Veteran David Wood found himself going through gear faster than a full auto goes through rounds. Frustrated, he took matters into his own hands. Stir in decades of military experience, a passion for all things gear, and an insatiable desire to jump off cliffs, and the result is Virtus.
Some brands are made. Others are manufactured. Virtus is neither.
Virtus is forged.
The veteran-owned company lets outdoorsmen and extreme athletes alike get their hands on combat-forged gear unlike any other on the market. Not only is all gear put through its paces by the military community, gear is fortified on a molecular level through the use of Virtech, the brand’s patented fabric. This is gear that’s built to last a lifetime.
Veterans, extreme athletes, outdoorsmen looking to cut the shackles and find their wings should look for Virtus’ trademark flying eagle insignia.
Launching and distributing Virtus in the United States is, TacticalSix, an organization driven by the desire to provide the most reliable tactical gear and apparel to facilitate triumph under any circumstance. Like Virtus, TacticalSix is owned and operated by veterans that constantly strive to produce and curate field-tested gear of the highest standards for special forces operators, professional sportsmen and world class veterans.
So, without further adieu, we’re sitting down for a chat with Marine Corps veteran, CEO of the Virtus, and all-around badass, David Wood, who’s going to be telling us exactly what makes Virtus so special.
What is Virtus?
“Virtus is Latin for warrior virtues, virtues of honor, courage, commitment. As a veteran, Virtus to me, is more than a clothing or athletic brand, it is a brand for warriors. I've been in the textile game along enough to have seen how clothing is really produced. It’s often a designer based in the States outsourcing to middlemen in Asia without ever getting on the ground and testing anything. They normally never see the factory or even conducting quality control inspections.
To us, the integrity of Virtus is our integrity as veterans, and as warriors. When we put our stamp on it, this brand became our honor.”
Why did you start Virtus?
“I have been experimenting with tactical gear since 1999, ever since I joined the Marines. In the military, there's just a need for good gear. You get mass-produced military gear, but it's really only the specialized units that get to use Oakley Tactical, FirstSpear, Patagonia, brands like this.
Being an extreme athlete and an outdoorsman, there was a longing to have gear that was made and designed like brands like Patagonia, but was available to those of us in the military. At the end of the day, all we military guys are, are extreme athletes. We're do everything extreme athletes do, and we do it getting shot at, and often without the support of the great gear that other outdoorsmen have.”
When you buy Virtus, what are you buying?
“When you buy Virtus, you’re buying adventure. With Virtus you have direct access to the people designing it, raising the cash flow for it, the people who own the company, and test the gear. When you buy Virtus, you’re supporting them and the rest of the veteran community along with them.
Virtus is not a traditional clothing company. It's not a traditional product, we don’t have a traditional marketing strategy. We don't want to be a company that's based on trying to get celebrities to wear our gear to validate it. We're not paying sponsors.
We're not making this for you to go to your soccer game in. We're not making this for soccer moms. We're not making this for you to go to the mall and play on your smartphone for. We're not trying to make you look sexy in the gear.
We want you to aspire to be brave. We want you to wear the gear, and be your own hero and to meet your fears and to cross them. We want you to join in and be part of it with us.”
What is the Virtech fabric and how is it different from other technical fabrics?
“We created Virtech fabrics for Virtus Outdoors so that we can license our technical fabric to other brands and collaborate on new lines.
The treatments we put on our athletic gear — waterproofing, insect repellent, sunscreen, whatever it is — it’s completely customizable to match the adventure. And, unlike other technical fabrics, which only have sprayed-on treatments, and they seldomly last longer than a few washes.
Our fabrics are fortified with the treatments at the molecular level, so they last a lifetime.”
The Virtus camo looks unlike any other camo I’ve seen, apart from it’s appearance, how does it differ from traditional camo?
“We layered our eagle-logo to create our signature camo. If you take it to a yardage test, the eagle head disappears after about 30 yards. There are several different layers in the digital camo. If you look at a stationary camo, like Mossy Oak, or Mothwing or MultiCam, they’re meant for someone who is stationary. Soldiers, Marines, operators, hunters, outdoorsmen, we're moving around. A digital pattern like ours confuses the brain, and prevents it from processing what the object is; it just sees a digital pattern moving.”
Tell us a little about how the testing shaped the final product.
“Well, just to put it in perspective, we're on the fourth generation of all of our gear. I brought in my two experts, Tristan and Tomlo, because my generation ones that I thought were perfect, I had only tested myself. All the bells and whistles change when an operator or a CrossFit athlete is using it. We’ve spent 36 months on testing, development, and then modifying the gear through rigorous R&D from each branch of the US military elite units as well as mountaineers, climbers, and extreme athletes.
I praise our R&D integrity because we waited until every i had been dotted and every t had been crossed before we pulled the trigger on mass production.
Part of our story and the authenticity of our story has been through sharing our testing process; we've shown people our slip ups. I don't pride myself in knowing everything. I want people's feedback. Our whole testing process has been to perfect this and that's not going to change after we launch this first line.”
You’ve built a tremendous social media following, how important is that community?
“Instagram's been amazing. I will say as a veteran, and having a veteran-owned and operated company, it's a brotherhood. There's love and comradery in soldiers, in Marines, and in sailors. We don't really care about your background or your politics at all if you're down to get down.”
How can veterans and athletes become a part of the Virtus community?
“Any veteran that wants to wear our gear is going to get a discount out the door. They’ve proved their courage already. If you’re an athlete, just send us a video of what you're doing. We're not going to send you a bunch of free stuff to go ice skating in. But, if you're skydiving, if you're doing extreme kayaking, if you're doing extreme mountain biking, send us your videos. We'll send you some gear, and we'll promote you!”