The waterproof changing robe has become the must have item for any outdoor enthusiast. We see them at the beach, open water swim meets and even at Rugby games, as the parents try to stay warm on the side lines. A Dryrobe style coat is fast becoming a favourite option instead of a normal winter coat!
The most well know brand on the market is probably The Dryrobe. However, the world of changing robes has grown so much that we have taken a look at the Best Dryrobe Alternatives so that you can get more for your money.
This changing robe will definitely keep you warm after a swim, surf or paddle in cold water. The super soft sherpa fleece lining not only helps wick the water away, but it also locks in the warmth.
The tough outer shell means you stay protected from the elements. This offers a very high quality product at a much more affordable price.
What Should I look For In A Dryrobe Alternative?
So you’ve decided to invest in a waterproof changing robe. However, you’ve now realised that the market for these is huge. There are some great options available with a wide array of features. We have broken down some of the features to look out for when choosing the best changing robe for your needs.
There is a broad price spectrum when it comes to the cost of a changing robe. You can go for a really budget changing robe that will act as a quick option to cover you up at the beach. However the old saying: “pay cheap, pay twice” springs to mind. The cheap Dryrobe alternatives will have limited warmth and waterproofing. One of the reasons that Dryrobe can charge a high price is the fact that the outer shell is incredibly tough and hardwearing. Water doesn’t penetrate the outer-shell. If you go too cheap on your choice, you end up getting a standard coat that is oversized.
If you can increase your overall spend slightly, you will get a product that keeps out all elements. It will also have those additional features that make it multi functional to. For example, adjustable sleeves, multiple zip pockets, hoods etc.
Internal Lining and Warmth
The changing robe does not just need to be just for the beach. They are perfect for any outdoor activity so having one that works through the winter months are worth considering. The internal lining is where the thermal properties will differ. The fur and towel lined robes offer greater heat retention so try to find a changing robe that features these. They are also good for wicking the water away from you, so you can get dry quicker. Choosing a really cheap Dryrobe alternative might seem like a good money saver, but if it doesn’t keep you warm then it’s not a wise investment. There are plenty of robes out there that can perform just as well as the Dryrobe, just make sure you look at the lining quality.
When buying your changing robe remember it’s an outer layer. You will want to have room inside to fit your clothes or wetsuit, so ensure you choose a size that allows for manoeuvrability. You will be getting in and out of a wetsuit or picking up dog poo on a walk, so get one that is easy to move around in. Choosing a size that fits the whole family is a good idea as you might be able to share it!
There are some really cool and quirky designs out there. You might want a changing robe that looks more like a traditional coat, so get something that suits your wardrobe style. If you prefer to stand out in a crowd, the camo and brighter styles give a more fun design. It also helps to pick you out in a crowd, should be at a busy beach or crowded festival.
Best Outdoor Changing Robes
Seashell Waterproof Changing Robe
This outdoor changing robe is designed to keep you warm and dry when the weather has other plans! The best changing robes are those that look good but also perform well practically. Well the Seashell changing robe certainly impressed us when we compared it to other dry robe alternatives.
Firstly we like the aesthetics of this changing robe. The black waterproof outer layer looks great against the white fleece lining. The simple seashell logo on the back make this looks like a stylish changing robe. The fact that it is black, makes this change robe suitable for both men and women. If you want to buy a changing robe that you can share, this one will work perfectly. This could become your dog walking coat for all the household.
The sherpa fleece lining is soft on your skin and retains your body heat well. We love this as it means you can go out in a t-shirt once you’ve thrown this on top. It also means that once you’ve slipped out your wetsuit, you can quickly put this on and be protected from the elements.
Practically this is a great changing robe as it has two large inside pockets, a two way YKK zip and Velcro cuffs. Which means great storage, easy access and a way to keep your hands free at all times. Add in the fact that it is machine washable and I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better Dry Robe alternative.
