MBY editor Hugo Andreae puts the Red Original Pro Change Robe Evo to the test on his Karrnic 2250…
Some people seem to have the cold water swimming ability of a polar bear. I, on the other hand, must have evolved from a lizard because unless the sun is belting down, even a quick dip in UK waters leaves me as white and shaky as Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
Then there’s the whole issue of trying to get in and out of my swimming shorts on our small open boat without exposing other boat users, or worse still, guests, to a sight they can never unsee.
The solution to both these first-world problems is the Red Original Pro Change Robe Evo. Red was a pioneer of inflatable stand-up paddle boards. Now it has put all that experience into a range of paddleboard accessories, including changing robes.
These start with micro-fibre ones costing from £47.95 and progresses to waterproof ones from £120. Needless to say this is the top-of-the-range Evo version with long sleeves.
Being around 6ft 1in tall I opted for the large size and there’s no doubt you get your money’s worth in material alone – the cut is generous enough to leave room for another couple of Hugos either side!
That’s deliberate as it means you can perform the old wet-trunk-shuffle without tripping over. Just as importantly the Red Original Pro Change Robe Evo is lined in a thick, furry material that allows cold-blooded creatures like me to warm up far quicker than any damp towel could manage.
Deep fleece-lined hand pockets do a great job of restoring circulation to cold fingers and there’s a waterproof external pocket and a mesh internal one for keeping phones and keys safe and dry.
It’s so long and cosy that as well as using it to warm up after swimming, I have been known to slip it on for rainy winter dog walks. There are only a couple of minor downsides. It takes up a lot of space in your packing so I’d suggest adding the optional Stash Bag (£34.95).
This waterproof shoulder bag has a roll-seal top and an air valve so you can squish it down to a fraction of its usual size. The faux-fur lining doesn’t seem to absorb water as well as towelling so it’s best to have a rub down with a towel first.
The label also says hand-wash only but I took one look at this and thought “who are they kidding” and stuffed it in the machine on the cool/delicates cycle. It seems to have survived but we’ll have to wait for a downpour to see if it has affected its waterproofing. In every other respect it’s a great piece of kit.
MBY rating: 4/5