One of the most common questions we get is .. 'All the other big brands use Ripstop material why doesn't Battle Gear?'
Let's start with What is Ripstop & why is it used in BJJ Kimonos?
Ripstop fabrics are woven fabrics, often made of nylon, (now available in cotton, silk, etc...) using a special reinforcing weave technique (grids and reinforced columns) that makes the material more resistant to tearing and ripping. The key words here to remember is 'MORE RESISTANT'. The name of the fabric is misleading as it does not STOP RIPS.
Ripstop material was originally developed for the Military but has now seen many other uses. In Bjj it became popular as a new innovative material for gi trousers as one of the common problems for BJJers is that our trousers will always wear down faster than the tops and as it gets tugged at and pulled constantly. As such, BJJ trousers are prone to tearing. Anyone who has trained long enough will know that the trousers tearing is a normal thing and part and parcel of ground fighting. Gi companies came across a material called 'RIPSTOP' which boasts a fantastic claim of being resistant to tears and rips. This was a godsend (or so it seems) and soon RIPSTOP was used in not just BJJ trousers but even in full suits, tops as well.
MYTH 1: RIPSTOP material will stop rips and tears
TRUTH: Having worked in the military tactical equipment industry for almost 15 years, I have worked with ripstop countless times. Also being ex-military I have worn RIPSTOP myself and have seen 1st hand how they perform. In Military applications, RIPSTOP is designed to stop a small puncture or tear from quickly spreading through fraying when out on operations and in the field. In that specific context it works as it should however this does not take into account the material being pulled on and tugged at. Once the material is constantly pulled on and tugged RIPSTOP ACTUALLY TEARS AND RIPS EASIER THAN A NORMAL COTTON WEAVE. Anyone who has ever had a RIPSTOP trouser tear on you will have seen that when RIPSTOP tears it tears easily and in a complete straight line (unlike cotton tears which will be jagged) You can see this very clearly in the image below.
The Grid like weave actually provides a perfect direction for the material to tear easier. A good cotton weave is tougher to tear when pulled upon as the weave is staggered as seen in the picture below.
MYTH 2: RIPSTOP gi trousers are lighter than cotton trousers.
TRUTH: This unfortunately is an outright LIE by big Gi companies to generate sales in the past. Gi trousers used to be constructed of traditional heavy weight cotton typical of JUDO trousers. They were super tough but very thick and heavy. Not particularly good if you have to watch your weight for competitions or when it is hot as hell in summer. The truth is in the details. Comparing a 8oz RIPSTOP trousers to a 15oz cotton trousers is obviously going to be lighter in weight and a totally UNFAIR comparison. The OZ stands for ounces and the number is how much one square yard of material weighs. A 10oz cotton trousers weighs the same as a 10oz RIPSTOP trousers when identically constructed.
CONCLUSION: At Battle Gear we will not use RIPSTOP material in gi trousers as we do not see any benefits compared to cotton. If there are no benefits than what is the point? You are simply buying into a cleverly named product with no actual substance. If technology advances in the future and produces a RIPSTOP variant that is actually tear proof, then we will definitely reconsider our position. Our Cotton is just as tough, just as light, softer and more comfortable.
Taking into account the gimmick of the name RIPSTOP, the only benefit we can see is the possible increase in sales due to the misleading name. This benefit we can do without. We refuse to do things like that at Battle Gear.