18 Jul 2012

Gi Review: Inverted Gear, Panda Gi

Cute branding help this gi model stand out above the crowd. Superb construction, copious additions and attention to details help make this gi an impressive debut offering from Inverted Gear. The A1s in-between size however was probably a touch too big for me.

I first spotted the panda graphic on Facebook a few months back and was curious to find out more. Something about it immediately appealed - the cuddly but inexpressive panda playfully inverting itself in readiness for upside-downy-jiu jitsu is a brilliant mascot...my only wish was that I should have thought of it myself!

I also like the mission statement on the website, "We are not for the tough guys."
But does a 'soft guy' image mean the gi would be soft and limp?

Size, Weight and other Stats

Size in centimetres, first figure new, second after three 40 degree washes, air dried.
A: 171 / 170
B: 74 / 73
C: 56 / 56
D: 16 / 16
E: 101 / 99
F: 52 / 50
G: 21/20
Jacket weight: 1.1Kg
Trouser weight: 0.6Kg

Compared to even the biggest of A1 gis from other brands, the sleeve wingspan of the A1s is very long. The other in-betweeny sizes I have reviewed, Shoyoroll Count and Bull Terrier New Star (162cm and 157cm respectively) are much shorter by a magnitude. The trouser lengths are much more in line with what I expect a model in between A1 and A2 to be. The very minimal shrinkage was impressive! Weighing in at a total of 1.7Kg, it's not too heavy either.

The Inverted Gear Panda gi jacket is made from pearlweave cotton fabric. Listed at 550gsm in weight, it's a sturdy piece of cloth designed for everyday training, rather than weight cutting tournament use.

As the 550gsm would indicate, the fabric feels 'weighty' and durable but not necessarily heavy. The collar (below) is the standard foam core covered by ripstop cotton.

The inverted panda graphic is embroidered directly onto the upper sleeves. It's very eye-catching despite being quite small.

The panda graphic is further repeated on the tape used to line the inside of the cuffs. In fact the cuffs are reinforced with the panda tape PLUS a layer of ripstop material. It's an impressively sturdy design and I very much doubt this portion of the gi will suffer wear and tear compared to brands without reinforcing tape. Happily, the woven panda tape is tucked over so no scratchy edges - something I have found to be incredibly annoying (and cheap) with other gis.

More ripstop material is used to cover the side vents plus, as you can see below, more panda branded tape reinforces the lower jacket hem.

Inverted Gear's size charts reflect the increasingly popular trend for gear companies to offer in between sizes. My sample was the A1S - bigger than an A1, not quite as wide or long as the A2.

Teardrop shaped patch of gi material reinforces the armpit. Like a doofus, I neglected to photograph the very important extra band of tape used to reinforce the upper torso section with the lower portion. But you can see the stitching running from centre middle to the far left on the photo below. Again, a very impressive level of additional strength in a zone of comparative weakness.

Inverted Gear's dedication to high quality and attention to detail continues with the trousers. A good not too spongy rope drawstring cord is held in place by no less and EIGHT belt loops. Two of those loops are very wide - helping to maintain the rope in its position.

The trousers are made from ripstop cotton. It is a measure of how ripstop has progressed since the first few companies that utilised this fabric. A few years back, many users noted how ripstop trousers would feel 'waxy', thick and quite uncomfortable. This is certainly NOT the case with the Inverted Gear trousers. The ripstop material used here is light and flexibly malleable.

The photo above shows how the crotch gusset is made from pearlweave gi material. Presumably used as it is a stronger fabric to use in this high stress zone. Triple row stitching binds these parts together.

A closer detail of the first belt loops. The extra width of this loop helps keep the rope drawstring in position and prevent it riding up.

The ankle openings of the panda gi is lined with the panda tape as the sleeves. Unlike the sleeves however, there is no extra layer of ripstop tape.

The panda gi throws in a nice little surprise - a pocket, tucked inside the front of the trousers. I imagine it would be handy to store a gumshield or ID card. A simple overlap covers the pocket to prevent the contents from falling out. It's a wonderfully well thought out little touch that most other companies won't bother with.

Rolling performance and conclusions

The construction quality of this gi is beyond doubt. It's an extremely sturdy, yet still comfortably well balanced uniform. But, as you can probably see from the photos here (and backed up by the stats), the A1s size was just too long even for my ape-like long arms and legs. The torso length and width was good though. My arms did feel swamped by the sleeve lengths. I would be interested to compare this with their normal A1.

Despite the arm lengths, the fit and cut of this gi is very good. It's not too baggy and not too tight. If I wanted to tweak it and make it perfect, I would probably pay for a tailor to shorten the arms - though the multiple layers of reinforcing tape might prove cumbersome to remove and re-affix.

Rolling in the gi I felt hampered by the sleeves and the pants could probably do with being shorter, although they did not affect my movement too much. The 550gsm 'weight' of the gi did not mean it felt too heavy, the weight felt fine during several weeks of training and testing.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with this effort from Inverted Gear. The quality of materials and great little additional touches along with a very attractive price point ($135) means that the panda gi is fantastic value for money. It would be nice if Inverted Gear posted more a detailed size chart, including sleeve wingspan lengths and trouser lengths. In my opinion, the old model of weight v height comparison is too narrow for a large percentage of the population.

For further information:
Website: http://invertedgear.myshopify.com/

Review by BJJ Gear Junkie: http://www.bjjgearjunkie.com/gear-reviews/post/inverted-gear-white-panda-gi


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Fish said...

i had that problem with the red dragon gi. i was semi blown away as I've never had a gi with sleeves too long.

James said...

The inside pocket is something that was on some of the SYR models, but has been made illegal by the IBJJF.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with you about a better size chart!!!

Anonymous said...

IM 6ft 145 lbs and I ordered the A2 T/S. The fit out of the bag was the sleeves were a little past my fingers and it was a little baggy but considering they are 1005 cotton and not pre shrunk im sure a little while in the dreyer will fix the problem. otherise awesome gi with an awesome logo.

Rodel said...

Is the length of the pants really 50cm long? That sounds super short.

Meerkatsu said...

Well spotted Rodel, I got my figures mixed up...width is 50

Anonymous said...

Hey Seymour, great review. Out of curiosity what's your height/weight? I'm torn between an A1T/S or an A2. I typically shrink an A2 a little to reach my ideal size. I'm 5'9 155lbs

Meerkatsu said...

my height is 167cm and weight is 58kg but I have very long arms that typically fit an A2 better.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm 6', 185 lbs, my dress shirt size is 16&1/2 | 36-37 and I orded an A3S. I have long arms and I have to say that if theses sleeves were any shorter I would be in the usual -"I can't find a gi that fit's"- situation that I'm normally in. Normally, if a gi fits my body it's never long enough and if it fits my arms it fits like a trash bag around my body. I like to dry my gis in the dryer but I'm scared to lose too much in the sleeves. That's how well this gi fits me. Send them an email if you have questions about the best fit for you or specific measurements. They were helpful to me when I asked.

Unknown said...

Jacket sleeves were alittle long on my A1. Im 5'5" about 130lbs - 125lbs. After a couple Trains nd Air drying after a couple washes i got it to shrink just right. Ordered the Panda Armor and did the same thing..... Fyi, Its gonna Shrink.


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