22 April 2016

Review: The Chawel Hybrid HD

Bonus: looking like a Jedi
When I reviewed the Chawel last summer, I concluded that it offered a nice 5-in-1 package (towel, neck pillow, blanket, sleeping bag liner, changing room) for those traveling light or with limited space in their gear bags. While it did nothing perfectly, it handled its multiple functions well with exceptional portability.

The company made improvements to the design and sent me a Hybrid HD Chawel to try out. This Chawel addresses minor complaints I raised in my original review. The side pocket is now big enough to stow it instead of using a separate included carry bag, although I couldn't zip the pocket closed. With a larger neck hole, I was able to change fully under the Chawel, slipping out of my swimsuit and into a T-shirt and shorts.

The back panel of the Hybrid HD is a thick fleecy material, making it more useful as a blanket and providing greater warmth while changing on chilly days. This Chawel is also longer, almost too long for me (I'm 5'3"), but that increases its utility as a blanket or sleeping bag/liner.

I had some concern that the large arm openings would enable passersby to glimpse more of me that I care to show in public, but my surf buddy assured me nothing private was visible.

The Hybrid HD Chawel is a step up, and it's now my changing room/towel of choice for surf trips.

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