An outdoor changing robe elevates your adventures and explorations in the coldest and wettest conditions. Choose your robe well, and you'll enjoy the garment for years to come.
It's important to do your research and ensure you're getting one that is right for you, retaining the features and functionalities that are most useful to your outdoor life.
Robe innovations, materials and features have expanded immensely in the past few years. Various brands initially crafted them as a waterproof layer over a “warm” lining. Changing robes now offer so much more, and no more so than the innovations lovingly crafted by the Vivida Lifestyle changing robe design team.
From fabric performance to endlessly-useful functions and features, your robe is more than an outdoor coat — it's a piece of wearable gear that keeps you dry and warm. It will instantly be the most versatile item in your wardrobe.
Read on for a comprehensive list of the important features to note when purchasing an outdoor robe for yourself or as a gift.
- Changing robes vs Poncho Towels
- Water and Rainproof
- Warmth and Insulation
- Lining or Fill
- Draft Collar and Hood Protection
- Travel-Friendly and Packable
- Additional Features
- Which Changing Robe is Best for Open Water Swimmers?
CHANGING ROBES VS PONCHO TOWELS
Changing robes are not to be confused with changing towels or towelling ponchos, although they can be a great option if you're looking for something more lightweight that can dry quickly.
A poncho towel can absorb water and is a great way to stay warm on the beach after a swim. However, they have short sleeves and are not water-resistant. If you're looking for one of the best changing robes after swimming in cold water, you should seek extra warmth, long sleeves and a cosy inner lining.
If you plan to enjoy your robe in the great outdoors (and why wouldn't you?!), it makes perfect sense to keep the beauty of nature in mind when deciding which one to call your own.
While there are a variety of ways a garment can be made to reduce its impact on resources, we recommend inspecting the materials and processes used and keeping a close eye on marketing jargon — don’t be fooled or “greenwashed” into believing a product is more sustainable than it actually is.
As innovations constantly improve and evolve, some key components of a great eco-friendly robe might include; post-consumer recycled materials, PFC-free coatings, recycled materials that meet Global Recycled Standards, and recycled lining fabrication. Here are Vivida changing robe's eco-friendly specs:
- Outer soft-touch peached shell is made of 100% post-consumer recycled polyester
- Bionic Finish® Eco, PFC-free, durable, water-repellent coating
- Sherpa fleece (synthetic lambswool), made from 75% Repreve® recycled plastic bottles (sherpa changing robe)
- Premium wadding insulation (100% recycled polyester), with a lightweight lining (100% recycled polyamide) (sherpa changing robe)
WATER AND RAINPROOF
One of the most important features of an outdoor changing robe is its ability to keep water out.
The all-weather changing robes from Vivida Lifestyle boast a high-performance waterproof yet breathable outer shell, which is made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and proves to be the ultimate defence from the elements.
But there is more to the outer shell than just being waterproof. Here are the incredibly innovative details of the Vivida waterproof changing robe’s shell properties:
- The four-way stretch facilitates movement and freedom
- Made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester
- Multilayer technology brings increased levels of waterproofness:
Layer 1: The Bionic Finish® Eco, PFC-free, durable, water-repellent coating allows water to bead up and roll away from your waterproof changing robe.
Layer 2: Soft-touch, peached, 100% post-consumer recycled polyester.
Layer 3: 5000mm waterproof laminate.
We recommend keeping a close eye on the outer shell technology used in the robes you consider, as this is your first layer of protection from the elements and will be an essential aspect of staying warm and dry.
WARMTH AND INSULATION
Arguably, the other most important feature is the warmth and insulation the outdoor changing robe provides. In the most frosty of temperatures, you need to count on your robe to provide warmth as you spend time in the great outdoors.
This includes the immediate respite from cool temperatures, as well as longer-term insulation. The Vivida all-weather changing robe is fleece lined and built with exactly that in mind.
