Dunedin Clearance and Pop-Up

This year’s pop-up has a focus on finding homes for the odds and ends that need homes. These have been accumulated over 34 years and you will find ski pants, thermals, fleece jackets and pants, merino jackets and some waterproof styles. Our popular Silk Weight is coming to an end (fabric no longer available).

All available at cost prices.

Come and rummage through a box or flick through a rack. Lots of bargains to be had.

There will also be some of our current range available.

      Location: 186 George Street, Dunedin. (previously Kenzie on George).
Along from Farmers heading towards St Andrews Street
       Dates:      Saturday 11th May – Monday 20th May
       Times:      Mon – Sat 9am – 6pm; Sun 10am – 5pm

Note: we will also have bags of off-cuts available at no cost.

The Climate Canary

THE CLIMATE CANARY is a film tackling climate change in a different way. Told through three women, from three different generations and their remarkable scientific work in Antarctica climate change is looked at through science and very personal perspectives.

The film features Prof Pat Langhorne, Dr Natalie Robinson, and PHD student Jacqui Stuart.  They are particularly interested in sea ice and the ecosystem that lives in the platelet ice in McMurdo Sound. “This is a science film from a very personal perspective that possibly asks more questions than it answers.”

In November 2018 the producer/director, Vanessa Wells, was in Antarctica for another project when she met Natalie Robinson … “I knew there was a bigger story here – how did this wonderful woman with a beautiful laugh and crazy orange earrings end up working on the sea ice in Antarctica?  And why?”  … the seed for THE CLIMATE CANARY grew from there.
The production has received support from the science community, NIWA and Antarctica New Zealand as well as the Christchurch Antarctic office and the International Antarctic Centre. It has had strong international interest, however, as is usual for a documentary, a rough cut is needed before there is a committment to investment and distribution. This requires funding.

This is a story Earth Sea Sky believes is important. So much that we have agreed to be a sponsor in the crowd fundraiser launched this week to enable this rough cut to be produced.
We are matching dollar for dollar contributions made up to $10,000.  Join us in this important mission here.

Everyone who travels with Antarctica New Zealand to Scott Base is fitted out in a wardrobe of Earth Sea Sky cold weather clothing. We asked the four women from the Climate Canary to tell us about their favourite item…

Vanessa Wells – Film Producer/Director.    The ECW Down Jacket.
“This year, without a doubt, it was the ECW jacket.  The temperatures were lower than expected as we were there early in the summer season, and in -35 I was relying on my ECW to keep me warm! Not only that – the inner pockets had plenty of space to stash extra chocolate as well as a spare lens or two!”




Prof Pat Langhorne – Antarctic Sea Ice Scientist. Turbo Guide
“For November work on the sea ice, the wind makes life more challenging than the low temperatures. The windproof soft shell jacket, (Turbo Guide) is a great outer layer as it is not bulky and allows freedom of movement to do fiddly tasks, while still keeping the wind out. I like that it is nicely fitted to body shape which makes it feel more comfy and it has lots of pockets to store (and lose) things in.”

Dr Natalie Robinson – Antarctic Oceanographer. Nano Primaloft
My favourite piece of kit is the primaloft down jacket (Nano Primaloft). It’s warm, light, easy to put on and easy to work in. It layers-up quickly and comfortably – a must when the weather can turn unexpectedly. It’s my absolute go-to when I’m in the field. (And often around Base, too!).”

Jacqui Stuart –  PhD student, biologist and “self-confessed algae-geek”. Rocket Guide Salopettes
Figuring out the best layering combos for all conditions last season was a great adventure in itself, but without fail the salopettes (Rocket Guide Salopettes) were donned. They held up to all skidoo-ing, drilling, lying/sitting and kneeling on ice (happens more than you think). Mega bonus was all the pockets, to store (or lose) your tools or belongings in!”



Vanessa Wells film director/producer at Scott Base’s pressure ridges (Photo: Adam Jones)


Top Photo:  Adam Jones – Director of Photography, working on the sea ice in McMurdo Sound (filming along Big John ice crack)

Helium Fleece Stories

The Helium is one of those garments that people get attached to. The companion on adventures or a welcome friend at home on a cool night. In 2003 when Kendon and Ben Glass embarked on their mission to travel around the world human powered, their wardrobe of Earth Sea Sky garments included Helium jackets. After two years we asked for the garments back so we could see how they were wearing. The response from Kendon was he couldn’t as he wore them every day! A new wardrobe was despatched and the parcel of worn garments was returned. The constantly worn garments, to our delight, showed minimal signs of wear. Kendon’s original Helium sits in our showroom beside a new one where it is difficult to identify the old from the new.

