During the dark days of the Covid pandemic lockdown people increasingly sought alternative outdoor activities, and in particular open water swimming and paddleboarding provided an outlet for many.
This, in turn, resulted in an unprecedented demand for associated products to make such activities more attractive and comfortable and in this respect, the changing robe became essential.
These waterproof changing robes were swiftly adopted into all manner of activities and pursuits and have even turned into a middle-class fashion statement. Whilst this was led by the market leader DryRobe, a plethora of alternative robes of varying design, quality and price also flooded the market giving the consumer a huge choice.
The origins of the changing robe were to provide surfers with a dry, warm and comfortable garment to change out of wet attire, but it has developed into a product that is used widely for all sorts of sports on and off the water and is often seen being used as a coat when walking the dog or doing the shopping. Consumers are therefore looking for a product that is both practical and looks good.
In the inflatable stand-up paddleboard world, Red Paddle Co lead the market and are synonyms with innovation and quality. In addition to their excellent range of paddleboards they produce a whole range of complimentary accessories and clothing all of which uphold the reputation of this company.
Their Change Robe does not disappoint.
Product Reviewed – Red Men’s Long Sleeve Pro Change Robe – Colour Navy – XL. Reviewer’s size Height – 1.80m. Weight 88kgs
Red Paddle Co – One of the best changing robes available in the UK
Stretchy and breathable outer shell
First impression of this robe is that the outer shell fabric feels soft and pliable and the synthetic lambswool lining feels very soft and cosy. Lovely navy colour with complimentary red piping and nice Red branding that is not overpowering. The outer fabric is waterproof and breathable and the inner is moisture wicking.
The robe length was approximately 250mm below the knee so covers most of your body. There is plenty of room for changing out of those wet clothes and added slit stitched panels each side offer plenty of flexibility.
The central full-length YKK two way zip looks robust with some nice finger pulls on the sliders making it easy to operate with cold fingers. On inspection, there seems little likelihood of the fabric snagging into the zip which can be an infuriating trait of some products especially when you need to zip up and get warm quickly.
For added weather protection the robe has a small flap which covers the zip and is secured with some poppers that are not visible when looking at the front of the robe.
The fitted hood has poppers just under the chin and toggle strings each side to pull it even tighter in those extreme weather conditions leaving only your face to the elements.
The sleeve cuffs are elasticated and have a velcro fastener that can be pulled tight if you want to ensure no cold wind blowing up the sleeves. There was enough room in the sleeve to clench your fist and protect your hands in the sleeve from any chill if you did not have gloves and did not want to use the pockets.
Pockets with purpose
There are two internal pockets. The lower is open and made with a fleece material and big enough for a paperback. The upper internal pocket is made with a mesh material with a vertical zip one side. If you wanted to use this for your phone or valuables after water sports you would need to use a waterproof pouch so unsure really of the purpose of this pocket apart from use in dry activities.
The two external fleece-lined hand pockets are generous enough to bury your hands on those cold days but have no zips so cannot be used for safe storage. The external breast pocket has a waterproof zip and external fabric lining and a phone in a case fits snuggly in here and is protected from the weather.
Handy stash bag
One issue with a changing robe is that it is a bulky garment. This robe has a hanging loop so can be hung in the normal way on a clothes hook but for transportation needs to be compressed especially if space is at a premium when travelling. Red have addressed this issue by designing a stash bag for compressing and carrying the robe. Looking at this product online it does look to fulfil the need impressively but is not cheap.
As primarily a paddleboarder I have found this product ideal providing comfort and weather protection, good for getting out of wet clothes, as well a feeling and looking stylish. I recently used this in the Red Bull Midsummer Viking Challenge in Copenhagen and at 4am in the morning during a violent storm, that stopped the event for a period, this robe provided a welcome warm and dry refuge.
Great choice of colours
This robe is manufactured in seven attractive colours and also has short and mid-sleeve versions if you find this easier for changing, but personally, I think the long sleeve gives the most flexibility of usage.
If you are looking for a quality changing robe that is well designed and has panache, the Red Paddle offer should certainly be considered. If you paddle a Red board, want to stick with the brand and can afford this robe it is a superb complimentary product.
You can buy the Pro Changing Robe from £159.95
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.