At Warfighter Athletic, when we move, we move quick.
It wasn't long ago I first briefed you all on OPERATION TOA and our mission to create uncompromising high performance gear for the modern day warrior athlete.
What is different about the warrior athlete?
Regular athletes, like most people, train to increase their performance in the gym or in sport.
The warrior athlete trains to excel in the combative arena and in the arena of life.
Life happens beyond the four walls of the gym, it happens out in the real world.
In the real world, the terrain, temperature and challenge may vary, we have no control over it.
But one thing we will always have control over is our performance.
The performance of our mind, bodies and equipment are the variables in which we can control and should place our focus.
Therefore we must train smart, train hard and equip ourselves with battle ready gear.
We haven't wasted any time putting together concepts for truly high performance gear that is light weight, extremely durable and functional without fault.
With over a decade of experience in the infantry, special operations and using gear in the most adverse and extreme environments, we have saved a substantial amount of time during the design process.
Why? Because I am not a marketer or a sales man like so many other companies out there, I am the end user and I know exactly what is needed for people like us, people who live life to the fullest, challenging ourselves to go a little further, to go where others won't go.
It is with excitement I can tell you that Phase 1 is complete.
Let's dive into what we have accomplished!
THE SEARCH FOR A WORLD CLASS DESIGNER
Do you know where to find one? I didn't either, but that was my intent and that is what I achieved.
With the help of David Wood, CEO of Virtus Outdoor Group, we found a designer who had a portfolio that would make most people just a little bit excited.
Upon introduction, we received his portfolio that was based on previous design work completed, it was a buffet of high profile brands ranging from Under Armour, Champion, and Oakley all the way up to Porsche.
To say we were excited is a understatement.
World class designer, check.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
What started out as a detailed word brief quickly turned into a digital design deck that brought my ideas into reality, it was an extremely rewarding process.
Our designer is extremely talented, so the credit lays with him.
The first stage consisted of creating an extremely specific design brief, no detail too small, no idea not worth mentioning.
With years of experience as a end user of high performance gear, I knew exactly what I wanted to create, how it needed to perform and how it should look, feel and function in the most adverse conditions.
During the process I also drew upon my experiences of operating in extreme weather conditions and terrain, equipped with average gear, this helped greatly when it came to selecting the materials we chose, as I know first hand what it is like when you get it wrong.
Gear is a lifeline, never forget that.
After a design brief and few zoom calls later, our designer submitted the first concepts along with a large range of materials for us to chose from.
Never have I felt, rubbed, pulled, wet and looked at material for such an extended period of time.
Each material had it's own unique properties and qualities which define how it will perform and function and to what level, for example nylon vs polyester, durable water repellent, 4 way stretch, 2 way stretch, quick dry, moisture wicking, temperature regulation, water proof, wind proof, breath-ability and the list goes on.
This was an eye opening experience!
You see big brands will buy these technical materials and claim the technology is one of their proprietary blends that they developed.....they didn't.
I promise you, we will never try to pull the wool like these companies.
Have we found some amazing technical fabrics? Yes!
Are they ours? No!
Will we use them? You bet!
More on that later!
It is at this stage where we spent hours on zoom going over each design down to the smallest detail of each garment. The pursuit of excellence in effect!
During this process I also sent the design deck off to special forces operators and endurance hunters, requesting harsh criticism and feed back, this is the only way to create truly world class gear.
After many hours, days and weeks spent critiquing the designs, weighing up the pros and cons of each fabric, I compiled the feedback and sent it off to be applied to the design deck.
From here our designer went back to work upgrading each design, making sure it fell in line with our core goals, uncompromising quality and performance, light weight and extremely durable.
After one last round of improvements, we now have a full design deck and selected materials ready to go.
We are officially moving to the prototype stage!
This is just the beginning, very soon we will have our hands on real life garments to ruthlessly check and critique the fit, feel and function of each garment before moving into testing and evaluation.
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
As an end user, the product development phase is what I am most excited about.
It involves us taking each garment out into the real world, pushing it to the limit, trying to find any design flaws or construction weaknesses.
During the product development and testing and evaluation phase, we will be using a range of demanding and challenging terrains across New Zealand.
We will test it through demanding workouts on the gym floor, moving into the wet and windy ranges of the North Island and down to one of the most extreme environments on the planet, the southern alps in the South Island of New Zealand.
Our test team is made up of past and present SOF operators and elite endurance hunters, if there is one thing you can rely on, it is that our gear will be tested to the most extreme level, we will not cut any corners.
We are creating gear for YOU, the warrior athlete and we know you cannot afford to compromise on your performance.
Stay tuned for the next blog which will go into detail on the materials we picked, their technical features and how they will enhance your performance!