Being fit for the outdoors is more than just physical. It also involves the right apparel and equipment, and San Francisco-based Triple Aught Design (TAD) specializes in both for outfitting hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople. They focus on the quality of gear that ex-military would appreciate.
Located in the city’s Dogpatch on the eastern edge of Portrero Hill, TAD offers durable all-weather jackets, sweaters, hoodies, shirts, pants, shorts, and accessories (hats, caps, armor, etc.) for men and women together with a variety of outdoor equipment including packs, clips, lights, tools, sharpeners, and more. The company has been around for more than a decade providing durable and reliable performing gear.
One of the company’s most recent and unique offerings was in the form of custom tactical knives by Mummert Knives in a limited offering that sold out fast. No surprise. After all, there’s nothing like a good knife when you need it.
Mummert Knives is a small Ramona, CA, company specializing in tactical tools including fixed-blade and frame-lock folding knives, spears, tomahawks, axes, and even Japanese-inspired fixed blade designs. This isn’t your usual assembly-line stuff – everything is unique and entirely handmade.
“Knives are one of man’s oldest and most useful tools,” explains owner and craftsman Marc Mummert. “I consider custom knives to be a true form of functional art. From an anthropological point of view, it gives me satisfaction to know that something I created could be unearthed intact thousands of years from now.”
Most knives are made of steel, but Mummert does most of his work in Titanium. “Titanium alloys (I use primarily 6Al-4V and Beta-C Titanium) are wonderful metals in that they are incredibly strong,” says Mummert. “They weigh 40% less than steel, and are corrosion resistant in most harsh environments, especially salt water. The only drawback of using Titanium to make a knife is that it does not hold an edge very well by itself. I use something called a carbidizer that permanently bonds a thin layer of tungsten carbide to the titanium. The carbides are boned to the back of the edge, and when you sharpen to it from the front side, it is the carbides that are left doing the actual cutting. Being that the carbides have a rockwell hardness (RC) of 72, and most premium quality blade steels only harden up to a RC of 62-64, the carbide holding the edge is actually harder that a hardened steel blade. In essence, by adding carbides to Titanium, you get the best of all worlds, durability, corrosion resistance, and edge retention.”
Another thing that separates Mummert from other knife makers is his designs. “I take pride in all of my original designs which all start with the handle. I believe any good knife should function as an extension of the users hands, so when designing a knife, I start with the handle geometry and build out from there.”
Mummert also makes his own sheathes out of Kydex, a thermoformed plastic. “At about 300 degrees, Kydex becomes like wet leather. You form it by heating in a toaster oven, take it out when it reaches that ‘wet leather’ point, and then wrap it around the knife and press it until it cools. Once cool, it is riveted together, shaped, and fine-turned using a heat gun.”
In addition to tactical knives, Mummert also makes handmade kitchen cutlery (including Titanium Sashimi knives with desert hardwood handles), credit card knives, Titanium wrench-biners, multi-tool bottle openers, and even Titanium drop earrings.
Being in good physical condition is important in everyday life and especially in the rugged outdoors, but good gear is equally important in either venue. There was a time in America when every young man grew up with a pocket knife, knew how to use an axe, and how to throw a spear. It’s not too late.