A changing parka makes the whole watersports experience better – no matter if you’re coming up from a dive, paddle boarding, out for a morning swim, or getting out of the water as the sun goes down, this is the time when you’re susceptible to the chill air.
Staying dry and warm is the first and best way to improve safety and enjoyment. The Aqua Parka by Gill Marine is a very good candidate to fill this need.
Imagine pulling it over your pulled-down wetsuit and having ample space to change. That’s what the Aqua Parka was designed to deliver.
It’s a portable and personal changing poncho with a hood, a furry (toweling) lining, and built with the durability we expect from the Gill Marine name.
Read on and see how this parka met our high hopes after scuba dives, paddle boarding, and as a swim parka.
Our Overall Review
We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:
Reasons to buy:
Completely wind- and waterproof
The 4-way stretch fabric helps with mobility while changing
Velcro cuffs create space for hands to pack
Outer pockets can double as hand warmers
Your phone stays safe in the zipped inner pocket
Nice heat-welded seams
Sizing is easy to understand
Toweling affect from fleece liner is great
Reasons NOT to buy:
- Lack of alternative colors
- Lack of loop at inside collar for hanging up
- No adjustable drawstring in the hood
Where to buy:
Now every outdoor gem you visit doesn’t have to include shivering when you get out of the water. What if you happen to stumble on to a hidden beach and there’s no changing room available? Going paddle boarding or surfing until sundown when a chill sets in? A swim parka is going to keep the smile on your face and prevent you from shivering.
The Aqua Parka is maybe the best outdoor changing robe we’ve tested with clear appeal to our team of scuba divers, kayakers, swimmers, surfers, for boating and for extra warmth on the beach. Part parka, part changing robe it costs a bit more than cheaper towel ponchos, but it does so much more too.
With the combination of polyurethane shell and a fluffy fleece lining, you can enjoy warmth when you come up from the water, even with the unforgiving winter cold. Since it’s completely wind- and waterproof, meaning no element can get in and out of this swim parka, packing away gear is also made easier in the absence of a shivering body and shaky fingers.
Specs & Features
- Shell: 100% Polyurethane
- Lining: Polyester Fleece
- Weight: 1.32 lbs.
- Colors: Black
- Sizes: S - XL
- Pockets: ed Left Inner Pocket, Right Inner Pocket with Velcro, Zipped Outer Pockets x 2
Unlike a surf poncho that is essentially a towel you wear, Gill Marine comes out of a strong history of making foul weather protection for sailors. The Aqua Parka reflects that with their patented welding techniques used to seal in body heat and keep moisture out.
Polyester is reliable for outdoor apparel and gear due to its moisture-wicking properties. Meaning any water from your wetsuit and body is pulled away by the fabric without absorbing it. This way, your swim parka stays lightweight as it dries your body.
The 4-way stretch fabric offers you mobility while changing inside. There’s also ample room so you can move with ease, get out of your wetsuit and slip into dry clothes.
Beyond use as a changing robe, it even works as a waterproof parka. That makes this a pretty versatile product.
Aqua Parka’s 2-way front zippers use YKK zips, the world’s leading brand! Closing and opening them is a breeze, whether you’re doing it outside with freezing hands or not.
And the stitching? They don’t exist! Don’t panic. This swim parka’s seams come with sturdy welding. Not only does it add protection, but it also amplifies its durability.
Remember that this changing robe doesn’t have its storage bag. You’ll need to buy it separately. But if you have a 10L drybag, it’ll get the job done.
Gill Marine’s Aqua Parka is your best bud for a hassle-free swimming and changing experience.
Where to buy:
Is it for you?
Whether you’re a surfer, swimmer, hiker, or a weekend camper, owning an Aqua Parka will make your life easier- no more wasting time looking for and going to change rooms.
In our case, it saved a day scuba diving in near-freezing water and was an amazing addition on a morning paddleboarding trip.
With this swim parka from Gill Marine, you can stay by the beach and spend more time making new memories. For paddle boarding and kayaking, getting to and from the water is simple, comfortable and, actually, kind of stylish too.
It’s beneficial if you’re a swimming enthusiast but having a hard time once winter hits. It’s a terrible experience to get out of the icy waters, having to run to your car or changing room. Thinking about it alone is already stressful. No one wants to put in much extra effort post-activity when you’re low on energy. Save yourself from the hassle and get this swim parka.
Now, the Aqua Parka delivers an absolutely toasty comfort experience. Since it’s warm, it might be a little too much if you’re in tropical environs. Opting for a changing robe with short sleeves, a cheaper surf poncho, for example, might be your best option. These types don’t have as much material or lining, and you won’t feel like you’re roasting inside an oven.
Keeping a swim parka in its optimal condition isn’t that hard.
The Aqua Parka can go inside your washing machine with 30o max heat. Turn it inside out first. Only do so when absolutely necessary. If possible, stick to wiping it using a damp cloth to remove any stains. Remember that it doesn’t need washing after each use.
You can’t put this Gill Marine swim parka in your tumble dryer. Bleach and dry cleaning is a big no-no too. Most changing robes need non-bio detergent to avoid damaging their overall quality.
Let it air dry, hanging inside out, so the inner layers dry thoroughly and quickly.
If you have the time to hand-wash this changing robe, it’s the best cleaning option to maintain your changing robe in a pristine state.
Founded by Nick Gill- his passion for dinghy sailing from childhood propelled him into launching the company in 1975. Starting at a corner of a textile shop owned by his father, Gill Marine is now one of the top sailing gear and apparel companies globally.
They offer outdoor enthusiasts durable jackets, bibs, swim parka, pants, hoodies, wetsuits, drysuits, and so much more. Whether you’re into paddle sports, fishing or sailing, there’s something in store for you.
As the business grew, so did their manufacturing needs. Gill is devoted to its sustainability mission and reducing environmental impact by repurposing plastics into fabrics and cutting down on single-use plastic packaging.
With Gill Marine, rest assured that your apparel and accessories are of top-notch quality made to last for a very long time.
The Aqua Parka, by the respected Gill Marine, is a wise investment if you’re an outdoor water sport enthusiast. Don’t let its low-profile look fool you. This swim parka will surprise you with features you’ll love, from solid build to ease of use. It’s versatile enough to be used as an everyday parka in autumn sleet as well as its intended purpose by the beach or on the water. Pair it with water shoes and you’ll be unstoppable if you plan on staying close to the water.
For around $180-$200, you’ll have a changing robe made to last long. Its price tag is more than worthy of Aqua Parka’s overall performance. The amount of stress and money you saved is priceless. It’s a must-try, especially for winter-related sports lovers.
Where to buy:
Frequently asked questions about Gill Aqua Parka
A swim parka is a staple gear for cold-weather swimmers. It’s a long coat that helps keep you warm and dry pre or post-sessions and competitions.
They are generally oversized, unisex, with a waterproof shell, fleece-lined, pockets, and a front zipper running throughout the swim parka.
Its hood also has a fleece lining to help dry your hair and keep your head cozy.
You can’t personalize your swim parka the DIY way. Some shops offer professional customization without hurting your changing robe’s quality. Some brands online even allow you to opt for customized options before checkout.
On your swim parka, your name, maybe a logo, amps up your motivation. It’s especially true if you’re part of a team.
This product is relatively new and a hallmark of Gill Marine’s Outdoor Lifestyle product line. Other exciting products will soon be released and perfectly compliment Aqua Parka, including its storage bag and a changing mat.
But their line of sailing products from foul weather gear to sailing gloves are always visible in marinas and boats cruising the waves.