by Evan Pepris
Here comes Michael Phelps walking into the Obstacle Course Race (OCR) venue, wait a minute, nope that’s just one of the rising number of OCR athletes sporting a dryrobe. The dryrobe is a functional piece of kit not just for OCR athletes but for anyone looking for a great piece of clothing for use in a variety of outdoor environments. While I was hesitant to pick one up initially, it has now become an essential part of not only my race kit but also my travel supplies. Here are seven reasons you need one (and probably don’t realize it yet).
There are seven strong reasons dryrobe is an essential piece of gear. Dryrobe continues to be a great gift for any athlete or someone who spends time outdoors. Pick one up today for yourself or knock out all your birthday, Christmas or Anniversary shopping with one purchase.
If you want to read about my initial review of the product I did for Mud Run Guide, where I describe wearing a dryrobe as “Being Hugged by a Care Bear”, click on the link to read more.
Too often, we define ourselves by too much of one thing- it might be our job, our partner, our role as a parent or even by what we like to do in our free time. When I allow myself the quiet space (usually while swimming laps in a pool as the sun is rising) to reflect on my whole self and my place on the planet- I can see all the threads that come together to make the fabric of me. That vision makes me feel pretty stoked. I am reminded that I am blessed to live a life that runs on passion and is fueled by the core values of kindness and giving back. Wow, it is a cool place to be.
I am Alissa Magrum. I am 42. I live in Austin, Texas. I grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and had a pretty great childhood. I had loving parents who taught me to be kind and generous, a big brother who tormented me a little but not too much, a well rounded education and exposure to so many different places and things that shaped my existence. This life taught what I wanted to do and be and also showed me what I didn’t want in my life. Seemingly endless energy and the need for constant movement was always present. Sports became a natural channel from an early age and I tried everything- soccer, basketball, softball, gymnastics, diving and even circus acrobatics and inner tube water polo. I loved soccer the most growing up and played through college. I was good enough but definitely not the team superstar.
After college, team sports were just too complicated to fit into my schedule and somehow I found cycling and eventually my absolute athletic love- -off road triathlon (XTERRA). Swimming in the open water, mountain biking and trail running was the perfect mix for my somewhat ADD tendencies. I found that I was good enough at all 3 sports to be competitive in racing or I could just get lost in the quiet of the water or be continuously challenged by the technical nature of trails. Perfect fit for my need to be moving. Sport alone is not enough. I needed to live my core value of giving back and experience my love of interacting with people, I discovered that I could be a charity athlete, acting as an ambassador for a cause or organization that I believed in. First, I rode my bike all over the country to raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS services after watching a friend living with AIDS. Then, after being sidelined from biking and running after hip surgery and watching my daughter Ella, lose a 4 year old classmate (Colin Holst) to a fatal drowning- I began swimming to help raise funds and awareness to prevent drowning. I realized how many ripples I could make by matching my passions and talents with a need in the community.
To make a long story short, I swam my way from being a volunteer athlete ambassador for the Austin, TX based non-profit, Colin’s Hope to ultimately become their full-time Executive Director in 2010. After Colin drowned in a public lifeguarded pool in June 2008, his parents started the organization as a way to prevent other families from losing a child to a preventable drowning. I now do this work every day. I find myself once again weaving my passions, talents and values into a fabric that allows me to do what I love to do physically, while also making even a small difference in this big world and sharing this with my family. What a gift. #luckyme
Yes, my family. I have an amazing wife, Keri and 3 super awesome daughters - Ella (11), Maddie (11) and Hanna (12). Our life is fantastic and complex puzzle of school, work, friends, and at least 5 different sports all going at the same time. We are a busy group of girls. I sometimes joke about wishing that I could wear a helmet cam on any given day to show how much epic @!#% I can accomplish. Crazy but I love it. Thankfully, Keri and the girls are all swimmers and naturally get involved with my Colin’s Hope endeavors. We swim in the Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin 10K each September and they tolerate my ‘you must all wear life jackets at the lake-even if you are great swimmers” policy. I feel very blessed and supported by my family as I know that my “work” washes over into so many aspects of life.
