Plenty of swimmers are using towelling robes as their way of getting dry during the colder seasons. With the cosiness of fleece lining and waterproof outer layer, they are referred to as “a life changing piece of clothing”. These robes are also popular for swimming adventures involving several dips as they save dressing between swims.
With several brands and styles on the market with varying prices, we have chosen our top three dry robes for the open water swimmer.
Great colours! Eye-popping bright purple and blue versions stand out from other changing robes. The Sports Cloak has lots of handy pockets. One of the outside pockets is big enough to hold a small flask for a post-swim warm drink. The zip tug on the main front zipper and one of the outside pockets stood out from other changing robes zips as outstandingly easy to use when you have cold hands. The Sports Cloak is generously cut, which is good for getting changed under. It is lovely and warm and has a pull cord around the middle that can be used to minimise drafts should the need arise. The hood easily fits over a woolly hat, and works well at keeping in extra warmth and excluding draughts. Our tester liked the way Charlie McLeod robe looks too.
Verdict: cheaper and cheerful
Extra length on the sleeves was one of our comments on the initial version and now the Dryrobe Advance has longer sleeves, and a neat design detail of Velcro around the cuff. This means that once dressed the sleeves can be Velcro-ed around the wrist to keep all drafts out. Dryrobe’s outer pockets are like the pheasant pocket in a Barbour – easy to slip surprisingly large objects in. With the drawback of Dryrobes being their bulk the way to take them on a plane is to wear them as a coat. With zip up pockets big enough to fit goggles, microfibre towel, waterproof camera, bikini, hats and swimsuit taking the Dryrobe on a hand luggage only flight is easy since it serves well as an extension of your hand baggage. Dryrobe has the thickest fleece of those tested. Occasionally the zip on the Dryrobe can be hard to pull. Rubbing a pencil on the zip fixes this – graphite works as a lubricant. If the next upgrade can fix the zip problem by using a larger grade zip Dryrobe would be perfect.
Verdict: expensive, worth every penny, best for committed outdoor adventurers
With a high sheen the XK looks a little bit smarter than some changing robes.
Watch out for the split at the back when getting changed as there is a risk unintentional flashing while getting into clothes. A great design feature for keeping out drafts is the two-part hood, which be fastened around the neck. It also has Velcro fastenings at the end of sleeves that are good at keeping chilly breezes out. An inner draw-cord can be used to draw the robe close to your body around the waist, which helps with warmth and makes wearers feel less like a shapeless bundle.
Verdict: sleek, best for competitive swimmers