There are air pockets within the QuiltedCloud fill in the Vivida puffer, whereas the Vivida sherpa robe is fleece lined with synthetic lambswool, keeping in the warmth whilst wicking away moisture. Whether one style is warmer than the other, the Vivida design team had this to say:
"The inner lining of the sherpa fleece is warmer and cosier upon immediate touch; however, after time, the quilted puffer will keep you warmer thanks to its ultra-insulating eco QuiltedCloud fill, which traps warmth to preserve your body heat to a greater extent than the sherpa fleece.
All in all, the quilted puffer will keep you warmer, longer, though we didn't necessarily design them that way; they're just different. The quilted puffer design is totally unique — Vivida is the first to bring this puffer style into the changing robe category – making it the most versatile and warm changing robe on the market today."
LINING OR FILL
Vivida provides the option of a puffer version with the QuiltedCloud eco fill for a cosy, plush sensation and incredible, long-lasting warmth, as well as the more classic style, which in Vivida's case, is sherpa lined.
Every brand uses different lining material, each with its own level of insulation and qualities of eco-friendliness. Here is the breakdown of the Vivida sherpa versus puffer qualities:
Vivida Puffer All-Weather Changing Robe
Honeycomb fleece lining combined with the ultra-insulating QuiltedCloud fill traps warmth to preserve your body heat.
✓ Sustainable synthetic fill insulation mimics properties of down, warming the body quickly. While the recycled honeycomb fleece draws water away from the skin.
✓ Eco QuiltedCloud synthetic down (fill weight: 135g)
✓ Warmer over long periods.
Vivida Sherpa Lined All-Weather Changing Robe
Fleece lining keeps in the warmth while wicking away moisture.
Advanced fleece lining:
✓ Warms body quickly while drawing water away from the skin
✓ Sherpa fleece (synthetic lambswool), made from 75% Repreve® recycled plastic bottles and 25% polyester.
DRAFT COLLAR AND HOOD PROTECTION
An oversized hood is a must-have for any protective and warm outdoor robe. Vivida's line of changing robes integrates a roomie hood with a drawcord adjuster that can be secured when needed.
In addition, the Vivida robes include a draft collar — an extension of the collar around the neck that can be zipped up to protect the entire neck and lower portion of the face. This collar is a game-changer in extreme weather.
The Vivida hood is also designed with a strategically-placed peak — to prevent water from dripping from the edge of the hood onto the face or into the hood. The Sherpa style has added foam support to help keep the shape in place.
TRAVEL-FRIENDLY AND PACKABLE
This often overlooked yet important aspect of a changing robe can make a big difference if you plan to travel with your robe. A bulky robe can take up an entire backpack, and no one wants to sacrifice other trip necessities because their robe is hogging up key real estate.
The Vivida all-weather puffer robe, for example, packs down to 40cm x 40cm x 15cm and fits snuggly in a small bag that doubles as a travel pillow.
Similarly, the Vivida all-weather sherpa robe packs down to 35cm x 30cm x 15cm and also fits into a handy travel pillow/ bag. As any well-worn traveller knows — an object that does double duty in usefulness is worth its weight in gold.
If you find a brand does not list the size dimensions it packs down to, this omission could indicate a bulky and non-travel-friendly size.
When using your robe, you will be grateful for well-designed pockets in just-right locations. It's especially useful to have both interior and exterior pockets, with the outer being waterproof. This allows easy access to what you need without unzipping your robe while keeping those items dry and your hands warm! In addition, to store items you don't need to access as often, that inner pocket is a perfect, concealed place to keep the things you know you'll need with you.
The weight of your robe is essential not only for travel but also when wearing it. A size medium Vivida puffer version weighs 1.45kg, while the Sherpa robe in medium weighs 1.3kg (the weight of the other sizes can easily be found in their descriptions).
You may compare this to other waterproof changing robes, which you'll find generally weigh more, on average. In designing the Vivida Changing Robes, we felt that if lighter fabrics provide the same or more insulation and warmth, any extra weight is a hindrance, especially when you can enjoy the innovations of modernised, super-warm, lightweight and high-performance fabrics.
FIT AND FEEL
While the technical features of your changing robe are hugely important, the fit and feel of this garment are just as important. Does it feel good when you put it on? Are the fabrics comfortable to the touch? Vivida changing robes are unique for their premium, peached, soft-touch feel — a quality no other robe provides. We also integrated four-way stretch material, which facilitates movement and freedom.
Another fit-and-feel question should be; does the fit accommodate your body to allow for free movement and the ability to do what you need to do without being restrictive or tight? Generally, you should choose a changing robe with an oversized fit, so you can change inside easily. That said, your robe should not be so large that your arms disappear in the sleeve length, or you feel you are swimming inside your robe!
Check the sizing guide of your robe, such as for the Vivida changing puffer or sherpa changing robe, and select the size that aligns with your measurements. With Vivida's changing robes, you do not need to size up to allow for adequate changing room; you can simply order the size you would for a standard jacket, in accordance with the sizing guide measurements.
The zipper is actually more important than you might think. For the Vivida customer, we incorporated a two-way zipper so that you could unzip not only the top of the robe but the bottom as well. This allows for more movement and changing room when needed.
Additionally, if you think about where you may be wearing your robe — perhaps climbing up a rock or the side of a hill to get to your destination, you may need to take some wide steps and stances, which is where the double zip comes in handy. You can still keep the jacket closed and stay protected whilst opening up the bottom portion for greater mobility.
An easy-grab, gripped and oversized zip-puller is an especially-appreciated feature when your hands are freezing cold. These seemingly slight yet important considerations in zipper design make life in a changing robe that much easier and more enjoyable.
These unique additions were important aspects of creating the most versatile and thoughtful robe on the market today, and nowhere else will you find this combination of features that we hope exemplify the heart and soul of the Vivida robe.
✓ Concealed wrist gaiters to keep warmth in and rain, wind, cold and dirt out of sleeves (puffer style)
✓ Minimal sealed seam construction (sherpa style)
✓ Reinforced side slits for moving freely
✓ A neck hanging loop to easily hang your robe anywhere without damaging or stretching the fabric
✓ A sewn-in “I Belong To” label to place your name (and phone or other information if needed)
✓ A travel pillowcase to allow your robe to be stored in a convenient bag whilst also functioning as a travel pillow wherever you may need it
✓ Modern, clean, aesthetic design with earthy tones and minimal branding. Stylish and functional — a piece you could wear from the lakeside to a chilly, rainy night out with friends.
SO WHICH CHANGING ROBE IS BEST FOR OPEN WATER SWIMMERS?
When there's no option to change inside after swimming in cold water, ensuring you warm up quickly is a vital step to avoid hypothermia.
The Vivida robes are two of the warmest robes available, thanks to their cosy inner lining, sleeve length, hood and waterproof outer shell. They give you plenty of room to gent your arms inside to get changed outdoors, whether at a beach or in a car park.
Vivida robes are also a sustainable alternative to others on the market, with a 100%-recycled polyester outer, lining and fill. The unique muted colours look harmonious with nature and the stylish design doesn't look out of place when you're in town or the city.
When it comes to sustained warmth and unique style, the puffer design is the clear choice. However, those looking for a more traditional drying robe, with an immediate cosy feel, will love the sherpa option.
All Weather Puffer Changing Robe
All Weather Sherpa Changing Robe
We hope this helped illuminate the features you have to choose from in the world of outdoor changing robes. Still not sure? Check out watersports coach Indie Bornhoft's video review of both Vivida Changing Robes.
Where will your robe take you next?
Enjoy the journey.
Jackie Tyburski dives deep into the stories and true essence of the Vivida Lifestyle brand, ethos, and mission. She believes the right words illuminate our purpose and capture life's moments in pure, imperfect, and poetic form. Travelling, cooking, yoga, and paddle-boarding are a few of Jackie's other favourite things, alongside being a mom and wife to a few awesome humans.