Growing up in Marlborough I had some awesome wilderness right on my back doorstep. However it wasn’t until I hit 16, and having the option of learning to fly fish at school as part of an extra curricular program, that I went out and enjoyed what was on offer. I actually took fly fishing as a joke, turns out it’s a heap of fun. From there I knew one of my mates was a mad keen fly fisherman and hunter, so when we weren’t partying, surfing, driving round in cars doing skids, I was nagging him to take me hunting and fishing. I became obsessed. I went to Dunedin to study Industrial Design, came away with a masters degree, a fond taste of Speights, a girlfriend who didn’t mind me going hunting and a good work connection in Wellington. After doing my time behind the counter of a couple of fishing and hunting shops in both islands, Rob eventually gave in and gave me a job as a product designer here at Evolve Outdoors. From 1 day a week on not much more than minimum wage, we slowly grew the company to what it is today. 12 years later, I’m still here and doing a few more hours than 1 day a week.
As far as designing cool stuff goes, Hunters Element is by far the most technical hunting clothing brand in New Zealand and Australia. We push the boundaries hard and take some gambles from time to time. We have designed the most technical Camo pattern available to hunters in NZ and Australia, based on real, factual science and have proven this time and time again in the field. It’s got to be good when the worlds largest sunglasses manufacturer rings you up and wants to chuck it on their sunnies.
It’s no use being a designer and having no real life experience of what its actually being used for. I’ve got the alpine double hanging on the wall. I look at those and remember that hunt very fondly, and everything else that lead up to those. The many many fruitless trips, thousands of Kms walked, plenty of shitty nights in leaking tents or cramped up in the back of the truck at a road end, dodging rock slides in the dark, Blisters from the shitty pair of fake timberland boots I had to buy at the warehouse for a chamois hunt in the snow cause I had just driven the length of the island only to figure out I’d left my boots at home…..All those lessons learnt, the adversities overcome and the ones that beat me down all combine to make those 2 trophies mean an awful lot to me.
I’ve been lucky enough to hunt a variety of species nationwide, I’ve learnt a lot, met some real characters, had some incredible experiences and long may it continue. That 40” red stag is waiting for me somewhere, I’ve just got to earn the opportunity.
Zulu boots: For a pair of boots that are grunty enough to handle steep country above the bush line, these things are comfortable straight out of the box. Couple them with a decent pair of socks and there’s little to no breaking in required.
Crux Top: Best for warm weather, this thing soaks up your sweat, dries quickly and doesn’t stink anywhere near as badly as other polyester garments.
Traverse Jacket: This will keep out the wind, provide you with some warmth, but it breathes, so you won’t sweat like you would in a soft shell. A real do it all jacket for hunting year-round.
Pinnacle Gaiters: Nearly 2 years of pattern tweaks and homemade samples being tested goat shooting in the steep scrubby papa country near Wanganui then the final testing done by Cody in the Marlborough high country, these are a triumph. So comfortable you forget they are even there.
Kayan Neck Gaiter: Stops the animals seeing that ugly mug, keeps the sun off when it’s hot, the heat in when it’s cold. A really versatile piece of kit that is always with me when on a hunt.