*notcot in design , 21:39

Inside Rocket World + T.A.D. Gear- 08.26.08

rocketworld1.jpg[Above is my latest new toy - a mis-colored helmeted Astro-Krieg Rhino and my random capsule machine egg/rabbit at the fireplace in Park Chow] Next time you’re in the SF area, you MUST stop by T.A.D. Gear at 660 22nd Street in SF - what they don’t show you in their pics of the store is the Rocket World section, which is like the holy grail of Rocket World I.W.G toys and prints, and not only do they do all online fulfillment for both brands in this space but also have their design studio upstairs! So on the next page, i have a peek at the store, the gallery space, and the design studios… if you thought Shepard Fairey’s studios were cool, you’ll drool at how inspiring this space is!

So before the onslaught of images to walk you through our experience at the incredible converted warehouse space, here are a few quick points to note.

1) For anyone that like the great outdoors (or is a special op, or just likes being well shielded from the extremities), but has a NOTCOT type of aesthetic (love matte black? lack of logos? incredible attention to every detail?) - you have to check out T.A.D. Gear’s jackets, pants, and backpacks before you reach for the next Patagonia catalog. Dan just ran off with his to Burning Man, so i’ll try to get you some detail pics later.

2) If you don’t need the hardcore gear, they have an amazingly well curated selection of quality outdoor accessories that had me giddy to shop even though i didn’t really need more mini flashlights, otter boxes, knives, dental floss, and more…

3) Sure stores like A16 are all rugged and designy in their own right, but T.A.D. Gear feels museum-esque as you browse through the space - which leads to

4) Rocket World I.W.G creatures have their own dedicated section, and while at first it may sound odd to have some of the coolest vinyl toys showcased and designed by the same crew that makes some of the most impressive tactical gear i’ve seen… if you go, it will all make sense. Especially once you find out that Patrick Ma (aka “Otter X”) has a background ranging from the army to a masters in art, a love of the animal kingdom to a calling towards fashion design… is it any wonder that all of his passions have perfectly fused into an incredibly well kept secret lair of custom designed tactical gear as well as some of the cutest most detailed badass animal toys out there?

Ok, sorry i’m rambling, but as you can tell, i was totally giddy there - blown away by the products and toys initially, and from a business/inspirational perspective, hearing Patrick’s background and philosophies on business and how he’s managed to keep focus on doing what he loves (as many varying things as that may be) for over 10 years now, without giving in to the many temptations to sell out along the way and still be extremely successful - especially when you’re pursuing new and uncharted concepts/ideas!

Go see the pics on the next page!

The entrance to the space has their bikes and gear juxtaposed with a large t-rex like skull… if you’re lucky they might have their vespas pulled up!


Rocket World gallery space is tucked into a corner of this vast warehouse space…







Here’s the view down on the store from the studios above…


“Mission Capable, Wilderness Smart, Urban Ready…TAD Gear pioneered, specializes in and is the high standard for hybrid tactical-outdoor apparel and equipment. Recognized worldwide and the first choice for many Special Operations Members, Wildlife Conservation/Field Professionals, Core-Outdoor Recreation and the Discriminating Individual. TAD Gear products are designed to perform and last in the world’s most rugged terrains and wilderness. Quality and Smart Design come first in everything we produce.”

One of the coolest details of their jacket and pant designs are the velcro areas that allow you to swap any velcro patches you want on (great for commitment-phobes) - and they have quite the collection for you to start off with… my favorites of course are the skulls and Rocket World guys… especially those which glow in the dark!

Here are some of the tiny rubbery glow in the dark ones…

The view from Patrick’s desk with two monitors and a wacom cintiq overlook the store below…

… and he’s surrounded by inspiration… magazines, weaponry, pantone swatches, toys…

On crazy details, as if their life size packs weren’t detailed enough - they have mini replicas of various packs, pants, and jackets down to every last detail (like removable knee pads and mini elastic zipper pulls)!


Here’s a plush octopus cradling a skull that greets you above the stairs as you head to the studio space…

A sneak peek at some poor rejected polar bears where the first batches feet weren’t quite the same height!

… more polar bears and other random toys in the shelves deep in the warehouse…

I just love the knives on the cutting matt surrounded by toys, pantones, mags, and more,…

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6 Notes

Awesome pics!! I must make a road trip to SF.

----- hana 28.08.08 12:00

The little capsule toy egg guy was over by the registers at Daiso ~ i wanted either the rabbit or the dragon ~ thank goodness i got the rabbit on the first $1!

----- jean/NOTCOT 27.08.08 14:32

Great look into a great company, thanks-

I’ll be stopping by their place sometime this week!

On a side note, were did you get you’re “random capsule machine egg/rabbit?” I want one really bad, I know it was random but where was the machine? Its really, really cute!

----- jg 27.08.08 13:57

TAD Gear has cultivated a fine touch for incontrovertibly justified product fetishism. The crux of this accomplishment is their irrepressible penchant for proclaiming that utility and gratifying aesthetics need not be mutually exclusive.

----- Eben 27.08.08 12:26

Ooooh, awesome! You’ve got my all excited to visit this place, now.

----- Anita 27.08.08 08:43

I know Patrick from a while back… when TAD (triple aught design then) used to make furniture pieces! I like seeing these kind of posts around here. Good design can be tactical too!

----- Joel Pirela 27.08.08 04:55

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