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Vaikobi is an Australian paddle sports and sailing brand that first caught our attention with its low-volume, super-comfortable PFD with an integrated hydration bladder sleeve. The brand has been around since 2012 and continues to produce some of the best kit, including tops and leggings appropriate for a variety of water temperatures and paddling applications. For instance, I would be lost without Vaikobi's VOCEAN paddle pants and UV shorts, perfect for outrigger and surf ski paddling.

I am always looking for the perfect changing towel or poncho. I am incredibly picky about changing towels, and I have specific requirements: they must be lightweight enough to easily travel, dry quickly, have adequate body coverage, and be easy to change under. And, depending on where I am, they need to provide a certain amount of warmth. Bonus points if it can multitask. Two years ago, I picked up Vaikobi's Full Zip Hooded Beach Towel, which is excellent for the warm temperatures here on Maui. But in May, I am going on a 10-day paddling trip in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, and I need a warmer yet easily packable option. Enter the Vaikobi Beach Coat.

Vaikobi Beach Coat

The Beach Coat is a lightweight, quick-drying outer layer designed for paddle sports enthusiasts, swimmers, sailors, surfers, or just about anybody. It's an oversized, long coat with a double zipper front, a toggled hood, and a full-length warm fleece inner liner. The outer liner is a water-resistant, technical soft shell that protects from wind and rain.

photo by Vaikobi

The fleece inner liner is super soft but not too thick, so it dries fast but still insulates well. The thinner fleece makes the beach coat easy to travel with. It also has fantastic pockets, including two large front pockets and an ample zippered pocket inside. The wrists have velcro closures to tailor fit and keep the elements out. Considering this coat's technical aspects, it is a bargain at $165. This is going to be my go-to on the support boat after our OC-6 change-overs as we paddle through the San Juans!

photo by Vaikobi

Vaikobi Full Zip Hooded Beach Towel

Calling this a beach towel is a misnomer because it is much more. Sure, you can use it to dry off after a session or workout, but its microfiber fabric is so soft and comfy that you might want to use it at home as a bathrobe! It also features a double zipper in the front, a nice hood, and two zippered pockets in the front.

photo by Vaikobi

What separates this from run-of-the-mill changing ponchos, though, are the sleeves. Instead of short, wide, almost useless openings at the shoulder, the beach towel has actual sleeves. They do not come down to the wrists, but they are long enough to make you feel more like you are wearing a hoodie and less like you are wearing a weird, truncated beach cover-up. Yet, it's still straightforward to get changed underneath the bath towel because of the cut and width of the sleeves, as well as the double zipper (no need to pull it over the head!) Also, the beach towel is longer in the back to facilitate deck changes out in the open.

photo by Vaikobi

The microfiber fabric feels more like Terry cloth but is lightweight and quick-drying. It is also easy to pack or carry in a tote bag. It sells for $65.

When to Use the Beach Coat v. The Beach Towel

Vaikobi Beach Coat:

Ideal for wearing before and after paddle sports activities, especially in colder and or wetter conditions

Protects against wind and light rain.

Suitable for layering over wetsuits or swimwear during cooler weather.

Use as a changing coat after sessions and workouts

Easy to travel with. This coat could be the perfect piece to take to the Chattajack 31 race!

Vaikobi Full Zip Hooded Beach Towel:

Perfect for drying off and staying warm after water activities in warmer temperature

Can be used as a changing robe for privacy while changing clothes.

Great for lounging on the beach, by the water, or even as a bathrobe.

Best use in circumstances when rain and wind protection and insulation aren't needed.

Specs Comparison

Vaikobi Beach Coat:

Sizes: Available in various sizes (S, M, L, XL)

Color Options: Black/Grey, Grey/Orange. Navy/Cyan

Price: $165 USD

Vaikobi Full Zip Hooded Beach Towel:

Dimensions: 

110cm length at front, from top of shoulder

130cm length at the rear, from top of shoulder

158cm circumference to allow easy changing underneath

Color Options: Black

Sizing: SM-M, L-XL

Price: $65

The Vaikobi Beach Coat and Beach Towel are fantastic pieces for drying off and changing after a paddle session or workout. Their lightweight designs make them super easy to travel with, while their unique design makes them highly functional. The Beach Coat will be the better choice in colder temperatures, while the towel is perfect for summer or more tropical locales. The front double zippers on the Beach Coat and Beach Towel are game changers. Vaikobi has knocked it out of the park (or should we say "Parka") with these two items.

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