GEAR,  Product Reviews

What’s the best type of changing robe for outdoor swimmers?

There is an art to changing before and after swimming. It’s something that needs to be practiced in order to look competent and avoid revealing parts that society deems inappropriate to display in public. In many cases, changing under a large towel, either wrapped underneath your armpits (women) or around your waist (men) is entirely satisfactory. It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require any additional kit. However, if you’re swimming outdoors frequently, then you might want an upgrade to something that offers a little more warmth and protection. Should you choose a towelling robe, a waterproof changing robe or even a sittingsuit?

Towelling robes

Yoncho Light Unisex Scaled 900X

At its most basic, a towelling robe resembles two beach towels stitched together with holes left for your head and arms. In fact, you could make your own like this. Commercial robes tend to be better shaped, and some include a hood, short sleeves and pockets: all useful additions.

Pros: The simplest and cheapest option. Easy to slip on and off over your head. No fuss with zips. Easy to change inside.

Cons: Neither waterproof or windproof, these are best for drying off and changing in rather than rewarming after a cold swim.

Best for: summer swims in good weather and some pre-swim comfort and modesty if you have to change and then wait before swimming.

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Yoncho Lite Changing Robe…

Selkie Hooded Towel (this is sold out!)

Changing robes

Yoncho Black Front Womens 900X

A typical changing robe consists of a waterproof shell and a quick-drying fleece lining. Most have hoods and deep warm pockets and open completely at the front.

Pros: Warm and windproof. You can put it on as soon as you exit the water and start rewarming immediately while you change. Also doubles as an extra layer protecting you from the cold after you’ve changed.

Cons: Zip closure can be difficult with cold fingers. Options with long sleeves are better for warmth and protection from the elements but more difficult to change inside. Bulky. Expensive.

Best for: winter swims or changing in the wind and rain.

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Yoncho Changing Robe…


Red 4 900X

Relatively new on the market, a sittingsuit resembles a cross between a sleeping bag and a changing robe. Designed for warmth rather than changing, but could be used for the latter.

Pros: Super warm and snuggly. Brilliant for rewarming after swimming, even if you have to stay outside for hours.

Cons: Changing inside more restricted than a changing robe. Bulky.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.