Chris Jones couldn’t wait to join the military. At the first possible chance—he was a JUNIOR in high school—Chris signed up, eventually serving with an artillery unit in the Gulf War. He combined his love of design, fitness, and country into BONKGEAR, the made-in-America apparel brand with a high-tech spin on maintaining peak physical readiness.
Junior enlistment, artillery support, and designing for the CIA.
I was extremely patriotic growing up and my dad and granddad had both been in the Army. I wanted to join as soon as I could and the only way was to enlist into the Reserves in the split option program during my junior year of high school in 1986. I eventually switched to the National Guard, which helped pay for my college education, and my M109 howitzer unit provided general fire support to the French 6th Light Armored Division in Operation Daguet. We also provided fires for 101st Airborne, and 24th Mechanized. After returning home, I graduated college and went to work doing graphic design for the CIA and stayed drilling with that Guard unit for a few years.
The memories I have from the military will last me a lifetime. I loved the brotherhood and the sense of purpose—that feeling of being part of something larger than yourself. I never had closer friends than during those years. The military gave me the drive to accomplish anything that I set my mind to and also gave me structure, order, and accountability.
BONKGEAR: A union of training, design, and patriotism.
OUR SHIRTS ARE 100% MADE IN THE USA. WE COULD’VE GONE WITH CHEAPER PRODUCTION OVERSEAS, BUT IT JUST ISN’T WORTH IT.
I don’t think I’ve gone more than one week without training since 1986. If I don’t exercise, I just don’t feel right. It’s been a passion that I’ve always had with being in shape and doing races. I’ve done countless adventure races, obstacle courses, jeep races, duathlons, mountain bikes, trail running, Crossfit, you name it. I’m a competitive person by nature.
I’ve been an artist since I was young. I’m always building or drawing something. Creativity is part of my daily life, and I combined it with my military experience and my love of fitness to create BONKGEAR. In the first obstacle courses I’d race, I’d always make a custom shirt for our team. People would come up to us all the time and say “Oh my god I love your shirt, where’d you get that?” That’s when I realized I could turn this into a business.
So many people get caught in a rut when they go to the gym. They don’t change up the workout. It’s always important to be doing new things when you work out, it’s the only way to consistently be improving. That’s where the QR code we include on the shirt comes in. We asked ourselves, “How can we directly connect someone with a workout?” The workout that you get when you scan your shirt rotates and changes every day to keep you at the top of your game. We even have an Army Physical Fitness Test shirt which includes Army-specific workouts so soldiers can maintain peak readiness.
That’s also why it’s very important to us that our shirts are 100% made in the USA. We saw a need for homemade apparel, and we wanted to make it known that America is part of this brand. I love this country so much, and offering this apparel to the military fits perfectly into our business model. We could’ve gone with cheaper production overseas, but it just isn’t worth it.
Our company is small and flexible, and we have tons of fun around the office. We usually run two or three obstacle courses a year with our family and friends, and everyone always give it their all. My favorite quote is “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Going on 24 years now and I still love it.
Now you know the mission and the motivation behind one of GovX's NEWEST brands! Head over to BONKGEAR and browse their full collection.