Today, I’m reviewing the Red Journey brand jiu-jitsu gi in the company’s Black Classic. It’s noted on their site that the gi is IBJJF approved and is priced at $99.00.
Upon opening the box and examining the kimono, I noticed the simplicity of the design. With minimal logos on the sleeves and front of pants, this gi gives the owner the ability to customize the look as much as they want without compromising the company’s aesthetic. Some companies prefer to brand their product on multiple levels with patches strewn haphazardly across the front and back of their kimonos – not so with Red Journey. You get a simple and clean design with red embellishments that proves a smart, simple aesthetic can be just as powerful. The jacket has red trim in key areas, while the pants feature a red, 8-loop system with thick rope drawstring, reinforcing that minimalist approach while giving the owner some eye candy. While I am very impressed with the overall look of the gi, I do feel as though the drawstring loops are a little low on the pants and the loops look a little close to the middle for my preference. More on that in the Feel and Fit section.
Examining the gi out of the box, I was surprised at the level of craftsmanship at such a reasonable price point. A few loose threads from the sewing machine were stuck to the inside of the gi, but nothing attached or something that prevents the product from doing its job day in and day out. The jacket is a beautiful pearl weave, seems incredibly durable and weighs in at only 400 gsm. The pants are made of ripstop material and feature a pearl weave gusset where a lot of tearing comes from playing a determined open guard. With reinforced cuffs and triple stitched stress areas, I expect this gi to quickly become a prominent member in my rotation.
I’ve gotten to train in this kimono repeatedly and have to say that it holds up as well or better than any of the more expensive brands. The light weight helps tremendously during the hot nights of training and continues to show its strength and durability.
Feel and Fit:
I’m 5’7”, 170 lbs without the gi and asked for an A1. The company’s web site notes a “Tailored Fit.” Pulling pants and jacket on, it does have a slimmer cut than some other gis I own, without feeling constrictive. I worried about how the cut would play into my submission game during the times I use my own lapel as a weapon – would it be too short or would I feel like I was missing material? Not at all. In fact, outside of the more natural, trim fit of the gi itself, I saw no effect on my jiu-jitsu. Though the gi felt a little rough in hand, it played no factor once it was pulled over my shoulders and I had a chance to sweat in it. The lightweight was great for the hot, summer weather and, unlike some of the other gis I own, I didn’t feel this compulsion to pull the jacket off immediately after a hard night’s training. The jacket and pants are both comfortable and the proper length though I will note that I found the drawstring to be a touch shorter than I’m accustomed to – I normally double-tie my draw strings and ended up with shorter loops than I naturally prefer. However, I noted earlier that I was concerned about the placement of the loops – they actually kept the pants nice and snug and, once tied, the pants felt comfortable from bell to bell.
At shipping, the manufacturer notes a vinegar/water soak is needed to set the colors. As I already do this with new gis, it was no issue. After 12 washes, I’ve also not seen the bold, black colorway fade or run at all. Like any other gi, I wash it in cold water with my other jiu-jitsu laundry, then hang dry in the garage. Because of the tailored fit, I was worried – unnecessarily – about shrink. The gi continues to fit and perform well even after multiple training and washing sessions.
I’m incredibly happy with this gi, especially at the price point. For only $99.00, this kimono holds up well, looks good and is comfortable to wear on a regular basis. If you’re looking for something that has the minimalist in mind, this gi could be right for you. For more information and to get a Red Journey Brand gi of your own, check out http://redjourneybrand.com/