In my travels for BJJ Weekly I've noticed that there are 3 kinds of guys. Gi only guys, Gi and rashguard guys, and Gi and tshirt guys. I've been planted firmly in the Gi and tshirt catagory since I started training. If I had more disclipline with my diet I'd probably be a Gi only guy, but I respect my training partners too much to subject them to the sweaty belly choke, and so I always wear a tshirt.
I spent many years wrestling and coaching before I began BJJ and I always wore a tshirt so it was a natural choice. (In case you didn't know, most wrestlers generally don't practice in those nasty looking singlets, those are usually just for competition.) I never really understood why anyone would spend all that money on rashguard when:
a. I already have 864 tshirts that I can wear
b. I've never gotten a rash from my gi
c. I don't like stuffing my fat gut in a tight shirt
In fact, I have a confession to make...
I've never worn a rash guard before in my life till I had to do this review. The guys over at Takedown Outfitters had contacted me about doing a review, and I thought they meant a review of the custom patches they do for gis. I said sure, we'd love to do that. But later I found out it was their new custom rash guards they wanted me to look at.
It turns out that they are now doing custom printing of rash guards for any quantity order, and they wanted to show off their new process. I emailed them a copy of the artwork we used for our Guiness Inspired tshirts, and that was it. A couple of weeks later a custom printed rash guard landed on my doorstep.
The process they use for printing is called dye sublimation, which basically turns the inks into a vapor that gets sucked right into the fiber of the shirt. You can't even feel where the ink is, it's completely soft to the touch. Also, because the dye becomes part of the fabric it won't stretch, crack or peel when the fabric is stretched. The quality of the print was absolutely perfect. The color was dead on and the design was very crisp and clean. The printing process will allow you to have lots of fine detail in your designs that might be difficult for screen printing.
The rashguard is a fairly thick material, and is an 80% polyester, 20% spandex blend. It has set in arms which means the sleeves are seperate pieces of fabric. The shoulders don't slope down and become the sleeves (raglon arms). This leads to a much more tailored fit, with no bunching in the shoulders or under the armpits. The neck is rolled and double stiched. (All the stiching looks to be of very good quality.) The cuffs are rolled and single stiched. The hem is stiched to an elastic tape that worked great to keep the rashguard from pulling up and eliminating the previously mentioned sweaty belly choke.
I weigh about 235 and got the 2x rashguard. I have a long torso and fairly long arms for my height, and I also have a thick neck which causes trouble with some tight tshirts. The rashguard fit absolutely perfectly, but I did have to get used to the fact that it clings to you everywhere, which is much different from a tshirt. There was no bunching anywhere, and the sleeves fell right to my wrists. The hem was just long enough to stay tucked into my pants.
This rashguard may actually convert me to a Gi and rashguard guy. The thing I really like about it was that I was cooler in a long sleeve rash guard than my usual short sleeved tshirt. The rashguard breaths so much better that when you finish training and take off your gi you are dry and cool in about half the time it usually takes me in a tshirt. And, even during training I felt every little breeze that came my way... there's nothing quite as refreshing as feeling a cool breeze while your're getting crushed in someone's side control and can't breath! I've worn and washed it 2x in cold water in the washing machine and don't see any pilling or change to the fabric yet. It's my understanding that all rash guards will eventually pill so I will update this review when that happens. If you're in the market for a custom rash guard definately take a look at Takedown Outfitters and let them know you read the review here.
- Bill Thomas