It’s summer, it’s beach time! Even in the UK we are all out at it and braving the bloody baltic temperature of the (toxic) clear water lapping at our shores. Picture it now – a beautiful summers day, not a cloud in sight, sea as far as the eye can see (though not that you would want to see any further, France is just over the horizon) and a beach full of scantily clad albino’s freezing their tits off and pretending it’s a summer. Lets face it, 24 degrees is not hot. In some countries they class this as full on winter, yet us, the English, are nuttier than squirrel shit when the weather turns warmer.
We have packed for the beach, but what are the super essential items you need? Well, swimsuit – check. Suncream – meh. Swimming costume – check. Towel… ah. Well, we have luckily been able to reach for a Chawel Sport Basic! “What is a Chawel?!” I hear you cry! A Chawel is a super cool product that we have been asked to review and review it we will!
The Chawel is made up of a double skinned rectangle of synthetic polyester type material. The two skins are sewn together along both long edges and partially on one short edge, with a small gap at that end and a completely open end at the other. What is this witchcraft? We pondered, all became clear…
The material feels eerily like what you would expect from a sports top, the type you would play football in (Americans, we mean real football here, not what you call Hand-Egg). at first interrogation I was dubious that this would soak up anything, let alone dry me.
The Chawel sport basic measures 36″ by 58″. It is, as described, a double skinned construction with one small end completely open and the other partially open. It transpires that as part of the marketed 5 in 1 uses, using this as a changing room is one of them! You drop the big open end over you and your head pops out of the other end! RESULT! Does this help in drying yourself? No, not for a second. But it is super convenient when changing your pants halfway down the street in Oxford (pictures below…). All of this joy fits into a stuff sack that comes with the product. A grand weight of 430g (15oz in American money) means this won’t break you in half carrying it around all day either. It also comes with a super handy bungee sewn in which helps when rolling it up to keep it folded.
The marketed uses are:
- A towel (duh)
- Changing room (noted, not quite a “room”, but tomato tomato)
- A neck pillow
- A sleeping bag
- A blanket
- An emergency blanket (hmm…)
- A baby change mat
- A shopping cart cover (Wallmart anyone?)
- A travel shower (ummm?!)
- A laundry bag
- A seat cover
- A sleeping bag liner
Now, I won’t lie, I am dubious about a lot on that list. I think most can be done with a normal towel and I think some of the others (shower?!) are plain bloody silly. But, and it’s a big BUT, there are some really good uses to having a double skinned design here. I think that as a sleeping bag liner, if not wet, is a totally plausible idea and actually very handy. I think as a changing space, again bloody useful for those discretionary moments and as a towel, well, see below!
Well, we tested a lot of the claims out! The scenario – Said beach in the introduction. The water was absolutely freezing and we are not convinced that I have any balls left (or, if I do, they’re somewhere near my pancreas). But the towel worked! And it worked very well in fact, as you would kind of expect… It felt weird, due to the double skin, it didn’t so much as rub your skin dry but slip over it and wick the water away – a weird one. But, dry none-the-less.
The changing room. Well, I didn’t test this theory out, Stuart (our lab rat) did. Evidential proof of Stuart struggling to get his pants off of a random car on an Oxford main road whilst half starkers. I’d say a sight for sore eyes but it’s probably the reverse – sore eyes as a result of seeing this. Either way – changing room – check! A note on this though, you’re not exactly left with too much room in the Chawel when changing in it. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t expect an En Suite and a butler, but some room to bend over without looking like a drunk russian hooker would have been a good thing. Either way, pass.
Sleeping bag liner, pillow et al. Well, we didn’t test all of the claims but they seem extremely plausible. The only caveat I would state is that if you use it as a towel, you will have to make sure it is dryer than Ghandi’s flip flops before you use it as anything else otherwise you will land yourself with Manflu. Fact.
Does it stand up to everything it claims to be? Well, arguably it does. Does it do anything that a normal travel towel can’t do? Well, actually yes. Is it worth the money ($25 at the time of writing, but see below!), well, actually yes.
Can’t argue, it’s a good towel and has some great uses. So all in all, bloody result!
Just had a message from Stuart saying the towel is going to Barcelona with him. Can’t be all that bad then…
Pick up the Chawel here and let us know how you get on looking like batman on a beach! Using the code “EXPLORERS” you will get 20% off and a freeeeeee MultiTube (Ooooerrr!). Can’t get fairer than that.