I’ve had a big, chunky, towel changing robe for years. It’s served me well and has kept me dry and covered up hundreds of times. It is however pretty huge and heavy, it was with this in mind that I thought I’d investigate what smaller, more lightweight alternatives there are available.
In this review, I’m going to compare two highly portable changing robes: the Lifeventure lightweight SoftFibre fabric changing robe and the Lifeventure premium soft-feel fabric changing robe. Both of these changing robes are a lot more compact than my old traditional changing robe.
I’ve found this really useful when going on kayaking and SUP adventures as space is certainly at a premium. I can pack both of the robes inside a small waterproof bag and then I can change and dry off when I arrive at my destination. I’m currently doing this about once week and have found that they even make great beach mats, due to their size, when you arrive at a secret, inaccessible beach and want to lay in the sun.
Both of the changing robes come in a very light weight but strong mesh stuff bag. This helps them pack down to an even smaller size whilst still allowing them to dry off after being packed away damp. The blue robe is made from the premium soft-feel fabric this is much softer and a fluffier, cosier fabric however it does come at a price as the robe is larger and heavier. The grey robe is made from a lightweight SoftFibre and is much less fluffy. The material is very similar to what you would find most of those highly absorbent, compact travel towels are made from.
I’m a huge fan of finding new secret beaches to explore and hide away from the summer crowds on. The only problem with these sort of places is that they are often secret, secluded and quiet because of the difficulty in reaching them. This can make carrying all your gear down and up from them a bit of a pain. Saving extra kilograms on heavy changing robes certainly helps.
My standard old changing robe, weighs in at over 1200g. The softer thicker, blue Lifeventure robe weighs in at around 3/4 of this at 850g and the grey thinner Lifeventure robe weighs in at less than half at 555g! This can make a difference especially if you’re carrying several changing robes for your group. Both robes have hoods which are excellent in the cold and for drying your hair, they also have nice ventilated areas under your arms. This makes them really comfortable to wear and you don’t feel like you’re rushing to get them off.
I find that the grey robe soaks up the water very quickly. The blue robe does the same but has the added bonus of being fluffy, this makes you feel a bit like the Cookie Monster. In terms of comfort, the blue premium soft-feel fabric changing robe gets my pick every time. However if weight was really an issue I wouldn’t hesitate to take the grey robe as it is still nice to wear and in practice you don’t have them on that often or for that long.
Both robes have the same coverage, I’m six foot tall and they reach to below my knees. They also both have a short sleeve which goes even further to protect your modesty. Although Lifeventure have tried to keep the weight of these robes down they haven’t skimped on design and have made them plenty large enough for almost everyone. They have even included a chest pocket on both robes which is very handy for sunglasses, phones, key etc.
We also took both these changing robes camping on the Isles of Scilly. Being small and lightweight they are perfect for camping light. On the Isles of Scilly you have weight limits for your camping gear and bags, plus you need to transfer them from the large ship to the smaller tenders by hand so cutting down on weight and space is a must. These robes did brilliantly and although we used them for showering in the morning they were quickly dry and able to be used just a few hours later after swimming in the sea.
In conclusion, the Lifeventure lightweight SoftFibre fabric changing robe and the Lifeventure premium soft-feel fabric changing robe are both excellent pieces of kit. They’re very versatile and great for lots of different types of adventures. I’d recommend the blue softer robe to anyone as a brilliant robe to be used at any time. If you’re a gram saving, light weight gear fan then the grey robe is the one for you – it’s almost as comfy but weighs in at almost 300grams less.