Kendon Glass in Tibet

A new Helium beside Kendon’s original friend

Kendon visited New Zealand 15 years after his original journey. Visiting us he was delighted to find his original jacket, a familiar “friend” from past adventures. Though a little emotional he was and happy with the reverence Earth Sea Sea was giving it.

Since then others have shared their Helium stories. A handful of these are as follows:

Short stories of our Helium friends:

John Cocks:         

John Cocks hiding from the Patagonia winds in his Scarlett Helium

John Cocks has been an Otago mountaineer for over fifty years. He has made significant contributions to many alpine and conservation projects and has taken on a key role in the NZ Alpine Club’s hut maintenance and building programme. When not working on projects he is in the mountains. John has had one of our Helium jackets for ten years or more and wears it most when he’s walking around town or in the mountains.

“The Helium is a real favourite for me, it raises so many positive comments when I wear it out. I like the feel of it too – it’s so soft and cosy.”

James Greer:

James Greer after hiking the Heaphy Track

James Greer is a recent yet devoted customer of ours who uses his Helium up at various crags in the port hills or out and about across different backcountry trails. Since owning the jacket, James has grown pretty attached to it, especially as it’s one of the only fleeces he’s been able to find that doesn’t ride up at the waist.

“The performance cut in the arms and shoulders lets you move around without any unnecessary bulk and the handy way it compresses so small compared to regular fleeces are details I really enjoy. I feel like I’ll have this forever.”

Rob Frost:

Rob Frost enjoying golden hour

I’m in love with this fleece. I wear it at camp, in huts, during lunch breaks on chilly days, and around home. Every time I put it on I feel like I’m getting a gentle, warm hug. I did not know fleece could be so warm. The high neck and long torso length also mean no cold spots. Amazingly light for how warm it is. And everyone wants to touch it! read more about Rob here.

John Nankervis:

John Nankervis’s old Helium Fleece

Well known in alpine and conservation circles, John Nankervis (Nank) wore his Helium for over twenty years through his mountain journeys and another ten years after his climbing accident. Despite our efforts to give him a new one, he continued to wear his old favourite. Sadly, Nank is no longer with us, but we have inherited his well-loved Helium.

Ryan Taylor:

Ryan Taylor on a recent fishing trip

Ryan Taylor is an incredible backcountry skier known for his many adventures and abilities to push all boundaries. One of our favourite expeditions he’s done was a trip to Tajikistan where he mapped, planned, and explored the country that many people don’t go to. Ryan has two of our helium fleeces, one from ten years ago and another more recently which his partner Midori is often stealing.

“I use the Helium in a lot of situations either as casual wear or on adventures where reliable clothing is essential. Often, I take it on long multiday trips, or in very cold winter conditions such as on backcountry skiing trips in Hokkaido, Japan where the temperature is often below -20C.”

Read more about Ryan here.

John Harvey:

John Harvey in his old Helium Fleece

John Harvey in his new Helium Fleece

John Harvey is a chest physician from England who worked in Timaru Hospital for eight months during his sabbatical. We met in him 2005 when he bought a Hydrophobia jacket and one of our earlier fleeces which are still going strong even after eighteen years of use. He also bought another Helium from us last year too.

“Our family go regularly to The Black Mountains and stay in an old cottage built in 1713, belonging to the local sheep farmer. There is no electricity, water comes from a spring, two wood burners and best of all there is no internet or mobile reception. The weather is unpredictable, and it can get very cold…. the Helium really comes into its own.”

Find out more about the technical details of our Helium Fleeces here.

Jenny Beesley, Mountain Doctors and Ukraine Frontline

The same fleece the Helium is constructed from is standard issue for the US military due to its warmth to rate ratio and durability. It has no extra nylon layers so there is nothing to slow the transfer of moisture. In situations where there is high aerobic activity then a sedentary time any moisture build up would create issues with cold. We included Helium Fleece jackets for Jenny and her team when sending garments through the support of our fundraiser in December 2022. Read more about Jenny and her work in Ukraine here.


Lydia McLean’s story here                                                                                                                                    Blake Hornblow’s story here

Erik Bradshaw & the Turks

After making New Zealand alpine history as the first person to ski the length of the Southern Alps, Erik was in touch regarding clothing. He had a lot of ideas about what would make the ideal back-country ski outfit. This was our first introduction to Erik. It would be hard to find someone with more energy, entrepreneurial ideas and commitment to making these ideas reality. The first visit was a full afternoon where most items from the range were examined, fabric samples were viewed and discussion about styles and fabric combination was intense.


A long standing success of this intial meeting was Erik discovering and testing our Merino Boxers. He had been afflicted with a painful rash on his ski traverse which he had remedied at the time with ash from the fire. He found the Merino Boxers prevent this being an issue and has worn them ever since. Erik relates the story here.