Last month, dryrobe gave me a sweet opportunity to travel to South Padre Island (a 6 hour drive) to swim in the Open Water Planet Festival as an ambassador. An added bonus was that I could bring Ella with me for the adventure and the “1 mile” swim. I asked her if she was up for the road trip as her sisters were in a swim meet in Austin that weekend. She said yes, so we loaded up the Colin’s Hope vehicle, our swim caps and goggles, SaferSwimmer orange buoys and our dryrobes and headed the Texas coast. This trip was a dream for me- the beach, a WARMISH water open water swim, an opportunity to model good water safety AND a few quality hours with Ella. This would not be a race for me, but a chance to swim alongside Ella while meeting the Open Water Planet crew (including Olympians and fellow drowning prevention advocates, Rowdy Gaines and Lenny Krayzelburg) and checking out their swim- with a special eye on the safety aspects they put into place.
As a person who not only puts on an open water swim, runs a drowning prevention organization and is a swimmer who models good water safety behavior (wearing a life jacket and swimming with a SaferSwimmer buoy)- I was very impressed with the Open Water Planet swim (YAY- as this is not the case for many open water swim events). Their safety measures were comprehensive and this put me at ease as I let my 11 year jump into the open water with 100 other swimmers (mostly adults) to swim her mile.
We swam together and were met with some pretty strong currents. Our 1 mile swim turned into a 2 mile swim after we were continuously moved off course by the currents. It was even challenging for me to stay on track, so I was so proud of Ella that she just kept swimming until we finally got to the finish line. (Enter “Just Keep Swimming” from Finding Nemo). While it was 80 degrees that day, after being in the water for 90 minutes, I was so happy to find my Dryrobe waiting on the pier at the end of the swim. You see, at 104 pounds, I get really cold really fast in any water and I HATE being cold. My dryrobe has become a security blanket and actually makes it possible for me to keep swimming year round. You can ask the lifeguards at my pool- they see me (& my dryrobe and bunny slippers) show up at 6am to get in my swim.
I am proud to be a dryrobe ambassador. I have a strong ethical compass and love to work alongside people and businesses that are committed and dedicated to what they do and what they believe. dryrobe not only makes a stellar product but also have desire to give back. In a world where many companies choose to focus solely on making money and selling more product, I have found a company that wants to do more. THAT motivates me to also do more, give more and make more ripples in this world AND I can stay warmer in my dryrobe. My goal is to keep putting lots of kindness and give back into the world, as there can never be too much of that. I challenge you to do the same in your life and you will amazed at what comes back. Stay warm and safe. Thanks dryrobe for believing in me and my dreams.
Best Day Ever,
Alissadryrobe ambassador and Colin’s Hope Athlete Ambassador to Prevent Drowning
Pretty much the most important factor in the creation of dryrobe. dryrobe was born from the simple realisation that there was a need to find a way to get changed and stay warm outdoors. We trialled, tested and refined to create the dryrobe, the ultimate solution to warm outdoor changes.
There is no comparison. Try it out on a cold day
2. dryrobe 100% Waterproof outer shell fabric
After sport or exercise, getting warm and keeping dry is the most important action you can take to speed the recovery process. That’s why the outer shell of the dryrobe has been engineered to eliminate shoulder seams with minimal double stitching. This is done by using one huge sheet of fabric, the dryrobe is a continuous construction rather than multiple pieces of fabric sewn together which keeps it’s 100% waterproof and completely windproof. All the dryrobe Advance seams are heat sealed.
3. dryrobe has a full length zip front:
If you suddenly have to get out the water and into something warm, the last thing you want to be doing is fumbling with kit and trying to pull it over your head. That’s why the dryrobe has a YKK® Zip, which is a two-way reversible zip, meaning you can operate it with your arms either inside or outside. You can also partially un-zip it from the bottom to allow more movement if needed for walking, sitting or driving. There is an easy to grab, branded pull tag too. The zip allows you to get in or out of the Dryrobe® while you have all your kit on, and get out of it with the same ease.
Tip: On freezing days leave the zip partially hooked, simply step in and pull the tag to zip it up.
