Monday, December 24, 2012

Storm Kimonos Typhoon Gi Review



It's been a while since I've done a gi review so what better time than right before Christmas?  I wanted to review a gi that doesn't get a lot of attention on other gi review sites which brought me to Storm Kimonos.  Storm Kimonos was originally established in 1996 so they are not new to the BJJ scene but may be new to some grapplers today.  I first became aware of Storm Kimonos earlier this year due to their affiliation with the Mendes Brothers and Andre Galvao who all  have been sporting these sharp gi's over the last year.

Design
Over all the design of the Typhoon is pretty standard fare.  There is no contrast stitching present which has almost become the industry standard over the last couple of years.  The only flare on this gi are the two large patches prominently placed on the jacket.  I do like the Storm patch that runs vertically along the lapel.  That said I could do without the equally large (matching) patch on the sleeve.  I like what they were trying to accomplish by breaking away from the standard patch placement but feel the design of this patch could have been smaller or different all together.  The red taping on the inside of the jacket accents the gi very well.  There is a smaller version of these patches placed near the waistline of the pants but cannot be seen while the jacket is being worn.  There are two additional embroidered lightning bolts on the front and back pant legs along with one placed behind the collar on the jacket.  The embroidery is clean and adds a nice touch.

Size         Weight          Height
A1         110-140lbs     5'2-5'5"              50-63kg         158-168cm
A2         140-175         5'5"-5'9"             63-79            168-180
A3         175-210         5'9"-6'1"             79-95            180-186
A4         210-250         6'1"-6'4"             95-113           186-195

Construction
The Typhoon kimono is basically the entry level model by Storm.  The jacket features 550 gsm Golden Jacquard Weave Fabric (100% cotton) and the pants are 340 gsm (100% cotton twill).  The gi boasts to have been pre-shrunk and anti-odor due to an anti-microbial treatment.

The quality of construction on this gi is very good.  The weave on the jacket is very nice and unlike other gi's I have owned.  I cannot find any real complaints with the stitching at all.  There are no runners or sloppy work here.  The stitching isn't compromised, no loose threads, or problems with the stitching on the patches.  The gi pants feature a traditional flat drawstring with just two loops.  I would have liked to see at least two more loops and the drawstring could be a bit longer but nothing that adversely affects tying the pants.  The pants feature nice, thick knee pads that provide cushion and should lengthen the lifespan of the trousers.  Both the jacket and pants feature pockets for items like a mouth guard.  The pocket in the jacket has a Velcro enclosure which is a bit awkward to access.  I could see placing something like an ID, credit card, etc. in this pocket since it seems so secure but not something I'd regularly want to access frequently.  The pants have a more standard pocket but the practicality for storing a mouth guard on a short term basis seems a bit laborious to get in and out of either for the jacket or pants.  The skirt of the jacket is much longer than what I'm accustomed to.  More on that later.

The gi itself (pants and jacket) are made of 100% cotton and seem quite soft. I imagine if the gi is treated with fabric softener it will become even softer after multiple trips through the washer and dryer. The collar is both thick and sturdy.  I assume it is a rubberized collar but their website doesn't state the material used.  The A1 gi that I have used for this review weighs right at 4 pounds.





The gi claims to have been treated with an anti-microbial process.  While this seems like a good idea I do have to question how effective it is over the long term life of the gi.  A quick search on the web for anti-microbial treated textiles recommends that washing should be done in cool water and tumble dried on low.  The use of bleach or products containing chlorine can ruin the treatment in the fabric.  These are all basic things most people try to avoid with their gi's but might be useful for some that like to periodically use bleach or intentionally try and shrink their kimonos.  So be aware that you could adversely affect the longevity of the anti-microbial process integrated into the fabric.





Fit
Let me preface this by saying that I am 5'7" and 150lbs.  When I originally ordered this gi I selected an A2 using their basic sizing chart.  They do provide actual measurements of each gi on Budovideos and in hindsight wish I had checked my own measurements.  As luck would have it the A2 was way too big.  I compared the measurements of the A1 & A2 and decided to give the smaller size a shot.  That being said I cannot stress the importance of having your own measurements taken and keeping them handy when ordering a gi.  Some manufacturers provide this information for their gi's and knowing your own measurements can save you the time and hassle of returns.  After receiving the A1 I found it to be a bit bulky.  Nothing alarming and to be expected to some degree when trying out a new brand.  The top has a very strange cut in a couple areas.  The jacket is unusually long making the skirt to be about an inch longer than most gi's that I currently own.  I have found the fit of the jacket in the upper torso area to be excessively bulky.  Laying the jacket flat is somewhat revealing and may explain why it fits in this manner.  The sleeves appear to be tapered in a slight, downward sloping manner.  None of the other gi's in my inventory are cut like this.  I feel like this gi doesn't match my body type well and may be more suited to someone with a bigger torso.  The fit of the pants seem very well unlike the jacket.



Here you can see how the jacket isn't
tailored particularly well for my body type.

Collar thickness comparisons
Measurements
Please keep in mind that the measurements taken here were after washing the gi's a few times.  There has most likely been some shrinkage since I did use warm water and ran it through the dryer.



Rolling Impressions
This is where things get complicated.  The awkward fit of the jacket really showed up while training.  I found that the jacket was almost always in my way.  It seemed like the lapels wanted to open up and I was struggling to readjust the gi top by pulling down on the skirt and lapels.  It's difficult to describe as I haven't experienced this with other gi's.  When first putting the gi on it feels really good but once training starts it just feels like more of an obstruction.  At times the collar did manage to get pulled up over my head while stuck in bad positions such as north-south.  The sleeves unfortunately seem a bit long as well.  I would prefer the sleeves and cuffs to be a bit more tailored.  As training sessions wore on the sleeves felt longer and longer making them easy to manipulate by training partners.  Again the pants seemed to fit very well and I had no problem with them while training.  The padding in the knees is definitely appreciated and better than average.

I have washed this gi twice now in warm water and tumble dry with medium to high heat with the intention of shrinking it.  While it has shrunk some I'm not sure that a lot can be done to make this one smaller.  Their advertised "pre-shrunk" process is pretty true to form.

Closing Thoughts
I hate to sound harsh in this review.  I think that the design and construction of the gi is excellent and one of the best I have owned from that standpoint.  I also find this gi to be one of the more comfortable that I've reviewed.  Storm Kimonos has definitely built a solid gi for everyday training or competition.  Unfortunately the fit just isn't suited for my body type.  I do feel that this is a gi that many others can appreciate.

http://www.stormkimonos.com/