Dryrobes (or waterproof changing robes) allow you to get changed into your sports gear or clean clothes anywhere, anytime while protecting you against the elements. They are often windproof, waterproof, and come with a lining meant to keep you warm and dry.
If you spend much time out on the water swimming, sailing, or surfing, then you probably know how useful it would be to have a nearby changing space waiting when you get out of the water.
Robes make the transition from soaked to dry and cosy straightforward. They are great for people who find themselves often out in inclement weather for sport or entertainment (e.g., rugby, hiking, biking, surfing etc.), where staying warm or finding a private place to change might be a challenge. With a waterproof changing robe, your dignity is maintained, and the elements are kept at bay.
If you are wanting a Dryrobe alternative, then you’re probably in one of 2 camps.
You are looking for something different because Dryrobes are expensive, or you are looking because you don’t want to wear the same thing as everyone else. In the review we give a brief overview of the top brands that offer a great alternative to Dryrobe and the reasons why they could be perfect for you.
Whether you are an avid surfer, colder water swimmer or hockey player, these robes will come in handy.
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The best Dryrobe alternatives in the UK
Gorilla Robes is a top-quality brand that I think is one of the best and cheapest Dryrobe alternatives. Gorilla Robes are offer great value for money and it’s by far the easiest changing robe to actually get changed in.
• Waterproof long sleeve robe (from £89.99 – £94.99) – View website
One of the features that set their robes apart is the matching side zippers, which can be found on their leading waterproof long sleeve robes. Their prices are very affordable, and for eco-conscious shoppers, they have changing towels made of 100% recycled polyester materials.
Gorilla Robes have kangaroo pockets with a water-resistant pouch for items and drawstring hoods.
Their products have overnight shipping available, and a 60-day return window. There is a robe for almost any budget, so you should find what you are looking for with this brand. One downside is that they do not have as many pockets as Dryrobes and some other brands, but their kangaroo pocket is quite large.
Gorilla waterproof changing robes are also quite long, which provides as much body cover as possible to keep you toasty and warm.
Vivida Lifestyle Changing Robe
Vivida is a brand created by people passionate about watersports, who know exactly what they want from their gear – Premium quality and classy design.
Vivida is relatively new to the watersports changing robe scene but has seen huge success with their poncho towel robes over the years, so they know what they’re doing!
They are offering 2 different robes styles; the classic Sherpa Fleece design and a unique Quilted Puffer. Both are very well made, have a choice of stylish colours and are sustainability made which is what we love to see.
The Sherpa Fleece is everything you’d want from a changing robe. The inner lining wicks away water to get you dry and the outer shell protects you from wind and rain. It also has some well-positioned inside pockets and a very handy pack-away bag.
The Quilted Puffer style is something we haven’t seen yet from any other brand and it’s certainly one of the warmest robes on the market. It kind of looks more like a coat than a changing robe, which is great if you want to feel comfortable wearing it out and about and not just on the beach. The Puffer comes with a hefty price tag at £240, but if you’re looking for a very warm, great looking premium robe, then this should be top of the list.
Read our full Vivida Changing Robe review.
Red Paddle Co Changing Robe
Red Paddle Co has some fashion-forward changing robes that work great for their intended purpose while leaving you looking stylish. They appear like an overlong, loose coat but with a classy design and colour scheme. This is a truly luxurious changing robe in material and appearance.
• Pro Evo Change Jacket (£159.95) – Visit website
You’ve probably heard of Red Paddle Co, the brand that really revolutionised the inflatable paddleboard market here in the UK. Along with high-end paddleboards, Red Paddle Co could very well claim the top spot as the best waterproof changing robe on the market.
The robe feels like it’s made to a really high spec, and all finishes and trims are of the highest quality.
Like the Vivida robe, Red have opted for a stretch fabric outer shell, which means the robe can be more fitted but is also super flexible to get changed in. The fabric is also breathable which helps with regulating your body temperature, and makes you feel less clammy if you ever decide to drive home in your robe.
I’m not sure how Red have done it, but the inner lining feels softer than any other robe.
Other features the robe include a quality adjustable hood, full-length front zip and pockets in all the right places. Coming in a great choice of colours and at a competitive price, Red Paddle Co’s Pro Evo Change Jacket could be the all-around best robe to buy today.
