Shopping at Triple Aught Design

If there was only one store I could go to whilst I was in San Francisco it had to be Triple Aught Design. I have been following their work for some time now and was eager to see what the store was all about. To tell you the truth, I don't know what to expect. The surrounding stores were hip fashion shops so I figure in its own right TAD fit right in, albeit to a different demographic. I was two steps into the store before the guy behind the cash pointed at my shirt and said, "GORUCK! I actually have that up on my screen right now!" I immediately felt at home.

The store was very neatly organized and Mos Def filled the air. Overall it was about par for the course for every other high end clothing boutique you've been to. Except in the glass display cases, rather than watches, cufflinks and cologne, there were knives, flashlights and velcro patches. Now, I can see a lot of people laughing at hoodies that start at over $200. To that I'd say that there are many fine companies that make products similar to TAD, but what makes these guys unique is that they seem to be crossing the bridge between tactical outerwear and fashion. Am I going to wear Crye's Gen 3 Combat Pants with kneepads downtown even if they are a plain colour like tan? Probably not. However I would wear TAD's Force 10 RS Cargos with kneepad inserts as they don't hit you over the head as being "army pants". If I walk around downtown in a PCU level 3 fleece, I'll be warm but let's face it, I'm going to look like an idiot. If I decided to wear TAD's Ranger Hoodie, I'll be warm, and I wouldn't stand out in a crowd as a guy doing a pedobear cosplay.

It was nice to see all the jackets and hoodies in person after only being able to see them online. Sure some of my buddies have some TAD stuff, but now I could take my time and see some of the next generation of their product line. The TAD representative introduced himself as Mike and helped me out with finding some pants. I looked at the Force 10 AC Cargos and the Force 10 RS Cargos. Mike told me that during the previous week a bunch of GoRuck dudes came in and bought out all of the AC Cargos in anticipation of a challenge. "They are lightweight but rugged and will dry quickly", he said. After looking at them the material and weight reminded me of the Arc'teryx Rampart Cargos, but with more features and with kneepad pockets. Unfortunately they were all out of my size, so I tried on the RS Cargos which is more of a field pant.

There was another employee talking with patron about shooting HK 416s and M1As. I smiled because this was pretty much what I figured a lot of conversations must sound like at the store. Then a woman walked in, started looking at the FAST Packs and asked if it would be a good backpack for her son for school. I smiled again and figured this had to be what the majority of conversations must sound like. When I told my brother, who lives in San Francisco, that I wanted to visit TAD he remarked, "Oh ya! That store that sells clothing that only comes in green, black and tan… I've never been in there. I don't really get it." It hit me as the mom asked questions about using a pack that was designed for the riggers of short  trips into the wilderness for her son's school bag, that this must be the reason why they do most of their business online.

When I was done shopping Mike asked if I'd like a beer. I'm not one to turn down a brew and talk some more about gear, so I accepted his offer to the chagrin of my brother I'm sure. I'm usually one to steer clear of malls and window shopping, as I find the whole experience annoying. I suppose that's usually because I'm not the one doing the shopping. However on that day I got a look into what I feels like to be the one having a blast trying on clothes and taking forever while the other person sits on the couch and plays on his phone. I started to feel bad until Mike showed me a cool company called Skinth, and I introduced the PCU system to him. It's hard to have anything bad to say about a store that offers you brews and talks about gear.

If you're in the area, do stop by to take a look at TAD. It's a geardo's paradise.


  1. This is a great review! Thank you so much for stopping by. We loved hosting you - Michael touched on it today in our staff meeting and we were all thrilled to go read your post afterwards. Hope that you had safe travels home and that we'll see you again in the near future!

  2. Awesome write up! When I'm down there next I'm going to make sure to stop in. That's cool that they brought up the Skinth too... I've been looking at one for my GR1 for awhile now.