So what is the value of originality?
The coverage of last weekend's, Tough Guy® (Mr Mouse Events, Tough Guy® Mudathon - Previously known as Tough Guy® and now known as Tough Guy again), has got a lot of people talking.
What ever your thinking is towards the event, it can't be denied that it oozes uniqueness, character and heritage. It got me thinking back to a conversation I had with the charismatic founder Mr Mouse.
Photo: James Appleton.
A few years ago at Mud7, the UK's First OCR Expo, I was introduced to Mr Mouse. He took the time to compliment me on the concept and originality of the dryrobe products. He then proceeded to tell me part of his story and highlighted some of things he would have done differently if he was to do it all again.
His experiences and thoughts were shared freely, honestly and with sincerity that I haven't forgotten. I listened and I can say that I took some thinking away from that short conversation that has stayed with me.
The Story behind Tough Guy® and the origins of Obstacle course racing (OCR) have been well documented. Note: if you haven't seen Scott Keneally's awesomefilm - 'Rise of the Sufferfests' you should to watch it, to get a take on it.
I have come to think that creativity and innovation come from a hugely positive place. Genuine passion and interest, focused thought and consistently applied action. Activities that, when practiced over time, can amount to a life well lived.
Why do we like the original things? I look to the innovators, who see opportunities to fulfil a need driven by awareness. We discover also that money was, in most cases, never the motivation but the drive to bring to life an idea that became a passion.
So, how do you measure the value of originality? I guess, like everything, it depends how you measure it and what you perceive as valuable.
The authenticity, the knowledge gained, the lessons learned along with the sense of pride for bringing a thought to life. The experiences of the highly personal and challenging journey. Real value you take with into every thing you do. It is yours to keep, for all time.
We’re proud to announce that we’re renewing our relationship with Jonathan Albon as a brand ambassador. Now 4x OCR World Champion, he headlines an exciting and downright awesome pool of talent within the dryrobe team and we’re looking forward to supporting him as he embarks on a packed schedule of top quality events during 2018 and beyond.
Jon has been using dryrobes since 2013 and since then his racing career has hit some incredible heights, both in term of his accomplishments and in the literal sense. As well as remaining unbeaten in every event he has entered in the Toughest race series plus conquering the OCR world for 4 years in a row, Jon has also turned his attention to the awe-inspiring world of Skyrunning - a sport which is defined as races taking place at over 2,000m altitude over extremely technical trails. Taking the title of Extreme Skyrunning World Champion for the past two years, 2017 also saw Jon crowned as the Overall Skyrunning World Champion.
Photo courtesy of Alexis Berg
Now based in Bergen, Norway where he lives and trains with wife Henriette, Jon is looking forward to another exciting year ahead. With a packed calendar of racing with highlights including the Skyrunning World Championships at Glen Coe, Scotland and the Trail Running World Championships in Spain, Jon will also be returning home to the UK to defend his title on home turf at the OCR World Championships, hosted at Nuclear Races in October.
Jon commented: “Considering the adverse weather and more extreme natural elements in UK obstacle races...I am excited to see how our North American friends cope at the OCR World Championships and see how many will be taking newly purchased dryrobes back on the plane with them!”
Here at dryrobe we’re proud to be working with Jon and helping him to achieve his goals - his appetite for adventure and drive to push his limits constantly inspires the OCR community, something very important to us and we’re glad to be a part of.
Speaking about the announcement, Jon said: “I am once again excited to be working with dryrobe in 2018. If you don’t get warm and changed immediately after a race it can impact your short and long term recovery massively. A dryrobe is my number one tool to ensure this happens as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Gideon Bright, Founder and Director of dryrobe added: ““We’ve enjoyed a highly valued relationship with Jon over the years and are delighted to be continuing to work with him in 2018. His achievements in the world of OCR and Skyrunning are unbelievable and we’re proud to continue supporting him”
Watch this space for big things from Jonathan Albon and dryrobe in 2018.
Another big week of action - winter has been doing it's best to remind us that it's still here, with plenty of snowy, stormy conditions about. We always say there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit and it looks like a whole lot of you agree - we've seen some amazing pictures on social media of people getting out there and enjoying their time outdoors, keeping warm in their dryrobes.
