EXTRA,  GEAR,  June 2024,  Product Reviews

Best changing mats and sitting mats for swimmers

Designed to give you a clean, dry surface to stand on whilst getting changed, changing mats – and their larger sibling, the sit mat – are a treat for your feet.

BOOICORE Changing Mat


They say: Perfect for standing on whether on the beach or trails. The Booicore Changing Mat allows you to get changed under your changing towel, dropping your dirty or wet gear onto the changing mat, pulling the toggles on either side making this into the perfect drawstring bag. Made of hard wearing PVC coated polyester. Comes in its own zip-up bag with handy hanging loop.

We say: The lake our where our tester regularly swims has a very muddy bank, so the wipe-clean material of this changing mat proved to be ideal. While it’s nice to have a warm, fleecy lining to change on, we’re happy to forgo that luxury for the ease of cleaning the mat after use! We appreciated the toggles feature, which turned the mat into a bag for transporting our wet and dirty kit home, such a clever idea. While we were worried the mat would be bulky to carry, it actually packed away compactly in its carry case and we were able to roll it up in our kit bag.

DRYROBE Change Mat


They say: Designed to give you a clean, dry surface to stand on while getting changed, before or after swimming, surfing or any other outdoor watersports. The super-warm unique fleece inner is soft to touch and draws water away from the skin into the pile of the fabric. The water-repellent outer shell protects the mat, acting as a barrier to wet, cold or hard surfaces. The mat is compact and easily packable. The dryrobe Change Mat is made with 100% recycled fabrics approved by the Global Recycle Standard (GRS).

We say: A simple changing mat that packs down small and fits easily into your swim bag. Made out of the same materials as a dryrobe changing robe, this is more lightweight than many other mats on test, especially those that incorporate drawstring bags. A no-frills mat that is perfect if you want something soft and fluffy underfoot while getting changed. If it gets muddy it can be washed in the washing machine.

MOORSWOOD Ramblers Roll


They say: A portable picnic blanket for one. They cleverly roll up to fit in your rucksack ready to use when out on adventures and provide that little bit of luxury. Use them as portable seat mat when out on a walk, a picnic, when camping, wild swimming, a festival or home in the garden. Choose a ‘cosy’ insulated roll or a ‘thin’ pocket friendly version.

We say: Made with a water resistant wax cotton base and thoughtfully chosen tweed top layer, these beautiful rolls will only improve with age and wear. Made in small batches on Dartmoor, you can pre-order designs you love. We particularly love the Luskentyre Tweed (not pictured, see moorswood.com), a turquoise tweed woven in a shed overlooking this spectacular Outer Hebrides beach. We reviewed the ‘cosy’, which although a little larger when rolled still easily fits into a backpack or clips onto a bag strap, weighing in at a mere 280g.

GILL Changing Mat and Wet Bag


They say: The Wet Bag is constructed with a puncture resistant, waterproof, PVC tarpaulin fabric with stitch-free welded seams. The additional Changing Mat folds up and stows away in the internal side pocket. Designed for ease in transportation, the large volume open top design means you can quickly pack away wet garments and footwear without getting your car or home soaked in the process.

We say: We love the generous size of this changing mat, which has plenty of room for two swimmers to change and folds up neatly inside an internal pocket in the wet bag once you’re done. The minimal shopping bag style makes for quick and easy outdoor changes and there’s plenty of space for your kit; it’s the sort of bag you can keep packed in your car for impromptu dips. The material is robust and waterproof, and feels like it will last, but isn’t particularly padded or insulating.

C-MONSTA Split Bag and Changing Mat Bundle


They say: Carry your kit in comfort then bless your feet with a padded changing mat. The c-monsta split bag packs flat but is a massive two compartment beast! Combined with a chancing mat that let’s you change in absolute comfort. A superb stand-alone item but when combined with the c-monsta bag and wetsuit hanger, your experience of getting changed will be transformed!

We say: An enormous 70L capacity kit bag, split into a wet and dry sections, with strong carrying straps. We like how you can integrate different pieces of c-monsta kit, by hanging your wetsuit on the wetsuit hanger (£30, sold separately), then slipping it straight into the bag. Or by changing on the changing mat then putting everything in the bag. The bag also doubles as storage to keep your kit organised in the car or at home. Four waterproof internal pockets keep your valuables protected, and straps to fold the bag when not in use.

ZONE3 Wetsuit Changing Mat


They say: The new changing mat from Zone3 is the essential open water accessory. The convenient drawstring allows it to turn quickly into a bag to store all your wet items, ready to transport home. Its durable construction can be used on all surfaces whether down at the beach, on a grass bank or in a car park, keeping your feet safe and protected.

We say: This lightweight and packable changing mat unfolds into a circle with a raised edge to keep all your wet things in one place. Once changed, you use the drawstring to turn the mat into a bag, keeping your kit safe and your car boot dry. Clever, right? When not in use, it packs away into a small carry case. There’s zero padding or insulation to protect your feet from cold or stony ground, nevertheless it’s an economical piece of kit that helps ensure you never leave a neoprene glove behind.

Find all the gear you need for open water swimming, from adventure bags and swimming togs to tow floats and changing robes, at the Outdoor Swimming Shop. Read more gear reviews. If you buy a product through a link on this page we may receive a commission. Last updated June 2024.

Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.