Regatta Outdoor Active Waterproof Changing Robe
This changing robe offers high quality at an affordable price. In fact, it’s the cheapest waterproof changing robe on the list. The thick hard wearing outer shell is windproof and waterproof. Combined with the soft towelled inner lining, this is just what you need when it comes to protection from the elements.
We trialled this changing robe after a surf in January and it passed the warmth test. Once out of my wetsuit, my body was able to retain it’s heat and get dry quickly. I like it because I can just hop straight into my van and drive off.
Despite it’s hard wearing outer shell, the changing robe feels light when worn. There are deep outer pockets to keep your hands warm and then it also has internal zipped pockets for keeping your keys or phone safe when out at the beach or while getting changed.
Given the vast array of different colour options available, the Regatta Camo Changing Robe is my personal favourite as it offers more of a funky style. This is obviously down to personal choice.
The overall verdict is that this is a great option for anyone looking for a budget Dryrobe alternative..
Two Bare Feet Unisex Changing Robe
This is a really great changing robe that offers a great alternative to the dry robe brand. The quality of the material is excellent and comes in a fantastic range of colours that are vibrant and well designed.
The inner of the suit is sherpa-lined (which I love). It feels very soft on your skin which is perfect after a long day on the SUP. The outer of the robe is wind and waterproof as you would expect. The zip is sturdy and full length so you can easily get in and out of the robe. The oversize design means you can order a size smaller if you’d like a more compact fit. The sleeves have velcro on so you can lock them down if you did feel it was too big.
One big advantage of this changing robe is that it comes with a free changing mat. This really adds to your value for money, as you are getting a useful product that would normally need to be bought in addition to your changing robe.
Overall this is a quality product that offers fantastic value for money.
Gul Change Robe
Gul has made a superb outdoor changing robe that will keep you snug after surfing, sailing and swimming. This robe features Gul’s two layer fabric that makes it more breathable, whilst also keeping the heat locked in.
It has synthetic lambswool on the inside so you it has a very soft feel that keeps the heat inside. The oversized nature of the robe makes it a good robe to wear after surfing or paddle boarding as it easily fits over the top of a wetsuit. The large hood means your favourite bobble hat can be worn underneath too, so those icy swims in the lake will soon be a distant memory.
Overall we enjoyed this changing robe and consider it a strong contender for a cheaper dryrobe alternative.
Endex Elite Waterproof Changing Robe
Who doesn’t like a freebie? Well this waterproof changing robe comes with a couple of added extras that might pursue you to opt for this over other changing robes.
Let’s look at the product itself. I personally think it is one of the better looking robes on the market. I like the Endex logo which is printed on the chest and back, so it gets a tick from me on the style side.
The outer shell does what you would expect as it keeps out the elements to leave you dry inside. The fleece lining is soft and lush on the inside. The zip has a flap running on the inside to prevent any exposed skin being snagged….trust me on this one, it’s painful when you zip your own skin up so you will appreciate this feature.
As for the freebies, you get a waterproof phone case that you can store other items such as car keys, which is ideal for paddle boarders and kayakers as you can relax in the peace of mind that no matter the weather, you precious items will stay dry. You also get a free drawstring bag to put away your wet gear after a hard day in the surf.
This is a premium changing robe that will serve any water sport enthusiast well.
Stravaig Waterproof Changing Robe
Get ready to stay warm and dry in this tidy change robe. If you are wondering what Stravaig means, it’s a Gaelic term that translates to casual wandering. Well with this product you will be able to wander no matter what the weather.
This product was designed by outdoor enthusiasts in Scotland, so they probably know a thing or two when it comes to protecting oneself from the elements. It comes with a pleasant two way zip that makes closing the robe an easy task, even when your hands are cold from your cold water swim.
It’s Sherpa lined to keep the warmth locked in and it also has adjustable velcro cuffs so you can lock the sleeves to your wrist and keep even more of the cold and wet out. The outer section of the robe is waterproof and windproof so once you’ve finished your surf or swim you can wrap up warm without worrying about how wet the day is.
It has large a internal zipped waterproof phone pocket that is suitable protection for all your valuables such as keys, phone and wallet.