Thank you to everyone for sharing - we've found a few of our favourites to share, check them out and enjoy! For your chance to feature please remember you can tag us @dryrobe or use the hashtags #dryrobe or #dryrobeterritory.
"The dryrobe came in very handy yesterday at Rd3 of the woodland riders winter series at Tavi woodlands. Judging by the amount of comments we might be seeing a few more at the next rounds. #dryrobe#dryrobeterritory" 📷 @rubysbigbikechallenge
"It’s a @dryrobe kind of day. 4 degrees out of the water/ water temperature around 6 degrees. So lovely to christening my dryrobe today. It does make a huge difference. So warm and cozy. Love it 💜" 📷 @debora_galende
2018 has kicked off in style - a mix of some incredible weather and conditions has meant that we've seen a lot of awesome pictures on social media recently. Plenty of people getting out there and enjoying their time outdoors, we're proud to see dryrobe keeping everyone warm while they're out there.
As always, thank you to everyone for your posts - we've gone through and picked out a few of our favourites to share, enjoy! For your chance to feature please remember you can tag us @dryrobe or use the hashtags #dryrobe or #dryrobeterritory.
"For all runners, swimmers, campers, climbers, walkers, fisher people, bodybuilders, bikinifitness and other people! Check out @dryrobe and get your own. They have different colors, styles and sizes, I took large so I can sleep in it and to get the changing of clothes a lot easier 💪😍" 📷 @allimacl
We’re very proud to be welcoming one of the brightest talents in UK surfing to the dryrobe team - Lucy Campbell. With multiple National surfing titles under her belt at the age of only 22, we can’t wait to see where she takes her surfing in 2018 and beyond.
Current English Women's Surfing Champion, Lucy has had a close connection to dryrobe for a long time now and we’re very excited to have her on board as an ambassador. Growing up with Woolacombe beach on her doorstep, only a few miles from dryrobe HQ in North Devon, she has been dominating the UK contest scene for a little while now.
With multiple Junior and Women’s national titles to her name, Lucy has now set her sights on the global stage and is currently competing on the WSL World Qualifying Series. Coming off an incredible year in 2017 - claiming the English title as well as winning the Women’s UK Pro Surf Tour, the future is looking very bright indeed.
We’re looking forward to working with Lucy and helping her to achieve her goals - 2018 is looking to be a big year. Starting off by basing herself in Australia for the first few months of the year to get plenty of warm weather training in, before heading off on the WQS tour - Lucy’s main aim is going to be to raise her global ranking as well as defending that English title.
"I'm so excited to be working with dryrobe, not just because I'm going be the warmest person at the beach, I also love the brand ethos and already feel welcomed into their family!"
Watch this space for big things from Lucy!
Towards the end of 2017 we were put in touch with the team from Everyday Adventure - a blog run by a group of friends who embark on monthly adventures to explore the great British countryside. They're all about spending more time outside and sharing new experiences with like-minded people. The guys were about to head off on a wintery swimming trip to the Lake District - add in a weekend of snow and this was perfect #dryrobeterritory. Read on to find out how they got on.
The idea: Swim the width of five lakes in the Lake District
Location: The Lake District – Crummock Water, Buttermere, Lake Bassenthwaite, Ullswater and Blea water
Transport: 2 x cars, 8 x frantically moving limbs
Essential kit: Alpkit Silvertip wetsuits, neoprene hats, gloves and boots, goggles, custom dryrobes, custom KitBrix bags, 1 x inflatable support SUP
Less essential kit: GoPro
Kit we wished we’d had: Neoprene hats with full neck coverage
Swimming across every single lake in the Lake District had a good ring to it. Less arbitrary than some of the challenges we’ve undertaken before, it offered an obvious start and end point. It sounded so complete in fact, that we settled on it without stopping to think just how crazy an idea it actually was.
Ignoring that none of us are experienced swimmers, that the lakes in December would be about as cold as they get, and that trying to travel between them all in just one weekend would be a logistical nightmare, we sat back on our chairs in warm offices, shut our eyes, and basked in the glory that would soon be ours.
It wasn’t until the week before the challenge that we gave it any real thought. Doubts started to slip into conversations, and at one point I nearly bailed on the plan altogether. Thankfully however, a few last minute alterations brought the challenge back into the realms of the achievable (i.e. less chance of death) and we all intended to give it our best shot.
