18 June 2015

Review: The 5-in-1 Chawel

When the company sent me a Chawel Sport HD to review, I wondered if the product tried to do too much. It's a changing room! It's a towel! It's a neck pillow and a blanket and a sleeping bag!
My primary uses would be only as a towel and as a changing room. Could it perform those functions well enough, or did it sacrifice utility in order to provide additional features? Here's my take after using it half a dozen times post-surf.

The Chawel is the smallest and lightest changing towel I've ever used. As a towel, it works better than expected. The fabric is fairly thin, not the usual fluffy towel material, but it is absorbent. It also dries quickly, unlike similar products such as the Roomel.

While the Chawel arrived without armholes, the instructions said they could be created by sniping the single-stitch seam on the upper sides. I initially used the Chawel without armholes and quickly realized I needed them. It was easy enough to modify as directed.

With the hood and a small neck opening, there's no good way to slip out of a bikini top and put on a shirt while wearing the Chawel. For changing from a bikini bottom to pants, it works well – no chance of a wardrobe malfunction. I didn't miss pockets with through-slits, since the fabric is thin enough to manipulate clothing from the outside. On chilly mornings, I was glad of the attached hood, which provides a little warmth and wind protection for a wet head.

The Chawel has an attached elastic strap to secure it in a tidy bundle before it's stowed in the included carry bag. I was never able to re-wrap it as neatly as it arrived, but then I don't have the patience to fold my sheets either, preferring to wad them up in a pillow case. It's also easier to just stuff the unfolded Chawel into its stretchy bag.

On the second use, the pull tab on the carry bag fell off and the bag could no longer be closed with the drawstring, but this was no big loss. I do wonder why the company didn't make the Chawel's zippered pocket a little bigger so it could stow inside that instead of needing a separate bag.

While I didn't test the travel features, I think the Chawel would make a nice liner if you were sleeping in your board bag or at a hostel. It would only be useful as a blanket in a warm climate and won't cover a taller person fully, but would be fine to sit on at the beach. As a neck pillow – well, it takes patience to fold and roll it so it isn't too lumpy, but if I was stuck on a plane with plenty of time, I'm sure I'd manage it.

Bottom line, if you're traveling light or just don't have much room in your gear bag, the Chawel offers a nice 5-in-1 package. It does nothing perfectly, but it handles its multiple functions well with exceptional portability.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the review. Happy Chaweling !