Redstar Stamp 2013 Edition (Royal Blue)
When Redstar first came onto the scene in 2009/2010, Canadian gi companies were few and far between. Being the trailblazers in the “Great White North”, Redstar has gained a wide following in Ontario as a major tournament sponsor and is making in-roads into foreign markets such as Thailand, Australia, and the USA. While the brand produces fight shorts and rash guards as well as gear bags and other fight sport gear, Redstar’s mainstay is their line of kimonos.
Like many boutique companies, Redstar offers limited runs of their products and makes changes with each new run. They first came out with the Competition model, a solid first attempt, and followed this up with the ultra-sparse Clean model that featured no patches and only a single embroidery hit for the more conservative player. Once the run of the Competition model had nearly run out, Redstar released the STAMP line, which changed the weave and the overall look, forgoing sewn-on patches for more durable embroidery. Most notable of the first few STAMP batches was the grey Pe De Pano Signature Edition that featured a 550 gram pearl weave jacket for heavy duty rolling. This year’s STAMP sees a change in color from the deep navy blue of the original to the more traditional royal blue favoured by the IBJJF – but that’s not all that’s changed for 2013.
Let’s take a closer look.
Made from a single piece of 450 gram pearl weave fabric, this year’s STAMP adds length to the arms at the request of many past customers. The cut is even slimmer than previous models, making for that tailored fit that most competitors look for. The jacket sports heavily-reinforced stitching at all the key points (such as the skirt slits) in a contrasting red thread. The foam collar is stiffer and thicker than last year’s batch but still within IBJJF restrictions. Cosmetically, the hits are all embroidered rather than sewn on with the old “Jiu Jitsu” on the arms being replaced with the Redstar brand name. The red taping at the skirt hems and sleeve cuffs accent the gi nicely without being too garish, contrasting sharply with the royal blue. The jacket is unlined and lacks features like a pocket for your mouth guard/cellphone/MP3 player that some other companies have integrated.
All 2013 Royal Blue STAMPS (except the A0, A1, and A1L) come with two pairs of pants – the first made from 12 oz. cotton and the second made from 10 oz. Ripstop. There are six reinforced belt loops for the cord drawstring. The knees are doubled in thickness and all the high-stress areas have ultra-durable triple stitch lines (knees, inseams, crotch, etc.). Again, some might consider these pants to be “bare bones” as there are no features on the pants that would be considered a “luxury” – the only changes made are those that every player can benefit from.
Wash & Wear
Though the gi comes 100% pre-shrunk, the manufacturer warns that there is still going to some shrinkage if the gi is washed in hot water and machine dried. The royal blue is vibrant and bright – it’s well-worth setting the colour, washing it in cold water with vinegar and no detergent to preserve the dye. The test gi was first washed in cold with vinegar to set the dye, then rolled in.
Sizing and Pricing
Redstar provides the 2013 Royal Blue STAMP in the following sizes with accompanying notes:
Size Weight Height More Info
A0 100 – 125 lbs 5’0″ – 5’4″
A1 110 – 160 lbs 5’4″ – 5’8″
A1L 110 – 140 lbs 5’8″ – 6’1″ For really skinny light grapplers
A2 160 – 200 lbs 5’8″ – 6′ Even if you’re 210, but stockier build and no taller than 5’8″
A2L 160 – 200 lbs 6’1″- 6’4″ An avarage customer for this size is 6’2″ – 180 lbs
A3 200 – 230 lbs 5’10” – 6’4″ fighters we know wear this size are: 5’10”-230; 5’11”-220; 6’3″-210; 6’4″ – 200
A3L 190 – 230 lbs 6’2 – 6’6″ similar to above, but more for taller guys with longer arms
A4 230 – 270 lbs 6’0″ – 6’5″
The price is very reasonable for a gi of this caliber at $130 for A0-A1L, $150 for A2 and above (all prices quoted from redstarbjj.com and do not include any S&H or applicable taxes). Remember: Gis sized A2 and above come with two pairs of pants as described above.
Out of the packaging, all stitching was intact upon inspection and there were no pulls in the weave. The gi functioned well in the rolling test, taking the abuse dished out from quick movement, harsh chokes, and judo throws.
The jacket, though unlined, felt comfortable during shrimping drills, breakfalls, and rolling, even without a rashguard on. The slick pearl weave made stripping opponent’s grips off a little easier. As noted above, the jacket sleeves and pant legs are longer on the 2013 model than older versions. The sleeve and pant length made the tester easier to grip prior to washing/drying. The sleeves are a good diameter, remaining tight enough to work defensively against grips, but well within IBJJF requirements. Ezekiel chokes were executed easily wearing this jacket.
The pants fit well around the waist. The drawstrings remained tied roll after roll. Some other coloured drawstrings come undone frequently – even when double knotted – because the dying process adds a slicker coating to the material itself. Redstar seems to have avoided this issue nicely.
The sleeve length was a bit too long for the tester’s arms – after two cycles of washing and machine drying, however, the fit improved immensely. The legs, like the sleeves, benefitted from the washing/drying in a similar manner. In both cases, the amount of shrinking was less than 1.0 cm in length and less than 0.5 cm in diameter.
The above is reflective of the reviewer’s personal experience with the gi. Your own experience may vary based on rolling style, body shape/size, etc.
* 100% pre-shrunk – if you like the fit as is, you never need to worry about it shrinking as long as you wash in cold and hang dry
* Available in Long formats – great fitting options for the taller, skinnier grappler
* Ultra durable construction – with single piece construction plus triple stitching and reinforcement in the critical areas, this gi will last as long – if not longer than – many so-called “premium” gis for a much more reasonable price
* Foam collar – more comfortable than vulcanized rubber and stands up to repeated washes better as well, especially if you have to machine dry the jacket to shrink it a bit
* All embroidery – No patches to fray
* 2 pairs of pants – for sizes larger than and including A2, you’ll get a cotton pair and a ripstop pair of pants
* Drawstrings that stay tied – the cords works so much better than the traditional flat gi drawstring
* Unlined jacket – might be considered rough to roll in without a rash guard if you have sensitive skin
* No female or children/youth model – specific cuts for age/gender is not something Redstar has ventured into yet, but may soon
* No A5 or greater sizing yet – the Ultra heavyweights will have to look elsewhere for now
The Final Word
Redstar, as a brand, is known for high quality and high reliability at a reasonable price. They are not trying to innovate so much as improve upon their successful formula. And that’s been the main selling point, really. You know what you’re going to get with a Redstar gi – bombproof construction with a simple but visually attractive “Cold War” aesthetic at a price that is hard to beat.
If you’re in the market for a decent-looking gi that stands up well in training, is 100% IBJJF compliant for competition purposes and if you don’t care for all the bells and whistles that some gis seem to come
with these days, then the 2013 Royal Blue STAMP will meet your needs and do it well for considerably less than other high-end gis.
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