What we did
We settled on five lakes. Selecting a few highlights meant we’d still give ourselves a challenge while seeing the best scenery and cutting the risk of hypothermia by about 70 percent. We planned to swim the width of each of the five, resulting in a total distance covered of 4-5km across the weekend, which translated roughly as 2.5 hours in the water. Though unquestionably less impressive than completing all the lakes*, that’s still approximately 4-5x further than the majority of us had ever swum in a single weekend before, and about two hours longer than I’d ever spent submerged in ice cold water.
*Technically the only ‘lake’ in the Lake District is Bassenthwaite Lake (the others are ‘meres’ or ‘waters’). Bassenthwaite Lake was number three.
Driving to the Lake District from the South West takes us 7-9 hours, depending on traffic, so there and back is really pushing it in terms of how far we’re prepared to travel in one weekend. We left our homes after work on a Friday and stayed until sunset on the Sunday. The drive always feels long but it’s quickly forgotten, while memories of the Lakes endure.
We stayed in Ullswater again with our now-good-friend Bex and decided to swim the lakes in this order: Crummock water, Buttermere, Bassenthwaite Lake, Ullswater, Blea water. The first three were all about half an hour’s drive away from Ullswater, so we decided to do them on Saturday. We saved Ullswater and Blea Water for Sunday, giving ourselves less to do on the final day to account for the time needed to make the journey home.
Walking down the bank to Crummock water from the car, we wrapped ourselves in as many clothes as possible to stay warm in the bitterly cold, snow-filled air. In that moment, stepping into the lake was the last thing that any of us wanted to do. The scale of the challenge became evident very quickly, as we looked at each other with eyes that cut through the nervous laughs to say ‘what the hell have we done?’ Backing out wasn’t an option, but we knew it would be sensible to take the challenge one lake at a time.
After a few nervous deep breaths, we stepped into the water and realised it wasn’t going to be as bad as we thought. Though the water was clearly very cold, our wetsuits were keeping us warmer than we’d expected. Dunking our exposed faces was unpleasant, but otherwise our core temperatures remained well above life-threatening levels. Halfway through the first lake, after 15 minutes of swimming like my mum (with hair and face out of the water AT ALL TIMES) we started to feel pretty confident. Our kit was doing the job and being in the water felt incredible, mainly because it seemed like something we shouldn’t be doing. The only thing that remained to be seen was whether our lack of swimming fitness would hold us back.
By the third lake of the day, poor technique meant our backs and shoulders were aching, but we carried on clumsily swimming our way triumphantly towards the finish line. Bassenthwaite was the furthest swim and the most unpleasant due to the visibility killing concoction of darkness + fogged-up goggles, but thought of a warm shower was enough to keep us motivated. We finished the third lake for the day and celebrated by eating a huge Christmas dinner with the whole gang.
With the majority of the distance covered, Sunday was more about savouring the moment. Ullswater looked majestic at sunrise and we took our time on the crossing, stopping to jump into the water from a jetty and to get some photos in the perfect light. After breakfast and a shower, we drove towards Blea Water with our soaking gear packed into our trusty Kitbrix bags. We carried them up through the nearby gorge and put them on by the lake, which was by far the most spectacular of the trip; its black water piercing the white mountainscape like an eye’s pupil. There was no way we were going to pass up on the opportunity to swim in this one, despite having to endure the unpleasantness of pulling on frozen wetsuits.
Physically, the challenge was less demanding than we’d expected. Finding the mental strength to overcome the winter hibernation instinct was tougher than any of the swims, but it’s always easier to be more enthusiastic as a group. Five lakes proved to be the perfect amount – enough to provide a challenge, but not too much to fit into the weekend. All in all, it was the perfect balance of endurance/beautiful scenery and a great way to conquer winter blues.
How we did it
The saying ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’ is the mantra we live by on most of our trips. The same also applies to swimming in freezing cold water. Without proper equipment we’d have struggled to make it across one lake, let alone five. By teaming up with Alpkit and dryrobe for this challenge, we were well-prepared and stayed comfortable throughout.
