Wild Swim Kit
New to Wild Swimming? - What kit do you need?The honest answer is none! That’s the beauty of wild swimming - it’s free and all you need is your body and a body of water! (Well, in the summer at least. )
However, it's nice to have some comforts and if you're a serious outdoor swimming convert there are certain items that make the experience a whole load more enjoyable. Ironically we are the least gear orientated people ever. It took me three years of winter swimming in under 5 degrees before I even got a robe (and even then it was a present).
There are different types of outdoor swimmers – I'm not so much about the swimming, speed or technique as the cold and connection, definitely more a frog than a fish. I swim slowly with my head out and take in the views. So my kit list is really a dippers list (no wetsuits or timers in my bag)
Here's what I take:
The Turtleback or Terrapin changing bag for outdoor swimming
Of course! Rucksack and changing mat in one - makes changing and finding everything so much easier when swimming in the great outdoors. See our shop page for details.
I usually keep a spare in my bag incase there's a chance to double dip (nothing quite as unpleasant as pulling a soggy cossie onto a dry body). There are plenty of great companies making swimwear from recycled plastic.
Swim Socks and Gloves
Not so much an issue in summer but highly recommended for winter. It is so much easier getting into cold water with thick neoprene wrapped round your digits and it will mean they work well enough to get dressed and do up your shoes afterwards. The best I've found are C-skins from Swim the Lakes.
Towelling ponchoThese are brilliant for putting on as soon as you get of the water. A lot cosier than using a towel and great if you are somewhere public and want to protect your modesty! There are lots on the market but we’ve got you covered – our super soft snuggly ponchos are great for getting dry quickly and made from GOTS certified organic towelling cotton.
Small foot towelIf it's cold then its a good idea to get shoes on quickly so having a foot towel is always handy especially if your main towel is a towel poncho (you can't dry your feet with it whilst wearing it…).
Changing robeThese are different from a towelling robe – they protect you from the elements while you get changed. There’s lots of robes to choose from. Our favourite is Smoc Smoc made from bamboo, light weight, waterproof, excellent quality and made in the UK.
I'm a bit of a dawdling stay-near-the-edge-type but if I do venture out across an expanse of water I use a tow float. Puffin Swim have a great range whist supporting the RSBP's Puffin Appeal.
Hot Water Bottle
Sometimes feels like an extra bit of faff but always welcome in the depths of winter. A Cosymajig from Pothies is perfect for combatting the after chill.
Flask with spare cups
My favourite time to swim is the early in the morning before the day has woken up. My first coffee of the day is so much more appreciated sitting by the water's edge warming me up. I always take extra Swim Feral cups for friends (I have a reputation for making really good coffee).
I use this to put my wet costume, socks and gloves in so they don't leak onto everything else in my bag.
Small dry bag
Water thermometerMore for the winter - so you can show off about what a cold water tough nut you are! If anyone can recommend a good one let us know – I've been through a few. Can’t find an accurate one.
Plastic carrier bag (and gloves)
This is incase I come across litter which unfortunately has been a big problem of late. Nature Makes Us Better are running a great campaign to try and combat this. Or organise a Surfers Against Sewage Beach Clean.
Check out repurposed swim gear – or donate yours
If you have too much kit and are getting rid of any of your gear then please consider recycling or passing it on it. Our Reuse + Repurpose page is a good place to start.
Add some Swim Feral kit to your next swim:
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