Read our full Red Paddle Co robe review here
Saltrock Four Seasons Changing Robe
If you don’t want to get noticed whilst getting changed, this robe isn’t for you. However, if you want to look fabulous in a changing robe that offers a great balance of functionality and fun, the eye-catching tie-dye Saltrock Waterproof Changing Robe is a perfect choice.
• Four Seasons Changing Robe (£120) – View on website
Hailing from the West Country, Saltrock is a surf/lifestyle clothing brand that has been around since the late 80’s. They have always been about providing affordable gear that always looks great, and their new range of waterproof changing robes fit into this mould perfectly.
Saltrock has released a range of robes in 3 colours, black, camo and the colour we got our hands on, tie-die pink. We were thrilled to finally see a robe that looks different, with a colour scheme that you can’t help but smile at.
The robe itself has all the features you’d expect at this price range. The borg (sheepskin style) fleece inner lining is warm and cosy, which features throughout most of the robe. You’ll find a microfiber fleece lining in the sleeves and pockets, which helps keep the robe lightweight.
The outer layer is also relatively lightweight and the ripstop material looks durable and feels hardwearing. This outer shell is also waterproof and windproof, protecting you from the elements in the cold winter months.
There are some really nice finishing touches to this robe. The adjustable hood is cut well, which is also fleece lined, and the pocket placements make sense. From the reflective strips on the chest to the chunky zips, this robe will last you years, it looks fantastic and is at a price point that matches its quality and extra features.
Read our full review of Saltrocks waterproof changing robe.
Voited is a brand I’ve only just come across recently. It’s quite a new business set up by Frank Voit, who has been the COO and General Manager at the likes of Billabong, Element, RVCA, Von Zipper and Neil Pryde Waterwear. Their outlook on creating products is all about being as practical as possible whilst finding ways to reduce the impact of manufacturing on the environment, with sustainable sourcing and production.
• Outdoor Changing Robe (£129) – Visit website
Voited have taken a slightly different approach to their changing robes, compared to Gorilla, Vivida and Dryrobe. Instead of the synthetic woolly fleece inner lining, Voited have opted to use different materials depending on its placement and use.
The inner lining of the upper torso and legs is a microfibre towel, which is perfect for drying off. There is a really warm and snug insulation panel around the mid area, which Voited has trademarked as CloudTouch™. The hood and arms have a thick polar fleece, which helps dries the body but stays incredibly warm.
These robes are also made from recycled materials, so have a small footprint on the earth’s resources. For example, the outer shell is made from 94 plastic bottles and the insulation is 100% recycled polyester yarn.
With a decent range of colours to choose from, if you want to try something different from a brand that is very sustainability-focused, then you won’t go wrong with trying a Voited Robe.
With its tough waterproof outer shell, super soft inner lining and full front zip, Change Robe have produced a classic waterproof robe that won’t disappoint. I think extra features such as the storm flat pockets, drawstring hood and nicely cut hem make this robe a better-looking DryRobe alternative.
• Long Sleeve Change Robe (£135) – View on website
Based in the watersports hub of Devon, this family-run business is all about making equipment that suits their outdoor lifestyle. Dan, the owner, is a passionate surfer and kayaker, which is great to know when buying from a brand that sells outdoor gear.
The Change Robe brand has hyper-focused on purely creating waterproof and towel-changing robes.
We’ve tested their long sleeve robe, which is a great mix of fashion and functionality. The robe is waterproof, dries you off quickly and there is a lot of room to get changed. I’m 6’2 ish and the large is perfect for me.
The fluffy synthetic wool lining inside the robe wicks away moisture to get you dry and warm very quickly. The pockets are lined with a quick dry-type fleece lining.
I’m a big fan of the full-length front zip, so I can easily wrap up warm for a break during my cold winter sessions. I also really like the flap that hides the zip and the big poppers, which are also on the pockets, give the robe a look that’s different from most others.
The adjustable and well-fitted hood is a feature only on the more premium robes. So for £135, the Long Sleeve Changing Robe offers really good value for a functional robe that will last years.
This brand started it all with their creatively designed changing robes meant to provide people with an easy way to get changed outdoors. Because they are of high quality, trusted brand with a heap of useful features in each robe, they can be a little above budget for some. Their current products include the following.
