Macpac quality now that manufacturing is in China
not really, they had some issues with earlier raincoat material, but that got sorted out and they switched to more reliable material. they are using top quality materials that can originate from the west, like Italian fleece. theres some good QC on a lot of stuff coming out of China. a lot of the best brands have their stuff made there in factories that specialise in high quality gear. chances are the factories making Macpac gear will be making gear for other quality outdoor brands. they are putting a lot of thought into their designs and have progressed in the range of gear being offered. certainly better than Kathmandu
Yes they have definitely been affected in quality. They are becoming much more like Kathmandu every year and it upsets me.
depends what your interpretation of quality is, the days of "robust" tramping gear is diminishing. its more about lightweight compactible clothing now, if you want robust gear you can thrash through thick bush then you may have to look at hunting gear or theres the odd brand around like earth sea sky still making some gear like that. macpac do a heavyweight rainshell that will take a reasonable battering, and their packs are still very bombproof
I agree with Waynowski, the products have changed. Macpac has moved away from the heavier fabrics which were likely more durable but at the expense of bulk and weight. They are now using newer, lighter fabrics which while strong are not quite as durable as the older fabrics. With regards to design, their cheaper stuff is pretty mediocre but priced accordingly, while their high end stuff is right up there and not too badly priced. In general better value then Kathmandu but I rarely find anything worth buying from their stores. If people ignore their bias against kathmandu their premium range is actually quite good.
I had the choice of buying a really good jacket or buying an inferior one that was half the price and would last a lot less and it made sense to buy the cheaper one as the waterproof permeable membranes are regarded as only fit for one or two seasons anyway. Having said that, I then lashed out on a Marmot longer lengh tramping jacket with a glorious discount of $50 off the full price just to try it out. Edit: this jacket performed awesomely in strong winds and a decent rainfall. So nice to have a dry backside too. Just hope the DWR lasts a year.
Looking back on my rain jackets, the oldest a Gore-Tex Fairydown which cost me around $120, my next a lightweight Marmot which had stellar reviews which would of been sub $200, and my current jackets are a Macpac Event and a Arc'teryx Gore-tex active both around the $300 mark. (None purchase at full retail) There has been no noticeable difference in build quality between any of the jackets (except for a crappy zip on the Macpac), the longevity of the waterproofing on the Marmot was disappointing. None of them can breath in a meaning full way.
There's a few Macpac items in my cupboard. An old Torre pack (bought in '82) which was recently repaired - what a great pack it is! A newer Torlesse 65 pack and various bits of clothing... The Torlesse is well made but heavy. I eventually bought a different brand 1kg lighter and with more features. And to be honest I felt a bit of a fraud as I try to support NZ businesses whenever possible. The clothing is generally good - no major complaints other than styling issues. Their lightweight merino line is not robust. I'm continually getting runs in my 150g teeshirts. We have several down jackets (the latest is the Supanova and it's been wonderful - waited nearly a year for it to come down in price. The latest version has HyperDRY down which mine doesn't have but I'm not too worried, it's a camp garment). The down jackets 'moult' a bit but I don't suppose that's unique to Macpac jackets. So apart from a few design flaws Macpac continue to be one of my favourite NZ brands. I would like to see them adopt popular design features found on other brands a bit more quickly. They do listen to requests and feedback and are always good about answering any questions on their Facebook page.
I have a Torlese 75 but it is a previous version. I find it fine but it does have an unusual feature I just cant work out. Its the why not how I cant fathom. The whole front of the main body can be opened. Alongside the zip for the very long narrow front pocket is a long zip matched by one on the other side and a narrow strip opens. Definitely a "what were they thinking?" but it was removed along with the crampon loops in the next model.
you cant tell just looking at a garment exactly how good the build quality is. Arcteryx build quality is as good as it gets. they use about the highest stitch count of any brand in their seams, making seems less likely to fail. not all fabrics are equal. they are an example of a brand using the best quality material available, some of the strongest for the weight. the QC is very high as well. good brands won't use a top stitch on shells either making it less likely to the stitching to catch on the outside and break
@geeves, ha, well only the designer of that pack will be able to tell you now... When I bought the 65 I remember thinking what a waste - there is no guide with the pack to tell you the intended purpose of all those little pockets, straps, D-rings, cord-locks etc. Nobody at the shop explained the pack's features to me. Most of us usually figure it out, but what about for those starting out.... hmm.
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