Chawel Sport Basic
Weight: 13.7oz with stuff sack
A few months ago I was introduced to the Chawel, an interesting and mildly amusing take on the standard towel. Admittedly, my first impressions turned me off from the product. For some reason I expected a bit more from the Chawel’s design. However, after keeping the Chawel in my car and eventually brining it to Iceland, I can truly support this product and its usefulness.
To begin, a quick introduction to the Chawel. The Chawel is a multifunctional towel invented by a man named Dan Plante, who saw a need for a portable changing room that could allow patrons to easily switch clothes on a beach or in other public areas. Dan executed his idea by designing the swiss army knife of towels, dubbed, the Chawel. The Chawel comes in a few different versions but I am reviewing the Sport Basic, a five function towel which can be used as a classic towel, a blanket, a sleeping bag liner, a neck pillow, and, of course, a changing room.
So let’s break this down into the five separate functions. We’ll start with the towel first.
The Chawel works great as a towel and has plenty of absorbency. I have not tested this, but you could probably dry off four or more people with just one Chawel. My only gripe is the feel of the towel, but sometimes you need to sacrifice that hotel-towel luxury for something a little thinner and more practical. On the plus side, the Chawel dries very quickly, especially under the hot sun.
The neck pillow function was actually much more handy than I could have ever imagined it to be. Getting to Iceland, I travelled WOW Airlines and they did not supply pillows! Good thing I had my Chawel, bad thing I had to switch off and share with my wife. While the Chawel Sport isn’t the thickest and most supportive neck pillow, the additional comfort makes this function better than nothing.
Pro tip: I have a long neck and doubling up one side worked fairly well. I even used the Chawel as a pillow leaning forward onto my tray table.
Sleeping Bag Liner:
I have not tested the Chawel as a sleeping bag liner, however this seems like one of those “rather have it than not” kind of functions. The Chawel is thin and non-insulating, but shoved inside a sleeping bag you would probably add a few degrees of warmth.
The blanket function makes the Chawel a perfect carry-everywhere item for your car. Want to lay down or sit in the grass somewhere? Break out the Chawel and have a go. Slightly chilly at that springtime bonfire? Grab your Chawel and cozy up.
Bonus: The Chawel is a fantastic conversation piece.
Last but not least — the changing room. The Chawel was designed to be a changing room and it does not disappoint. Allowing plenty of time to maneuver, the Chawel makes changing in a public place very convenient. I wish I had this in New Zealand because there were plenty of times I could have used it.
My one issue with the Sport Basic is the thinness of the fabric. The first time I donned the Chawel to change, the sun was at such a harsh angle that the Chawel became fairly translucent. However, since that moment I have not had any other problems changing with the Chawel, and have demonstrated it’s usefulness in front of my friends without incident. Additionally, if you are in an area with incredibly harsh sunlight, you typically have the option of taking a short walk to a shadier spot or repositioning in such a way that translucency is no longer an issue.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this unique and innovative product. I would encourage anyone with even a minimally active lifestyle to get a Chawel and throw it in their car. At a $30 price point, keeping the Sport Basic in my vehicle offers insurance for so many summer activities where I may need a towel, blanket, or a quick place to change. Also, by reading this review you have access to the coupon code MoveSpace for an additional 15% off any Chawel purchase.
Lastly, the Chawel comes in many different configurations. Some are made of different materials, include pockets, and/or are hooded. There are even Chawels designed for children! So, take a look at Dan’s website, www.chawel.com, and don’t forget the coupon code MoveSpace for an additional 15% off any purchase!