The long sleeve robes have multiple large, lined, and zippered interior and exterior pockets that can be used to protect phones and other digital equipment, store small items, and warm your hands.
The two-way zippers make it easy to give yourself more room as you change. The lining is made of synthetic lambswool meant to soak up moisture so you and your clothes can dry faster. The outer fabric is weather resistant.
It comes in sizes small through extra-large, and the length falls below the knees.
It is quite a bit looser than some other changing robe brands, which means you have plenty of space to take on and off multiple layers during colder weather. It can fit into a compression bag.
The short sleeve robes have the same features, but the arm length is shortened to just below the elbow.
The weather-resistant Dryrobes give you plenty of room for changing, have lots of places to squirrel away items, and are among the most trusted brands.
However, their prices tend to be higher due to the quality, so if you want a cheaper robe for getting in and out of the outdoor pool or changing after a long bike ride, then you would probably do fine with a more affordable product.
Seashell Changing Robe
A robe that’s highly rated amongst sport and adventure enthusiasts, Seashell has built a changing robe that is practical and stylish.
• Seashell Changing Robe (£124.99) – View on Seashell
Seashell are a specialist changing robe company who have caught the wave from the recent boom of outdoor swimming and activities. They are a UK business, so know exactly what we need to stay warm and dry, especially in the cold dark winters.
Our first impression of the Seashell is that it has a durable outer shell, but does not feel excessively bulky or heavy.
We love the eye-catching Sand colour that really pops in the sunshine. I’m not sure I’ve seen another robe with this colour so if you want something original, this could be the robe for you. For those wanting something a bit more understated, the black looks classy and slick.
Seashell wanted to create a robe with subtle branding and they’ve done it perfectly. The brand itself with its logo and typography looks classy, and they haven’t overdone it to make you feel like an advertising board.
The robe looks good enough to wear as an oversized coat and I felt comfortable getting a coffee in it after a recent winter surf.
The fleece-lined pockets, well-shaped hood and adjustable sleeves at the wrists complete this classy robe.
It’s also nice to see the packaging comes from recycled plastic.
If you find yourself outdoors camping, working, or playing where it is wet and dirty, then the Moonwrap changing robes are perfect. They are one of the warmest on the market, and Frostfire has them in sizes small through extra-large for adults and children.
• Long-sleeve robe – Check price on Amazon
This cosy robe is going to keep you nice and toasty on your way to and from the water. It has oversized sleeves, a hood that zips up to the chin, and multiple pockets so you can keep your hands warm.
The outer shell is waterproof and wind-resistant, and the interior is fleece for optimal warmth. Zippers are double-sided to make it easier to reach where you need to, and the robe is quite long, with it falling just below the knees giving you plenty of privacy. The only differences between the two options are the sleeve length and price.
There really is no downside to this coat. It is big, warm, and good for an outdoor changing space. This robe is a bit pricey, but the quality is worth it. If you only need something small and basic for changing at the pool, you will not need this heavy-duty robe, but it is an all-around excellent product.
Eco-friendly shoppers will appreciate Finisterre’s changing robe.
• Tego Robe (£135)
The outside shell of this recycled changing robe is made of two-layer DWR recycled Nylon, and the inside is made of 100% recycled fleece.
It zips up the front and has large side pockets, a hood, a double-sided front zipper for convenience, and wide sleeves for easy manoeuvrability while changing. The length falls just below the knees to provide plenty of privacy while you change.
The materials mean that you can stay protected no matter what the weather, while the interior fleece soaks up any water to dry you off faster. It is more compact than other changing robes, so you can easily store it in a small bag.
While this will protect you from the wind and rain while you are changing, it will not be as warm as the Red Paddle Co or Northcore robes, so it should probably be used only in summer or during light weather.
What are Waterproof Changing Robes?
A changing robe is a garment worn over your clothing. They often look like an oversized coat and can come in a variety of fabrics and styles. The armholes are usually quite large, making it easy to bring your arms inside and get your clothes on and off without a struggle.
They are essentially wearable spaces meant to give you full privacy and freedom of movement as you change from wet or dirty clothes into something clean and dry. Many of them have outer shells made of waterproof and windproof fabrics with a lining that is both soft and comfortable.
Type of Changing Robes
There are long sleeve, short sleeve, poncho, zippered and seam-free changing robes. Most have hoods and various pockets for carrying small items or keeping your hands warm. They can be stored in compression bags when not in use to make them easier to transport.
