Chances are that if you’ve already taken part in some form of water-focused event, you’ll have already seen people proudly walking in around in a dryrobe. To the casual outsider, they can look a bit odd – kind of like the sort of coat you expect to see a toddler in as they wander off to school.
That’s because they’re not a coat, or a towel, or a dressing gown. They are in fact a cleverly designed robe that’s made to not only offer warmth and drying after doing something wet, but they also mean that you have amble coverage and movement to effectively get changed.
We’ve been meaning to post about dryrobe since we nipped over for a swimming lesson in the winter with Ross Edgley. Basically, he was trying to teach us cold water acclimatisation by making swim up and down a freezing cold pool – and then throwing a bucket of ice water in our faces. It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience, but when Ross says it’s a good idea you can’t help but say yes. Even if he is laughing loudly as he does it.
The one redeeming thing we remember from that day was some bloke walking over to us like a shimmering knight, holding aloft a dryrobe to fend off the freezing cold depths we’d just endured. Since then we’ve been big fans.
What is it?
A dryrobe is, as you’ve probably guessed, a robe that dries you. The general ideas is that when you’re doing something that involves water and the cold, you can get out of the water, instantly put your dryrobe on and you suddenly start feeling warm and dry. In addition, the fact it actually pretty roomy means that you can actually get changed from the comfort of a big robe instead of wobbling about in your pants.
There’s actually a bit more to it than that though. According to the website it’s meant to do the following:
• Leave it on over your clothing or wetsuit
• Re-use multiple times without the dryrobe ever feeling wet or cold
• Preserve your energy and core temperature with full protection from the elements
• Our lining draws the water away from the skin into the pile of the fabric
• Get dry instantly and the insulating fabrics make you feel unbelievably warm
• The 2-way zips allow fast easy entry and exit. Operate from either inside or outside
• Keep your hands warm in our super lined zip close exterior pockets
• Store your essentials with multiple pockets inside and out
• Safely store your valuable items sealed in the ‘2-way waterproof’ zip chest pocket
• At only 1.3kg It can be packed down small into a travel compression sack
Does it work?
As you can probably imagine, based on the number of people that use a dryrobe and the fact that the one job it’s meant to do is relatively basic, that it probably works fairly well. We’ve been using one for a few months now, from open water swims and trips to the lido. We even used it once because it was just cold in the house and we couldn’t be bothered the bring down the duvet.
The inside of the dryrobe is made from a towel-like material that’s designed to, well, towel you down as you wear it. The outer part is a more hard-wearing material that keeps the wind and any light drizzle off as you’re standing in the cold. Both work extremely well. As soon as you put the dryrobe on you instantly feel a lot warmer. Especially when you pop up the massive hood on it.
One nice thing about the design it the pockets – you don’t normally get zipped pockets on a dressing gown. They generally mean you can store all of the bits and pieces that you want quick access to, on your person. The two-way zip also works nicely as well, especially if you’re not actually completely cold and you want to let a bit of air in somewhere.
In terms of size, they are actually quite big, as there’s a lot of fabric involved in the build. The downside of this is that you probably need to be going somewhere in a car to carry it around with you. You wouldn’t be able to take it hiking or in your commuting bag easily. dryrobe have created a compression travel bag (£30) which helps to deal with this by squashing it down into a backpack. You still won’t be able to carry much more than this though, so don’t plan any long walks with it.
Who’s it for?
To get the best of the dryrobe you probably need to be the kind of person that swims a lot in a country like the UK (i.e. one that tends to be cold, or at least someone who does enough OCR events every year to justify the cost. The target market is fairly wide but centers around athletes that need to stay warm. To be honest you don’t really need to have even been swimming to get value from it – if you’d just ran a race in the winter months it would be a really nice thing to have in the back of the car to wear afterward.
There are a few options to choose from, including a wide selection of colours. The main ones to look at are the short sleeve version (from £70) and the advanced long sleeve (from £110) – although they get more expensive the bigger size you buy.
To see the full product list, head to the website here.