10 Things to Look Out for When Comparing Waterproof Changing Robes
Posted by Jess Davies
Waterproof Changing robes have exploded in popularity over the past year, and have become a staple part of many outdoor kits. With this increase in demand there has also been a rise in new entrants and brands flooding the market. On the surface, the overall features of the changing robe are commonly shared and can look the same. If you look closer however, there can often be a big difference between them and the value for money they offer. From the quality and potential usage, these small variables can often make a big impact. If you are trying to compare robes, either to review or to buy, we have put together the top features to look out for and help inform your decision. This is based on what is most important to consumers when shopping for waterproof changing robes.
1) Outer Fabric Quality
a. Waterproof – The clue is in the title, you want your robe to stand up to the harshest of weather conditions – cold, wind and rain. Does the robe offer a waterproof rating? See also the note on DWR treatments in point 6.
b. Breathability – technical fabrics are breathable and have a rating to show it. The Red Original Pro Change Robe EVO is 8k/3k. Without this breathability, you are essentially wearing a sweaty wet coat, not great if you are putting the robe on when you are already damp. No other decent waterproof jackets aren’t breathable, so why shouldn’t this one be?
2) Inner Fleece Liner
a. Softness of liner – not all liners are created equal. Obviously it is very difficult to tell from pictures online, but many liners are squeaky, scratchy and not particularly soft. Some robes use a towelling style liner which although might be good at drying you initially, then stays wet itself, meaning you feel damp and get cold. We prefer fur style over Sherpa style fleece for its softness, warmth and of course moisture wicking properties. We’ve tested our liners extensively versus other alternatives and are certain it is the best of the bunch in terms of warmth, comfort and drying you effectively.
b. Warmth of liner – a deep pile means extra insulation.
3) Overall comfort
a. Sizing – are the options just medium and large or if you are petite or tall is your height catered for?
b. Does it feel lightweight and effortless to wear or heavy and bulky?
a. Pockets are really important to people! Generally speaking, the more the better. A water-resistant outer pocket is a great addition as you don’t have to let all the cold air in everytime you need to get your phone out. Water resistant zips aren’t cheap though, so it’s a good indicator of a quality brand if they are used.
b. Does the robe have hand warmer pockets, and are they soft and temping to put your hands in to or do zips rub your wrists?
5) Extra Features
Does it have a wind baffle? Adjustable Hood? Side Stretch Panels? Reflective Elements? These make the robe more user-friendly and multi-purpose as well as highly dependable in tough weather conditions or when you are hopping around at the beach trying to get your wetsuit off.
6) Ecologically Friendly
Is the DWR treatment PFC free? DWR’s are the treatments used on waterproof apparel to provide excellent water run-off. PFC’s are nasties that any responsible brand shouldn’t be using. If it does not state PFC free DWR, it probably isn’t, steer well clear.
If you are looking to change under your robe, or are simply planning on using it to keep warm and dry, you’ll need something with long sleeves and a good overall length. Extra points if the sleeves are not bulky and the lining doesn’t stick through at the cuff. Of-course you also need space to manoeuvre underneath too as you dress and undress.
8) Choice of Design
The beauty of change robes is that they can be used as multipurpose outdoor jackets. Just with any other jacket, you want to find one that suits and flatters you, and maybe even expresses your style. Does the brand you are looking at have a number of different designs to choose from or just one colour? Does it look good on?
Do you want to make a big brand statement, or are you after a more subtle look? Some brands have huge logos embroidered on the back of their robes, others don’t.
10) Usage & Useability
Over the head style ponchos might suit for a quick change at the beach, but aren’t really going to work for walking the dog or sitting around on a cold damp day. If you pick a jacket style robe with considered styling & looks more like a regular parka style jacket, you’ll feel comfortable using it to sit outside at the pub, take it camping, or to hang out at your local swim spot. More usage equals great value for money.