In the build up to this challenge, we looked everywhere for wetsuits that would keep us warm enough, yet still be flexible enough for swimming. Alpkit Silvertip wetsuits solved all of our problems. We stayed warm even after half an hour in the 6 degree water, and extra buoyancy on the legs made swimming so much easier.
Only Joe struggled with the temperature, but he’s not a normal human. To illustrate, we once took a picture of our hands using a thermal camera. Everyone glowed orange apart from Joe, whose hand was entirely black. He has the body temperature of a vampire sleeping in a coffin made of ice.
As warm as the wetsuits were, we also needed something to help when we were on dry land. dryrobes were the obvious choice, and we were so chuffed when they offered to send us some branded with our logo for this trip. We actually were a little dubious at first, the robes looked great but they took up a huge amount of space and we found ourselves wondering just how much better they would be versus a normal towel and whether they could justify the space they take up. With that in mind I can honestly say; dryrobes are the single best piece of kit we’ve ever tested. They are not only fit for purpose, they massively exceeded our expectations providing an instant antidote to the cold, and a toasty environment for changing out of tight wetsuits that was infinitely better than awkwardly holding a towel while precariously balancing on icy rock. Stepping out at the frozen edges of the lakes would have been considerably more daunting if we didn’t have our dryrobes waiting for us!
We couldn’t have done this without our support team of Faye, Alice and Bex. While we were submerged, they ferried our kit from one edge of each lake to the other, meaning that we didn’t have to swim or walk back to the starting point. Knowing they’d be there on the other side was a huge relief and also provided more motivation for getting the challenge done.
Why we did it
Adventures are always more rewarding in winter. It’s so much harder to get motivated to do pretty much anything when it’s cold, and almost impossible to do anything that will actually make you significantly colder. From past experience though, we knew that we’d feel a huge sense of accomplishment if we were able to push ourselves and get it done.
We hadn’t planned for snow, but were so happy when it came. The Lakes are beautiful in any weather, but black lakes against white mountains look particularly spectacular. Even when pulling frozen wetsuits onto shivering bare legs, the views were enough to convince us we’d made a good decision. Nobody ever regrets an adventure, and this one was perhaps the best yet.
Be sure to check out and follow Everyday Adventure to keep up to date with their challenges!
It’s been a great few weeks - lots of people away from their usual routines, enjoying time outside with family and friends. We have seen some awesome pictures of people with their new dryrobe Christmas presents, and lots of very brave people going for festive swims!
Thank you to everyone for posting - we've picked out a few of our favourite posts to share, enjoy! Remember for your chance to feature you can tag us @dryrobe or use the hashtags #dryrobe or #dryrobeterritory.
"Happy new year from two of the crew - Emma and Su. Fresh from a dip with pal Rhona. Kudos to Boss Hogg for presenting us all with a Kintyre Apple Gin afterwards. @kintyregin + @dryrobe= toastie warm 😍" 📷 @kintyregin
It’s a pretty special time of the year - with many getting to spend time with their families and away from their usual routines. Long walks, festive swims and plenty of time outside are on the agenda.
A great time to look back over the year - we're incredibly grateful for what an amazing 2017 it's been - thank you to everyone that's been involved. All of our partners, our ambassadors, retailers, photographers, the list goes on but most importantly thank you to you - our amazing customers out there using your dryrobes. However you use yours, whether it's swimming, surfing, running, horse-riding, diving, wakeboarding, you get the idea, thank you for being a part of the dryrobe community in 2017.
We're grateful for every photo you send in of what you get up to in your dryrobe and every awesome story you share, we love to see them in the office and we're looking forward to seeing even more in 2018.
Here's to the year ahead, to time outside and plenty of adventures.
2017 has been an incredible year for us here at dryrobe - full of moments to celebrate, enjoy and talk about. Epic events, crazy adventures and big developments have made this a year to remember! Throughout the year the whole dryrobe community has been incredible - constantly sharing amazing pictures and stories of what you've been getting up to with your dryrobes - thank you!
We wanted to put together a roundup of some of our favourite moments from this year - when it came to deciding which ones to feature this became a bit of a challenge as the team couldn't decide which were their favourites. We decided that we couldn't feature them all but instead got it down to 5 highlights - so check out our 5 Epic dryrobe Moments.
