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19 best changing robes, tried and tested by the WH team

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Best Changing Robes UK 2024: Tried and Tested

<ul></ul><h2 class=”body-h2″>What is a changing robe?<br></h2><p>Sometimes known as change robes or dry robes (actually the name of a well-known brand), changing robes are essentially toasty portable capsules designed to protect you from the elements. ‘Changing robes are clothes that work as mobile changing huts,’ says Kate Rew, author of <a href=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1846047285″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>The Outdoor Swimmers’ Handbook</a> and founder of the <a href=”https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Outdoor Swimming Society</a>. </p><p>First favoured by chilly surfers needing somewhere to shelter while changing out of <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/g37500387/best-wetsuits/” target=”_blank”>wetsuits</a> and <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/gym-wear/g43563860/rash-vest-womens/” target=”_blank”>rash vests</a>, they’re now also used by <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/collective/long-reads/a46126218/the-enduring-health-case-for-cold-water/” target=”_blank”>wild or cold water swimmers</a>, paddle boarders and general outdoorsy folk.<br></p><p>’There are two types,’ says Rew. ‘<strong>Microfibre or towelling ones</strong> where you dry yourself off, change (neatly avoiding flashing or doing the towel dance) and then take them off. And then there’s the <strong>big coat variety</strong>, which have fleecy linings and waterproof outers, where you can change and then keep them on, creating an individual micro-climate.'</p><p>As we’re heading into winter (sigh), below we’ve included both cosy coat options as well as a few lighter towelling styles in case you’re heading to warmer climes soon (jel), so you’re ready for all seasons. </p><h2 class=”body-h2″>Do I need a changing robe?</h2><p>While changing robes are by no means essential, if you make a habit of submerging yourself in freezing cold water, it’s a good idea to have some means of warming yourself up afterwards. ‘One of the many great things about outdoor swimming is that the <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/gym-wear/g40647541/sport-swimwear/” target=”_blank”>kit</a> needs are minimal,’ says Rew. ‘You can dry yourself in a standard towel, or make your own changing robe by sewing two towels together. And afterwards you can just wear a coat.'</p><p>Changing robes do come with a host of handy benefits, like cosy hoods and pockets for days, so they’re worth the investment if you’re regularly in need of a cold water companion. ‘If you do become fanatic about cold water swimming, you might find changing robes are a nice thing to have,’ says Rew. </p><p>It’s also important to warm up quickly after <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/g27268961/benefits-of-swimming/” target=”_blank”>swimming</a> — especially in the cooler months — thanks to a phenomenon called <strong>'</strong><a href=”https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/warming-up-after-drop/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”><strong>afterdrop</strong></a>,’ where your body temperature continues to decrease after exiting the water. ‘You will be colder 10 minutes after you get out the water compared to when you are in it,’ says Rew. ‘So make getting dry and dressed a priority in winter particularly.’ <br></p><h2 class=”body-h2″>How to use a changing robe</h2><p>Using your changing robe is simple — just pop over wet gear after swimming, <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/gym-wear/a45682603/miley-cyrus-black-bikini-paddleboard-yoga/” target=”_blank”>paddle boarding</a> or <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/travel/a44839222/soul-and-surf-portugal-review/” target=”_blank”>surfing</a> and get changed underneath. Then, if you’ve opted for a parka-style variety, you can stay cocooned inside to stay cosy. <br></p><p>’Take all wet things off, put warm things on (thermal base layers are good), layer up, and get a hot drink inside you,’ advises Rew. ‘In winter when skin is cold it’s hard to dry it completely — clothes like jeans become very hard to get on as skin remains sticky. Bear that in mind when you consider what to wear to the river, lake or sea for a <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/swimming/” target=”_blank”>swim</a> — you want clothes that are easy to pull on afterwards.'<br></p><p>Not just a convenient way to tick the post-swim warm and dry boxes, change robes are also great for camping, walking the dog or any outdoor activities in the colder months — just add as your final layer to stay snug and sheltered from winter weather. </p><h2 class=”body-h2″>What to look for when shopping for a changing robe</h2><p>A changing robe is a big investment, but a good one should last you a lifetime, so if you do decide to take the plunge make sure you’ve considered the following:</p><ul><li><strong>Versatility </strong>- Some change robes have removable layers, making them suitable year-round, and some can double up as a winter coat, giving you more bang for your buck. </li><li><strong>Protection</strong> – Your weatherproofing needs will depend on where in the world you are and what times in the year you swim. Look out for waterproof and windproof materials to keep you toasty in inclement weather. In the summer you might be fine with just a towelling robe, but they don’t offer much protection against rain. </li><li><strong>Layers </strong>- Multi-layer robes will offer greater warmth and protection from the elements, and it’s worth considering the material of the inner layer, or lining – whether it’s moisture-wicking, and if you’d prefer the feel of fleece, towel or microfibre against your skin.<br></li><li><strong>Pockets</strong> – If you need pocket space (who doesn’t?) look for changing robes with large, preferably zipped interior and exterior pockets for everything from your keys to a hot water bottle.<br></li><li><strong>Aesthetics </strong>- Some simple changing robes look a bit like towelling ponchos, while others are more technical and outdoorsy, and some of the oversized parka designs look undeniably cool and could be worn day-to-day in the colder months.</li><li><strong>Size </strong>- Generally you want a changing robe that’s long and roomy enough to use without exposing yourself to the cold or, you know, just exposing yourself. <br></li></ul><h2 class=”body-h2″>How we test changing robes</h2><p>Luckily there are a fair few wild swimmers on the<em> WH</em> team, so we put these robes to the test through all seasons and conditions, from temperate beach days to chilly winter dips in the channel (seriously, brrr). We took them camping, dog walking, into the garden to don after <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/a43824410/ice-bath-challenge/” target=”_blank”>ice baths</a>, as well as to beaches, rivers, lakes and urban <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/fitness-holidays/a707090/wild-swimming-uk-england/” target=”_blank”>open water swimming spots</a> — and even on an <a href=”https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/travel/a44807571/outdoor-fitness-guernsey/” target=”_blank”>outdoor fitness tour of Guernsey</a>. <br><br>All the while, we were assessing comfort, warmth, waterproofing, how breathable the robes were and how quickly they dried, as well as how handy features like pockets, wind baffles and adjustable cuffs were in practice. We took note of how usable certain features were with cold hands — tactile rubber zip pulls <em>really</em> come into their own — plus, the crucial test: how easy they were to actually get changed under. </p><p>The changing robes we’ve chosen here are products we truly recommend and feel are worth their price points — they can be pretty costly, so we’ve made sure they’re a sound investment and will stand the test of time. </p><h2 class=”body-h2″>19 best changing robes to buy in 2024</h2><p>From celeb-favourite <a href=”https://dryrobe.com/collections/adults-long-sleeve-dryrobe” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>dryrobe</a> to the coveted <a href=”https://red-equipment.co.uk/collections/pro-change-robe-evo” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Red Original Pro Change Robe EVO</a>, we’ve handpicked the very best dry robes to shop in 2024. Dive in. </p>”/>

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