The Story Behind The Pack.
“I thought if I could provide products for the mountaineering community, then I could establish the brand”
– Bruce McIntyre, Founder, Macpac
From Bruce McIntyre’s garage, to a global adventure identity, our journey has been one of creation and innovation.
It all started with a pack.
“We came up with this very first, New Zealand designed internal frame pack. The Torre Egger. That to me, was the real start of Macpac.” Bruce McIntyre
In 1973, Bruce McIntyre started making backpacks from his parents’ garage in Christchurch. The mission was simple: create gear that would last and could handle the rugged terrain of New Zealand’s South Island. He was determined to design something better than the old gear that “hurt like hell.” A visit from a group of mountaineers looking for a pack for their expedition to Patagonia was – in his mind – the true start of Macpac.
Today we’re proud to retain the same design aesthetic across all our products,
“No bells and whistles but the sort of features that we have, are the meaningful features.” Gavin Davidson, Head of Design, Macpac.
But product wouldn’t be anything without a dedicated and committed community to make sure the gear works! Since the early days, we’ve worked closely with a team of athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who live for the outdoors. This partnership provides us with rigorous in-field testing, and a constant stream of feedback from the world’s best adventurers.
Meet Anna, one of our early ambassadors
IFMGA-certified mountain guide, former ski and adventure racer, Anna Keeling first joined the Macpac family after winning the Raid Gauloises Adventure Race in 1989.
“Macpac gave us a ton of gear that had been modified to be lightweight. We won the event. It was a new thing and very exciting at the time.”
In 2019, Anna re-joined the Macpac family. We’re so lucky to have someone with her expertise and passion on the team. She chats to us about her journey, the sport of mountaineering, and adventuring with a family. Read more about Anna, here.
47 Years of Adventure
Bruce McIntyre starts making backpacks out of his parents’ garage in Christchurch, with a focus on packs that can handle the New Zealand wilderness.
Designing an icon: Bruce designs the Torre Egger alpine pack for the Canterbury Mountaineering Club’s expedition to Patagonia. The Torre Egger is the first internal frame pack ever developed in Australasia, and is the beginning of a strong relationship with Kiwi alpinists that still stands today.
The first iteration of the Macpac polycotton canvas — or AzTec® canvas as it later became known — is developed. Variations of this material are still used in the most durable Macpac packs today.
Macpac joins forces with fellow South Islanders, Geoff and Shelley Gabites and their business, Wilderness. Macpac Wilderness Equipment is born, and the range expands to include apparel, sleeping bags and tents.
Rob Hall and Gary Ball ascend the highest summits on all seven continents in seven months. Rob, an ex- Macpac designer, and Gary worked closely with Macpac throughout their careers, and were both instrumental in developing our alpine range.
AzTec® HP is introduced – it’s 33% lighter than the original, and its distinctive weave pattern is exclusive to Macpac.
The Quantum Harness is designed with a Torsion Bar to help carry heavier loads.
The first Macpac stores open their doors. We pivot from being a wholesaler to a retailer.
Eco Aztec® is introduced. The cotton used to create this 8 oz. version of AzTec® canvas is now certified organic cotton.
The New Zealand Alpine Team joins the Macpac family, as athletes and design collaborators, playing an instrumental role in the development of the Macpac Alpine Series.
The Macpac Fund for Good is founded – a portion of profits will go towards supporting those committed to creating long-term change, for the good of our people and planet.
Macpac Adventure Hubs open their doors for the first time. The Adventure Hub concept offers the full Macpac range, as well as a carefully curated selection of gear from other world renowned brands.
“Make the best gear, and inspire people to get outside.”
It’s been our mission since we started. We believe in quality. We believe in sustainability. We believe in the outdoors and its ability to make anyone’s life better, whatever your adventure.
“The idea was that you could travel all over the planet with a Macpac piece. It could take you anywhere. It wasn’t just for fine weather, or just for extreme conditions. It works everywhere.” Bruce McIntyre, Found of Macpac.
Browse some of our Macpac classics
Litealp 23L AzTec® Backpack
Olympus Alpine Tent
Copland Long Rain Jacket
Cascade 75L AzTec® Hiking Pack