If you enjoy open water swimming or you find yourself at races without a private place to change (and you are not keen on revealing flesh) an over-the-head cloak or towel is a great solution.
I already own a large, over-the-head towelling robe and have found it really useful at the loch side after swimming. Now there is a new version, a fleece-lined Charlie McLeod Sports Cloak.
- The Sports Cloak is a step up from anything else I have seen. It features:
- A tough shower-proof nylon outer
- Thick (Sherpa) fleece lining
- Full length, two-way front zip
- Fleece lined hood
- Zipped outer pocket.
- A zipped internal pocket
- Mesh goggle pocket
- Two fleece-lined hand pockets
- Extra long zip pulls for cold hands
- V venter side seams for easier movement
- Versatile short or longer arms
The Sports Cloak comes with a drawstring bag that doubles as a changing mat for wet and muddy days.
On test: Charlie McLeod Sports Cloak
I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like this. It reminds me a bit of the suits worn by basejumpers and my daughter laughed out loud when she saw me in it. “Is that a sleeping bag for walking around in?,” she asked. Yet despite it’s slightly odd looks, the cloak is very practical.
As soon as you put on the cloak it feels super warm. It keeps out the chill, even when it’s wet and windy outside.
I have been testing a small/medium and there is more than enough room inside to get undressed and re-dressed. Afterall, this is the aim!
You simply pull your arms through the large armholes and inside the cloak. Then you get to work under cover of the large cloak changing your clothes. The cloak is long enough to hide your modesty and wide and large enough to do a full clothing change.
The cloak is heavier and bulkier than the towelling robe that I have. But this isn’t really a problem unless you were packing a small bag to go to an event. In any case, you can carry the cloak separately in its drawstring bag.
The outer fabric is robust and durable. The front zip is tough looking and everything about the cloak looks well made.
I am not entirely sure that a loch or pool side cloak need to be quite so full on – my towelling version has served me well so far – but if you are looking for warmth after a training session or race this is ideal. It’s like a sleeping bag version of my towelling robe and in Scotland when it’s chilly this will be a real bonus.
The extra details such as two-way zip, neat fitting hood, pockets and V vents show the cloak has been thoughtfully designed by a company that knows exactly what it needs for getting changed in the great outdoors.
The long zip pulls are brilliant. I always struggle with doing anything with my hands after a swim in a cold Scottish loch and these long pulls will enable me to get in and out of the cloak more easily. There is a long pull on the outer zipped pocket, which is presumably the ideal place to stash car keys or phone.
While I was testing the cloak it brought to mind a phrase that someone mentioned to me this summer: “Are you wearing your Cloak of Awesomeness?” The Charlie McLeod Sports Cloak is pretty awesome actually.
It costs £69.95, which might seem quite pricey, but I think the sports cloak will be very long-lasting. It might even be the sort of item you hand down to the next generation!