I’m not really sure when gear became an addiction. I think it coincides with my interest in sailing (which also coincides with my marriage). Sailing escalated the whole outdoor endeavor and after the near calamity of my Panama Sailing Adventure gear has become a more fixated fixation.
I had passed TAD Gear several times on the Internet. Its dense pages, black background and camo-inspired introduction kinda leaned a little too heavy towards the military for me. But I had the chance to stop by the store while in San Francisco and I’ve got a whole new perspective.
But backing up a bit, even military-like gear is cause for pause. In Panama, I got dropped off in the San Blas Islands, on Por Venir which about the size of three square city blocks. But since it had an airstrip it also had 6 heavily armed and extremely bored/surly/dangerous looking Panamanian soldiers. And while Panama is “friendly” they didn’t exude much sense of welcome.
I needed to spend the night on Por Venir as I had missed the days flight and I needed to get my passport stamped. I began to understood why sailors tend to not recommend wearing camouflage anything. If I was mistaken for military I think my already tense/suspicious interaction would likely have ramped up one very uncomfortable notch. Miles from a paved road and sharing a strip of land with a few of the native Kuna I think my side of any story would have sorely lacked corroboration. Long story less so, “military” gear is not always the best international travel apparel.
That said, TAD is much, much interesting in person than on the Internet. The staff was great and seeing the gear in person made me understand just how well made it really is. It’s top notch. Some of the best I’ve seen. Much of unique, most designed right there and manufactured in the USA. The apparel and the packs would rate as some of the best you could buy.
I paid for some pants (without the cargo pockets) and I will def keep an eye on the site. It’s worth stopping through if you’re in San Francisco. It’s on the industrial side of the Mission District, and parking was/is challenging (understatement).
660 22nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107