The design challenge

combar

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

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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.

The ‘racetrack’

Head

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

The hammer design

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Our logic for the hammer shape was for it to be big enough to easily hammer tent pegs and wooden stakes but small enough to fit comfortably as part of the head of the Combar. The insanely clever design of the Combar head allows the hammer to be used with the shovel folded and locked into place against the Combar.
We then created the pattern on the face of the hammer to allow traction and friction for various fieldwork tasks – like hammering bark to create strips of fiber.

Thoughts on a folding saw and replaceable blade

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A folding saw is a simple idea and so is a replaceable blade. We just refined the concept further and created a compact, lean and mean version that uses standard 6”- 9.45” inch reciprocating saw blades from leading brands such as Makita and Bosch instead of trying to lock users into expensive proprietary blades. This simple and unique update means that communities can choose (and buy at competitive market prices) the best blades for their particular need.Closed, the saw is 10.5″ inches long and depending on the blade you use, 15.55” – 19” when open.

The survival knife

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Our drop point survival knife is built to complement the other Combar tools. We have a saw so didn’t need a serrated edge. With the axe you don’t need the heft to chop so the knife can be kept lean and compact. The knife has an OAL of 9.45 inches and blade length of 4.54 inches. The thickness is 0.145 inches. The 420HC Stainless Steel is hardened to 53-55 HRC and has a stonewashed finish.
The skeletonized handle has thermoplastic scales to make it more comfortable and ergonomic and the sheath has a clip that ingeniously fits inside the skeletonized handle.

Why the spade design

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As with the axe, our deep research as well as personal experience was the basis for the selection of the spade shape which is taken from a gardening template. The spade is 7.08 inches long, dual egded and has a thickness of 0.12 inches.
95% of the time you will not need a full size spade. Common fieldwork tasks that the spade excels at include rain ditches around tents; creating firepits; and digging under the wheel of vehicles stuck in sand.
If you do need a wider form factor; we have also created an extension that slides over the spade (coming soon).