Our relationship with Erik grew when we agreed to sponsor the Erik led, Back Country Ski Clinic in The Remarkable’s Ice & Mix Festival

In 2016 Erik attended the Sustainable Summits meet at Aoraki Mount Cook. He was stunned to learn of the time and expense required to get a hut constructed and into place in the mountains. His entrepreneurial brain yet again went to work and the idea of using a plastic farm water tank was born. By August 2017 the first Turk was installed and our Back Country Ski Clinic headed into the Crown Range to celebrate.

Since then the Turk story has continued. First an order from Antarctic Heritage Trust where Erik and his friend Richard prepared Turks to be shipped to the Cape Adare, Antarctica where they were installed as a base for hut restoration work.

Then the idea of the Haute Ski Touring Route was born. Erik talked enthusiastically about this in August 2019. Where most ideas would have still been talked about, Erik swung into action forming a club and underwriting the project with his wife Christine. By 2021 the five Turks were installed and the Manu Whenua Traverse was in operation. The story about the Turks including the traverse is here. We were delighted to support the making of a documentary made about Erik, the Turks and the traverse. The film won best documentary at the 2023 Mounain Film Festival.

Erik’s Earth Sea Sky wardrobe includes:

Protective layer

      CHARCOAL/LAVA PaprikaCharcoal


Mid Layers

Scarlet                    Turquoise


Base Layers

Charcoal   Black



Cyclone Gabrielle Fundraiser: Supporting Two Gisborne Community Initiatives

Team Gizzie Gold and Hear4U
When Andrew from Godzone Team Gizzie Gold reached out last year looking to update his technical performance wardrobe in preparation for Godzone, we were happy to help. By talking through the performance features of clothing Andrew settled on the following selection which he wore through many pre race training excercises.

Power Dry T, Power Grid Zip Polo, Traverse Overtrousers, Merino Boxers, First Layer Stretch Boxers, Silk Weight Zip Polo Long Sleeve, Silk Weight T, Excalibur Waterproof Jacket, Taslan Shorts, Spider Leggings, Legionnaires Cap.

We followed the team’s relentless training via their Facebook page, excited to follow them come race day. When Cyclone Gabrielle devastated their community, the team had to make the tough decision to pull out of the race last minute. As well as managing their own personal situations of home and work, there was also the huge disappointment of not being able to compete in a race they had devoted a year to train for physically and mentally.

Too far away to put our boots on the ground, we reached out to Andrew to see how we could help. He suggested we direct relief donations to mental health charity, Hear4U, who have leapt into action since the cyclone and rely on their partners and donations to continue.

“Due to the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle, now more than ever, our region is experiencing a huge need for mental health support going forward. Individuals just want someone to hear them and let them vent and help them process what’s happened in their lives. The constant economic challenges many face are creating widespread mental health hardships, and services of this nature are scarce.” – Hear4U

Despite this setback, Team Gizzie Gold is looking forward to competing in the next Godzone Pursuit and you can follow their journey via their Facebook Page.


Team Gizzy Gold

Sam the Trap Man and the Waimata Valley Project

After the cyclone we also contacted Sam the Trap Man, long-time friend of Earth Sea Sky based in Gisorne. He is currently on the ground in the Waimata Valley coordinating volunteers to assist farmers clear their properties to make them operational. His positive spirit, diverted from pest control and conservation, is now in action coordinating diggers, bulldozers and volunteers.

New Zealand Land Care Trust is backing these efforts financially and any donations are appreciated.
Direct donationscan be made to NZLCT National Bank 06-0594-0026602-00. Please use “Cyclone Recovery” as reference.

Sam the Trap Man and the fundraising Pico beanies, at our recent Nelson pop-up.


Sam the Trap Man’s clean up effort in the Waimata Valley.


Merino Pico Beanie Fundraiser
100% of Pico sales are being donated to two community initiatives in Gisborne, Hear4U (men’s mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention and to Sam The Trap Man’s Waimata Valley clean up initiative.

 Support the Fundraiser here



Keep up with Sam and Hear4U:

Sam The Trap Man












On the Frontline: Doctors in Ukraine & How You Can Help

To describe Jenny Beesley’s life as full would be an understatement. UK born, Jenny was raised by her mother. After training as a fighter jet pilot with the Royal Air Force, she moved to New Zealand to the University of Auckland where she trained in medicine.
She has worked in emergency medicine in hospitals in New Zealand but also in roles in medicine in remote places. This complimented her love of the outdoors where she enjoys mountaineering, skiing, kayaking, walking and participating in LandSAR.

Our association with Jenny Beesley started in 2018 when she started Mountain Doctors and ordered a set of clothing that she could rely on whatever the conditions.

Jenny’s wardrobe includes:

Merino boxers, Merino Long Johns, Power Wool T,  Power Dry Long Sleeve, Metro, Contour Long Sleeve, Prolite Straights, Katipo, Spoke, Raptor, Zeal Guide, Rocket Salopettes, Vent X Extreme, Nano Primaloft.

