Being in the UK dive industry means a lot of your surface intervals are spent standing around in all weather conditions so you need to be prepared. It doesn’t matter if you are sat at an inland dive site or out on a dive boat in the English Channel, you’ll see either the storm Poncho by Fourth Element or the unmistakable Dryrobe.
Not only are these designed to keep you warm and dry, another benefit is they give you somewhere to get changed under and in the current COVID world where changing rooms are shut, this is great for not flashing your briefs to the entire dive site car parks.
These aren’t just for diving either, my Storm Poncho has been with me at loads of outdoor events from open water swimming to a week in Cornwall camping. They are great for chucking on over what you are wearing to add another barrier from the elements and to stay nice and dry when the weather turns wet.
Since I brought my Storm Poncho it has become a key part to my thermal protection and is always with me where ever I go, just in case the weather turns.
As part of the dive school planning, the Dryrobes always end up on the van for the students as well (Dryrobes are in school as we were kindly donated them after working at the National Watersport Festival at Rutland Water and they seeing what a great job we did with our students)
As with most products from different brands, they both have their good and bad bits. After owning the storm poncho for a few years now and using Dryrobes regularly I’m going to compare the two and tell you what I think is good and bad for both.
With the Storm Poncho, apart from keeping you warm, dry and sheltered from the wind there are only a few good things about it.
You put the storm poncho on like an oversized hoodie and the material it’s made from feels nice on the outside and the fleecy inner lining is smooth but goes a bit strange and bobbly after a few washes.
It’s also made from Fourth Elements Ocean Positive materials (see marketing blurb from Fourth Element below) which are good for the environment. The Storm Poncho dries really fast and its ability to roll up into such a small bundle so it's easy to fit into bags is good and it’s easy to travel with to use on the dive boats abroad when the temperatures drop or for protection from the sun.
So, the bad parts? For some reason, it has some buttons up the side which don’t really do anything apart from making the bottom really flappy when undone and I think they are a little pointless.
It’s really hard to get changed under, due to being quite restrictive and tight so it’s like changing in a sleeping bag. It's only available in 2 different colours and the hole for the hood is quite small and constrictive when the hood is up.
The Dryrobe, on the other hand, is better as it’s designed to be an overside coat so has a nice zip up the middle, water and windproof shell outer and has a warm fluffy lining.
The zip up the middle makes it easier to put on over your drysuits and getting changed inside is easier as its less restrictive due to being bigger. The zip up the middle eliminates the small hood hole as the Poncho has, it also comes with a wide selection of colours and they also come with the choice of short and long arms.
The only downside to the Dryrobe is when you want to travel with it, as it’s so fluffy inside it doesn’t roll up as small so takes up more room. With it being so fluffy it does take slightly longer to dry compared to the Storm Poncho.
Similarities - Poncho and DryRobe
Now for the similarities. Both have nice oversized pockets which makes storage really easy and getting in them with wet hands isn’t a problem, the fleece lining also keeps your hands' toastie warm. The price is also roughly the same for each.
So, this is my honest review about the Storm Poncho and Dryrobes, I’ve owned my Storm Poncho for a few years and find it good to have but I don’t use it as much as I should due to the bad parts. If I had waited and not just jumped into buying the shiny new Storm Poncho, I should have bought the dryrobe instead.
The views in this article are mine and mine alone.
You can purchase both items from Dive Rutland either in store or via the online store whichever you prefer
Marketing Blurb from the Manufacturers
Fourth Element Storm Poncho
This all weather poncho is warm, fast drying and packs down small, enabling you to take it anywhere. Throw it on to get changed into your wetsuit at the beach or on the boat. Use it to warm up after a session in the water or to cover up between dives. The waterproof, fleece-lined fabric is lightweight, cosy and manufactured using an environmentally friendly, fluorine-free waterproofing treatment. With side vents secured by poppers, getting changed is simple, with generous hand warmer pockets adding to the comfort factor when warming up. The adjustable hood features a peak, providing excellent protection even in the worst of weather, making this a piece of gear you’ll never want to be without.
What makes this OceanPositive?
Using fabric manufactured according to the Bluesign® standard, the Storm Poncho is produced using innovative, resource-conserving and environmentally friendly techniques. The fleece backing contains 37% recycled yarn with S.Café® technology, derived from post consumer plastic bottles. S.Café® process embeds coffee grounds into the recycled yarn surface, changing the characteristics of the filament and provides faster drying times along with increased odour resistance and enhanced reflection of UV rays.
Get dry, cover up and stay warm with dryrobe®. If you find yourself hanging around at sporting events, waiting to participate or watching your kids, a dryrobe® Advance Long Sleeve will keep you warm in any climate.
You don't know how much you need a dryrobe® until you own one.
The dryrobe® Advance is one tough bit of kit. It’s been designed and tested to stand the wear and tear of an active lifestyle, cold conditions and any challenge you face. A dryrobe® Compression Travel Bag is available for increased storage and portability.
Be aware of the dangers, educate yourself and your children to the risks with all sporting activities.
Have fun, stay warm and play safe.
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE