Whether you know it or not, Patrick York Ma completely changed the face of the tactical clothing and equipment industry. At the time, Triple Aught Design Gear (TAD Gear), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, was a burgeoning clothing and pack maker, designing hyper-functional gear for outdoor enthusiasts, law enforcement officers and warfighters deployed around the world. Years later, Ma now has a new venture: Prometheus Design Werx creating rough gear that is ready to go anywhere.
Sometime in 2003, Ma was busy making clothing and backpacks when he got a call. On the line was a US Soldier calling from a distant battlefield using a satellite phone. “He just called to tell us how much he liked our stuff,” said Ma, laughing. “I couldn’t believe it.” Surrounded by burning debris and weaponry, the unnamed soldier sent a redacted picture to Ma and asked that he upload it to the TAD Gear website as a kind of testimonial. “That one picture changed everything,” said Ma.
The internet response was huge; Ma couldn’t keep anything in stock. Tactical jackets, pants, packs, knives and tools flew out of the store as customers clamored for high quality, functional gear made in America that coincidentally looks bad-ass. Profits rose, new products were designed and collaborations were formed with big-name craftsmen. Even Ma’s creative outlet, Rocket World, was included in the boom. For years, everything he touched was on fire.
Until it wasn’t.
A few years ago, Ma decided to partner with a couple of “outside parties” to help run the expanding business side of the house. The arrangement didn’t work out. “I went through what I can only say was a ‘partnership dispute’ that was eventually resolved.” The details are private, and honestly not that important, but as of about two years ago, Ma officially separated from TAD Gear (the company name officially returned to Triple Aught Design) ready to start PDW.
Born with the same DNA, Ma’s design direction is still recognizable in Prometheus Design Werx – he manufactures high quality gear for adventurers, travelers and warriors. Ma crafts his gear to be functional in any environment, without feeling the need to label it with preconceived notions on how it should be used.
I, along with the rest of my group, coworkers, teammates or however you want to refer to them, have known Patrick for going on ten years. My TAD Gear kit has traveled the world and besides being useful and functional; it has that “Gray Man’ style that I have come to appreciate as I have matured. So when the time came to start looking for a new backpack, PDW was my first stop. I haven’t bought anything from TAD since Patrick’s “divorce”, and I don’t see that changing.
Honestly, I could drone on about how good the PDW S.H.A.D.O. pack looks and functions, but the pictures and specifications speak for themselves. If it comes from Patrick and his team, you know it will work and last and look good doing it.
PDW has just announced that the S.H.A.D.O. Pack 28L and its pouches and accessories will debut in two new colors: OD Green and Wolf Gray. The new colors will be ready for release sometime in late 2016.
The S.H.A.D.O. 28L is a US made, apex, full size, day pack that effectively delivers a ruggedized, streamlined, best in class package designed to perform in a multitude of environments and use cases, both off and on the grid. The unique dual clamshell design allows for full storage access to two compartments, and a high degree of user options to organize EDC items.
- Invista Cordura® 500D
- 330D 90/10 nylon/PU elastane
- 70D oxford
- Nylon mesh
- Multiple density closed cell foam
- YKK #8 reverse coil zippers
- ITW and Duraflex® buckles and hardware
- 550 cord
- Shock cord
- Nylon Hook & Loop
- 28L / 1708 cubic inches
- Height: 21″
- Width (max): 14″
- Width (min): 10″
- Depth: 8″
Even though he lives in one of the most challenging areas of the country to do so, Ma is a shooter at heart. He’s often forced to travel to play with the “good stuff”, but he still finds time to get out his Ruger 10/22s and practice. In fact, he talked quite a lot about the 10/22 – I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s cooking up a few ideas for that iconic platform.
Whether or not I’m walking the street of New York City or on the trails in the Rocky Mountains, I’m reminded of how Ma’s creativity and ingenuity has changed the tactical gear industry in the last 15+ years. From zipper pulls, Velcro identification areas, shoulder pockets and every day carry (EDC) gadgets – it doesn’t matter if Ma was the original designer or not, he definitely had a hand in bringing them into mainstream circulation.
Before Ma created TAD Gear, most people who wanted functional tactical gear for their everyday life look liked they stepped out of the Army surplus store or stocked up on items from the Galls catalog.
Professionally, it’s great to see PDW is making awesome gear right here in the USA. Personally, it’s great to see Patrick and his team doing well and still enjoying being in the industry.
Prometheus Design Werx – http://prometheusdesignwerx.com/