Jenny and Mountain Doctors pre Ukraine:


March 2019: The Mountain Doctors team providing medical support to the Foster’s family-run full mountain marathon on Ben Lomond station. The Power Wool and Power Dry tops were particularly appreciated in the hot sunshine!


Oct 2019

‘I’ll be up in Christchurch 14-18 October for a course, so I’ll try and pop in to say hi. Might need my soft-shell pants repairing, as they’re used so much that I’ve put a couple holes in them!

The Raptor is straight-up my favourite piece of gear.  I wear it to work everyday, as well as in the mountains and away on outdoor work.  Despite the abuse, it’s holding up really well.’

June 2020: ‘Hello from Bali. I’ve chosen to weather the covid storm somewhere warmer than Colac Bay. Not much work in the mountains to be had right now! Or locum rural hospital work, for that matter. My EarthSeaSky gear is still helping me out on those cooler morning surf checks.. shame the beaches are all closed..’

August 2021

‘The Rocket Guides are the absolute business.  Quite a few people have asked me “what are your new pants?”.  I’ve even remembered how to unclip the braces…! Very cool. Thanks so much for sorting them out so quickly!’

Jenny Beesley 15 April 2022

Jenny: Hey I was just wondering – would you be able to supply the zeal guide and nano jackets (like I already have) but in dark colours like black and green? May need asap.

Earth Sea Sky: We can do anything, mostly! Time frames are an issue, particularly for a special cut. The Zeal Guide has just been cut. What is your timeline?

We are about to make up some Nanos. We have all black in the cut. Would an all black one work for you? These should be through by the end of May.

Jenny: I’ve volunteered to go to Ukraine. I am not sure yet if they need me (am waiting to hear back). Some dark gear may help me be less of a target, was the thinking..So I really don’t know timeframes. I’d imagine it would be before May, though, if they do ask me to go – things are getting worse pretty quickly over there.

Earth Sea Sky: The small Zeals will be cut today or tomorrow. Do you want a dark green one made? (check out the Hydrophobia online to see the dark teal)

Jenny: Black or Dark Teal would be great.
If you have time to get my Mountain Doctors logo embroidered on a panel somewhere as before, that may help me prove I’m not military…

1st May: Jenny: Looks like I’m going.  ETD 16th May.

What dya reckon will be ready by then, gear wise?

2nd May: Earth Sea Sky…From the factory this morning:
The mountain doctors zeal guide is on line already, the nano will go on line tomorrow. We will do our best to get them done in time for the lovely customer. 

4th May: At Earth Sea Sky HQ
Jenny called through Christchurch en route to visit her special spot in Southland. Her 3-hour stopover turned out to be overnight due to fog moving in! Perfect timing for the Nano and Zeal Guide to arrive from the factory.

Thanks to our team who co-ordinated production and our committed machinists we were able to make our contribution to the Ukraine effort via our gift to Jenny of her special Nano and Zeal Guide with matching Pico and Merino T.

Jenny in her custom Zeal Guide at Earth Sea Sky HQ.

The biggest thank-you is to Jenny, who has put everything on the line to take her skills and experience where they are so badly needed.

10/10/22 From Jenny:

I need some merino thermals. Size Large. And some of your men’s merino undies, also large. And merino winter socks size EUR45.  For my  good friend, Sergii .

It is surprisingly difficult to get good merino over here. Synthetics and mixed merino/synthetic are no problem but the benefits they afford as a first layer are totally negated by the fact that we can seldom wash our gear…


Lviv in Winter – From Jenny

21st Nov:

Just wanted to say a quick hello. I am very much enjoying not always wearing my combat gear.
It is getting cold here in Kyiv and my Nano Primaloft and Zeal are keeping me dry and toasty as I go around the city organising medical supplies and personnel for our new battalion. Even in my uniform, my base layers are always ESS merino – I tossed out the issued stuff long ago. By ‘tossing it out’ I mean, I could give it to some of our guys who don’t have enough kit. So not only are you clothing me, but you’re indirectly clothing our lads, too!

Speaking of which, I think there’s a package for me to pick up from my friend  and it may well be from you. We haven’t been able to fetch it yet because the postshop keeps having blackouts and cannot open (thanks to the well-publicised Russian tactic of targeting civilian infrastructure in all parts of Ukraine).

Guys keep asking me “how are you lot gonna manage in the winter?”. Answer’s easy: skin is waterproof and if you have good outdoor gear, you don’t even need to test that theory!

Thanks – from all of us

25 Nov

Jenny…..war is 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror, so I have a lot of time on my hands, typically.

Yes the cold is here to stay. People are pretty tough and resilient here – not dissimilar to Kiwis. I think that just makes it all the easier to be here and do what I can.”

