Sports Cloak - Charlie McCleod
Pretty pleased with this bit of kit. Essentially it's a glorified dressing gown with some very neat features designed for swimming outdoors. The idea is that you wear this when getting changed into or out of your swimming kit.
It's massive, coming down to below the knees, meaning that you can literally get into and out of your wetsuit inside it without exposing yourself to the elements or any unfortunate passers by! Although it has arms, they are wide enough to be able to pull your arms inside the main body which makes getting undressed and dressed a whole lot easier.
The outer is a windproof and shower proof durable shell whilst the inner is a deep fleece. Initially, having made the schoolboy error of forgetting a towel, I thought that the fleece would simply move the wetness on my skin about, but once undressed, a couple of minutes inside the gown and I was perfectly dry. And very warm! Later on when I got home and hung it out to dry there was very little obvious wetness in the fleece and it was properly dry in no time.
Other features include a full length, chunky double zip down the front so no over-the-head antics. There are two large fleece lined pockets for your hands on the front. There's a small zipped pocket on the chest for phone and keys so you don't lose them in the undergrowth, and then there's a Velcro'd pocket down low on the front which would be good for a snack. Lastly (on the pocket front) there are two inside pockets, both zipped. One for valuables, and a mesh lined one for goggles. There are a couple of internal toggles to tighten it around your waist when cold, and on the flip side, the lower sections of the side panels have V-slits which makes moving around easier. There are also two toggles in the fleece lined hood to warm your head. Lastly there are poppers in the armpits to make the unusually large arms a little snugger when cold. Basically they have thought of pretty much everything!
I have used it swimming on a cold day in North Yorkshire at Janet's Foss. The water was cold, the air was cold. There were plenty of strangers around and I had a thoroughly pleasant experience. I'll be using it a lot more over the coming (warmer) months.
Retails at £79.95 and is available directly from Charlie McCleod.