4. Thermoregulation & dryrobe
The dryrobe inner lining is a synthetic lambswool lining which draws water away, without absorbing the moisture. It dries your skin by wicking the water away from the skins surface. You can put it on top of wet kit, change and use the dryrobe again throughout the day and it will still function perfectly. It warms you by pulling water away from the skin into the heat insulating pile of the lining and removes the moisture through the natural venting, engineered into the garment. It NEVER feels cold against the skin even after repeated use and is super fast drying in ambient room temperature and outdoors. dryrobe can be used indoors too and are used by athletes at the highest level of all sports to for it's muscle temperature retaining properties which have been scientifically to increase performance.
5. dryrobe design
Our classic short sleeve dryrobe, which is about 3/4 length sleeve was a massive improvement on the old conventional square shape change robes that were already out there. During the creation of dryrobe factors such as protecting the user's arms and preventing flows of cold wind and air into the robe were key. The unique designs provide simple entry and exit of your arms whilst changing and the sleeve covers the opening when your arms are inside. This element protects from the wind chill and rain. If you’re a woman and have ever used one of the more old fashioned square shape change robes you’ll know about the unwanted chest flashes that can occur, the dryrobe has revolutionised the experience of changing outdoors.
We do a long sleeve version of our dryrobe advance, we took the original dryrobe concept and crossed it with the old school swim parka and combined it with the versatility of a zip up poncho, and then threw in all the great features of our short sleeve dryrobe. The long sleeve dryrobe advance offers a more conventional look and better suits people who intend to wear the dryrobe for longer periods of time.
"Simplicity can be deceptive, the presence of simplicity in design along with the level of its sophistication, are often an indication of desire, passion, connection, commitment and sustained care and attention to the smallest details." - Gideon Bright, Founder of dryrobe.
6. Value for money
Today we are faced with the cheap clothing industry, which is pumping out fast fashion for each season that doesn’t last more than a few washes. Clothing manufacturers work on speed and quantity, and sacrifice quality. We are all responsible for what we throw away, and the way forward is to buy less and buy better. We have heard from customers that purchased dryrobes six years ago, telling us how the product has never let them down, and has survived the wear and tear of all sorts of outdoor sport and activities.
At first glance the price of a dryrobe maybe high compared to cheaper basic towel robes. If you’ve read through all reasons above you’ll know the dryrobe’s features set it apart from any other robe on the market. The price tag for the dryrobe advance is a considered purchase but, the difference the dryrobe makes to your time spent outside really means that when you factor in cost per use and the additional motivation you get from knowing you won’t get cold changing, it becomes more of an investment. We have an honest belief there is no single purchase on any sports or outdoor equipment that gives you better value for money.
The saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ applies but ever so often you get a that and a bit more.
7. Awards & endorsements
dryrobe started with surf, it’s now used in almost all water sports including windsurfing, kitesurfing, surf life saving, wake boarding and more. We supplied kit to Team USA (USLA National Team) at the Surf Lifesaving World Championships 2016. dryrobe is used by the Royal lifesaving society, leading water safety experts and lifeguards throughout the world.
dryrobe® was part of the official team kit at the Rio Olympics 2016, We have worked with many elite athletes in the past 6 years but it was pretty out of the world to work with a company like adidas for the Olympics, the leading international sporting event.
As more people are becoming aware of dryrobe we are finding more interest in dryrobe for camping, mountain biking, motocross, diving & OCR. In fact our dryrobes are used now in almost all outdoor activities & the list is still growing. We even spotted a picture of our towel dryrobes being used between boxing on social media today!
8. Reviews & real customer comments
dryrobe has been around for about six years now, and it has gained quite a reputation for quality and durability. The true test of a product is what real people who use it have to say about it, and we take our reviews seriously as dryrobe has evolved with the comments and feedback we have received. We listen and we improve, because we are committed to producing the best product we possible can.
Here are some real reviews from our customers, you can check out more reviews from real customers on our website (see the tab) or our Facebook page.
I bought two dry robes for my grandchildren, they are brilliant! Keeps them nice and warm after surf life saving! These robes are excellent quality and value!