This is a well designed and affordable changing robe that will serve any open water enthusiast well.
Osprey Unisex Adult Changing Robe
Let’s save the planet one changing robe at a time…20% of this robe is made from recycled bottles, so as you don your new surfing robe after a hard shred, you will know you’ve reduced some of the plastic waste.
As with all the robes, this is perfect for cold and wet weather. The Sherpa fleece fabric is lovely and soft, so once you’ve whipped off your wetsuit you’ll feel nice and warm under this comfortable changing robe.
It has all the accessories needed to keep you and your gear dry, such internal phone pockets and velcro cuffs. The double zip also allows for a free flowing design that you can adjust to your own suiting.
This is a very reasonably priced changing robe.
Saltrock Four Seasons Changing Robe
Saltrock are one of our favourite UK brands. They are closely rooted to the UK surf scene and have represented it well, designing great surf and outdoor products. One area of the market they have mastered is their Saltrock Towels, Changing Robes and Poncho Towels.
This is their premium changing robe called four seasons waterproof changing robe…mainly because you can wear it no matter what time of year!
As outdoor changing robes go, this is probably the most stylish. It comes in a camouflage or tie dye design that suits both men and women. If you find these colours too garish, you can simply opt for the plain black design, but customise the colour of the internal fleece.
Whatever style you choose, it’s the features that make this a popular change robe for open water swimmers and surfers. It is highly waterproof, so you can take your dog for a walk in the pouring rain and still be dry inside. The internal fleece is made from micro fibres, so it’s quick drying, which is perfect when you need to warm up from a cold water swim.
It has fleece lined pockets that are zipped, so not only will your hands be warm on a cold winter’s day, your phone and wallet can be zipped up safely.
A high quality changing robe that performs well against rival brands.
North Seas Changing Robe
This changing robe is slightly different as it’s less bulky than other changing robes. Some people want a lighter robe that can be thrown on in an instant. Well this will do just the job as it has no zips which allow for a quick turnaround after a swim. It’s one size fits all, so there is no debate over which size to get.
Due to the thinned out bulk, it’s more comparable to a surf poncho as it has short sleeves. However, it has the extra features of being water resistant and fleece lined so still works well as a changing robe. It has a central lined pocket to keep your hands warm after a swim so is very user friendly.
A cheap alternative to a dry robe and a nice step up from your standard poncho towel.
Frostfire Moonwrap Changing Robe
This is a full length changing robe with a basic design. It is a one size fits all changing robe, so a good option if you want a dryrobe alternative that all the family can share.
The fleece lining is quick drying so it helps you to get dry quicker and keep you warm. If your hair is wet it is useful as you can use the hood as a towel. It has three quarter sleeves, so if you want a full length sleeve then maybe look at an alternative changing robe.
Some nice little features such as zip external fleece lined pockets make this a nice changing robe. This keeps your hands nice and cosy when on a walk. The fact that they are zipped also gives a safe space for phones and wallets. The Polyester fabric is durable and hard wearing so will keep you dry on the wettest of days.
This changing robe is machine washable. So if you spill your ice cream down it like I sometimes do, you can easily get it cleaned.
Do I need a dryrobe, change robe or poncho towel?
When you start looking for something to change into after a surf or swim, you enter into a world of products that do very similar things but with different names. We imagine you want something to throw on and keep you warm, yet you’re unsure where to start your search as it can be confusing. Let’s look at some of the terms:
- Change Robe – a waterproof outer layer with a fleece lining
- Poncho Towel – A pull on towel that covers the body, usually with a hood
- Dryrobe – a specific brand of change robe that is ultimately a waterproof outer layer with a fleece lining
- Beach Towel – I’m kidding, you know what this is….trust me you want one of the above to keep you covered and warm at the beach.
All of these products are worthwhile investments, depending on your sport and goals for the product. I do a lot of swimming all year round, so investing into a poncho towel was great. I have a towel that works on the beach, but also something to take to the swimming pool and use there too.
