Thankfully, UK-based Dryrobe has come up with the ideal solution. Born among the tough South-west coast surfing community, its range of changing robes could provide divers with a warm and cloistered way to get out of wet dive-gear and keep their dignity intact. It sent me one to try.

The Design
The Dryrobe Advance I had on test was the short-sleeved version. It’s made with a 100% waterproof and windproof outer-shell fabric featuring a one-piece body design, with the minimal number of seams sealed to retain the robe’s waterproof integrity.
On the inside the robe is fully lined with a synthetic lambswool thick pile fleece. It’s designed to wick water away and leave the skin dry, at the same time providing substantial insulation.
The robe has a lined hood and a chunky full-length two-way YKK zipper. The half-length sleeves are large in diameter, to allow wearers to tuck their arms inside and facilitate the changing process.
There is an A4-sized internal pocket designed to store dry underwear prior to stripping and changing, along with a waterproof internal zip-entry media pocket for the surfer’s essential companion – an MP3 player – and two fleece-lined external pockets to keep the hands warm.

In Use
I took the Dryrobe to my favourite inland haunt of Wraysbury. It wasn’t a freezing-cold day but it was on the nippy side, especially after an hour or so under water putting kit through the DIVER Tests treadmill.
I always find it a pain to drag my dry clothes (when I’m soaking wet) from the back of my truck to changing rooms at these inland sites, then have to drag all the wet stuff back.
It would be much quicker to get changed in the car-park standing under the cover of a tailgate if it’s raining, and chuck the wet gear into gear-gulpers in the boot as I’m doing it.
Call me lazy (you’re probably right) but to me there’s no reason to be faffing about when I could be chowing down on bacon butties in the warm confines of the clubhouse.
I had already unzipped my drysuit and rolled the top-half down. I donned the Dryrobe, pulled my arms inside through the sleeves and completed the stripping-down process.
There was plenty of room inside the garment, which meant unhindered movement, and it was warm – very warm.
I had previously placed my underwear and socks inside the big internal pocket, making them easy to access and put on, but putting a T-shirt and sweater on in the dark confines of the robe was less straightforward.
I ended up with the shirt on back-to-front and inside-out, but I did manage to get fully dressed without flashing my man-bits at the unsuspecting world – even if I was a little dishevelled by the time I’d finished.

Conclusion
The Dryrobe is a well-designed, well-made product that does exactly what the makers say it will – keeps the wearer warm, dry and concealed while emerging from wet exposure suits.
Had I chosen a colour scheme for myself, it wouldn’t have been the all-red version. I was expecting a line-up of young kids to appear asking where I’d parked my sleigh, and could they have a new X-Box for Christmas.
That said, the bright red robe could be an advantage on those days when you draw the short straw and have the thankless but essential task of providing surface cover.
It would give a hi-vis profile while keeping you warm and dry at the same time.
The Dryrobe Advance did the job, kept me toasty-warm and, for the first time in ages, I didn’t hear anyone singing Who Ate All The Pies?. Win-win.

Specs
PRICES: Small, £75. Adult, £95. XXL, £110
MATERIAL: Waterproof/windproof outer shell. Synthetic lambswool lining
COLOURS: Black-red, black-pink, black-orange, black-green, red-grey, navy-grey
WEIGHT: 1.3kg
CONTACT: www.dryrobe.com
DIVER GUIDE: 9/10

See Dryrobe in Divernet Showcase