Why You Should Use A Changing Mat
The key function of a wild swimming changing mat is to protect your feet before and after your wild swimming session. When you come out of the water and you are ready to get changed, the last thing you want is to hurt your feet. The humble outdoor swimming changing mat serves two main functions. 1: It creates a protective barrier between your feet and the rough, uneven and possibly dangerous terrain where you have exited the water and 2: A protective barrier to the cold, to the wet, etc.
You have just been out for a river swim with your friends, and your watch alerts you that you have reached your maximum time and you decide to exit. The bank of the river where you exit has recently been camped at and there is fire debris, rubbish and possibly broken glass. You take your kit, which you have been towing in your large waterproof drybag/ towfloat, open it up and grab your changing mat. Laying this down, you stand on it, remove your neoprene socks, don your changing robe and proceed to remove your wetsuit and get changed. Within minutes, you are ready to retreat to the car for some warm tea and a slice of cake. Your feet, because of the changing mat, stay protected at all times from the debris of the exit location. Job done. This is why we need a swim changing mat for swimming.
Things to consider when buying the Best Wild Swimming Changing Mat.
Size and Portability
When outdoor swimming, especially if you’re carrying your key kit with you in a drybag or tow float drybag you will be thinking about size, compactness, etc. Most changing mats are compact, but there are a few bulky monsters out there.
As mentioned above, one of the key functions is to protect your feet. Some changing mats have a simple layer of nylon between your feet and the ground, others have thick neoprene to protect your feet from the elements and the terrain. We recommend a thicker base to protect but balance that against the overall size and compactness.
The key materials are lightweight foam changing mat, neoprene changing mat and waterproof nylon like materials.
Most swimming changing mats are a simple barrier between your feet and the ground and that is it. However, there are a few changing mats that offer extra functionality. The key functionality they provide is a bag of sorts. A place to store your wet kit after you have changed. These mats are larger and less compact, but if the additional functionality is something you are looking for, these may fit your criteria.
A changing mat is not an expensive item. Starting at a few pounds, they go up to £30 max.
Who are changing Mats For?
A swim change mat is for anyone who enjoys watersports, from triathletes to surfers, kayakers, wild swimmers to canyon explorers and adventure runners, mountain bikers, backpackers, swimpackers. If you get wet and or muddy, then a changing mat is perfect for you.
These are also extremely popular with those who do winter activities, cold is a killer, especially when you trying to change. So, they are loved by cold water swimmers, winter swimmers, wim Hoffers etc.