Whether you opt for premium brand recognition in the Dry Robe or one of the alternatives, you will be getting a great product that will last you for a long time.
What are the advantages of a change robe or poncho towel?
I can still remember the first time I saw somebody use a poncho towel. I was sitting with my wife watching the waves, as our kids had fallen asleep while we’re on a drive and thought why not pull up and enjoy watching other surfers at work?
A bloke that had clearly just finished work pulled up next to us. I watched him get his board off the roof of his car and started to wax the board and then he was ready get the wetsuit out.
It took me back to the times that I have needed to get changed into the wetsuit and I thought, “how are you going to do this mate, as we’re staring right at you and I hope you don’t drop your towel and expose yourself!” Well, he pulled out a surf poncho towel which covered him from head to toe, then easily slipped out of all of his clothes and into his wetsuit without so much as a flash of skin on show. Instantly became impressed and ordered myself my first surf poncho towel.
Since then I’ve never looked back as this is the easiest way to get changed into your wetsuit. You don’t need to struggle with a falling beach towel as it covers the whole of your body. It is a great alternative to a change robe and definitely worth considering as a cheap dry robe alternative.
That being said, if the poncho towel is the prince of changing gear then, the changing robe is King!
The poncho towel is perfect for drying off after a swim or covering your modesty while changing, the changing robe levels up in terms of warmth, waterproofing and all-round accessories. No more shivering on the side of a beach or river. The changing robe is the daddy of warmth and enjoyment post cold water dip.
Most robes, even the budget changing robes, come with a fleece lining throughout, so your body retains heat – which is great if you need to defrost after your open water swim.
The outer material is waterproof, so you can grab your inflatable kayak or SUP and not worry about getting your clothes wet. It also means that you can throw on your robe if it’s raining and still stay warm. When choosing a changing robe, make sure you get one with a durable outer layer. This will help ensure it lasts and you don’t need to worry about the inevitable snags.
The changing robe gives you extra accessories such as corded hoods to help keep out wind. This is great for those windy days at the beach. As the changing robe has become more of a fashion accessory, having something warm to hide under really helps to improve your time at the beach.
You will also find features such as velcro or zip pockets, which then allows you to carry more around. I am forever losing things, so a well equipped changing robe will help you from cancelling another bank card.
Another advantage of the the changing robe is that it works well anytime of day. For example, you might pop it on to take the dog for a walk on a wet day in the UK. Why wouldn’t you? It’s going to keep you warm and dry, whilst also allow you to carry your pooper scooper! You would look slightly odd walking the dog in a poncho towel.
How Can I Stay Warm At The Beach?
To the uninitiated, the thought of taking a dip in cold water at any time of year seems like a crazy idea that should be avoided at all costs. Why would I want to freeze when I can be nice and warm at home? Now to some extent they may have a point. However, we have found many ways in which to stay warm during the cold, in fact we even wrote an article about it! Now any intrepid water sport enthusiast can keep themselves warm all year round.
Firstly, there is the wetsuit. There are multiple lengths, thickness and styles to keep you warm. You could be an open water swimmer, a SUP user, surfer, kayaker…the list goes on. There is a wetsuit for your needs.
When you are setting up at the beach for the day make sure you get yourself protected if the weather turns ugly. Some wind breaks and beach tents are brilliant at keeping the wind and rain at bay and can really improve your warmth at the beach. A 20 degree day with wind can actually feel quite chilly. Whereas with wind breaks and a beach tent you get a suntrap set up.
One final ingredient to keep you warm is a changing robe. It comes with great features to enhance your day at the beach. Firstly they are waterproof, so regardless of the weather, you can wear this item of clothing and stay dry. They are also really warm. Most come with a fleece lining that provides warmth for your body when coming out of the cold sea. This means you can finish your dip in the cold water and then snuggle under a toasty towel while packing away your gear.
There also extra features that make the changing robe superior to a towel. For example, zip pockets. It’s always a concern that you could lose you keys, wallet or phone at the beach. Having a changing robe alleviates these problems as you can store all your items safely away in one of the many zip pockets.