Looks great, feels even better.
Bought as gift for husband to keep him from using mine! Cosiest thing in the world after a cold swim. Perfect for changing back into clothes when no changing room available
Excellent prompt service. Used it this weekend at the Chill Swim at Windermere awesome piece of kit. Just the best thing ever when get out of the water!
9. New features
As we mentioned before we are always making changes to our products to better suit our users and because we take our feedback into consideration. The latest dryrobes now come with some added features which have added even more to the change experience it provides. The new zip pockets prevent unwanted moisture getting into the warm inner pocket lining. We have also added a storm flap in behind the main zip which wraps over the top and forms the chin protecting detail giving added comfort and protection.
A little secret many dryrobe owners are unaware of is the access zip the is found on the inner lining on the right side. This is how we customise dryrobes without going through the synthetic lambswool lining, once embroidered we use heat sealing to prevent water getting through the small holes caused by the stitching process. Anyone can customise their dryrobe at a local embroiderers, for any tips and advice please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. It’s an investment in yourself, that lasts.
A dryrobe is investment in yourself, it gives you that extra push that gets you out there, out of your comfort zone giving you the security of knowing you’ll have that one piece of kit that will get you warm and will protect you from the wind, rain and cold when you need it. They say the best project you can ever work on is yourself, spending time outside, being mindful, eating well. They all go together, when you’ve got a dryrobe you’re more likely to take your dog for a walk in the pouring rain, you’re more likely to watch your child's football game on the sidelines despite the cold wind and you’re more likely to take risks and try ice swimming or an OCR race or to do something you've never done before. It can make all the difference.
11. You didn't know that you needed it until you owned it.
The dryrobe is the best change robe in the world #dryrobeterritory
We first spoke to Jay earlier this year while he was preparing for Worlds Toughest Mudder, he approached us about getting a special custom branded dryrobe produced. Fair to say it took a bit of work on his part and good will on the part of Tough Mudder to make it happen. Andrea Libretti at dryrobeUSA HQ suggested we reached out to Jay and dryrobe's Eva Metcalfe caught up with him to hear his story.
Jay and Sean at World's Toughest Mudder 2016
You can't fail to work at dryrobe and hear a lot about OCR. In my short time here I've seen so many inspiring stories but this one stood out. I interviewed Jay Mazza about his journey from his first OCR experience, to competing in the brutal 24 hour long race that is World’s Toughest Mudder.
As someone who has never competed in an obstacle race course, I have always been curious as to what it is that draws people to these hardcore and challenging events. After getting a background on these races from doing social media at dryrobe, I thought I had a good understanding of why people compete; to improve their endurance and overcome intense obstacles. After talking to Jay and hearing about his experiences, I learnt about the less talked about emotional journey.
Custom branded dryrobe
Jay’s first OCR race was a Tough Mudder event in Philadelphia in 2015, he had signed up to the race determined to complete it after an injury had caused him to miss the previous year’s opportunity to race. He had signed up without really knowing what he was in for and he had also decided to run the race alone without any support. He described sitting there at the beginning of the race feeling unsure and nervous about what was to come. By this point he met another competitor called Chris, the first person he had spoken to at the event, whose welcoming words made Jay feel more at ease.
During the interview Jay told me he had not prepared for the race, and that it was a total shock to face the 8 ft high wall between the warm up and start line. Most of us know the feeling, when faced with a challenge, of being in the wrong place. This is exactly the feeling Jay described to me, surrounded by athletes and feeling as if he was not meant to be there.
With the support of Chris and other competitors, Jay made it over the wall and before the race began Sean Corvelle gave a speech that changed Jay’s entire perspective. Seeing how complete strangers were taking their time to encourage people and how competitors were ready to help rather than run ahead, the overwhelming feeling of inspiration took over. With the feeling of being in exactly the right place, he completed the race, accompanied by a father and son duo. Having spoken with many competitors, the sense of family was starting to resonate with him, and it was when he found a note on his car from Chris who he met at the beginning of the race, he knew that there was something about these races that makes you feel like you belong there.
