What Equipment Do I Need for Wild Swimming?
April 28 2021 – Team KitBrix
Swimming is great! It provides the perfect balance between exercise, health, and fun. Most importantly, it's an opportunity to get out in the great outdoors. Nowadays, swimming enthusiasts tend to opt for a more modern approach to this aqua activity, choosing to stay indoors at public swimming pools. This is a shame when you consider all of the amazing physical and mental benefits that wild swimming offers.
At KitBrix, we want you to have the best experience possible when it comes to your wild swimming ventures, which includes packing the right kitbag with all the essentials you’ll need. While equipment isn't essential for this ancient style of swimming, it can certainly help! That’s why in this article, we’ve explored some of the best equipment needed for wild swimming to get you started.
What Is Wild Swimming?
So, what is wild swimming? Wild Swimming, or open water swimming, is taking the plunge into natural bodies of water including lakes, rivers and the ocean. This wild activity is a refreshing and exciting alternative to an indoor or outdoor swimming pool, with benefits ranging from a boosted immune system, to increased metabolism and better circulation throughout your body.
Although wild swimming certainly isn’t a new hobby, it's being done in a new and exciting way. Yes, we hear what you’re saying, it can get incredibly cold during and especially after this activity and it can be advantageous to ensure you are well prepared for it. That’s where the right wild swimming equipment comes in! Having the right equipment can be the difference between enjoying yourself and wishing you’d never left your homely heated indoor pool.
What Should I Wear For Wild Swimming?
Before you can pack your open-water swimming kit, you’ll need to know exactly what equipment to pack, and the clothing you will need to wear to go wild swimming. A good place to start is a wetsuit. Even in the summer months, a wetsuit will keep your body temperature regulated when swimming in cold water. When choosing a wetsuit, think about the time of year you’ll be wild swimming. For winter months, choose a thicker suit, and a slightly thinner one for summer months. Wetsuits will help you retain body heat, especially when swimming in cold waters. To extend this, try out some wetsuit gloves and even a pair of wetsuit boots with some waterproof socks to keep your extremities warm.
This second skin is all too familiar to those in the surfing community, but it can have a lot of benefits if you’re off wild swimming in a Scottish loch too. Think of it this way, a seal’s skin is like a wet suit, which keeps them warm as they swim in freezing water. Did you know that the first ever ‘wet suits’ were in fact made from real seal skin? Thankfully though nowadays, there are many more vegan-friendly options on the market that use the latest science to keep the heat in while you swim.
Swim robes, or changing robes, are also very handy for wild open water swimming. Once you’re out of the water and your wetsuit, it’s important to ensure you’re providing your body with some protection from the cold and wind - which is exactly what a swim robe will provide, as well as some much-needed privacy in order to change out of your wet gear! You may want to consider packing a towel to stand on as you change out of your wet gear, as depending on the time of year and where you are, the water bank can often get very muddy. We recommend grabbing one of our Microfibre Towels as they dry up to 4 times faster than regular towels, meaning you can dry off and put it away fairly quickly as they’re super lightweight and absorbent!
What Kit Do I Need for Wild Swimming?
An Organised Bag To Store Your Kit
One of the first essentials is obviously a place to hold your wild swimming gear. You’ll want something ideally waterproof and organised with its own compartments for each of your items. We recommend The KitBrix swim bag as your perfect companion for wild water swimming, with its rugged and waterproof base protecting your kit and dry gear from outside elements and wet or damp surfaces. The KitBrix bag is perfectly designed for these types of sports. Rocks, sand, grassy banks… it’ll always have your back. What’s more, if you have 2 or more KitBrix bags, you can zip them together to wear as one, big, all-in-one rucksack - cool right?
Keep Warm With a Fleece-Lined Poncho
The general theme of a lot of wild swimming accessories is keeping warm while you swim. But what about keeping warm after you’ve frog-legged your way through a lake? The KitBrix Poncho will be a great option for getting your body temperature up quickly, whilst drying off in a very dignified way. The oversized fit of our KitBrix Poncho allows room for pulling arms in and the no-zip design means it's easy to pull over. The sustainable outer shell is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles that will fight off the wind, whilst the fast-drying fleece lining draws away moisture, delivering instant warmth. If you’re worried about phones and keys being at risk, there’s a nifty hidden pocket inside the hand pouch that keeps them safely hidden.
Keep Your Wet Kit Separate Afterwards
As well as keeping yourself warm and dry, you also want to keep your belongings and things like your clothes dry from your wild swimming clothing. That’s where The DobiPak comes in. It's a double-lined 12-litre dry bag that has a waterproof lining and can be reversed for easy cleaning. We often find it to be the perfect thing for holding your wet suit and other wild swimming gear.
Useful Accessories for Wild Water Swimming
Finally, many that enjoy wild swimming in the great outdoors find that taking a pair of swimming goggles with them is often a good idea. Of course, it is down to personal preference, but you don’t want anything going in your eyes when you’re swimming, and you definitely want to be able to see where you're heading! As a little tip: Goggles with a lot of rubber will increase comfort for long swims. You might want to try out some swimming earplugs too. This will avoid any debris making its way into your ears, and they’ll help with the combination of cold water and wind - and, if you’re prone to ear infections, this would be a great addition to your kit!
Now that you’re all packed for your wild swimming trip, be sure to check out some of the important rules when it comes to wild swimming, as well as some great places to wild swim in the UK before you set off. Happy swimming!