The Swimzi XK jacket was designed in collaboration with a team of swimmers who attempted a relay crossing from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco. As such it was designed to keep the swimmers warm and dry and protected from the elements for 30 hours onboard the support craft. The jacket adapts features used in sailing and mountaineering equipment to protect against the wind and cold and keep body heat locked in.
We tested the XK before and after cold water swimming at Tooting Bec Lido and at a half marathon.
The XK is a jacket not a changing robe so, although you can get changed under it, it is much less capacious than than some other products on the market. It comes in four adult sizes and also features a drawstring at the waist for a more flattering fit and to conserve warmth. The sleeves are wide and feature Velcro fastenings at the wrists to keep warmth in and the wind out.
After a cold swim we found that the XK not only warmed us up quickly, but also drew admiring glances. It is lined with Sherpa fleece and the exterior is tough, black nylon. It comes in black only and the lining is a natural cream colour.
One feature that we loved about the XK was its fully zippable hood. Although it wasn’t cold enough for us to use it, it was fun pretending we were in a body bag and would be useful in really extreme conditions. The hood also features a closeable collar to further protect from the wind.
Internal pockets are a zippable mp3 pocket and a large open pocket. External pockets are deep but without zips.
The XK’s next outing was at a half marathon on a cold and windy day in Bedford. Whereas pre and post race jackets are a common sight in the open water swimming community (see Dryrobe review), the Swimzi was quite a novelty for the runners I met. Comments such as ‘Why are you dressed as a penguin?’ were soon silenced, however, once we were outside and everyone was shivering in the wind while I was toasty and warm. If you are a trail runner or attempting a challenge like the Bob Graham Round it was agreed that the Swimzi would be an awesome bit of kit: perfect for putting on at feed stations and after a race and easily bundled-up and thrown in the boot of the car.