Get cosy before and after your next swimming session with a warm and weatherproof changing robe, ideal for open water swimmers, triathletes, surfers and winter dippers.

Swimming, paddleboarding, triathlon, surfing, sailing – however you love to get out and enjoy the water, when temperatures drop, there’s one thing that can make water sports and swimming more comfortable – a great changing robe.

The best change robe is, as the name suggests, designed for use on shore, to make wriggling into a wetsuit before a swim or pulling your clothes back on after a surf less of a faff (and to help you avoid flashing the whole car park).

Changing robes have another use, though – a fleece-lined robe is ideal for warming up fast after cold water swim.

Insulated, waterproof changing robes are ideal if you’re an all-year-round swimmer, stopping you from losing precious body heat, especially if you’re swimming in ‘skins’ (swimsuit only). Meanwhile, you’ll also find lightweight, towelling-style robes available which are ideal for warmer weather. Use these so you can get changed on the beach or by a lake easily, or pop them on to dry off with, instead of a towel.

Note that you should never wear a changing robe while on the water, such as when on a paddleboard, as they present a risk of drowning if you accidentally fall in – save them for before or after your swim.

Changing robes come in lots of designs, but some are so smart and stylish you could easily wear them as a coat, which makes a nice versatile option for daily use in the winter. You’ll more bang for your buck if you invest in a changing robe that you can also wear to walk the dog or do the school run when it’s foul outside.
Our top six picks of the best dry robes for women and men are perfect for swimming in in every season. We’ve included lightweight toweling robes, packable waterproof robes and fashion-forward robes you can also wear as a coat. Not sure where to start shopping? You’ll also find key features to look out for when choosing your new swimming change robe in our quick buyer’s guide, below.

Changing robes: 8 of the best warm dry robes for outdoor swimmers

Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - dry robe

Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve Robe

Probably the best-known brand on the market, Dryrobe’s designs are a big hit with swimmers, surfers and triathletes alike – head to any official swimming event and there’ll be an array of fuzz-lined Dryrobes ready for by the water’s edge for their intrepid owners. Waterproof, windproof and lined with synthetic ‘lambswool’ material, these robes will save you when you get out of winter water and feel the cold bite, and are roomy enough to get changed under in chilly, windy conditions. Our top pick is the Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve, made with recycled materials – if you want a robe that’ll make you feel instantly snug year-round, this is the design to invest in.

Material: Recycled nylon and recycled polyester
Sizes: S-XL
Colours: 13
Waterproof: Yes
Gender: male and female available

Reasons to buy: reliably warm and waterproof, soft snug inner lining, lots of colours to choose from
Reasons to avoid: thick and heavy
Price £160 (RRP £160) $192.50

Buy Dryrobe Long Sleeve Robe


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Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - red paddle

Red Equipment Pro Change Robe

Red Equipment are best known for their popular stand-up paddleboards, and now they’ve taken their water sports know-how and designed a new changing robe. The Pro Change Robe has a great adjustable hood and is fully waterproof and windproof, so it’ll keep body heat trapped in even when wind and bad weather bite, and it’s also breathable enough to use right into the warm weather of spring. We like that the Pro Robe is more compact than your average waterproof robe, and is designed to pop easily into a dry bag for easy storage on a yacht or on a paddle board, although it’s a pity that Red’s compression stash bag, designed to fit the Pro Robe, is sold separately (£34.95, https://red-equipment.co.uk/products/pro-change-robe-stash-bag-navy)

Material: recycled fabrics
Sizes: S-XL
Colours: 7
Waterproof: Yes
Gender: male and female available

Reasons to buy: warm lining, more breathable than most winter robes, waterproof, packable
Reasons to avoid: too thick for warm water dips, compression bag sold separately
Price £149.95 (RRP £149.95) $180.41

Buy Women’s Long Sleeve Pro Change Robe Evo from Red Equipment


Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - seasalt

Seasalt Exploring Waterproof Changing Robe

Hey, good-looking – Seasalt’s Exploring stands out from the crowd for its smart, logo-free looks and neutral hues, which make it feel far more like you’re wearing a smart winter coat than most bright changing robes. This Cornish-designed robe is swim-ready, though, with a waterproof outer shell, an adjustable hood and a pleasingly soft quick-dry fleece lining. The Exploring is roomy enough to get changed under anywhere – so roomy, in fact, that we’d recommend ordering a size down from your usual. Our top pick if you want one coat to rule them all for cold weather, that will also come along on your surf and swim expeditions.

Material: recycled polyester, cotton
Sizes: M-XL
Colours: navy, khaki
Waterproof: yes
Gender: women’s

Reasons to buy: great wear-anywhere looks, warm and waterproof, partly recycled materials
Reasons to avoid:very roomy, so consider going a size down
Price £170 (RRP £170) $204.53

Buy Seasalt Exploring Waterproof Changing Robe from Seasalt



Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - zone 3

Zone 3 Heat-Tech Changing Robe

If you tend to feel the cold when heading out for a swim session, you should definitely add Zone 3’s changing robe to your kit bag. Lined with a generous amount of fleece and designed with a triple-layer construction that really traps in body heat, the Heat-Tech Robe offers instant, welcome warmth when you pull it on after emerging from the water. A waterproof and windproof outer shell cuts rain and wind and keeps you cosy even in stormy conditions, and we like added design elements such as the adjustable Velcro straps on the sleeves and the internal handwarmer pockets.

