In the past few years Dryrobes have become ubiquitous on the open water swimming scene. Warm, waterproof and big enough to get changed in, they are now a common sight at cold water swimming events and on the beaches, riverbanks and lakesides of the UK. At winter swimming competitions they are now an essential bit of kit as they are perfect for wearing before and after a race.
We have reviewed Dryrobes before, but as the changing robe market starts to expand, we were interested to see how the product has developed. We put the Dryrobe Advance (long sleeve version) through its paces on a week away in Devon over the new year – plenty of cold water swimming and inclement weather for it to deal with!
The super-tough windproof and waterproof shell and synthetic lambswool fleece lining remain the same. The lining is designed to dry you and keep you dry. On a windswept Croyde beach (perhaps Dryrobe’s spiritual home) we found that it lived up to expectations, doubling up as changing robe and rain coat, preserving our modesty from incredulous dog walkers (yes, we really are going for a swim in December!).
When we last reviewed a Dryrobe one of the things that we queried was the length of the sleeves. Short sleeves are great for getting changed with but not so good for keeping your arms warm and dry if you are wearing the Dryrobe as a coat. We therefore loved the long sleeve version. The sleeves are wide enough to easily slip your arms out of to get changed and the Velcro cuffs mean that, once you are dressed, you can tighten them at the wrists to keep the warmth in.
Once upon a time Dryrobes were only available in black, but now also come in red with a choice of colourful linings. The external pockets have the same high-quality zips as the front zip, and we found it useful to be able to zip up the pockets when it was raining so they didn’t get damp inside. Inside there is a zipped mp3 pocket and another large storage pocket.
After a week of use in Devon and being chucked in the back of the car alongside a dirty springer spaniel we just put the Dryrobe in the washing machine and it came up as new.
The Dryrobe is a heavy, bulky item, but a second size is now available for those with a slimmer build. As it is so large, it would be good if the Dryrobe came with its own stuffbag for storage, although these are available to buy separately.