I do a lot of traveling for work and was looking for a light-weight, quick drying gi that I could bring with me in a carry-on (this is the same gi that Christian over at Globetrotter
is using) In addition, temperatures here can get well into the 90s with high humidity so having an ultra-light gi will be nice during the summer months.
The Kauai Kimono is all ripstop material (pants and top), making it by far the lightest and coolest gi I have ever owned (and probably the lightest on the market), albeit non-IBJJF legal. This is a beautiful gi with slightly contrasting stitching (at least in blue) and by far the best stitching quality I have ever seen in a gi. The material is amazingly strong and doesn’t stretch at all, and is very, very soft and comfortable to wear. Kauai Kimonos runs their gis in batches and sell out quickly, so they are difficult to get, and it can take some time to get a response after submitting an inquiry. The gi sells for $155.
My only minor issues are with collar and cut, which I’ll get to down below. Still, if you travel a lot or need a good training gi for hot humid days, or just simply can’t wait long for your gi to dry, I would definitely recommend this gi.
Both the top and bottom are made out of ripstop material. This makes the gi incredibly light, even when soaking wet. Right out of the washer the gi weighs about 2.5 lbs (that’s the top AND bottom), and dry it weighs about 2 lbs (although my scale can be off by about half a pound… and the Kauai website says that it weighs closer to 1 lb, so I might be off). The material doesn’t stretch at all, is VERY quick to dry (15 – 30 minutes air drying), and is very cool and comfortable (almost rash-guard like). It’s so thin and water evaporates so fast that when the gi gets wet I actually was getting cooled down when moving around. Because of how light it is I feel almost like I am rolling no-gi – the gi doesn’t hinder my movement in the slightest, and no-gi style chokes (RNC, Darce, etc) are noticeable easier to hit.
For a comparison, I’m holding a quarter at the sleeve end of the sleeve. This gi is retarded thin.
Right out of the bag the gi fit me perfectly (for reference, I’m 5’11 and 160 lbs) – no shrinking was required. The gi definitely seems to be cut with thinner builds in mind. The cuffs are pretty tight, so if you go for a lot of Ezekiel’s you might have difficultly in this gi. I do, unfortunately, have one minor gripe with the top: if you look at the lapels they angle up – that’s because the lapels seem to have been cut a bit short and the skirt only forms a straight line when the lapels are almost parallel with each other. This means the lapels do come out pretty easily.
I also have one minor issue with the pants. Unlike many other gis, the back of the pants do not raise up higher than the front – which means they don’t always cover your ass. Anyone who has seen Tony Pacenski’s Sao Paulo Guard Passing DVD
(highly recommended!) knows what I’m talking about.
I’m hoping they update the cut a bit on future versions.