If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook you will know I love to swim at my local open water swimming venue, RG Active Holme Pierrepont! Swimming is not only for fitness but it also has a lot of mental health benefits, so I’m all for it. I actually prefer to do open water swimming over a pool swim, but many people feel intimidated by trying open water swimming. But if you do fancy giving it a go what do you need in your swim kit bag? Here are some of the essentials I can’t swim without!
You 100% need a wetsuit for open water swimming! Some people I swim with have been swimming for years and go in just their swimwear, but I’d strongly advise against that for a first-timer. A good wetsuit is key, but you’re not needing a super pricy one to enjoy the sport. Luckily with the sport becoming more and more popular, you can actually find some great budget wetsuits.
- Quick tips – If you have never put a wetsuit on, use the wetsuit cloth gloves that come with your wetsuit. Nails can cause rips in your wetsuit, so you do need to be careful. Make sure you secure the velcro on the back of your suit to especially when you take your wetsuit off, the last thing you want is the velcro to get stuck to the rubber of your wetsuit and pull it.
You’ll need a comfortable swimsuit to go underneath your wetsuit, or if you are looking to do a triathlon a tri suit to train in. I actually use a swimsuit but when I know I have a triathlon approaching, I’ll start training with my tri suit underneath just so I’ll get used to it.
Not only does a swim cap keep your hair out of your face, if you use a bright one lifeguards can spot you easier. You’ve got to remember the majority of wetsuits have black arms making it quite tricky to see. Safety first!
It isn’t mandatory to have a tow float in open water swimming, but this is one of my big musts if you’re a beginner or a bit nervous. A tow float essentially clips around your waist and literally floats behind you, giving you that comfort of having a rest spot should you need it. I’ve found that on long training sessions I’ve needed a tow float just to allow me to catch my breath. If you decide you want to do some open water swimming races, unfortunately, you can’t use a tow float, but it is a great training aid. Plus this is a great safety option if you swim in a lake or river where boats or other people are, it means you can be easily spotted.
- Quick Tips – Try to get a tow float that allows you to put your items inside. You might not need it now, but you never know
Getting a decent pair of goggles is imperative with open water swimming, the last thing you want is a pair that let the water in or constantly steam up. It is a case of testing a few out I found, you have got to find a pair that feel comfortable too.
Not an essential but I’d go as far as saying I couldn’t swim without it. Often the water can be cold especially if you do a winter swim, actually, sometimes summer swims can be chilly, so getting warm post-swim is a must. A dry robe is not only great to get that body temperature back up, but I also found that is made a great little changing unit! Once you get one you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner!