Lomo Zipped Full Sleeve Changing Robe Review
Long sleeve zipped changing robe for watersports and other outdoor activities
As far as watersports go, I have only ever been able to say that I am an Open Water Swimmer. However, for the review of the Lomo Changing Robe, I think that is actually spot-on. Swimming is an activity which can, and does, happen in pretty much any body of water. There is a real need for changing discreetly without flashing Aunty Marge, who is eating her sandwiches in the neighbouring car whilst enjoying the view of a mirror-calm lake reflecting Autumn leaves.
Lomo contacted us recently to ask if we would write a review or two for their products. We had a look at what they have to offer and decided that the zipped full sleeve changing robe would slot perfectly into the wardrobe.
Waterproof changing robes emerged on the scene some 10 years ago but there are now a plethora of different brands and designs available and fumbling under a towel behind a car door and dropping your underwear in a puddle can be a thing of the past, whatever your budget.
The Lomo changing robe is available in one size and one funky colour design of a dark blue inner, black outer and orange detailing. The inner is made from a quick-drying towel material, soft on the skin, which also wicks moisture away. The outer layer is a lightweight waterproof fabric, which feels somewhere in between a softer Paramo-type fabric and a hardshell waterproof.
The robe also has a generous hood constructed from the same fabrics to prevent heat loss, a portion of the hood can be altered in size using the elasticated drawcords. It boasts a full length 2-way YKK zip (with wind preventing/skin protecting baffle) to allow for easy entry and access into this portable changing room. The robe has two water resistant zipped external pockets and one internal waterproof open topped pouch-like pocket (good for keeping your underwear close to hand whilst changing!) The sleeves are full length and have Velcro adjusters to cinch them in and prevent cold air from encroaching.
First impressions after worshipping changing robes from afar were that this is essentially an oversized, oddly dimensioned coat with features which make it ideal for wearing after emerging from water on a cold day. It is so much more. The waterproof outer fabric so far seems tough wearing and means that you can leave the robe on a nearby bank and still have a cosy dry towel to wrap around yourself on emerging from the water, unlike with a standard towel or single layer changing robe which seem to absorb any moisture in the air or on the ground which you place them on. The towelling fabric is quick drying, perfect for consecutive days of watersports especially if you use a towel underneath the changing robe to dry yourself off. Using the towelling itself does work but I found that a small hand towel helped with getting everywhere properly dry before adding clothes. The sizing worked well for me, I had ample room to change by drawing my arms inside like a turtle, and then just getting on with it. However I imagine that it may be a bit more difficult for somebody bigger than me. As a piece of clothing to sit around in and not get cold either pre- or post-event, it does a good job of covering the body and storing any snacks/drinks required in it’s large pockets. The pockets also offer a place to store items such as keys and phones without them getting wet.
This product doesn’t just have to be about watersports either, it is ideal for use when camping if you need an extra layer of an evening, or for use before or after other sports events, particularly endurance when muscles need to cool down slowly. That towelling inner layer acts a little bit like fur does on animals, it captures pockets of air which are heated by your body and stay that way, providing an insulating layer between your body and the outside world. The hood is spacious without being a hindrance, perfect for snuggling into, the drawcords mean that it can be cinched down for smaller heads or on windy days.
When wearing, the changing robe doesn’t seem particularly bulky- it isn’t a down jacket after all- once off the wearer it does become a slightly bulky item if piled in a corner purely because of it’s size. However, I have found that it is very forgiving and actually compresses down to a much smaller size and I managed to get it into a 10L dry bag for transportation, more rucksack friendly when walking into a swim destination or carrying other kit required for your chosen sport. There is always the option of wearing it for the walk in too and it will keep you sheltered from any precipitation which may be occurring.
For years I, and other outdoors folk, have been putting up with that cold period when getting changed at the side of the road following a bike ride, trail run in the rain, open water swim etc. It’s part of the experience surely? However now I have gained a few more years and perhaps fancy being more comfortable, changing robes are that little bit more attractive. I am sure that the list of scenarios where we have all wished for a warm blanket to throw over ourselves which won’t fall down whilst changing our keks must be endless. If like me, you have looked at the price tag attached to other similar changing robes and decided that you need to eat that month, then the Lomo Changing Robe may just be the one you have been looking for.
This item delivers the features I had hoped and will become part of my kit on heavy rotation. My only criticism is that I think it would benefit from having a variety of sizes instead of just the one, we all know that one size does not fit all. This would also give a more appropriate neck hole size for smaller people as it currently could slip off narrow shoulders and causes a bit of a cold gap.
Stand out features include the internal pocket for keeping underwear out of sight and also out of the puddle, water-resistant pockets for gadgets with external gadgets, the waterproof outer which I think in the UK is a fairly necessary part of the makeup and the soft towelling used internally which looks as though it will withstand multiple washes without any trouble.
Although I have been swimming for years now, just making do with a towel for protection or in the really secluded spots not bothering with modesty, I will be using this changing robe an awful lot into the future, for colder swims particularly and as evening wear when camping without a weight limit. I think that there is probably a use for this garment in most outdoor people’s lives, especially in the rainier climate of the UK when a single layer towelling robe just won’t deliver.