Jenny’s latest ride: “we take the crosses off for the frontline otherwise they make good targets for the Russian snipers, unfortunately…”

How You Can Help Us Help Jenny and Her Team

With the help of Jase Blair a special piece of pounamu was sourced on Jenny’s behalf for her commander. The response to the kind offer of a contribution to this was turned down but Jenny asked if the kind offer could instead be diverted to purchase two pairs of Merino Long Johns. Others have since indicated that they would be keen to help too.

Jenny is in contact with her friend working with civilians working in the hospital in the south (Mykolaiv) and with military. Any new pieces or relatively new, good condition, Earth Sea Sky merino or fleece clothing would be put to good use.

If you would like to help you can contribute by purchasing a gift voucher.

We will use any contributions to put together a combination of  merino clothing in sizes and layers that Jenny advises on.

Note on your address that it is for:

Mountain Doctors, Ukraine


You can also donate any second hand Earth Sea Sky merino that could be worn by the team in Ukraine.


15 Bernard Street
Christchurch 8024

We ask that all donations be purchased/ sent by 20th December 2022.

Why Merino?
It is surprisingly difficult to get good merino over here. Synthetics and mixed merino/synthetic are no problem but the benefits they afford as a first layer are totally negated by the fact that we can seldom wash our gear…


September 2023

Jenny Beesley Ukraine Update: 

Jenny Beesley and her team in Ukraine

Jenny Beesley is a Kiwi based doctor working on the frontline in Ukraine. We were overwhelmed with all the support for Jenny and her team through our Ukraine fundraiser at the end of last year. Helium Jackets were included in the clothing the fundraiser enabled us to supply.

The reality of war hit home in April when Jenny stood on a land mine. Despite having had her foot reconstructed and a finger missing, her spirit is not diminished, and she continues to support her team.

“I know my lads are grateful for their Earth Sea Sky fleeces, merino garments and socks now that winter is coming. Much love from all of them back to NZ.”

December 2023

In her usual spirited manner, Jenny has pushed through the challenges serious injuries from standing on the landmine in April. Though her newly built foot and hand, minus finger, are working she cannot do the medical work she was previously.
Undeterred, she is back in Ukraine and is working with doctors suffering from PTSD due to their long periods working on the frontline.
She has put a call out for merino under layers for 6 of her team.

Jenny messaged: ‘Minus 10 here now!! Too tricky and sensitive to send photos…..it’s been a really tough week’. 

We hope to supply Jenny with sets that include Satellite, Merino Long Johns, Socks and  Neck Warmers.
Jenny is using her own resources to manage financially and does not expect help. If you can help, please create a voucher to the value you would like and note ‘Jenny Ukraine’ for recipient.

Waterproof Garment Care and Maintenance

The largest long term threat to the life span of any waterproof/breathable fabric is contamination from direct skin contact with the inside surface. Body oils and salts will slowly hydrolise the glue that holds the laminate to the outer face fabric and the tricot mesh backing. This leads to de-lamination. When the mesh on the inside pulls away from the white laminate it takes all the seam sealing with it. Once this occurs the jacket is no longer waterproof and the damage is irreparable.

You can reduce the amount of contamination that occurs by the type of clothing you wear under your jacket. The area with the greatest risk of de-lamination is around the neck and hood region. Wearing collared base layers or bandanas underneath the jacket to reduce direct skin contact will reduce contamination and the number of times you need to wash the jacket.  

Delamination due to body oil contamination

Washing your garment

It is difficult to state a time when a jacket needs to be washed as this depends on many factors, such as:

  •  what clothing is worn under the jacket
  •  the amount of direct skin contact the wearer has with the inner tricot mesh
  •  the personal hygiene standards of the wearer
  •  the activity of the wearer while the jacket is being worn.

If the jacket is being worn during sustained heavy physical work with only a light crew neck thermal underneath, it will need a regular hand wash.

Regular means at least once every 3 months or even more depending on body odour build up. Taking steps to control contamination will reduce washing. Too many washes will make the fabric go soft and clingy.

Instructions for washing are as follows:

  • Hand wash only.
  • Use a mild washing substance. We recommend using Persil Liquid or Martha’s Wool Mix. Both are pH neutral.
  • Mix the washing liquid into hot water then add cold water. The water should be lukewarm.
  • Add the jacket and leave fully immersed and soaking for a couple of minutes.
  • Using your hands ‘knead’ the jacket by folding it into a ball and squeezing gently.
  • Remove any dirt on the outside of the fabric, very gently, with a soft nail brush.
  • After washing rinse twice with clean warm water.
  • Do not wring the jacket to remove water.
  • Hang the jacket on a line to dry. Drip dry.

DO NOT Hot Wash!

