Weatherproof Changing Robes 2022

It's been a busy time for weatherproof changing robe innovations: we put 8 brands to the test

There’s really only one way to test out a new changing robe. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to get cold to do it properly… The OSS team put a new range of robes to the test

Pro Change Robe EVO (Red Paddle Co.)

Red Original Pro Change Robe EVO

£149.95

Red have become known for quality feel unmatched by other items – the fur lining belongs to teddy bears and all the details are just so – storm flaps, fleece that not only meets at the zip but goes behind it make it very cosy, and thoughtful details like a large stretch side panel to reduce clumsiness during that inevitable stumble to get changed. The zip has a ‘wind baffle’ which keeps wind and sand out of the zip, and it packs into a 10litre bag.  The Pro Change EVO is lighter weight with a more active feel than the other fleece robes on the market – it’s the one Tim Bridges from the OSS Team chooses as he’s often shunting boats, hot tubs and paddle boards about. It manages to keep you warm but also ventilate if you’re moving about.  Has a great storm hood, velcro arms cuffs, short sleeve and kids versions available. Also: no back branding, which many of swimmers are looking for in an item. Comes in Men’s and Womens.

BEST FEATURES: High quality, subtle branding, and packs relatively small for a fleece robe.

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Long Sleeve Advance Robe (dryrobe)

dryrobe®  Long Sleeve Advance

£160

The size of the dryrobe fanbase reflects their position as the iconic, authentic, original weatherproof changing robe. As the first-mover in this market space, dryrobe® have now moved things on again by moving to eco-friendly materials in 2021. The new robe is made using 100% recycled nylon and plant-based waterproof windproof finishing. Pictured here in Black Camo, these robes are likely to last a lifetime and have a lot of details that make a difference at the lower degrees: the long sleeve design serves up extra warmth and external pockets are fleece-lined. The baggier construction makes it easier to change, but it’s also in it’s element over the top of wet kit and on shores and boats.‘I trust my dryrobe in all conditions, like a walkable bivvy’ (Lance Sagar, OSS Team). ‘A dry robe is effectively a cuddle inside a storm shelter’ (Anna Morrell, OSS Team). . Comes in child sizes, short and long arm, and have a ‘bashing about’ quality that means they feel made to survive downpours and neglect. Superwarm and indestructible: the inner fleece meets at the zip and runs down the arms – a vital detail to avoid afterdrop. Comes in 10 colours – personally, I never, ever, tire of the camo. dryrobe.

  • BEST FEATURE: 100% recycled and eco-friendly materials, and a high level finish on the classic, durable cosy robe.

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Outdoor Change Robe & Drycoat (Voited)

Voited Outdoor Change Robe & Drycoat

£129

Pictured here in the popular Peyto Lake colour, Voited have created a very Instagram-friendly changing robe that looks great and gives up nothing in terms of that essential warmth factor. Calum instinctively wore it with his arms out the sleeves (not making use of the long sleeves and welded cuffs), tucked inside it like a man mummified in an upright sleeping bag. It’s well-insulated and water-resistant – your own personal hooded shelter (suitable for a variety of body shapes and sizes) allowing you to stay dry and warm when the weather turns. The 100% recycled 50D Ripstop fabric is fleece-lined and water-resistant on the inside, with Teflon EcoElite™ coating on the outer layer for added protection.

  • BEST FEATURE: Long sleeves and welded cuffs with velco straps are a neat additional feature for added toastiness.

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Alpkit Haven Changing Robe

£79.99

From a B Corp status brand which means that you know that the most economical fur-lined weatherproof changing robe on the market doesn’t come at a social or environmental cost. This knee length jacket is notably shorter than other models, operating more like a coat, but with a back long enough to sit down on damp beaches and wet rocks. Has non-fleece arms and an elasticated storm hood. No velcro on the sleeves, and the first version was a little tight-fitting for changing. Alpkit.

  • BEST FEATURE: Planet friendly, wallet friendly, and the shortest option if that is what you are looking for

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The Adelie Robe (Finisterre)

Finisterre Adelie Robe

£150

Finisterre calls it their ‘warmest and most heavyweight’ changing robe yet. No small statement from a brand that has long specialised in providing comfort for hardy British surfers and swimmers. We found the Adelie was a quick favourite. Uncomplicated and seemingly designed for ease of use. The outer layer is made with 100% recycled polyester, which is water repellent. The sherpa fleece lining is fitted nicely to give a snug feel for all different body shapes, fresh from the water… just when need it! The shorter sleeves might not suit everyone’s needs, but personally we found this robe very easy to unpack, unzip and slip on with shuddering fingers. We had no difficulty with the full length zip, nor the adjustable bungee cords on the hood either.

  • BEST FEATURE: It looks good, feels good and keeps thing simple.

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Dry-Series Short Sleeve Changing Robe (Robie)

Robie Dry-series Recycled Short Sleeve Changing Robe

£129.99

With the Dry-Series, Robie set out to design versatile changing robes adapted to fend off anything nature might throw your way. On the surface, it might look like a standard, albeit very comfortable robe, but there’s a big list of hidden secrets at work here that complement an active lifestyle. Wrapped in recycled waterproof nylon, you’ll find yourself cocooned in a windproof, breathable outer shell with various interior pockets. The robe also features a full length 2-way reversible YKK® zip with an easy-to-use rubber puller. Anyone who’s ever swum deep into shivering numbness will understand exactly why that’s important for wet, twitchy hands!

  • BEST FEATURE: The press-stud closure is a blessing and you’ll find an internal zipped breast pocket with a headphone port that’s very handy.

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Storm Poncho (Fourth Element)

Fourth Element Storm Poncho

£143.50

The Storm Poncho is a robe to be reckoned with for nomadic swimmers – some of the OSS team love it’s subtle branding, compact size and inner space. It is like wearing a changing room:  it provides space to fumble about with cold clumsy hands, which means on days you can’t undo your velcro or free your hands, things are a little less desperate. It’s superabsorbent – you can poke your hands out of the sleeves and pat yourself down from the outside (rather than using a towel within). Good eco-credentials, works on a bike, and as a huge waterproof cape in a storm. So nice that I wear it in the house for cold days’ Lance Sagar, OSS Team.

  • BEST FEATURE: Dries you as well as shelters you, and small enough to pack into a tow float for A to B swims. Stocked in the OSS Shop.

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Swimming Changing Robe (Lomo)

LOMO Swimming Changing Robe – Green

£55

Finally, at the lower end of the price range, we have this little short-sleeved, windproof beauty. The Lomo Changing Robe is ideal for fast-changing triathletes, or any swimmer looking for a swift body core heat up in less extreme cold conditions. You may get a little breeze under the armpit, but the chest are and all those vital organs will be taken care of – tightly cuddled by interior towel material. The design is styled with unique lime green detailing and the robe is hooded too for additional wind and rain protection.

  • BEST FEATURE: One for the triathletes! This simple, short-sleeved robe pulls on directly over your head and is unbeatable for fast changes and quick warm ups.

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ABOUT THE TESTERS:

  • Jack Hudson is a member of the Wild Swimming Brothers and author of Swim Wild.
  • Kate Rew is the founder of The Outdoor Swimming Society and author of The Outdoor Swimmers’ Handbook (Rider, 2022, available internationally and signed in The OSS shop) and Wild Swim (Faber). Instagram: @kate_rew.
Jack Hudson and Kate Rew