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Review: Zone3 Oversized Heat-Tech Polar Fleece Parka Robe Jacket for wild swimming

Written by Fiona

January 24 2022

I have become a fan of wild swimming in Scotland over the past eight months. It’s important to have the right kit and I wrote about some of the things I had learned about swimming in Scottish lochs and the sea. As summer turned to autumn and winter, I discovered that a good quality dry robe was another essential item. I have been testing the Zone3 Oversized Heat-Tech Polar Fleece Parka Robe Jacket over a number of months.

The Zone3 jacket is useful for all kinds of open water activities, including swimming, paddleboarding and coasteering.

Features include:

  • Large size with space for changing
  • Triple-layer construction including Heat-Tech and Polar Fleece lining to absorb water and improve warmth.
  • Water-Block shell for water and wind resistance, while also being breathable
  • Wind guard protection panel around the neck and chin
  • Fitted hood and a popper design along the front to protect the zip
  • New longer sleeves with adjustable Velcro straps to protect from the elements
  • Front and internal pockets to keep your hands warm and valuables safe
  • Two-way YKK zipper with pull cords for easy use
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Price: £139
  • See Zone3 and Wiggle. (I receive a small commission for sales through Wiggle. This helps me to fund my website, reviews and writing.)

My thoughts: Zone3 Oversized Heat-Tech Polar Fleece Parka Robe Jacket

When I get out of cold water after swimming, I need to remain as warm as possible. I suffer with Raynaud’s Syndrome in my hands and feet. Critical to maintaining circulation is being generally warm.

So, it’s important that I have a warm layer that I can quickly put on. I already own plenty of insulated jackets, but the oversized Zone3 dry robe is my first choice post-swim because it’s so easy to get on, even when I am wet and damp after the swim. It’s large and therefore very easy to get into.

It’s also a long jacket so it covers much more of my body, right down to my calves, than my other jackets. There is a useful hood as well.

The other advantage of the size of the parka is that I can get changed inside it. Once I have done up the front zip, I can take my arms inside the jacket and set about getting changed out of my wet swimsuit.

Note, I need to remove my neoprene vest before putting on the parka because it goes over my head and it’s not easy to get clothing off over your head if you are already wearing a jacket, even a large, tent-like jacket.

I wear an Orca Heatseeker vest (£49).( See Amazon, too.) It is made with 2mm neoprene. I put it on over my swimming costume and it makes an amazing difference to general warmth.

I am on the left in the Zone3 Oversized Heat-Tech Polar Fleece Parka Robe Jacket.

The Zone3 Oversized Heat-Tech Polar Fleece Parka Robe Jacket is lovely and warm. The fleece inner is cosy, while the outer shell is windproof and waterproof. I have tried other people’s swimming dryrobes and they seem very heavy. The Zone3 robe is much lighter to wear but still wonderfully warming.

I like the pockets. There is an internal zipped pocket that’s great for stowing valuables, as well as an external chest pocket (I use this for my phone) and two roomy hand pockets.

The hood to also a good size and fleece lined. After swimming, I usually put on a hat of some kind, maybe a bobble hat, as well as a hooded jacket. I need all this to fit under the robe and also inside the hood. The Zone3 Oversized Heat-Tech Polar Fleece Parka Robe Jacket hood is big enough to cope with all my layers.

Once I have changed from my wet stuff and put on my dry clothes, I quickly do up the front zip to keep in the warmth. There is a popper button cover that goes over the zip to keep more warmth in and to stop the cold and wind from getting in.

It’s a great jacket and I have used it every time I go swimming outdoors. Lots of people have commented on how nice it looks and the lighter weight.

I also make use of the jacket for outdoor gatherings when I know I will end up getting cold. It’s a great outer layer to add on even when you are already wearing lots of layers.

People might wince at the £139 price tag. I think the jacket is good quality, although I know other brands sell cheaper versions. This is the sort of product that I hope to wear for many, many years to come so I don’t mind paying more for the jacket that is so easy to like and wear.

One thing that would be a useful addition is to have an internal pocket large enough to take a hot water bottle. I often have a bottle with me after a swim and it would be great if this could be carried inside the jacket.

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