Full Review is here (more pictures and active links):
Gear Review: Carnivale by Roots Kimono (A3L)
Roots Kimonos came onto the gi manufacturer’s scene a few months ago with their Tide kimono. Mike is starting 2013 with a new batch of gis and the first to be released is the Carnivale. The Carnivale is a white gi, available in tall sizes and available for $144.99. The Carnivale will be shipping out to customers in early February. I was lucky enough to get a prototype in December and am glad to see that the Roots has made another high-quality gi at a reasonable price. Something that I was particularly excited to see is the inclusion of tall sizes (A1L and A3L) for us lanky guys. If you're familiar with Roots' other gis the design will be familiar with some aesthetic changes (color palette mosty) and some cuts to the cut as well.
The Carnivale consists of a 550g crystal weave jacket and 10oz drill cotton pants. The gi is of moderate weight and would be good for training year around. Crystal weave is softer than pearl weave and of comparable weight to a single weave but with more stiffness. The gi collar is EVA foam filled and of moderate rigidity. The pants have 6 loops for the rope drawstring chord, reinforced knees and reinforcements at the centerline of the butt. The seams of the jacket and the pants have been reinforced at the stress points. The armpits and slits (pants and jacket) have reinforcements on them. Green contrast stitching is used throughout and the color palette of green and yellow looks really good on the gi. A final word on construction before moving on; the seams at the interior chest and top half of the interior collar have been covered with cotton tape for additional comfort and reinforcement. In the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal but it’s a nice touch and one that most of gi manufacturers don’t bother with.
The jacket top is made of 550g crystal weave which is sturdy and soft. The jacket isn’t as stiff as a double weave but somewhere between that and a single weave of similar weight. As mentioned above the construction is excellent. The stitching is well-done with even stitching on the lapel, minimal overstitching and no loose threads. Aesthetically the gi is very simple and straightforward.
There are 3 pieces of embroidery and 5 patches. The embroidery is a yellow and green Roots company logo. The embroidered logo is 3 inch circle and is not removable. The embroidery is integrated into the gi material. These logos are at each shoulder , and the base of the neck. The patches on each shoulder are identical and are yellow and green with the Roots branding on them and measure 2.5” x 6.5”. There is a logo on the bottom left side of the jacket next to the side slit. The patch is 3.75” x 1.75”. The logo at the bottom of the lapel fits nicely on the lapel and matches the others. The final patch is at the skirt on the backside of the jacket. The patches are all removable with a stitch ripper, the one on the skirt is right up to the lapel but does not go under it.
The pants are pretty typical of quality gi pants. They have extra reinforcement and stitching in the appropriate places. The gusset is made of crystal weave and there are 6 belt loops for the rope-style drawstring. The knee reinforcement begins at the upper thigh and continues down to the approximately 7 inches from the cuff. Like the jacket the pants use green contrast stitching and the seams are mostly well done. The patches are the same as the ones on the jacket. The shoulder patches are on the outer thighss, the patch this is on the skirt of the jacket is on the upper left thigh and the lapel patch is repeated on the upper right thigh.
The gi that Mike sent to me is a prototype of the final model. Aesthetically the only difference is that the white interior seam tape will be green in the final run, like the trim of the side vents. If you're familiar with the Tide then this is a very similar cut and feel. When comparing it to the A4 Tide the Carnivale A3L has the length of an A4 but with the width/girth of an A3. I also really like that the sleeves aren't too baggy at the biceps and the taper is more subtle than some gis. The cuffs of the jacket are nice and slim which is great when gripfighting. The top fit me very well after washing and drying cycle. A teammate of mine who is about an inch shorter and the same weight wore the gi several times and it fight him very well. He compared the fit to the Redstar Stamp in A3L. The pants could be a bit longer for me (still IBJJF compliant), for Jason (he's 2 inches shorter) they fit perfectly. We both really liked the gi with the only complaint that he had is that the the cuffs of the pants are pretty stiff and are noticeable at times while rolling. After the final washing I did notice 2 loose thread ends on the pants. The seams appear to be intact and didn't unravel when I tested them.
The Carnivale is a great example of what a small, independent manufacturer can do when they put time and effort into a product. Roots is a very small company that is wholly owned and operated by Mike Murphy. Mike is an active competitor and using his previous experience designing gis for big manufacturers with large amounts of mat time and input from others to make a refined product. Aesthetically, I've liked everything that Mike's designed and now that he's making them for skinny guys I'm an even bigger fan.
Roots Kimonos has made the Carnivale available for pre-order. The initial pre-order price of $110 is a smoking deal and the current price of $144.99 is definitely reasonable for the quality of gi that you're getting. The Carnivale is a very good moderate weight gi with sizing options that should satisfy most body types. There is also the added bonus of supporting a small business run by a fellow jiu-jiteiro. Take a few moments to check them out on Facebook for news, techniques and sales.