Material: fleece
Sizes: XS-XL
Colours: black
Waterproof: Yes
Gender: unisex

Reasons to buy: very warm, generous longer length, good pockets
Reasons to avoid: not breathable enough for summer
Price £139 (RRP £139) $167.23

Buy Zone 3 Heat-tech Changing Robe from Wiggle


Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - cape cove

Cape Cove Snug Coat

Most swimming robes are pretty boring-looking, often in plain black or grey – where’s the fun in that? If you want to shake it up (or even wear your new robe as a winter coat when you aren’t swimming), head to Cape Cove – this female-owned brand make beautiful robes in an array of bright designs, from eye-catching leopard print to this pastel marble coat. There’s substance as well as style here – the Snug Coat is very warm, water-resistant enough to withstand a shower and has an adjustable and removable hood as well as a soft lining made with sherpa fleece. Cape Cove also offer smart ‘changing dresses’ from £95 that make a nice lightweight alternative to a bulky robe in summer (https://www.cape-cove.com/collections/changing-dresses).

Material: recycled sherpa fleece
Sizes: XS-L
Colours: 4
Waterproof: water-resistant
Gender: women’s

Reasons to buy: fun bright looks, beautiful quality, great hood, recycled fleece lining
Reasons to avoid: expensive, not fully waterproof
Price £299 (RRP £299) $359.75

Buy Cape Cove The Snug Coat from John Lewis


Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - vivida

Vivida All Weather Puffer Changing Robe – Aventurine Green

If you are looking for something a bit special and don’t mind the premium price tag then have a look at this Vivida All weather Puffer changing robe. It comes in three understated classic colours and has a really thoughtfully designed style with substance. The long sleeves have a good closure at the cuff and the hood will keep your head warm when you have wet hair. It’s stylish enough to wear as an oversized coat during the day when your gadding about town or even for lounging at home and want to save some money on the heating bills because you spent it all buying this coat! It’s made of 100% recycled materials, though it was made in China, so what you save on the planet with recycling, you lose on shipping emissions.

Material:  100% post-consumer recycled polyester
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Colours: Green, Blue and Slate Grey
Waterproof: yes
Gender: Unisex

Reasons to buy: Stylish understated, quick to dry, easy to pack
Reasons to avoid: high price point, sleeves might be a little snug for some
Price £240

Buy Vivida All Weather Puffer Changing Robe – Aventurine Green


Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - billabong

Billabong Salty Hooded Towel Change Robe

Here comes the sun – on warm summer days by the shore you can swap your heavy-duty waterproof changing robe for a lightweight hooded towelling number that’s simple to change under and quick to use to dry off. If you’re shopping for something easy and breezy, we rate Billabong’s Salty Hooded Towel Poncho, which is affordable at under £40 and does the job well in warm weather. This hooded towel robe, which is unisex and one-size-fits-all, is easy to pack in a backpack when you’re on the go and comes in a bright striped patter that doesn’t show dirt and sand after a day at the beach.

Material: polyester and polyamide
Sizes: One size
Colours:1
Waterproof: No
Gender: Unisex

Reasons to buy: fun bright pattern, quick to dry, easy to pack
Reasons to avoid: limited warmth, not windproof
Price £30.95 (RRP £44.95) $37.24

Buy Billabong Salty Hooded Towel Robe from Amazon


Changing robes: 8 of the best dry robes for outdoor swimmers - zhik

Zhik Hooded Towel changing robe

Zhik make some really great looking kit and they’ve launched this limited edition colourway changing robe for Breast cancer awareness month. It’s just like their other change robes but more colourful. So the towelling robe is ideal as a light weight option, which can be useful if you are in a sheltered area or warmer weather. You can pack this and take on holiday with you easily so it’s handy for the beach. When you’re not using it to get changed in, you can use it to sit on or lounge on the sand. It has ample space to get changed inside without feeling too constrained.

Material: polyester and polyamide
Sizes: One size
Colours: 1
Waterproof: No
Gender: Unisex

Reasons to buy: fun bright pattern, quick to dry, easy to pack
Reasons to avoid: limited warmth, not windproof
Price £59.95

Buy Zhik toweling changing robe from Zhik


What we look for in the best dry robe

  • Fit & Design: Dry robes are designed to be oversized, with plenty of room to manoeuvre underneath when you’re pulling on and off a swimsuit or a wetsuit. Some are one-size-fits-all, others come in different sizes – and you may find sizing down suits you best if you don’t want to feel swallowed whole in your new robe. Look for large pockets, which are useful for warming up hands or for stashing personal belongings on the beach while you head into the sea. Changing robes usually come with either long or short sleeves – short sleeves are cooler in summer, but we prefer long-sleeved designs, as they’re warm year-round. Sleeves with Velcro closures further help to trap in heat. A well-fitting, adjustable hood is a must, to keep your head warm and help dry wet hair.
  • Material and thickness: You’ll find changing robes of different thicknesses and constructed from different materials on the market – as a rough rule, fleece-lined robes with a weatherproof shell are best for winter, and light, breathable towelling ponchos are best for summer. Towelling is lightweight, breathable and quick to dry, but doesn’t trap in much heat and often need pulling over your head. Thicker robes are warmer and often zip up but are slower to dry, so we rate them for cooler weather or for use as a winter coat.
  • Waterproofing: Not all changing robes are waterproof, but most designs aimed at winter use (and often priced at the more expensive end of the market) will feature a water and wind-resistant outer shell to protect you from the elements, coupled with a softer fleece lining inside. These are ideal in cold, wet weather, shielding you from the elements and helping you warm up.

For more open water swimming gear here’s our buyers guides to swim floats, swim gloves, swim caps, swim shoes