A good quality and well fitting gi made from a material claimed to be stronger than cotton and antimicrobial.
I have no personal or business relationship with Submission Fight Company.
UPDATE 3rd March 2014 This product has been tested by a lab and the report reveals the Submission FC Hemp Sensation is made from 53.58% polyester and 46.42% cotton. The Lab report (see further down) states that this product does not contain any hemp fibres.
Last year I reviewed one of the earlier Submission Fight Company gis. That model had very good construction quality with nice simple and clean design elements. It was a great value gi with a good price point, let down slightly by my sample having very short arms. Since that early offering, the company has moved towards something much more innovative - a gi [allegedly] made from hemp fibres and cotton. It is claimed that hemp is both superior in strength to cotton and offers antimicrobial properties. After my previous experience with the only other hemp made gi - the Datsusara (first generation), which I gave to Slidey for review (it was way too big for me), I wanted to know if the Submission FC version would be better than the Datsusara (which suffered from shrink, quality control and fit issues).
SIZE, WEIGHT & OTHER STATS A1 gi stats. Units are in centimetres, first figure is brand new, second is after three 40 degree washes.
Jacket weight = 1.1Kg
Trouser weight = 0.5Kg
Made in: Pakistan
Available from: http://www.submissionfc.com
In terms of size dimensions, the Hemp Sensation sits firmly in the upper range of gi sizes at A1. The sleeves, at 157cm long are a good deal longer than the original Submission Fc gi I reviewed last year (149cm) and are much more in line with, say, the Kingz Kimonos (157cm) or the Ronin Insignia (161cm). There are of course gi models with much shorter sleeves, notably the Atama Mundial #9 (150cm).
Trouser length, at 87cm long is typical for most A1 gis - though I prefer the longer legs of the Tatami Estilo2 (96cm) and the Gameness Elite (96cm). But 87cm is perfectly wearable and legal under competition rules.
At a combined weight of 1.6Kg, the gi jacket and trousers are neither heavy nor ultra light.
The hemp jacket is made from 70% hemp and 30% cotton. It is woven into a judo style single weave textile. It features dark green embroidered logos and contrast stitching. It is less bold in design than the original (non hemp) Submission FC light gi.
The back features embroidered font written in a cursive style.
The collar is quite thick and substantial. The rubbery core is covered by twill fabric which appears to look a little frayed after several washes.
The grain of the jacket is visible in the photo above as is the high quality of the embroidery. There are absolutely no visible indications from the textile alone that this gi is made from hemp.
Sleeve cuffs are lined with twill seam tape. These were nice and comfortable. Some woven tapes found on other gis can feel very scratchy and uncomfortable.
Side vents feature dark green lined tape. The jacket is reinforced well both here and under the armpits.
The jacket base is simply a single tuck and double stitch. Some more ornate gi brands add logo tape here, but the Hemp Sensation overall is very frill free.
The trousers feature rope drawstring which I prefer over flat cord. Five belt loops keep the rope in place, although the size of the loops seems a lot smaller than other gi brands. The trouser material is twill. The pants feel very light and comfortable, although a tad 'boxy' and roomy around the groin region. Knee lining could do with extending all the way to the ankles, but they were just long enough to cover my knees when I was in kneeling position. The ankle bottoms are a single tuck and quadruple stitched affair.
Rolling tests and conclusion
The Hemp Sensation felt very light and comfortable to train in. I rolled in this gi over a period of three weeks and it was a delight to wear. There was a slight odour that was difficult to eliminate despite 4-5 washes, I wondered if that might be due to the treatment necessary when handling [alleged] hemp fibres or if that was just the usual factory smell found in some gis that disappeared eventually. I've certainly detected worse smelling gis so this did not put me off. As you can see from the photo above, it fits me very well in all areas.
Selling for a touch under $160, the hemp sensation is certainly not a cheap gi however it is a very well constructed, and for me, a well fitting gi that utilises a material that is allegedly stronger than cotton with antimicrobial properties. It is certainly a completely different product to the only other hemp gi on the market, by Datsusara, which is 100% hemp.
UPDATE - 3rd March 2014
A lab report instigated by the owner of hemp fightwear company Datsusara has shown that the Submission FC Hemp Sensation does NOT CONTAIN ANY HEMP. The lab report is here:
Prior to the lab test, Chris Odell released a video in which he alleges the Hemp Sensation was not made from hemp. He conducted a 'burn' test in which he suggests the black acrid smoke emanating from the fibres was in fact polyester, not hemp. He burned his own hemp gi to show the difference. The video is here: -
So far, Submission FC have not responded to the allegations apart from a blog post on their website:-
In the blog post, they admit that due to misleading supplier labelling, their gis do contain some polyester.
"From day one, our supplier in Pakistan told us he has a 70% hemp / 30% cotton gi, sent us a sample and from the moment we touched it, we knew it was something special. Even after our soft and hard release of this bjj gi customers feedback was always amazing and everyone would complain about any normal cotton gi after wearing the Hemp Sensation. So of course, we believed our supplier, took his word because this bjj gi was something special. However, recently after looking into this matter a bit more we realized that there is some polyester blended in this gi that was never mentioned before. We were totally unaware of this so we really do apologize to anyone who has bought a Hemp Sensation Gi before. We are looking to change the tags and do as much as we can to resolve this issue. We are taking this matter very seriously and will be investigating further so we make sure this sort of thing never happens again."
There is no mention of the fact that their gis do not contain any hemp.
More updates on this issue as and when I am made aware of them.