23 January 2015

Roomel: Changing Room in a Towel

When I pulled my Roomel ("changing ROOM in a towEL") from its packaging, my first thought was, how the heck does this work? It was a plush black rectangle with zippers on the short sides, a drawstring on a long edge, and seemingly random pink-trimmed access slits. As I turned it this way and that, my husband reached out. "Give me that!" He fumbled briefly as I consulted the pictograms on the hang tag, and we sorted out that he needed to zip it together and then tighten the drawstring to cinch the Roomel around his waist.

OK, but I'm a girl, and I need upper body coverage. First I tried cinching it higher, just under my arms - the pictogram of a woman wasn't clear on this point - but that seemed precarious and inviting a wardrobe malfunction. I moved it higher to rest on my shoulders; yes, that must be it.
Of course, we could have just read the online instructions, or watched the helpful YouTube video. But it really wasn't too hard to figure out on our own.

That's fine for the living room, but how would it perform at the beach? Today I put the Roomel to a serious test. When I surf my local break, the one that's a bit too far to bike to when the air temperature is only 50°, I usually drive both ways in my wetsuit and change out of it at home in the shower. But I've got a spankin' brand new car that I don't want to mess up, so I decided to use the Roomel to change into street clothes for the ride home. Alas, I forgot to add a swimsuit under my wetsuit, a naked oversight that I didn't notice until after I'd surfed. Could I use the Roomel to change out of my wetsuit without flashing the tony residents of La Jolla?

Yes, indeed. I started with the Roomel cinched around my neck, and wriggled out of the top of the wetsuit. After moving the Roomel down to under my arms, I put on a shirt, and then dropped the Roomel to my waist, cinching it up again. Then off with the rest of the wetsuit and on with my pants. I unzipped the Roomel and voila! I was dressed. And none of the dog-walkers at Calumet Park got to see anything more than G-rated.

The access slits in the Roomel are ingeniously offset, so no skin is exposed when reaching through them to undress. The only drawback I could see is that the towel material is not quite as absorbent as I'd prefer. Still, it's a big step up from two-towels-sewn-together designs like the Toga Beach Changing Towel. And none of my buddies will kid me about wearing a muumuu, either. This is going to be my go-to changing robe from now on.

Note: 3i Products provided the reviewed product free of charge. 

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