Jay and Sean at World's Toughest Mudder 2016
After learning about Jay’s first OCR experience I jumped straight onto the topic of World’s Toughest Mudder. Anyone and everyone who hears about 24 hours of running an obstacle course knows that it would be a hell of a challenge, which Jay confirmed when he described his experience. He told me about some of the obstacles he had completed, and the sense of enlightenment you get afterwards, it gives you a confidence and belief in yourself that's hard to come across. After only a year of doing OCR Jay completed 50 miles, 200 obstacles in 20 hours and 58 minutes (Insane!).
“Nobody is better than your best, but your best will make you better and that makes us all better"
So what have I learnt? The more I speak to people, the more I see how OCR communities are like families. It’s not about one person, and at the same time it’s about every person. Everyone at a race has their own struggle, their own story, and completing these insane obstacles is almost like a metaphor. You look at the 8 ft wall and think how the hell am I ever going to get over this, but then you look to your side and you see someone standing next to you, and you help each other out and before you know it you’re over the wall. The camaraderie at obstacle course races is so honest and humble, the stories you hear and the things that can be achieved when surrounded by like minded people really show how powerful the sense of community is at the races.
Jay and fellow competitors at Worlds Toughest Mudder 2016- Photo by Jennifer Carmine
We would like to give a big congratulations to Jay as he just announced that he has been named an ambassador for Tough Mudder! We look forward to all the things he is going to achieve. He's an inspirational man, and I can confirm that I am looking to enter an OCR race here in the UK after meeting him.
Jay’s daughter in her custom dryrobe at WTM during the sunrise
We chose to ‘opt outside’ for Black Friday this year, giving staff a paid day off and not taking part in the insane sales that took place across the rest of the UK.
We announced on our social media that they would be stepping away from the office and instead spending the day in the great outdoors, using the hashtag #OptOutside. Hundreds of people were encouraged to do the same, enjoying the beaches, rivers and other outdoor attractions throughout the UK.
The company’s ethos was behind the decision not to participate in Black Friday. We actively promote an outdoor lifestyle opposed to consumerism and excess, and offer their products at the best possible price year round, rather than produce sales stock.
Whilst we were the first company in the UK to give employees a paid day off on Black Friday, we were inspired by US outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI, who took the same approach for the second time this year. Their first year saw 2.7 million people who pledged to participate across America; we hope to inspired a similar revolution in the United Kingdom.
Gideon Bright, Founder of dryrobe® said: “For us, it was an easy decision to close the office and #OptOutside for Black Friday. The sales simply don't fit in with what we are about or reinforce any ideal we aspire to promote.”
“To see so many people #OptOutside and enjoy the outdoors was fantastic. We received images of people who swapped the shops for the sea, the frenzy for fields, the sales for the sand, as well as much more.
“We're not expecting to change the world, but we hope that we can inspire others to be outside and enjoy the opportunities, fun and challenges it provides.”
For media enquires, please contact Amy Paternoster on (+44) 01237 403764 or email email@example.com
dryrobe USA, have teamed up with Mud Gear and the leading OCR Gear brands to bring you the Ultimate OCR gift basket! The competition is taking place from the 3rd of December up to the 10th with daily prizes which include everything you could need for the upcoming OCR 2017 races. On day seven (10th of December) there will be a podium prize worth over $1000 including one of our popular black/red dryrobes. The competition is open to the US, follow this link www.ocrsteals.com to start logging your entries.
If you follow us on social media or have seen us at events, you’ll know that OCR is definitely #dryrobeterritory and we are always keen to support and be a part of the community. We’ve had a busy year, we attended the OCR World Champs with the official OCRWC dryrobes, and have had some of the worlds best OCR athletes wearing dryrobes at Worlds Toughest Mudder, Spartan World Championships and many other events. This giveaway is about spreading the word and increasing awareness of the great brands that support competitors in race, so get involved and to be in with a chance of winning some awesome prizes.
For the UK and rest of the world we wont leave you out, we will be giving one red grey dryrobe, one towel dryrobe, a beanie and one our our new lanyards. We'll be announcing the competition on our social media on the 1st of December so keep posted.