This $42 beach buy is a towel, a hoodie and a portable change room

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four hooded beach towels and ponchos
These hooded beach towels are like an Oodie but for surfers.

The chilly weather isn’t stopping surfers from hitting the waves this winter, but you may have noticed one item that's been popping up more and more on Aussie beaches.

Hooded beach towels - also known as surf ponchos and changing robes - are particularly popular among surfers and swimmers who have been locked out of changing facilities due to covid restrictions.

They’re very similar to popular lockdown buy, the Oodie, but instead of being super fluffy, they’re designed to soak up water and give you privacy while you change out of your wetsuit or swimmers.

Many are made of a hybrid microfibre fabric which is lightweight and quick drying, so it doesn’t feel sodden and freezing in the winter wind, and of course, they have a hood to dry your hair.

In areas that aren’t locked down, these hooded beauties also doubles as a beach towel if you lay it flat on the sand - provided you get one that’s over a metre long.

On Amazon Australia, the $42 Vulken extra large hooded towel is proving popular and has been described by shoppers as quick-drying and warm.

Vulken hooded towel for surfers
The Vulken hooded towel is made of a thick, microfibre material and is 120cm long from shoulder to calf. Photo: Amazon Australia

Another popular buy is the $45 Sun Cube hooded towel which has lots of glowing reviews. It’s thick and roomy, has a kangaroo pouch pocket in the front, and is described by one reviewer as good for “all season wear”.


Things to look out for when buying a hooded towel

Material: A microfibre material will be quick drying and lightweight, whereas a cotton terry will be more similar to a traditional towel. Regardless of the material, some hooded towels are thicker than others, and these will be bulkier to carry but also warmer and will offer more wind protection, so it depends on what you prefer.

Length: Look for something that comes down to your mid calf to make sure you’ve got plenty of privacy when changing and won’t leave your backside exposed if you bend over. Length is also an important consideration if you want it to double as a beach towel you can lay on - regular beach towels are around 160cm long.

Roominess: One of the best things about these hooded towels is that they act as a portable change room, so you want it to be nice and loose so you can manoeuvre yourself out of a wetsuit or swimmers without too much trouble.

Pockets: If you need a place to hide your keys, a pocket is a must. Ones with a zip are obviously ideal. Some hooded towels have internal access pockets so you don't have to take your arms out of the sleeves to be able to remove your wet swimmers underneath.

Hood: A hood is a must to dry your hair and keep you protected from wind.

Sleeve length: Short, loose sleeves are great for changing out of a wetsuit as you can easily slip your arms out of them to pull down your wetsuit from the inside of the hooded towel. Meanwhile long sleeves are great in winter to keep you warm.

Best hooded beach towels and ponchos

Ohana Hooded Towel: $65

cotton beach poncho
This cotton poncho has a hidden front pocket and is 105cm long. Photo: The Iconic

Quicksilver Hooded Beach Towel: $80

 Quicksilver hooded towel
Made of a thick, cotton velour fabric, this hooded towel measures 103cm and has a front pocket. Photo: Quicksilver

Sun Cube Surf Poncho: $45

microfibre surf poncho
Made of a microfibre polyester with a front pocket and 112cm long. Photo: Amazon

Parallaxx All Weather Surf Poncho: $70

thick microfibre hooded towel
This thick microfibre hooded towel is 109cm long and has internal access pockets so you don’t have to take your arms out of the sleeves. Photo: Amazon Australia

Hooded Stripe Hooded Towel: $60

cotton terry hooded towel
This cotton terry towel comes in kids and adult sizes and can be personalised with your name. Photo: Hooded

Olaian 500 Surf Poncho: $45

adult Olaian 500 Surf Poncho
Comes in adult and kids sizes, made of 100 percent cotton and 110cm long. Photo: Decathlon

Billabong Change Robe/Poncho: $126

Leopard print Billabong surf poncho
Leopard print cotton design from Billabong with a pocket at the front. Photo: Watersports Outlet

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