- Red Bull Neptune Steps
We're involved in so many awesome and exciting events throughout the year across a whole range of sports and activities - one that really stands out for us is Red Bull Neptune Steps. A swim event like no other - Neptune Steps pushes swimmers to their limits by pitting them against a challenging swim up a canal with the added element of multiple climbs up the lock gates on the way to the finish line. The special edition Neptune Steps dryrobe has now become seriously sought after!
dryrobe has been involved with the bitterly cold Glasgow Neptune Steps for the last four years and in 2017 we were proud to also support the Swedish edition - held in Bergs Slussar near Linkoping. One particular name that is always connected with this event is dryrobe ambassador Mark Deans, and for good reason too - he has now won every single Neptune Steps event, both in Scotland and Sweden! We're already looking forward to next year's event - can Mark successfully defend his title for another year?
- The GoPro dryrobe
When we were approached by the GoPro UK team earlier this year about putting together a full custom design, we knew it was one of the projects we couldn't wait to get started on.
In fact we have a top 3, 'who we want to work with' list and GoPro were right there. (We have been fortunate enough to tick off two of the top three already!) Lets admit it, this was fun & super exciting to work on. Wherever there are outdoor extreme sports you always find GoPro. Such a perfect fit for our brand too. After all, any outdoor sport in the UK is #dryrobeterritory
Since their first appearance at the English Surfing Nationals the GoPro dryrobe has been spotted across the country and through Europe at some of the most epic extreme sports events out there, on the backs of some of the world's best athletes, who can't get enough of them! We can't wait to see where they appear in 2018, keep an eye out.
- Cotty's Wipeout
This one is an interesting addition on the list of epic moments - dryrobe ambassador Andrew Cotton's monster wipeout at Nazare, Portugal. In case you were living under a rock and missed the global media frenzy surrounding this - Cotty took one of the most insane wipeouts perhaps ever seen in big wave surfing, getting slammed by the lip of the wave and literally shot through the air by the impact, breaking his back as he landed.
This one's on the list firstly because of how insane the wipeout was, but also due to the huge outpouring of support and well-wishes from the global surfing community - it was awesome to see this from the entire surf world.
Thankfully Cotty is already well on the road to recovery and already planning his return to big wave surfing!
- Poldark keeping warm in dryrobe
This is definitely one of our favourite stories of the year, and got one of the biggest reactions on social media. Poldark is one of our favourite TV shows in the dryrobe office, so it was epic to come across these photos of stars Aiden Turner and Heida Reed keeping warm whilst filming!
We're not sure that we'll be seeing the characters in the show wearing one anytime soon but it's always amazing to see some familiar faces using dryrobes!
- dryrobe Community
One of our biggest highlights has been the amazing community of outdoor people that love and use their dryrobes all the time. The dryrobe itself has been developed based on feedback from actual users of the product, so always love to see and hear what everyone gets up to using theirs. We get sent so many awesome pictures, plus get tagged with the hashtag #dryrobe or #dryrobeterritory and it's amazing to be able to share this with you all.
2017 saw us hit some big milestones on our social media as well. The brand itself started with a Twitter account back in 2010, so we're really proud to see how far this has all grown since then. We're now at over 32,000 followers on Facebook, 12,000 on Instagram, plus 9,000 Twitter followers. That's a lot of awesome people in the dryrobe community - so thank you to all of you for an incredible 2017!
It doesn't get much better than this for #dryrobeterritory - an entire weekend of snow here in the UK. Awesome to see so many of you getting out there and enjoying it - looks like a whole lot of fun was had!
We've seen so many incredible photos out there of you all getting outdoors in your dryrobes - thank you to everyone for posting. We put together a round up a few of our favourites to share, keep up the awesome work and remember for your chance to feature you can tag us @dryrobe or use the hashtags #dryrobe or #dryrobeterritory.
"The more you do, the more experiences you have.
The more experiences you have, the more knowledge you gain.
The more knowledge you gain ‘should’ mean the less stupid stuff you do...😉 Very happy to have my @dryrobe yesterday while filming in the snow wearing just a t-shirt. ❄️❄️❄️" 📷 @luketyburski
"Another feature of my dryrobe - it's the perfect snow cape ❄️ To add to the other list of features I experienced this year: * Towel * Changing Room * Coat * Picnic blanket * Festival attire * Sleeping bag" 📷 @ciawa_lily