lightly padded hip belt for support, stability and comfort. Side compression straps allow you to adjust the pack's volume and secure gear or ropes. Other features include dual ice axe attachments, daisy chains and a reinforced axe holder to secure your tools.

The main compartment of this pack has a large top zip opening and a top compression strap with a tension hook for securing a rope over the top. You also have a handy top, zipped pocket that holds small essentials.

The gear starts from the design floor, working with the Team to build an alpine system that suits whatever their next expedition requires. The core range available to the public would suit anything the Southern Alps would throw at climbers, and we supplement that with some custom products for high-altitude climbing when necessary.

Highlights in the range include the new and improved NZAT Pursuit 40L and the Arrowsmith Down Jacket.

The Arrowsmith is our highest-performing down jacket.

Made from 100% recycled materials, it combines water-resistant 800 loft HyperDRY™ RDS goose down with a weather resistant Pertex® Quantum 100% recycled nylon.

The ultralight Pertex® Quantum fabric lets the goose down fill reach full loft, and the boxed baffles through the body decrease cold spots. It has a PFC- free WR finish that encourages water to bead and roll off and features an adjustable helmet-compatible hood. The ultimate belay jacket for alpine environments. 

The Alpine Series constantly evolves as new fabric technologies and styles are introduced. We hope the gear helps you get further into the mountains.

Read more about the NZAT here.

All about pushing the limits, exploring unknown territory, and inspiring the next generation of alpinists.
Three members of the New Zealand Alpine Team have been the second group in history to climb the Western wall of Changabang, a mountain in the Indian Himalayas.
6 mins
Rachael shares her experience of taking an alpine climbing course with her husband to celebrate their anniversary.