The interior and exterior materials will be different depending on the manufacturer.
Microfiber or towel-lined waterproof changing robes are designed to absorb water and get you dry faster, while fur-lined ones are not as useful for drying off but can keep you warm while you wait to swim or after you dry off.
Both may have waterproofed exterior materials, but beach ponchos are usually a single layer of towel fabric. These robes are meant to soak up as much water as possible while you get change.
Waterproof changing robes are not only for water-related activities. Anywhere you may need to change in public, these robes can make that quick and easy while keeping your dignity intact. Many manufacturers also have sizes for children and young adults, so you can use them if you have children in sports that often leave them covered in mud, so they can change before getting into the car.
If you are looking for a lightweight towel alternative that’s perfect for summer, you might like to read our blog about the best surf ponchos towels.
Why Use Waterproof Changing Robes?
There are many reasons to use a changing robe, but chief among them is the convenience that comes with a hands-free option to help you transition between wet or dirty clothes and clean ones.
It takes less time when you do not have to worry about keeping a towel held up, and there is no one-handed juggle between pulling things on and taking them off. It is all done under the robe, where you have plenty of space to move. It also creates privacy where you may not otherwise have any available.
There will be no accidental or embarrassing slip-ups where you show off a little too much skin to strangers at the lake. Instead, you get a nice, insulated space that protects you from the elements while you strip and redress.
Who Are They Good For?
Anyone can use a waterproof changing robe. Most manufacturers have children sizes through extra-large so each family member can get their own robe for when you go to the beach, campsite, or lake.
Whether you are kayaking out on the ocean, paddleboarding, taking part in a triathlon, or training for other sports events, these robes will be useful.
If you have ever found yourself out in nature wishing you had a convenient place to change out of your soaked or grimy clothes, then you already know that a changing robe is something you might need.
What To Consider When Buying a Waterproof Changing Robe
Purchasing the right changing robes for you means checking the details such as extra features and dimensions. If you are getting a robe for changing into and out of your wetsuit in the car park or a way to keep yourself warm on your way to and from an outdoor swimming venue, there may be unique requirements.
For example, a wetsuit requires a little more wiggling to get in and out of. Brands like Gorilla Robes have taken that into consideration, and they designed several extra zipper seams to make it easier to reach certain areas.
This one is pretty easy. If you intend to use your changing robe to dry and change simultaneously, you will want something with microfiber, synthetic wool, or towel fabric. For anyone who knows they will most likely be out in the wind and rain, a waterproof, windproof outer shell is necessary.
Are They Eco-friendly?
You will want to research before choosing a brand since there are multiple areas along a supply chain where sustainability and cruelty-free resourcing comes into play. We will be able to provide brief acknowledgements for brands that openly state their eco-friendly choices.
There is a broad price range, and for the most part, you get what you pay for in terms of material quality and use. More affordable robes are great for a quick change and dry off after getting yourself wet in the rain or during a swim, but they will not do much to protect you from the elements or keep you warm for long.
More expensive robes will have weatherproof outer layers, heavier-duty materials meant to last through hundreds of uses, pockets, hoods, and most come with some form of storage container such as a compression bag. Sleeves versus no sleeves and the size will also have a slight impact on the price. Prices average between £80 and £150.
Dimensions and sleeve Length
What dimensions to get will depend on how many layers you will be wearing and your size. Each manufacturer is going to have its own sizing guide, so be sure to check this carefully before ordering.
While wearing it, you need to have enough space to manoeuvre your clothes into the robe and around your body. Longer sleeves can keep you warmer but short sleeves are easier to get your arms in and out. You should get what looks and feels most comfortable to you.
This can be one of the more important factors to consider, especially if you intend to be outdoors in colder weather. For anyone living in more temperate climates, this might not be as essential, but it is always good to keep in mind whether you want something that can function as an insulated, warm changing space.
Fur and towel-lined robes are the warmest. When in doubt about a specific product, you can check customer reviews to see if they found it as warm as the description made it appear.
Storage Before Use
You will want to think about storing the robe so it is nearby when you are ready to use it. The garment’s outer part is often element proof so you could leave it set out. Otherwise, you can store it in a waterproof bag and bring it with you or leave it in a secure location.
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.