Outdoor Swimming Kit List

What to take to the water

Neil Mapes

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A swimmer in a blue hat swims along a sunny river as another swimmer sits under a bridge on a stone bank
Image credit: Neil Mapes, June 2023

More and more folks are embracing swimming in open water, whether this be the sea, lakes and lochs, rivers or other water courses.

But what is in your swim kit bag? What kit is useful to take on an open-water swim? Ultimately swimming is a sport ‘light’ on kit with just a costume and goggles needed for most to get started. But here is my suggested kit list for open-water swimming.

Open Water Swimming Suggested Kit List

  • Swim costume — for ‘skins’ swimming or use under a wetsuit
  • Swim hat and goggles — thinner ones when the water is warmer, neoprene ones when the water is colder. Orange ones tend to be easier to see in rivers and lakes and bright green at sea and on coastal swims.
  • Vaseline or glide — for anti-chaffing
  • Ear plugs — if you struggle with ear infections
  • Tow float- my latest tow float has an external section to store energy gels for fueling on the swim. There are lots of great tow floats on the market now.
  • Swim watch or tracker — optional this one but if you want an accurate distance swam and other data then a decent sports watch is helpful.
  • Flip flops — for getting to the water.

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Neil Mapes

Beach wanderer, sea swimmer, trail runner and charity leader. Loving life in the Highlands of Scotland.