Kit Review – DRYROBE

A Dryrobe has been on my kit wish list for almost a year. I had a shot of my brothers Dryrobe on Christmas day last year and it was incredible. We had been out on the water and in the water all day and I got very very cold. This isn’t usual for me, I do get cold easily and I’m used to it. However that day I had next level chills; and the Dryrobe got me home without getting dangerously cold.

So, to my delight – a Dryrobe has been added to the kit bag just in time for winter adventures. This piece of kit is for when a towel doesn’t quite cut it anymore, you need more warmth and more protection from the elements – pre swims, post swims and for general use in cold situations.

When would I use it?

Wild swimming – for the last two weeks I’ve not needed to bother with clothes when I jump in the car or on my bike to get to the water. Dry robe before and after every swim, no shivery changing situations and straight into something that will warm me up.

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Competitions – it’s obvious now when I’m at triathlons and open water swims (usually cheering on my mum) that Dryrobe’s are becoming an essential bit of kit. There’s always a lot of standing around before and after a race, and often transport on boats with a lot of exposure to weather. Staying warm and dry in these situations is so important.

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Car park changing – I can say bon voyage to the car park struggle. Trying to get your pants on the right way round without your towel falling down – with numb hands its always a battle. Dryrobe = cosy changing palace!

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Photography – this is a bit of an alternative use, but since the weather is getting colder I’ve used my Dryrobe on a few occasions for photography. If I’m out with my tripod for long periods of time not moving I get really cold, so it has been really handy for that.

Van adventures – van dressing gown? The best thing ever. I say van and not tent because the Dryrobe takes up quite a lot of room so it’s not ideal for tent camping, but perfect to have in a van.

Boat journeys – wind chill is something I always forget to consider if we are heading somewhere on a rib/open top boat. Sticking my Dryrobe on over my wetty keeps that wind off, as well as sea spray and rain.

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Features
  • Completely waterproof and windproof
  • Super warm synthetic lambs wool lining
  • Full lengths 2 way reversible zip
  • Fleece lined pockets
  • Lightweight (1.3kg)
  • Waterproof chest pocket
  • Internal zip pocket (phone, wallet, iPod)
  • Huge A4 sized internal pocket
  • Velcro wrists
Key Benefits
  • Fits over clothing/wetsuit
  • Re-use multiple times without it feeling wet
  • Provides protection from the elements
  • The lining draws water away from my skin
  • Dries me instantly and continues to keep me warm
  • Hands kept warm in the insulated pockets
  • Stores my things safely (phone, money, camera, snacks)
  • Lightweight to carry

To sum it up, I can’t fault this product. It great, and truly a lifesaver for someone like me who gets very very cold. It’s something that will always be in the boot of my car ready to use. I also got a Dryrobe drybag with my order (bought separately) which I would recommend as the robe does take up a bit of space if it’s not in a bag.

I’ve had a lot of questions over price, this robe is £110. It is a pricey purchase and something to consider. For me, it came down to safety and how the product would perform keeping me warm and dry in challenging situations. It works – and therefore it is worth it in my opinion!

www.dryrobe.com

Thanks for reading

Keep up with adventures @ronamcmillan

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Ad(van)tures Pending

RIP Rusty - The search for a new van begins

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Summer is approaching… slowly! And the search has begun for a new family van, because our loved and ‘trusted’ red T4 kicked the bucket last year… due to summer exhaustion. I say family van; its my mums – she is the poor soul who has to pick up the pieces whenever it breaks down! So why a van? Why not pack your kit and sleep in a tent somewhere further away from a road? I asked exactly that when we first got the van a few year ago, but van life is so much fun and only enhances accessibility to the outdoors. A van becomes your own portable base of warmth and safety, as well as your mode of transport. It provides storage, cooking facilities, shelter, a place to charge your tech… and you can always tuck your tent away somewhere for more adventurous nights.

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The positives of van life

Freedom – the ability to go where you want when you want for as long as you want.

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Cost effective holidays – you can eliminate the cost of hotels, restaurant bills, flights, public transport, tickets, organised entertainment! Some cash for fuel and food is all you need.

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Simple living – Living in such a small space allows you to cut out nonessential items that clog up your average day – having a level of simplicity discards distractions that tend to melt away time day after day (Netflix, instagram, doing your hair and make up)!

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Forces organisation – not essential, however a messy van is pretty awful. Once things have a place, it makes finding them again much easier!

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Inspiration – new people, places and thoughts. I think it’s always nice to notice how your thoughts change depending on where you are and what you’re doing; at home I’m guilty of  toxic rational thinking – but when I remove myself from certain environments I think I become more logical, creative and adventurous!

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Waking up to awesome views and fresh air – waking up and being outside immediately is the most refreshing thing (unless its raining and howling)!

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Negatives

Planning ahead – almost everything requires a bit of planning and preparation, going for a shower, to the toilet, cooking, washing up…

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Loneliness – it’s always a nice idea to run away and be by yourself, but being alone without much human contact even through social media can quickly become a little too isolating – find someone to share adventures with!

