Changing the Change | Sailing World

Gill Marine’s Aqua Parka makes changing in the boat park or parking lot a discrete and warm experience, and it’s great layer for rigging and de-rigging on cold and inclement days.
Courtesy Gill Marine

We’ve all been there—a regatta or practice session where you end up changing into or out of our sailing gear at the car.  The usual drill? Make sure you’re parked close to another car, open both the driver and passenger doors to create a bit of a shield on either side of you, and hope the gravel parking lot isn’t too rough on your feet. Then, scramble to get changed before the next group of gawkers wanders past. The good folks at Gill Marine decided it doesn’t have to be that way.  

Enter the Gill Aqua Parka and Changing Mat/Wet Bag.  First the parka.  Picture what NFL players wear on the sidelines on really cold days, and you’ll get the idea.  It’s a calf-length, waterproof and windproof zip parka, with a two-way zipper and hood. Most importantly, it has a generous enough fit that, while standing, you can easily reach under it to shed or put on clothes.  If you’ve ever done this with a towel draped around your torso, you’ll discover how much easier this is.  And with its fleece lining, you’ll stay plenty warm, even when wet—think early spring sailing.  The parka includes hand-warmer pockets on each side plus an inside zip pocket. Lots of other occasions where the parka could come in handy as well—basically just about any time you’re cold (and maybe wet) and need a quick warm up.

The Changing Mat is a novel idea, and again, way easier than just throwing a towel on the ground or balancing in a giant plastic tub.  Roughly 3 feet x 3 feet, it’s made of PVC fabric thick enough to smooth out even the roughest surfaces underfoot.  It’s puncture-proof, waterproof, and once home, hose it off and you’ll be set for next time.  It comes with a handy open-top waterproof Wet Bag with plenty of volume to hold the mat and the parka, or use it to stash wet gear.  Combine the parka with the mat/wet bag, and you’ll discover changing was never so easy.  Aqua Parka sizes S-XL, $180. Changing Matt/Wet Bag $48.95.