Vandal Kimonos S2 Viper Review
Vandal Kimonos Review by: Doug P
VK/Vandal Kimonos is a Jiu Jitsu Gi and ancillary gear company founded and located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Vandal focuses on producing premium high tech kimonos and gear, including gis, rash guards, belts, patches, shirts and hats. The company was founded in 2012 by Faixa Preta Kiah Petrie.
Kiah is a Nova Uniao black belt under Professor Leandro Nyza, he himself a first generation Nova Uniao black belt under Professor Wendell Alexander, the co-founder of Nova Uniao.
After several previous gi designs, the inspiration for the S2 Viper was to make a simple, clean all-white kimono that was basic and old school, but still had subtle, nuanced flair components to the design.
This batch of 250 units is constructed of the same material as Vandal’s previous gi batches, however employing a different and simpler color scheme with a cleaner design utilizing a white-on-white patch combination with charcoal trim and embroideries.
Vandal Kimonos was definitely paying close attention to detail in the design and construction of this IBJJF-approved kimono.
Without further adieu, here is our Vandal S2 Viper Review…
It is obvious from first glance that the S2 Viper is a clean looking, understated, high-quality kimono. Constructed of a pearl weave top and rip stop pants with a matching rip stop bag, the kimono is white with gray accents and does not have contrast stitching. Each of the three components to the gi (top, pants and bag) are well designed, made of quality material, and constructed by skilled craftsmen.
The quality of the bag exceeds most gi bags seen as of late, utilizing the same rip stop material as the pants. The size of the bag is also impressively larger than normal, allowing for extra items (such as a belt, mouthpiece and the like) to be easily contained within the backpack-style bag.
The top and pants are neither heavy nor light in weight for what was expected, nor were they either stiff or flimsy.
- White with white stitching/Charcoal trim
- 450 GSM Pearl weave
- One piece / no back seam
- EVA Foam collar
- Ripstop covered lapel and inner reinforcements
- Custom inner taping
- White with white stitching/Charcoal trim
- Lightweight 10oz. ripstop
- Pearl weave gusset
- 8 Point loop system
- Custom inner taping
Colors Available: White, with grey trim.
Launch Date: March, 2014.
IBJJF Approved: Yes.
Number of Sizes: 17 different sizes, from child’s MO to adults A5.
Overall the Vandal S2 Viper is a high-quality, IBJJF-approved, athletic-cut kimono constructed of a 450-GSM pearl weave top and 12-oz. rip stop pants (with pearl weave gusset) that comes with a matching back-pack style bag made of rip stop. The kimono is white with gray accents and does not have contrast stitching. In fact, in the areas of the pant and sleeve cuffs where there is contrasting gray seam tape on the inside, the thread on the outside of the kimono is white, while on the interfacing side it is gray.
All stress points on the Vandal S2 Viper are reinforced and triple stitched, and the accented grey seam tape and piping are all folded over prior to stitching, leaving behind no scratchy, irritating edges. In our sample kimono all stitching was straight, in place and consistent. There were no loose threads or missed stitches anywhere on the kimono to be found.
The S2 Viper contains understated artwork that doesn’t distract from the quality of the kimono. As evidenced in the photographs there are patches on the shoulders as well as limited embroidery in only a few locations on the gi, leaving plenty of room for additional patches should that be your preference. For the purist, out of the bag this is a high-quality, unpretentious, clean, classy kimono.
With 250-units in production spread across 17 different size groups from MO to A5, there is a S2 Viper for almost every size jiu jitsu enthusiast.
The Vandal S2 Viper retails for $159, including free shipping throughout the USA. Distribution of the S2 Viper is handled exclusively by Vandal’s website.
- Athletic fit
- Minimal shrinkage
- Attention to detail that is superior to most brands
- Classy design with subtle embroidery and patches
- 17 different sizes to fit virtually any body type
- No reinforcements in the arm pit area of the jacket
- Knee reinforcement is like most gi’s and simply an extra layer of self-fabric used in construction of the pants. It would be nice to see a true reinforcement of, say, thicker pearl or gold weave in this area.
Note, these cons were identified by the reviewer to the brand owner and his reply was as follows: In his 15+ years of jiu jitsu he has never had a gi stress and blow a seam at the armpit. Therefore, in an effort to save weight he chose not to reinforce this area of the jacket.
As for the knee padding, that’s a personal preference of the reviewer, being older and appreciative of extra knee padding for protection. The brand owner is younger and would prefer less padding in order to save weight. Again, there is nothing wrong with the knee padding of the S2 Viper, it is equal to that in most other kimonos.
More detailed review
Constructed of the same white rip stop material as the pants, this is a heavy-duty, backpack-style, larger than average bag that is printed with a rubberized-type, medium dark grey paint in a horizontal striped pattern across both the front and back of the bag.
The rope used is the same type as in the gi pants as well, only this one is both dark grey and black in color, stitched together in two places. The interior seams are single stitched, and overall this bag is consistent with the high quality of the kimono.
This bag weighs 8.1 oz.
Weighing an even 38.0-oz., the top is constructed of 450-GSM pearl weave with a medium-thick, EVA foam collar that is covered with rip stop. The back of the top is a single piece of material, with an interior covering across the shoulders (yoke) of sublimated rash guard-type fabric showing the same white & grey alternating horizontal stripes that is the theme of this kimono.