Never wash in temperatures more than lukewarm. Hot washing has the potential to weaken the seam sealing bond.

DO NOT Machine Wash. DO NOT Dry Clean



When the jacket is breathing the Molecular Transfer of Moisture (MTM) laminate swells up. In this swollen state the laminate is at its most fragile state. This is why it is important to dry the jacket as much as much as possible each time it is worn so the laminate has a chance to recover.

Never leave your jacket stored rolled up and damp as this makes it more susceptible to damage and can also lead to mould.

If possible air the jacket in a warm area overnight. Do not leave it hanging outside on a cold porch if you can dry it in a warm environment inside.


Water Repellency

It is important to understand the difference between waterproof and water repellency.

Water Repellency refers to the surface treatment on the outside of the fabric that prevents water soaking into the face fabric. Technical clothing manufacturers use the best Durable Water Repellent (DWR) available. DWR is essential to maintain the fabric’s breathability but is not essential to maintain waterproofing. When a fabric loses its water repellent finish it becomes water logged and cold, causing the temperature gradient between the inside and outside of the fabric to alter. This immediately reduces the efficiency of the water vapour passing through the waterproof breathable laminate. If waterproof breathable fabrics do not breathe, condensation from perspiration builds up on the inside and you become wet.

‘wetting out’ – fabric has lost water repellency                                                                 DWR replenished. Water beads off.

To maximise breathability….

  •  Layers worn under the jacket should moisture transfer rather than moisture absorb.
  •  Reduce the amount of natural fibre in your clothing. Natural fibre is great as long as you are
    not sweating. Wool is the best performing natural layer but it absorbs over 40% of its weight of water. It doesn’t feel wet until it contains 30% of its weight in moisture. This means a lightweight superfine t-shirt is holding 60mls of water before you start feeling damp. Your body heat has to warm up this moisture before it starts warming you. If you like wearing wool we recommend you keep it as a next to skin layer only and wear the lightest and finest fabric you can find (lighter so it will absorb less and dry faster). For efficient breathability we recommend one layer only. Avoid garments with cotton content.
  •  Use high performance bi-component base layers and brushed polyester polar fleece as they absorb less than 3% of their weight in water. If these garments become wet gravity drains moisture from the fabric very quickly. These fabrics encourage moisture transfer and allow the outer fabric to draw moisture away from the body enabling your waterproof jacket to breathe as efficiently as possible.
  •  Maintain the water repellent finish on the outside of the jacket.

Gecko Guard: NZ Made & Designed Durable Water Repellent

  •  Review your layers. You should have 3 clearly defined layers:
    1. Base or next to skin layer for hygiene and moisture transfer properties.
    2. Thermal or heat trapping layer – ideally a light bulky layer that absorbs as little
      water as possible so it dries fast.
    3. Outer or protection layer – waterproof, windproof and breathable.


Troy Forsyth: A Chance Encounter

Overshadowed by the mighty west face of Kawarau/The Remarkables, my living room and it’s couch has seen plenty of action lately. Watching and reading the news while comfortably positioned on said couch I can tell you (and I don’t think many would disagree), that it’s a bit of a gong show out there.

What hasn’t appeared in most news broadcasts however, but has been headlining the ‘Troy Times’ is the extreme mundanity of the last few months. A rowdy game of football deep in Molesworth Station left me with an ankle injury not long before well needed shoulder stabilization surgery. Yes, I was another one of those people who’s shoulder keeps kept falling out. 

There have been rays of sunshine during these dark times however. After a chance meeting earlier in the summer while walking out of the Toaroha river (a story for another time). I followed up on an offer to catch up with Jane & David Ellis at Earth Sea Sky in Christchurch. It turns out, smelling questionably and bumming a lift out of the West Coast backcountry earns you the royal treatment at Earth Sea Sky HQ. After some great coffee, discussion and some outrageously delicious date scones, I had a tour of the factory. I got to see the rolls of carefully chosen fabrics and the big bags of offcuts that Jane has yet to find a use for but refuses to throw away. I saw the people who make my clothes and the thought and care that goes into every garment. I watched the magic happen.


Lindon Brown and Troy Forsyth after their chance encounter with Jane & David, while walking out of the Toaroha river.

I left a little heavier. The date scones consumed doing more to weigh me down than my new Earth Sea Sky Stealth – a quintessential piece of ESS clothing. On the small excursions I have ventured out on I have come away stoked. The Stealth is an incredibly versatile bit of clothing. With the deep chest zip down you can keep cool on the uphill charge, and still stay warm when the wind picks up or at a snack stop by zipping up into the snug fitting hood. Overall the fit is a great blend for both casual and backcountry use.


Troy Forsyth taking his Stealth on the first of many more adventures.

