LIVE FOR THE OUTDOORS
I have been into the outdoors since as early as I can remember. My passion was kayaking and surfing, I just loved being in and on the water. I started off in the scouts paddling on flat water lakes and on one trip to North Wales I had my first taste of moving water…… I was hooked. Now to find some water!
I spent most of my youth in Bude, North Cornwall, surfing mainly but anything that involved being outside, wild camping, sea kayaking anything we could do for free or minimal cost.
I spent most of my time sleeping on my friend’s bedroom floors, as my folks were still based in London and I couldn’t afford a place of my own. I was drawn to the sea, I just couldn’t keep away. North Cornwall and Dartmoor in Devon were my nearest playgrounds.
I am a strong believer in learning things on your own, you learn quicker that way in your own time. White Water was exactly the same for us, we borrowed and saved for the basic equipment then hit the rivers! There is never enough water in the hotter months so you prayed for a wet winter (strange I know). The more water the better, rain, snow ice it was all part of the experience.
Now we get onto the changing part of the story. Do you get changed first before you go, we tried this but wearing full paddling kit for a winters paddle is very restricting and also very warm in a packed car. So you need to get changed when you arrive, we all had either small van’s or estate cars. To save on fuel we would go in one vehicle and usually thumb a lift back to the top of the river to where we abandoned the car. Have you ever tried getting changed into a part dry suit lying down, harder than it seems, especially when there’s four of you all waiting to get changed or four of you all getting changed. So we resulted in using towels, old sheets, blankets or whatever we could grab.
I don’t know if this happened in just our group or not, but it was a race to get changed but all for the wrong reasons. Imagine this, its January late afternoon, its freezing cold and we have been on the river for hours, were cold hungry and can’t feel our fingers. The dry cag is one of the toughest things to take off with cold fingers. So your standing on the tops of your everyday shoes, trying to stay out of the mud, you have a towel draped over your shoulders using one hand to hold the two ends together and trying to get changed with the other. We even tried balancing on the sill of an open car door, anything to stay off the cold wet ground.
You have your top part off and you’re trying to take down your dry trousers off. It’s now started to rain, a sleety type of rain when you look at your friends (so you thought) and they are all changed. Then wham, one of them grabs your towel and runs off with it. This happened most days, extremely childish but always funny for some.
One of the first things we tried was a bull dog type clip, attaching it to the ends just below the neck line, it worked well as a SuperHero cape but not much else, great to cover your back but not the front, so not ideal. We then got our hands on some old WW2 ponchos, they were water resistant, but not very warm. We put up with these for many years until we looked at making a wool type lining for them, primarily an old car blanket with a hole cut in the centre then lightly stitching them together around the edges. John Wayne eat your heart out!
Our dream was to make the car park changing room more elegant, easier, quicker and most importantly, warmer. Our Change Robes are now not only being seen on river banks and surf breaks but also at Triathlons, Sunday rugby and many other outdoor sports. You don’t even have been taking part yourself, you could just be watching someone else race, stood on the touchline at a football match or just walking the dog. You never knew you needed a Change Robe until you have used one!
We are ever evolving and improving our designs, our current models are packed with features to make life that bit easier. They will keep you dry, warm and ultimately keep you doing the things you love for longer.