Now that I’ve got my no-gi gear out of the way with the reviews of Rupture’s Signature Fight Shorts and Kikskin’s grappling leggings, let’s switch over to gi.
The guys at Kauai Kimonos sent me a Royal Blue Ripstop BJJ gi and I’ve been using it for much of the past year. Here’s my review.
Like with all gear, the most important factors to consider are durability and if it delivers what it promises. Here Kauai wins with tiger blood and Adonis DNA. This gi hasn’t torn, frayed, faded, shrunk or gotten a stinky “funk” like other brands have. They guarantee it will never rip or they’re replace it if it does. It is super lightweight so it stays cool in the summer (I train in Florida in a warehouse without A/C so that’s important) and it dries off quickly.
To be balanced, I will answer “So who wouldn’t like this gi?” That comes down to personal preference. Some people want to feel like they’re wearing Kevlar armor like HCK double weave judo gi. Some people like a luxurious gi with little bonuses like built-in kneepads and softer cotton fabric like a Shoyoroll. If you’re used to gold or platinum (or whatever precious metal they are naming it after now) weave, you may feel a little naked in just ripstop fabric. It took me a little to get used to the feel after wearing thicker gis like Gameness and Shoyoroll, but now I prefer it.
Another hitch is their questionable legality in competition. Here’s what they had to say about it:
Our ripstop gi pants are definitely legal, but the jacket is unfortunately not allowed for IBJJF comps. Other organizations may vary. We’ve had a ton of reports of people competing in their ripstop gi’s all over the world. Most recently NAGA and Gracie Nationals.
So that’s a bummer, but if you plan on wearing it to your academy most of the time then it’s not a deal breaker.
Despite any of those issues, my Kauai kimono is my favorite gi based on its durability and comfort when training gets hot, beating out even Shoyoroll (which is a great gi in itself.) Contact the Kauai Kimonos guys when you need your next gi.
- Super lightweight.
- Super durable.
- Perfect for travel. (Christian Graugart is wearing one around the world!)
- Maybe too lightweight if you have a preference.
- Not IBJJF tournament legal.