My Stealth hasn’t had the wildest of rides just yet. But when I do slip into what is quickly becoming my new favourite piece of clothing, I get taken back to adventures past; scrambling along the crest of Ka Tiritiri o te Moana/The Southern Alps and making new friends in the Toaroha Valley. I remember the taste of the delicious date scones and of the people I met who thoughtfully put my garment together. For now however, my Stealth’s duties are mostly confined to helping me ponder over maps, stare out at the mountains and sit on the couch watching the news.


The Stealth is available in Men’s and Women’s.

Earth Sea Sky & Antarctica: Tested to -55˚C for Over 65 Years.

In 2007 Earth Sea Sky was awarded a 10-year contract to design and make Antarctica New Zealand’s ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) clothing. This involved a complete redesign of Antarctica New Zealand’s ECW wardrobe. The brief was to modernise the garments by using the latest high altitude mountain clothing styles, introduce a more versatile layering system and establish a full men’s and women’s size grading.

Antarctica New Zealand Field Camp. Photo: Duncan Ritchie

From the beginning it was a collaboration process using Antarctica New Zealand’s field knowledge and Earth Sea Sky’s technical expertise in fabrics, design, and construction. The final design brief was simplified to functional, good-looking, work wear.

It took 12 months to design, test and finalise 5 jackets, 2 trousers and 4 headwear items. Many of the garments originated from Earth Sea Sky’s standard mountaineering range but the large down-filled ECW jacket and the lighter quilted Primaloft jacket were designed from scratch. All the items were made at Earth Sea Sky’s Christchurch and Dunedin factories.

Duncan Ritchie wearing the Extreme Cold Weather Jacket. Photo: Andy Thompson

Now well into the second 10-year design and supply contract, the Earth Sea Sky wardrobe has received a number of modifications to maintain its position as one of the most functional ECW clothing systems in the world. Its distinctive colouring and styling also clearly define New Zealand’s presence amongst the many other Antarctic nations.

Earth Sea Sky also supplies ECW Polar clothing to RNZAF, RNZN, NIWA and the Australian Antarctica Division. Our extensive clothing range can be adapted for any organisation’s individual requirements for any conditions from the tropics to the Poles. We specialise in small production runs, keep a comprehensive inventory of specialised fabrics, and draw on years of hands-on experience in fabrics and design.

For each item in the Antarctica New Zealand’s ECW wardrobe there is an equivalent available in the Earth Sea Sky range.

Iain Miller and Emperor Penguins. Photo: Iain Miller

Our Antarctic heritage

Earth Sea Sky operates in the back streets of Addington, Christchurch, New Zealand. Established over 30 years ago by David Ellis, this small family business has a unique heritage of making and using all the products they design. It was David’s grandfather Roland, a keen mountaineer, who in the late 1920’s started the production of down-filled sleeping bags in his Dunedin bedding factory. By the 1950’s they were considered world leading, good enough to be used by Hillary and Tenzing in their high camp the night before their first ascent of Mt Everest.

Tractor team at South Pole 4th January 1958 from left: Jim Bates, Peter Mulgrew, Ed Hillary, Murray Ellis, Derek Wright. Photo: Ellis Family Archives

Three years later the family’s down-filled sleeping bags and clothing were chosen by the New Zealand, Hillary led team which was part of the 1956-58 Commonwealth Trans Antarctic Expedition. David’s father Murray, an engineer and mountaineer, was a member of the team who helped build the original Scott Base and later joined the five-man depot laying party who infamously drove the Massey Ferguson farm tractors to the South Pole.

The Ellis family have been designing and making Antarctica New Zealand’s ECW clothing ever since.

D480 Anorak: Paying Homage to Earth Sea Sky’s Heritage

D480 Anorak: Earth Sea Sky heritage range

The new D480 Anorak pays homage to Earth Sea Sky’s 65-year heritage of polar clothing design.

Earth Sea Sky is owned and operated by the Ellis family. Sixty-five years ago, the original family company, Arthur Ellis Co Ltd designed and made the down sleeping bags and clothing used on the 1955-58 Commonwealth, Trans Antarctic Expedition (TAE). The New Zealand team led by Sir Edmund Hillary was given the job of laying supply depots for the Sir Vivian Fuchs’ British team whose main goal was to cross the entire continent. The New Zealanders with great efficiency ending up reaching the South Pole on their Fergusson farm tractors long before Fuchs. They were the first team to reach the Pole overland since Scott’s ill-fated journey. Family member Murray Ellis was part of the team of five, nicknamed “The Old Firm”, who reached the Pole.

TAE Pilot Gordon Hassett with Harry Ayres and Murray Ellis, wearing their Robert Lawrie Anoraks. Scott Base January 1958.

Anoraks have always been part of Earth Sea Sky’s range. This new release, the D480, is part of a heritage range timed to mark Earth Sea Sky’s 30-year anniversary and a family involvement with Antarctica spanning over 65 years.

