The design challenge


We’ve talked about our design philosophy but when it came to designing the tools and how they combined into the Combar, we needed another set of guiding principles to make more detailed decisions. These guiding principles are more usability focused and came down to 3 key factors:
1. The Combar needed to be able to be comfortably used in one hand
2. We wanted full size tools
3. We wanted tools that people would really use


Our design philosophy

Spade open
When we set out to design the Combar we had a number of principles that would guide development. The Combar needed integrated functionality with rapid activation of each individual tool along with mechanisms to ensure user safety.

The materials used had to be the best available to provide Mil-Spec quality in an optimal yet lightweight and portable package that also had lifetime guarantee. And it had to look and feel good.

Nothing we saw came close

IP Pic

As part of our due diligence in creating our own patents, we had to make sure that we were not infringing on any IP. We went back over 100 years in an extensive sweep and, in the process found many weird and wonderful patents. Turns out many people have had some very interesting (though maybe not pratical) ideas about what a folding tool should be.
The Combar’s mechanisms are unique and we have patented the design and mechanisms worldwide

Engineering challenges


The head is the most complicated piece of engineering in the Combar. With the folding axe and spade; all part of the same mechanism that also is used as the hammer we had the engineering team sweating the details to make it all work.
Our requirements list was pretty extensive. We needed: it to be balanced; compact; durable; aerodynamic (think about swinging the axe); rapid activation of each tool; optimized for weight; and finally, a beautiful design.
We are very proud of what the team has achieved.

The ‘racetrack’


On either side of the Combar head is an oval shape that is part of the titanium spade. This is a design feature we call the racetrack.
Like all good design it is a combination of form and function serving to strengthen and increase rigidity of the spade ‘ears’ where they connect to the head.
Inside the racetrack is the connector which locks the spade to the head and provides for the necessary movement of the spade from locked down to ready for use position

Design evolution


We are really proud of the Combar design. From the first rough idea to the first production model took us nearly 3 years of evolution in partnership with the wonderful folk from Prime Design.
The iconic design is a result of consistent attention to detail; multiple prototypes; careful material selection; production considerations and, of course, testing. It is amazing to look back at the Team’s original thoughts and see how far we have come.

Beating up the Combar



In addition to field testing; we worked with engineers to devise multiple laboratory tests for the construction and materials before moving to full production. First up, we tried to pull the head off the handle. After the Pull Test, we then had the Handle Bend Test and multiple Drop Tests with the tools open and closed. Salt spray for 48 hours was next followed by the sand/mud test to make sure the tools can unfold, fold, and re-lock for all positions – and work normally – after being immersed completely.