Affiliate Disclosure: We are reader-supported. We may earn a small commission from affiliate links at no extra cost to you. All of our reviews are independently conducted.
These days, it seems as though it’s impossible to scroll through my Instagram feed without seeing at least a dozen or so wild swimmers taking their early morning dip in freezing cold rivers around the UK. They jump into the murky abyss with a suitably bright and cheerful knitted beanie on, then emerge 12 seconds later glowing pink, gasping for breath and diving onto the river bank to pull on an aqua parka and hope the feeling in their limbs comes back before work.
I’m definitely not one of them.
As someone who struggles to dip a toe into the sea on a red hot summer day, and as someone who has had an unread copy of Wim Hof’s book in my Kindle library for two years, you might wonder why I might want an aqua parka… Well, we’ll get to that in just a minute.
First, let’s talk about what exactly an aqua parka is…
Gill Aqua Parka Features
- 100% Polyester
- Waterproof and Windproof Shell
- High Loft Thermal Fleece Lining
- Handwarmer Pockets
- Internal Zippered Pocket
- 2-Way Zipper
- Adjustable Cuffs
The Gill Aqua Parka is waterproof, windproof and breathable and has a high-loft fleece lining that is designed to keep you warm, even if you wear it on top of wet clothing. Gill designed the aqua parka with adventurers in mind and it’s typically used by people who are involved with watersports of some kind, from the wild swimmers using it as a layer to warm up under, or for the surfers and paddle boarders using the over-sized parka to strip out of their wetsuit under.
And just to be clear, the Gill Aqua Parka is perfect for those people and for those occasions.
But I’m definitely not a wild swimmer and kayaking and paddleboarding are just occasional past times for me. So why do I need an Aqua Parka and why has mine found a permanant home in the boot of my car?
Predominantly, I’m a hiker and a mountain biker more than anything else and the aqua parka has become the answer to a problem that I’ve had for years.
There have been dozens and dozens of occasions over the years in which I’ve either become soaked to the skin on a long hike in the hills, or completely plastered in mud from a sloppy mountain bike ride around a trail centre. Then, I’ve been faced with the options of either stripping off to my boxers in a car park to get some warm, dry clothes on, or doing that awkward thing where I try to get changed in the back of the car so I don’t frighten any passers by. With the Aqua Parka, that problem is solved and I have a warm and waterproof layer to quickly pull on. One that is intentionally over-sized for the specific reason of being able to get changed under. No more standing in mountain side car parks in my boxers, no more contorsionist acts in the back of my car.
If you’re a wild swimmer, paddleboarder, kayker, or surfer, you probably already know that you want one of these. But if you’re a hiker, mountain biker or trail runner, this could be just the thing that you need after those cold, wet days on the trails.