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Swim coats: Keeping warm, dry and cosy out of the water

We take a look at the benefits of a swim coat during the winter and what to consider when purchasing one.

A winter swimming coat, otherwise known as a deck coat, swim parka, changing robe or dry coat, is a much-loved swimming accessory for open water swimmers.

In the last few years, they’ve become quite the fashion accessory for open water swimmers, taking a lead from pool swimmers who’ve been wearing deck coats for decades.

In this article, we discuss the different types of winter swimming coats, what they are used for and we list a few coats you might like to get your hands on this winter.

What are swimming coats used for?

Swimming coats aren’t just for keeping warm in winter, they are very versatile and can be used for many different things including drying off, getting dressed under in privacy, and keeping your goggles and cap stored away before and after your swim.

Hooded towels vs Swimming coats

While a hooded towel and deck coat have similar uses they are vastly different in many ways.

Hooded Towel

A hooded towel or changing poncho is like a big towel that you can use to dry yourself.

It’s made out of towel material and usually has one big pocket in the front of the towel to put your belongings in. It doesn’t provide much warmth but is great for changing and drying off after a swim.

Swimming Coat

A swimming coat is a long jacket-like coat, with a water-resistant exterior and an inside lined for warmth.

The coat will usually have a large hood, multiple pockets on the outside and inside, and a zipper down the front for easy removal. They help keep you warm, snug, dry and comfortable.

Things to consider when choosing a swim coat

Inside lining

Most swim coats have either fleece or faux fur lining. Fleece-lined coats are more popular among people who plan to wear them directly after being in the water because they are designed to be worn while wet and dry quickly and easily after each use.

Whereas, faux fur-lined swim coats take longer to dry and can leave your skin feeling scratchy and itchy when worn while wet. These types of coats are usually worn by those who are planning on staying dry when wearing their coats such as coaches and spectators.


A popular feature of swim coats is the pockets because they are great for storing all your belongings while swimming or on your way to your swim.

Swim coats usually have pockets on both sides and sometimes have additional pockets for phones or goggle storage on the inside. Most pockets in swim coats are either secured by zippers or velcro to keep your belongings safe and ensure nothing falls out accidentally.


Swim coats are meant to provide warmth but not too much warmth that you get sweaty and sticky.

When choosing a swim coat you want to ensure it has good ventilation so you don’t overheat. Many swim coats have underarm vents and back flaps to allow for air circulation.


Some brands such as Team Elite offer customisable swim coats which is great if your swim group wants matching coats. You can choose the colour and decide to add either your swim group’s logo or mascot. These coats are great because it sets you apart from the usual plain black or blue deck coat.


Open water swimmers aren’t often referred to as fashionable but swim coats do give you the chance to look the part at the lake, bay or beach. Choose a style and colour and match with your wackiest accessories to suit your personality.

Swim coat options

There’s never been more options when it comes to purchasing a new swim coat.

Vorgee Swim Coat

The fleece-lined Vorgee Swim Coat is known for its ample pocket space featuring two outer zip pockets and two inner pockets which can be secured closed by velcro. The two-way front zipper is an easy way to allow for ventilation or to maneuver yourself to get changed. The toggle hood drawstring allows you to adjust the hood size for the best fit. If you’re after something super warm, this heavy-weighted coat is the choice for you.

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Speedo Unisex Deck Coat

The Speedo Unisex Deck Coat is a great choice as it has a huge range of sizes ranging from 3XS to 2XL. The mid-weight coat is fleece lined and extra warm with two external pockets and an internal pocket great for your phone or valuables. The hood has drawstrings which are great to adjust the size of the hood and adjust it to your own personal preferences.

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Team Elite Subline Deck Parka

The Team Elite Subline Deck Parka is fleeced-lined with the option of double-fleeced if you really need it. It also has two ventilation flaps at the front and back to ensure you’re warm but not overheating. They also have the option to get your team or swim group name embroidered on the front or back.

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Toasty Weatherproof Jacket

The Toasty Deck Coat is a weatherproof, cosy, multifunctional jacket perfect for all outdoor activities including ocean swimming. The coat is fully lined with quick-dry moisture-wicking fleece that helps repel water while keeping you nice and toasty. The jacket also has two fleeced-lined pockets to keep your hands warm and an internal waterproof zip pocket to keep your keys, phone and personal items safe and dry.

Engine Deck Parka

The Engine Deck Parka is known for its extra length in the body and its 380gsm polar fleece lining that keeps you nice and warm but is quick and easy to dry after each use. The velcro handcuffs allow you to adjust the wrist width if you are after a snugger fit to prevent the cold air from travelling up. This deck parka also features a double zipper and velcro flap to ensure the zip isn’t going anywhere and adds that extra warmth.

Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve

The Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve Deck Coat is a popular choice among swimmers all across the world. Known for its weather-resistant outer shell fabric which creates a solid barrier against wind and water. The synthetic lambswool interior lining allows you to keep warm by maintaining your core temperature but also wicks away water from your skin to help you dry off quicker. This coat also has a large internal waterproof zip pocket which is great for keeping your phone and keys while out for a swim.

Aquadash Swim Parka

The Aquadash Swim Parka is a sustainable swim parka made from recycled plastic bottles. The inside is towel-lined for warmth and quick-drying, and it also features a fitted hood, extra long length and two zipped pockets.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 6 July 2022
  • (Updated on 4 August 2023)

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