White Water Softshell Robe review: a classy piece of beachwear for all year long

The warm and windproof White Water Softshell Robe has zipped pockets, making it perfect for wild-swimming, surfing and aquatic adventures almost all year round

Man on beach wearing White Water Softshell Robe
(Image: © Pat Kinsella)

Advnture Verdict

The smart three-layer construction and intelligent design makes this versatile softshell robe perfect for all-season wild swimmers, surfers, paddlers and general beach creatures. Extremely robustly made – almost entirely from recycled fabrics – with top-quality components (from the YKK zips to the Velcro strips) it should last for many years and thousands of outdoor adventures around aquatic environments. This robe keeps you warm in all but the most Arctic conditions and feels lovely and comfortable next to your body, providing complete protection while you get changed.


  • +

    Warm microfleece lining

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    Windproof, waterproof & breathable outer

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    Excellent zipped pockets

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    Made from recycled material

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    Adjustable hood

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    Reflective logos


  • -


  • -

    No stuff sack included

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    Inner isn’t super absorbent

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    Pretty pricey

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Meet the reviewer

best fleece jackets: Artilect Halfmoon Bio Pullover
Pat Kinsella

Pat has hiked all over the world, his adventures taking him to Mont Blanc, the roof of Western Europe; the Norwegian Alps; the highest peaks on Australia; and New Zealand’s Great Walks – among others. He’s an experienced tester of hiking footwear and gives each pair a thorough thrashing before reviewing.

White Water Softshell Robe: first impressions

The White Water Softshell Robe offers something really quite different in what has become a pretty busy market over the last few years, following the success of Dryrobe’s pioneering products. Hailing from a new British brand, it’s an environment-friendly, stylish-looking softshell changing robe that’s warm, weatherproof and breathable, but crucially, you can wear it all year round.


• List price: $167 (UK) / £130 (UK) / €155 (EU)
• Sizes (unisex): S / M / L
• Weight:
1,317g / 2lb 15oz
• Materials: 3-layer woven recycled polyester (95%) & elastane (5%)
• Colors: Cobalt Blue / Arctic Camo

Up until now, people have had to choose between a chunky, heavy and hot hardshell robe (ace in winter, but a bit too much for most of the year) or a towel-style robe (often inadequate outside of summer). This softshell robe provides the perfect in-between weight, which is weatherproof and warm enough for virtually all-winter use, but still breathable enough to be comfortable in the summer, and absolutely perfect for the shoulder seasons.

This robe is constructed with White Water’s trademarked SWB-Tech three-layer fabric, which comprises a stretchy outer material, backed by a breathable, waterproof and windproof TPU membrane, with a recycled microfleece lining. The outer layer has been treated with an ecological fluorine-free, water-repellent finish, so light rain and other moisture beads on the surface and rolls off. The S in SWB stands for sustainable and, impressively, the polyester used in the majority of this robe is all recycled.

The design of this stylish robe has been very well thought through, and practical features include a variable-volume hood, raglan sleeves, adjustable cuffs, a fully waterproof chest pocket, two hand pockets with zips and a YKK two-way front zip. The logos are reflective, and you can wear it in all kinds of scenarios. 

Man on beach wearing White Water Softshell Robe hood up

Going coastal in a White Water Softshell Robe, making use of the hood (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

White Water Softshell Robe: on the coast

I’ve been testing this softshell robe while wild swimming along the coast of Devon and kayaking in Wales during the latter part of winter. The water temperature has been Baltic, frankly, and as I zipped the robe up during its first outing I was desperately hoping its thermal performance would prove to be at least half as good as it promised to be. 

Fortunately I was not left shivering and disappointed. After I emerged from the water, the robe wrapped me in a warm embrace. The lining is not as sumptuous as the deep-pile fleece you find on many hardshell robes, but the brushed-finish microfleece inner has a lovely soft and warm next-to-skin feel, and it doesn’t clog with salt. Meanwhile the smart softshell outer very adequately protected me from the brisk breeze that was whipping across Lyme Bay. 

Man on beach wearing White Water Softshell Robe lining

The microfleece lining may not be up to the standards of the deep-pile you find in premium hardshell robes, but it does an impressive job nevertheless (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

I reduced the volume of the hood with the Velcro band on the back and pulled the cuffs tight to keep the elements out, and plunged my numb thumbs deep into the hand pockets, which were nice and easy to open – despite the reduced dexterity of my half-frozen fumbly fingers – thanks to the oversized pull loops. Meanwhile, my mobile phone was safely and securely stashed in the waterproof chest pocket, from where I could quickly and easily retrieve it in a second.

Keen to get out of my wet swimwear and put on some base layers and a good fleece as quickly as possible, I was relieved to discover how easy it was to get changed while wearing this generously sized robe. The raglan sleeves allow plenty of freedom of movement when you’re contorting yourself into awkward poses with one limb in and one out of various undergarments, and the two-way zip is very useful in these ever-risky alfresco wardrobe-change scenarios too. The inner material is reasonably absorbent, but if you plan on getting changed immediately into dry clothes, a decent towel is required.

Man on beach wearing White Water Softshell Robe (showing the back)

With the hood up and cinched in, the cuffs Velcroed tight and my hands buried in the deep pockets, I was satisfyingly warm in the White Water Softshell Robe (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

After using the White Water Softshell Robe to keep me warm after my first sea swim of the year, I took it with me on various standup paddleboarding and kayaking adventures, and on more swimming sessions. While I’ve found myself shivering on occasion, as the seasons start to turn and spring begins to beckon, I’m increasingly convinced that this softshell garment offers the best balance of protection and temperature control for the largest proportion of the year.

Man on beach wearing White Water Softshell Robe zips

The YKK zips are easy to use even with numb fingers (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

As well as being a functional and high-performing piece of kit, this is a good-looking robe with some stylish branding (which is reflective if you happen to be wearing it at night around traffic) and it can be worn along the coast and around the campsite (or wherever else you want to take it) as a nice big, warm jacket (which is quite comforting, since it’s far too expensive to be used merely as a fancy towel).

White Water do offer a heavier hard shell robe as well, which is designed for use in properly freezing conditions (or for people who feel the cold more keenly), but this soft shell version is less bulky. ‘Less’ being the operative word here, though – because this robe is still a large, voluminous and heavy garment, and it doesn’t come with a stuff sack for transportation or storage when it’s not in use. (There doesn’t even appear to be an option to buy a compression bag or carry sack separately, which feels like something the brand really ought to offer.)

White Water Softshell Robe

The branding details are reflective (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Pat Kinsella

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and Instagram here.