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)
Heres what I take:
The Turtleback 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.
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.
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 swim wear from recycled plastic.
These 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! I'd recommend bamboo, they are light and don't get smelly like synthetic fibres - also loads better for the environment. For summer Turkish Hammam towels are lovely - natural, light weight, & quick drying.
Small foot towel
If its 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).
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, what's not to love?!
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.
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 cups for friends (I have a reputation for making really good coffee).
Small dry bag
I use this to put my wet costume, socks and gloves in so they don't leak onto everything else in my bag.
More 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 with the easing of lockdown and more people heading to beauty spots when in the hot weather. Nature Makes Us Better are running a great campaign to try and combat this.
Recycle your old Kit!
If you have too much kit and are get rid of any of your gear then please consider recycling or passing it on it .
The Outdoor Swimming Society have a 'NEW TO YOU' facebook marketplace page where you can do just that.
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