Jake Starr always enjoyed making his own gear by hand. He worked with leather and fashioned gear that included backpacking hammocks. After joining the Louisville fire department, Jake’s need to create handmade goods would not go extinguished. A few years ago his department was getting ready to replace older hoses. He asked his Chief if he could take some of the discarded hoses to create iPad sleeves and explore other ideas. Jake didn’t realize how good this material would be until he began to work with it. After working long shifts at the Firehouse he would head home and put in work from behind a sewing machine. From the time he started with his first project to his recent project, Jake always set out to create high quality products. Now with hundreds of prototypes behind him and achieving a balance between minimalism and durability his latest creations bare the name Recycled Fire Fighter. His most popular product is a wallet made from retired fire hoses. From saving lives and protecting property to housing your daily personal items, each wallet is handmade using repurposed fire hose.
We got a chance to learn more about Jake and the Recycled Firefighter.
How do you find balance between being a firefighter and making your own gear?
After working 48-72 hours at the fire house a week I also would put in another 40 hours behind the sewing machine. I make my family a priority and take breaks when the work load gets too stressful.
What has been the biggest challenge with starting Recycled Fire Fighter?
It’s been a priority for me from the very beginning to make high quality products. I designed and prototyped hundreds of wallets before I fine tuned my current wallet lineup. Finding the perfect blend of minimalist design and durability all while using repurposed fire hose has been a huge challenge.
What was the defining moment that lead you to create products out of recycled materials?
A few years ago my fire house was throwing out some old rubber fire hose. I got permission from the chief to dig it out of the garbage and I used it to make iPad sleeves. I had been handling fire hose at work for years but until I created something out of it with my own hands I had no idea how amazing this stuff is.
What are some things we can hope to see in the future coming out from RFF?
I’m fortunate here in Louisville that one of the main suppliers of military boot leather is just down the street. I’ve started developing a wallet made from the rejected leather hides that have brands or scars. This leather is waterproof, fireproof and makes for amazing wallets.
For a limited time, you can get The Sergeant in yellow/Multicam when you spend $125.00 on 5.11tactical.com. Each wallet is made from highly durable repurposed polyester fire hose. This material has been washed and recycled from the local fire departments after being used anywhere from 10-20yrs. This highly durable, highly resilient woven polyester fabric makes for awesome wallets! Although not fire proof, these wallets are surely more durable than the average wallet.
-Made from highly durable repurposed polyester fire hose
-Sewn with T-90 nylon thread
-Edged with 1″ Mil-Spec Nylon Ribbon
-Slim yet durable
-Holds up to 8 cards, depending on the unique nature of each product
-1.5″ Mil-Spec Elastic Cash Strap (cash folded into thirds)
Use the promo code: FIRE at check out.