This is a review of the Datsusara Hemp Combat Gi, which is a gi that I'm really enjoying and I'm excited to bring you a bit of first-hand information on it to help with your decisions. Watch this video and then read below for a full review.
With all of my product reviews I'll be discussing:
1. Overall what makes this product appealing, as-in why have we chosen it for Grapplers House?
2. First impressions when receiving the product.
3. How does it look?
4. How does it feel on the body?
5. How does it perform in a training or rolling situation?
7. Sustainability and Environmental Friendliness
9. Overall Summary and our Recommendation
What makes it most appealing?
It's the HEMP! The choice for this Kimono to be constructed in Hemp is what makes it perform in all of the categories discussed in this review. It's sustainability is second-to-none, combined with the unique feel on your body before, during and after rolls.
This Gi looks nice, it's a very no-bullshit look. We immediately notice it's definite soft feel, a bit of a different feel to what you might be used to with a standard cotton gi. It's absolutely a pleasant and natural feel. This gi is a bit heavier, but let's see how that affects performance in training. The natural white colour is more beige and if nothing else that gives the kimono a beautiful, natural impression, almost a bit of an antique vibe, which we love. The initial impression of the fit was that it came a bit baggy, particularly in the jacket....but stay tuned, I'll address that a bit more in this review. Of course, the same gi is made for both genders. See these links for the Hemp Combat Gi for Men, and Hemp Combat Gi for Women.
How does it look?
It looks really good. Especially once you get the gi down to your preferred fit. It arrived a bit baggy at first and took me four cycles through the washer and dryer but now it's feeling and looking perfect for me. The gi has a fairly understated and traditional look but the small logo patches and embroideries are tastefully placed so the hemp texture really gets to stand out as the hero of the gi. Absolutely perfect for those of us who prefer not to be covered in loud patches.
The natural white colour is more beige than the crisp white gis you might be used to, which actually looks awesome against coloured belts, less than perfect against a crisp white belt but I'm getting used to that quickly. This gi does also come in both blue and black.
How does it feel on the body?
The hemp feels incredibly soft on the skin. It's interesting how soft and luxurious it feels considering it's 4x stronger than conventional cotton. You can definitely feel the gi is a bit heavier than the modern cotton competition weight gis when you put it on, no question there. But this does NOT translate into a super hot gi that's unbearable to train in. The weave of the hemp is actually a bit more open than the typical cotton gis and so it breathes really well rather than sealing in all the juices. I've been training in this gi many times now in the most hot and humid times of this Queensland summer and overall it hasn't bothered me any more than any other gi.
Performance in training/rolling?
As I mentioned the relative heaviness of the gi is not a problem. The cut of this gi is also not restrictive at all. Completely unnoticeable. The hemp kimono also keeps well-composed under your belt and doesn't have you constantly adjusting (well, not more than any conventional gi). In fact, the only other comment I have on the performance of this gi in rolls has come from a training partner who mentioned how nice it feels on his grips on my sleeves. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. If you're one of those who likes to inflict gi-burn on your partner's face this one isn't for you.
This hemp fabric being 4x stronger than cotton should see the gi through many times more rolls than a conventional cotton gi. Hemp is no more affected by going though the wash than any other fibre so it's not expected to have issues with breaking down under your normal hygiene routine. The gi is constructed with heavy-duty stitching and reinforcements in all of the right places of friction and tension like the knees and across the shoulders and neck to support the collar. In the first few wash cycles you may notice what is called "hemp-shedding", which is some of the finer fibres at the surface of the hemp fabric loosening off the gi post-manufacture. I understand this is completely expected and is not an issue for concern. A major plus for hemp products is their anti-microbial properties, which are always beneficial in jiu jitsu to keep away bacteria and mould from sweat and well, each other. Look here for more Datsusara anti-microbial hemp products for BJJ.
Of course being hemp, lasting longer and not needed to buy another gi is the biggest contributor to higher sustainability so this gi scores really well for that reason. But also the hemp fibre itself sits as one of, if not the least environmentally harmful fibres due to its extremely low requirements for energy and water in farming, extremely quick growth, as well as its lack of need for herbicides or pesticides. Read here for a deeper look into hemp gear and its benefits for jiu jitsu.
For it's quality and durability the Datsusara Hemp Combat gi is appropriately priced at $265 Australian dollars. This really is a piece you buy to serve you for a long time in your jiu jitsu career. We may find that as hemp farming becomes even more widespread the costs of the fabric will decrease and allow for even more cost-effective hemp jiu jitsu gear.
Overall summary and recommendation?
Overall this gi is a great purchase. It's one of those gis you're happy to spend a bit more money on as the quality and attention to detail is there from Datsusara, as with all of their hemp products. It looks great, it feels fantastic in training, and it should last a really long time. It's not too hot, although I look forward to trying this gi in the winter months, Not sure what else you could hope for.
Thanks for sitting in at Grapplers House. I'm looking forward to bringing you our reviews of more products.