Anoraks designed and made by the London designer Robert Lawrie were issued to both the English and New Zealand TAE teams.

Robert Lawrie neck label (circa 1950’s)

Earth Sea Sky neck label since 1990











The D480 is a modern version of the original Robert Lawrie design. The name comes from the New Zealand team’s first Polar Plateau supply depot. Depot 480 was established at a height of 2,400 metres, on November 25th 1957 by four vehicles and two huskie teams. “A flat featureless sub-zero desert with nothing on the horizon to focus your eyes on”.  In total the team spent eleven days at Depot 480 waiting for food, fuel supplies and new personnel to be ferried by air to and from Scott Base, before they resumed their route south.


Marsh, Wright, Hillary, Mulgrew and Ayres preparing to leave Depot 480.


The Robert Lawrie TAE Anorak Jacket was available in khaki and navy. Most of the field teams wore khaki and the pilots and air crew navy. At the end of the privately funded TAE, the New Zealand Government continued its presence in Antarctica by establishing its own Antarctic Research Programme using Scott Base as the centre of all future activity. Arthur Ellis & Co Ltd replaced the Robert Lawrie anorak with a simpler design.

The D480 TAE Anorak 

The D480 TAE Anorak is branded with our history. The Earth Sea Sky penguin embroidery is on the wearer’s left hand sleeve, the New Zealand flag on the right hand sleeve and the embroidered version of the TAE First Day stamp cover on the front left chest (in the 1950’s embroidered logos were not something that was used).

D480 TAE colours: khaki and terracotta

The D480 is also available without the heritage branding.
D480 colours: terracotta, dusky blue, navy (men only), apple (women only)

The D480 Anorak pullover uses the same Nylon/Canvas fabric we have used in our windproof travel wear  for the past 20 years. The specialised texturised dull nylon yarn comes from Germany and the fabric is woven in Taiwan. It is renowned for its soft, canvas-like touch. The outer surface has a durable, water repellent fluoropolymer finish which improves the fabric’s water beading properties and ensures any soiling is easier to remove during cleaning. Nylon Canvas is extremely hard wearing and has good shower-proof and wind-proof properties.

The jacket has a drawstring hood and an elasticised cord hem. Our specially sourced Spanish spring toggles ensure positive non-slip cinching. The cuffs are elasticated. There is a large zip up front pouch storage pocket with a domed flap cover. Behind this are kangaroo pouch hand warmers. The front and storage pocket zips use antique finished New Zealand made YKK metal zips similar to those on the original Robert Lawrie garment. The hood and storage pockets are lined with a black durable nylon mesh knitted by Pontetorto in Italy.


TAE: Harry Ayres, George Marsh, and Roy Carlyon at Depot 480.


The real Depot 480 – Antarctic Polar Plateau – established November 1957

“The team of six of us (Ed, Peter, Derek, Jim, Doug McKenzie (press correspondent) and self) left depot 480 on Friday night the 6th Dec. We left Harry and Roy at 480 as they were going to leave next morning and head east into the head of the Darwin and survey all around the neve there and then travel down the glacier to the Ferrar.

The tractors left 480 heavily laden but luckily, we struck good surfaces for a start and after travelling 15¼ hours with a 3 hour break for a meal we covered 52 miles. The weather was beautifully clear with hardly a breath of wind and the temp about -15°F (-26˚C).

The second day was also good going although we were held up for an hour or so when a sledge sidled into a narrow crevasse. However, once it was out, we headed west for a couple of miles and managed to steer clear of anymore for the time being. By the end of the second day we had travelled 92 miles and we thought that all going well the 220 miles between depots would soon be behind us.”

Murray Ellis diary extract.

 The TAE Robert Lawrie Anorak

A khaki-beige anorak (pullover-style) with fur-trimmed hood. The stitching is cream. The anorak has a drawstring hood, waist and hem, with leather panels for the eyelets, round white textile cord drawstrings and clear plastic cuboid toggles. The hood is trimmed with brown fur. There is an additional flap of material in the neck, below which is a strip of leather. Each cuff has a flap with one buttonhole reinforced with leather, and two round white plastic buttons secured with metal pins and reinforced on the back with leather. There is a large central breast pocket with a pocket flap and metal zip. The back of the anorak is covered in stitching in a large diamond pattern. Inside the anorak are two buttons – one at the front on the hem at the centre, and one on the back higher up. Fastened to the inside back of the anorak at hem level is a textile strap with two buttonholes reinforced with leather. This strap would be passed between the legs and fastened to the round white plastic button at the front hem to hold everything in place, when not in use the strap is fastened to the button at the back. Inside the neck is a manufacturer’s label with Robert Lawrie Ltd//London W.1


Who was Robert Lawrie?