Inside the top there are no armpit reinforcements, but there are reinforcements at the bottom of the skirt where the kimono is split at the hips (aka the “side split”). The treatment here of reinforcements, side split piping and seam tape is the same as was described above for the pants. Interior seam tape is present along the interfacing skirt bottom and sleeve cuffs.
In fact, in the areas of the pant and sleeve cuffs where there is interfacing contrasting gray seam tape, the thread on the outside of the kimono is white, while on the inside it is gray. This is unusual needlework not found in most kimonos because it requires more work and attention to detail when stitching the fabric. Another testament to Vandal’s desire to produce one of the best kimonos on the market today.
All stress points are reinforced and triple stitched, and the accented grey seam tape and piping are all folded over prior to stitching, leaving behind no scratchy, irritating edges. In our sample kimono all stitching was straight, in place and consistent. There were no loose threads or missed stitches anywhere on the kimono to be found.
The only decorative aspects to the top are large patches on both shoulders which are double stitched in place, the brands patch on the lower left exterior of the collar by the hip, and a small area of embroidery on the upper back of the top about 3-inches below the collar that has the word, “Viper” in gray transposed over a black “S2.”
For those of you who like a classy, modestly-appointed kimono this would be a great option for you. As it would be for those who like to apply their own patchwork to dress up their tool of the trade.
Weighing in at 20.2 oz., the pants are constructed of a medium-weight (12-oz.), rip stop material, secured by a semi-stretchy rope drawstring. The gusset is constructed of pearl weave, and there is triple stitching and reinforcements throughout the pants.
The rope is secured across the front of the pants via a six-loop system in addition to a three-inch tunnel on each side near the hips where the rope exits the back of the pants. This tunnel system is also being employed on some other kimonos as of late, included Inverted Gear’s Panda line. It is noticeable and notable that the loops on the pants and the tunnel in which the rope will ultimately be secured are made of a contrasting grey, thick cotton canvas and not rip stop like the pants.
The loops are also on the larger side as far as the area in which the rope transverses is concerned, allowing the reviewer to fit two fingers in completely. This is also the case with the conduit along the front and back of the pants where most of the rope resides. That opening is a little less than a thumbs circumference, making it easy to change out the current rope for a replacement at some point in the future.
The knees are reinforced across the front of the pants with an extra layer of self-fabric. This runs for a length of 16-inches from the upper thigh to 7-inches from the cuff of the pants.
The cuff on inside of the pants is lined with a thin, folded-over, contrast grey seam tape with the following repeating words: Vandal Kimonos VK S2 Viper VK, in white lettering. This tape is a contrasting fabric that feels like nylon or rayon. This same tape is used on the inside of the waist of the pants where the rip stop material is folded over to create the conduit for the rope drawstring.
The side split at the hips is lined with the same heavy grey contrasting cotton that is used to construct both the belt loops and tunnel.
An examination of the interior construction of the pearl weave gusset shows further attention to detail with triple stitching and two grey & white striped nylon reinforcements in key areas.
The only decorations on the pants consist of the brands patch and size tag on the right front hip, a small “VK” patch near the bottom of the left front leg where the knee reinforcements end, and an embroidered “S2” on the side of the left hip. Other than that the pants are understated in their design and demonstrate quality craftsmanship.
So after the first wash and then line drying indoors for 3 days, followed by a 12-minute tumble dry on low heat (merely to soften up the kimono), the shrinkage was as follows:
Kimono Top @ 0.714%
Kimono Bottom @ 4.444%
Overall @ 2.174%
Despite the disparity between the top, which shrank less than 1%, and the bottom which shrank nearly 4.5%, overall these findings are within an acceptable range for Pearl Weave and Rip Stop kimonos. And despite the 4.444% shrinkage in the pants, that is well within the range to be expected with any kimono bottom.
If needed, it might be possible to shrink it further, but that is not our objective at this time. As we report back on the fit, feel and durability of the kimono over the next twelve months (April 2014 to April 2015), we will measure the garment in a year and provide those results in our final update to this review.
We purchased and have examined a size A2 S2 Viper kimono. This is a fitted gi, as many brands are now moving away from the old “boxy” style. These newer, fitted kimonos are made for and best fit an athletic or slender bodied individual. That being said, Vandal offers seventeen (17) different size options, including both husky and long sized to accommodate all body types.
From a weight perspective, the top weighs in at 46.0-ounces, and the pants are 21.0-ounces.
This is comparable to most other fitted Kimonos that the reviewer has tried, including: Atama Mundial #9 (A3), Inverted Panda (A2), Scramble, The Athlete (A3), CTRL Industries (multiple batches), and Shoyoroll (Multiple batches, A2).
Where To Buy
Distribution of the S2 Viper is handled exclusively by Vandal’s website.
$159, with free shipping throughout the United States.
Vandal is a small, hands-on operation. As with companies of this nature customer service tends to be either very high, or non-existent. In Vandals case, it is the former. Kiah Petrie is very responsive and has an attention to detail and brand concern as high as anyone else in the business.
In an effort to make it easier for the consumer to locate all of the reviews on the S2 Viper, we will update this site occasionally should additional reviews be posted.
The A2 S2 Viper is in the possession of a student grappler at Gracie Jiu Jitsu Kailua. His feedback on: shrinkage over time, fit, feel and durability of the kimono will be included in this review at various intervals throughout the first year of use of the kimono. This is done to provide the consumer with the most thorough, detailed review of the kimono available anywhere. While initial impressions are nice to have, nothing compares to a review that includes thorough, long-term testing of the product. And that is what we endeavor to do. So check back later for updates.