GEAR REVIEW// FreeFlow Swell Poncho, Travel Towel

About: The Swell Poncho gives you the ability to change easily, dry off quickly, and mostly importantly – being instantly cozy and warm after playing in the chilly waters. The compact Travel Towel is lightweight and small yet large enough to dry you off with it’s quick-dry microfiber.

Material: Terry-microfiber (poncho), Quick-dry Microfiber (towel)

Weight: 32oz (poncho), 6.8oz (towel)

MSRP: $50 (poncho), $15 (towel)

Websitehttps://freeflowponchos.com/

I don’t know if you know this, but indeed…it does actually get COLD in Florida! Crazy right? Last winter for example, we had a good three to four weeks of temperatures in the low 40s. Add in the humidity and it’s downright bone-chilling! That can make going to the beach a not-so-fun experience if you don’t have something warm to cuddle up in. Winter aside, this FreeFlow Poncho is great year round! Not only because it can keep you warm, but also because it provides a covered way to change in public if needed.

So what makes this Colorado-based poncho a good fit for liveaboard life in Florida? Well, a couple reasons:

  • Easy to change clothes before or after a water adventure (even in public)
  • A cushiony beach blanket plus towel all in one
  • Comfortable enough to just lounge around in, like outside on a cool night on the bow of the boat
  • Great to throw on right after a dip, swim, or snorkel off the boat
  • Doubles as a comfy blanket for naps in the cockpit when it’s windy out
  • Also great for after a dip in the marina pool or rinse in the shower!

Those are just a few of the reasons why I love the poncho for boat life, now let’s talk about the product’s features:

  • Warm and comfy terry cloth/microfiber material
  • Long enough to cover your torso (one size fits all)
  • Large “kangaroo pocket” to keep hands warm or keys/phone dry
  • Soft hood made of the same material for drying hair
  • Folds up nicely like a big beach towel should
  • Loose enough to move around in but tight enough so you stay covered

The only drawback to the thick, terry-microfiber material is that it is bulky and heavy. Weighing in at around 2lbs, the Swell Poncho took up quite a bit of space in my oversized beach bag.

No worries, FreeFlow also sells a lightweight version called the Ripple Poncho made out of the same material as their Travel Towel! I would be interested in trying the Ripple Poncho as I feel it might make a better addition to our small storage space on the boat. It may also be a more suitable product for Florida weather, I feel I might use a lightweight poncho more than the heavier one. Plus, if it dries just as well as the Travel Towel does…then it’s got to be great!

Speaking of the Travel Towel, I was lucky enough to get to test this product as well and let me tell you, I can’t pick a favorite! This item is another “must have” for boat life! It rolls up to about the size of a 32oz water bottle and fits well in small dry bags for dinghy rides. As you may know, us liveaboards are ALL about saving space!

At the beach, this towel was a great ”beach blanket” as it was very easy to shake off any sand that accumulated on it after sitting on it. It also dried me off quick and again, was easy to roll up and stow away for the trip back home. In addition, it has made many trips on the paddle board with me and used to dry me off before getting back in my Jeep.

As a shower towel, it was a little less enjoyable. The microfiber is not the most conducive material for a “smooth” drying experience. It was hard to rub the towel over my skin to dry off the water, and I found myself doing a weird sort of pulling or sliding motion just to get the towel to move on my skin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s drying ability is superb, but it’s just not my favorite to use after a shower. Since it’s a little smaller size than a standard towel (the travel towel is 55”x22.5”) and also a much thinner material than a “normal” terry cloth towel, it dries hair really well, fits great in small lockers like at the gym, and also dries quicker, even while hanging up.

FreeFlow is a really cool, down to earth brand that not only came up with some great products for any water activity, but they also support our waterways by donating 5% of all sales to the River Network, an organization that empowers and unites people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. What’s REALLY cool is because of FreeFlow and their commitment to the River Network, I was able to find local organizations in my area that protect the waterways near me! FreeFlow is also committed to reducing plastic waste by using 100% recycled mailers, and minimal packaging. What a cool company!

If you happen to live an adventurous life on, in, or even near the water…I highly suggest you take a look at the FreeFlow products, they might be just what you’re missing!

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