I was selected to do a gi review for the very popular Bamboo Frenzy kimono. After having favorable experiences with Submission FC’s hemp shirts, I was pumped to try out their new gi, beat it up a little, wash it using my process, and see how it holds up. It’s been a while since I had a new gi, since I keep all of mine in very good condition. Also, I am not a gi hoarder (not that there’s anything wrong with that, relax). Right off the bat, the first thing that stood out to me was the lightweightness (my blog, I can make up words if I want to =P) of the gi.
Ecological Reasons for Using Bamboo as a Raw Material for Gis
(If You Don’t Care Skip to the Review)
Bamboo has many advantages over cotton as a raw material for textiles. Reaching up to 115 feet tall, bamboo is the largest member of the grass family. They are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. About 40 million hectares (bet you didn’t know what a hectare was) of the earth is covered with bamboo, mostly in Asia. The high growth rate of bamboo in addition to the fact that bamboo can grow in diverse climates makes the bamboo plant a sustainable and versatile resource.
Once a new shoot emerges from the ground, the new cane will reach its full height in just 8–10 weeks. Each cane reaches maturity in 3–5 years. Bamboo can be continually re-harvested with no damage to the surrounding environment. It is a grass and so regenerates after being cut just like a lawn without the need for replanting.
Yield and land use
Land use is of global importance as the world’s seven billion people compete for water (*cough* California *cough*), food, clothing, and shelter. Sustainable land use practices provide both economic and environmental advantages. Bamboo can be used as food, clothing and shelter and due to its ease of growth and extraordinary growth rate it is a cheap, sustainable and efficient crop. Bamboo grows very densely, its clumping nature enables a lot of it to be grown in a comparatively small area, easing pressure on land use.
Growing forests absorb CO2 but deforestation results in fewer trees to soak up rising levels of CO2. Bamboo minimises CO2 and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. One hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tons of carbon dioxide per year while one hectare of young forest only sequesters 15 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Bamboo planting can slow deforestation, providing an alternative source of timber for the construction industry and cellulose fibre for the textile industry. It allows communities to turn away from the destruction of their native forests and to construct commercial bamboo plantations that can be selectively harvested annually without the destruction of the grove. Tree plantations have to be chopped down and terminated at harvest but bamboo keeps on growing. When a bamboo cane is cut down, it will produce another shoot and is ready for harvest again in as little as one year. Compare this to cotton – harvesting organic cotton requires the destruction of the entire crop causing bare soils to bake in the sun and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Very little bamboo is irrigated and there is sound evidence that the water-use efficiency of bamboo is twice that of trees. This makes bamboo more able to handle harsh weather conditions such as drought, flood and high temperatures. Compare bamboo to cotton which is a thirsty crop – it can take up to 20,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton and 73% of the global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land, some estimates indicate that cotton is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities.
As a natural product derived entirely from plant cellulose, bamboo fibre is biodegradable in soil by micro organisms and sunlight. Having reached the end of its useful life, clothing made from bamboo can be composted and disposed of in an organic and environmentally friendly manner.
Pesticides and fertilizers
A huge benefit of using bamboo as the organic base for textile fibers is that there is no need for pesticides or fertilizers when growing bamboo. Bamboo also contains a substance called bamboo-kun – an antimicrobial agent that gives the plant a natural resistance to pest and fungi infestation, though some pathogen problems do still exist in some bamboo plantations.
By contrast, only 2.4% of the world’s arable land is planted with cotton, yet cotton accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of the sale of global pesticides. Many of these pesticides are hazardous and toxic.
The Submission FC Bamboo Frenzy Gi Review
The Submission FC gi is the most comfortable and softest gi I have ever worn. Although, it should be noted that, I have never bought gis specifically looking for a soft feel, I now see the allure after training with this gi. I guess you’d better put out some comfortable stuff if your motto is going to be, “Real. Comfortable. Jiu-Jitsu Gear.”
As you guys know, I am a fan of minimalist design in bjj gear. Speaking of which, a reader once asked me, “If you like minimal design so much, why don’t you just buy something plain with nothing on it at all?” Well, it’s not the same. A minimal design does have elements in place. Although there may be a lot of negative space, that part is there intentionally. The negative space coincides with the design in order to draw contrast and make the design pop more. It’s about making creative decisions and prioritizing. Plain nothingness is the absence of making a choice.
The design of the Bamboo Frenzy kimono made some very intentional design choices. To start off, this is the first gi I have seen that has its own logo:
The logo features the words, “Bamboo Frenzy” styled in a bamboo log font. The logo is high contrast between an earthy brown and a bright green color.
This logo is embroidered in strategic parts around the all white gi. There are no “patches” in the typical sense we are used to with gis, on the bamboo frenzy gi. The only disruption of the white fabric is the aforementioned strategically placed logo.
The Bamboo Frenzy goes for about $170.00 in american dollars.
Here are the weights for the Bamboo Frenzy, depending on your size:
- A0: 2lbs – 12ozs
- A1: 3lbs – 0ozs
- A2: 3lbs – 6ozs
- A3: 3lbs – 12ozs
- A4: 4lbs – 1ozs
- A5: 4lbs – 5ozs
This gi is made out of:
- Cotton: 62.6%
- Rayon (bamboo): 29.6%
- Polyester: 7.8%
The Gi is not preshrunk, and the gi top is quite long and baggy out of the bag.
However, that turned out to be a pleasant surprise, because the top shrank beautifully after the first wash. The pants were short straight out of the bag, but they did not shrink at all. So, you can pretty much count on the pants fitting nearly the same out of the bag as well as after you wash them as long as you don’t machine dry them.
— Ruben Avila (@RubenEAvila) March 10, 2015
The pants are 10 oz and come with a very nicely executed brown rope drawstring. If you looking for comfort, the Bamboo Frenzy is worth considering. I have never cared about my gi being soft, until I got this gi. Now, I understand why companies are starting to put out gis that are “comfortable.” It does make a difference.
The bamboo frenzy has become my favorite training gi, and it is getting the preferential treatment in the gi rotation.
Other good reviews on the Bamboo Frenzy Gi to read:
Bamboo Frenzy Gi169.99
Pros (why you should buy this)
- - Soft Feel to Skin
- - Earth Tones Design
- - Gi Dries Quickly
- - Pants Rope String Well Constructed
- - IBJJF Approved
Cons (what may make you reconsider)
- - Pants Cut A Little Short
- - Higher Price Point
- - Not Predominantly Made From Bamboo