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Kit review: Robie Robes

Written by Fiona August 08 2013

I am not too bothered about baring my butt cheek but I don’t expect other people are that keen to see my naked flesh. I am talking about the many times when I have needed to change into sports kit, or back into normal clothing, while enjoying outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling, camping and open water swimming. The shenanigans involved in arranging and rearranging a towel around your body while making the clothing change is part hilarious and part exhausting. So thank goodness for the ingenious solution of a hooded towel.


A search of the internet a few weeks ago revealed the company that makes Robie Robes. It says: “Robie Robes was the brainchild of Martyn and Tamsin Tarplee, who both grew up on the beaches of West Cornwall, surfing, sailing, diving, swimming and rowing. With the rapid growth in ocean sports and with wetsuit technology enabling whole families to stay in the sea all year around it seemed ridiculous that people were struggling to change in just a towel.

“In the Autumn of 2007, they designed a robe that would take the hassle out of changing while keeping them warm, dry and covered. Since then they have not looked back and the Robie Robe has become a kit bag essential for all those who love the water and the great outdoors.”

So I asked for one to be sent to me for review (obviously!).

Robie Robes on test

A quick clothes change in a Sardinian car park!

A quick clothes change in a Sardinian car park!

I received a blue “standard” size Robie Robe. The towel is 110cm long and 80cm wide, so it is more than roomy enough for changing into different clothes without anyone ever glimpsing naked flesh.

The robe is made of a lovely cotton velour on the outside and towelling on the inside. It has a large hood, which is meant for drying your face and hair, but is actually very useful when trying to avoid midgies at a Scottish lochside! There are seven colours to choose from and also tow other sizes, XS and long.

The first test was after an open water session at a Scottish loch. We change in a car park and with lots of other triathletes. While most struggled with the “normal towel change” I was able to calmly and efficiently change from my swimsuit into normal clothing. It was easy to dry myself as I changed and no-one needed to be confronted with my bare butt or any other white flesh. It was a revelation.

Next outing (or outings) was while on holiday in Sardinia. The Robie Robe doubled as my beach towel (for sunbathing) and for any clothing changes I – and also my family – wanted to make. In fact there was quite a bit of bickering because both the G-Force and Little Miss fancied one of the Robie towels.

The G-Force reckons it would be a great item to have for road-side changes after hill walking or climbing. He says: “So often you need to make a full clothes change after a wet fay in the hills or after sweating through exercise so you strip off and hope no-one will drive by or you do that behind the car door with a towel changeover. With this hooded towel thing you can make clothing changes without anyone seeing – and without scaring anyone with your nakedness!”

Demand for Robie Robes

I am now about to put in an order for more than a dozen Robie Robes from our tri club alone. They all see the appeal. The towel robes are priced from £34.99. I would happily pay this for such a useful item, and one that looks to be of high and long-lasting quality. See Robie Robes

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