After several exchanges of emails with Matthew Hobbs of New Zealand’s custom backpack maker TwinNeedle in Christchurch, I finally made it to their new factory located at 402 Tuam Street (not too far off Fitzgerald Ave). I wanted to visit them weeks earlier but a bout of unfortunate events held our meeting off. Matt suggested that I visit them when they are more settled down at their new location as it would have more space for products and their workshop. Oh boy…was I in for a big surprise.
My first impression when I stepped into TwinNeedle’s new factory at Tuam Street probably fits the feeling of a small kid walking into the candy store. In between their showroom and front counter is the entrance to their factory. It was like a mini stock exchange in there. There was certainly a lot of work going on. Cart-full of tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, fabrics and boxes being moved around. The big work table in the middle of the workshop is littered with white containers filled to the brim with fabrics, WIP harnesses, shoulder straps and other pack making components. Steeve Haase (Matt’s business partner) managed to do a quick hello and was off packing items to be shipped, ready for the scheduled courier pick-up that arrived a few minutes later. I could hear voices in the workshop calling out for confirmation on a repair job and someone vaguely asking for coffee. Matt wittingly shouted ‘Yes please‘. A minute later his coffee arrives.
I have been to a lot of shops selling backpacks but this is probably the first shop that is fully loaded and equipped to do everything from repairs to producing custom made backpacks (or any nylon related product for that matter). Not only is TwinNeedle a well known hunting and tactical backpack maker and outdoor gear repairer in New Zealand but they are also fast gaining international presence. Their products are now sold in the USA by Optactical and they have also been mentioned on the very popular tactical online publication SoldierSystems.
TwinNeedle isn’t all about repairing gear and making customized nylon products only. They are also the official re-sellers for the Slovenia based brand UFPro …famed for their high quality, well thought out tactical clothing and wear. On top of that, there is also a corner with products from Blue Force Gear which is known for their no nonsense approach to tactical gear.
So, the inevitable question had to be laid out. How on earth did TwinNeedle come about? I guess this is one question Matt gets quite often. Between him and his partner, they have more than 30 years of experience in outdoor gear repair and customizing. As the market and outdoor gear industry of New Zealand evolve, they too started to carve a niche that caters more specifically to meeting the needs of the hunting and tactical industry. They have tried, tested, repaired and made modifications throughout their work experience (and play) to know what works and what doesn’t.
Speaking to Matt on tactical gear ranging from designs to deniers was most satisfying. A refreshing change to the usual blank stares I get when I speak to ‘Salesman’ of the generic sort of outdoor shop and such. Matt did not hesitate to dig out pack frames, prototypes, samples and accessories to show me. One can sense his passion in what he does. It comes with confidence and pride that is clearly the foundation that TwinNeedle is built upon.
I wished I had more time to stay and chat with Matt. SWMBO has already started texting me and Matt obviously has a thousand and one things on his mind as well. This is my first visit to New Zealand’s renown outdoor gear repair and hunting/ tactical gear maker TwinNeedle and already I am planning for a second visit on which Matt promises a personal tour inside his factory. To find out more about TwinNeedle, please visit their website or their Facebook page.