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Time goes slow – although this can be good, the weather always gets bad and you can be stuck in a small space with not a lot to do. Always remember to pack a few books, and even more wine!

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Breaking down is expensive! It’s bound to happen at some point, so be prepared with some tools and good breakdown cover. Just try to break down somewhere beautiful, with waves to surf while you wait!

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Things to pack and things to do

Surfboards, bodyboards, SUPboards – something that gets you in the water. They’re easy to strap on the roof, so don’t take up any precious inside space… and if anyone forgets their sleeping bag, a board bag is your next best bet!

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Snorkel on rainy days – because it doesn’t rain underwater!

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Open water swimming to rinse off that funky perfume that you develop from living in a van for too long!

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Catch yourself some dinner while you’re in the sea!

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Warm yourself up, get the blood pumping and head for the hills –

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Check out a west coast music festival – even when your siblings aren’t thrilled to be getting drunk with you for a 4th night in a row!

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Search for magical fresh water pools to wash the salt away –

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Meet the local wildlife –

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And finally – hang out with your fam, they’re the best friends you’ll ever have!

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If you fancy a peep at some of our adventure videos (that are extremely amateur) – follow these links!

48 hours on Tiree // April 2017
Tiree Ultra 2017
Thanks for reading 

Oidhhe Mhath

R x

Blue Mind, Vitamin Sea and Salty Hair

Blue Mind

In my last post I mentioned the idea of ‘Blue Mind’ – I got so many lovely responses and questions about it so I’m going to explain it a little more. Just to recap – ‘blue mind’ is a mildly meditative state, it is a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in one moment.

For me, I experience it most often under two circumstances:

The first is being in the water; when I manage to tune out how cold I feel; the sound of the wind and the waves become muted and there is complete silence. In that moment everything is slow. I do not have any thoughts towards what will happen next. I am completely present in that moment. And of course, that is when I experience that cringe to the stomach feeling of a smile creeping from the corners of my mouth; an uncontrollable feeling of satisfaction.

The second is usually when I’m walking in the city and my phone has run out of battery; ironic because I spend a lot of time moaning about living in a city. I don’t experience this when I’m ‘home’ i.e, anywhere north-west – because I don’t rely on or expect my phone to have signal. But when your phone dies in the city, suddenly you’re cut off while still surrounded by people. I really enjoy looking, and seeing, noticing things that totally go unnoticed normally. I start to smile at people, and even say hi to those who smile back. It’s just one of those ‘happy to be alive’ moments. *Note* this does not work when I just turn my phone off… it has to be dead to the world to totally release me from its ties.

Vitamin Sea and Salty Hair (the benefits of)
  • I’m sure we’ve all experienced that feeling of being totally knackered after a day at the beach, there’s our first health kick of vitamin sea. Insomnia; cured!
  • Appreciation – never have I ever felt so content with a cup of tea and somewhere warm to sleep after one too many hours spent outdoors, whether up a hill or in the water. Suddenly a hot shower and some soup is truly the best thing in the world!
  • Refreshed body – there is no greater healer than salt water, it’ll clean your cuts and scratches, exfoliate your skin and boost your circulation – also all your worries will be forgotten (because you’ll be far too cold to think of anything else)!
  • Blowing away cobwebs – this may not apply to those who live in beautiful calm beachy locations – but Scottish wind will blow you sideways. Being by the sea isn’t just for sunny happy days – it’s a good place to be angry. Let off some steam and scream at the top of your lungs; whats the worst that can happen? You’ll maybe scare off a few seagulls.
  • Danger zone to comfort zone – stepping out with your comfort is a daunting thought. Even for me, plunging my warm body into cold water is fairly unnatural – but taking that leap *quite literally* can only be good for our brains. It’s an opportunity to practice risk taking, and a chance to listen to the voice that says ‘just do it.’ We can then apply that confidence to our everyday – I’m basically encouraging life to be a bit more… dare I say it… ‘YOLO!’
  • Witnessing the rare – in a society that demands instant result, immediate reaction and attention, it is easy to get caught in a trap of wanting to capture everything on snapchat and insta story. I question how much we really experience; to witness something happening with our own eyes and using our own brains to retain memories. I’m guilty of not doing this myself, even when I’m out of signal… I’ll experience moments through my phone with the reassuring thought that I can post it later when I get wi-fi. Maybe this is why being in the water creates such a release of pressure; phone-less and left with nothing but thoughts and ideas – no pinging notifications and nagging need to fill people in on what’s happening.

I’m going to share this video with you; it’s an artwork by Tacita Dean – she talks about the green ray (also known as the green flash); something so beautiful and rare that she tried to capture over and over again. What she eventually realises is the act of looking itself is far more powerful than the success of capturing the moment on film.  Tacita Dean – Green Ray (Witnessing The Rare)

Rona X @ronamcmillan