First off, you’ll want to get yourself a good wetsuit. Even during the summer months, a wetsuit will help keep you warm and mean you can stay out in the water for longer – especially if you’re swimming in the sea or a chilly lake! On top of that, a wetsuit will make you more buoyant, making you safer and faster in the water, as well as giving you extra protection from the sun.
When the water is colder, we’d recommend opting for a thermal wetsuit to help keep you warm in the colder conditions.
2. Swimming cap
Wherever you’re swimming, a brightly coloured silicone swimming cap is a must-have to help keep you visible and safe out in the open water. And in case being safer wasn’t enough for you, a swimming cap will help to keep your head warm and let you be in the water for longer.
3. Base layer
One of the main reasons for wearing a baselayer under a wetsuit is to help you regulate your body temperature. A good baselayer will wick the sweat away from your skin, helping you to keep warmer in the open water.
Another essential is a good, comfortable set of goggles. Decent goggles will provide a good level of visibility, helping you keep track of where you’re swimming and where you’ve been. You’ll want to find a pair with anti-fog properties that will help keep the lenses clear, as well as effective suction around the eyes and nose to prevent water leakage.
You may want to look at goggles with polarised or UV tinted lenses to protect your eyes in brighter light.
5. Warm changing robe
There’s nothing worse than finishing an icy swim and then having to pull your clothes on when you’re still cold and wet. A changing robe will provide comfort and convenience for keeping you warm and dry for before and after the swim. On top of this, you’ll be able to zip the robe all the way to your knees so you can modestly and comfortably get changed right by the water. These robes aren’t just for swimming in icy conditions, and you’ll be able to appreciate a cosy changing robe all year round, no matter what type of swimmer you are!
6. Buoy / Tow-float
You may have seen people swimming around with something that looks like a neon balloon and wondered what it was? A tow-float or safety buoy is another safety measure that will help keep you visible to other swimmers and boats.
Many buoys will also double as a dry bag so you can keep your valuables and snacks with you while you swim. If you get tired, you can also hold onto the buoy and use it to help you float.
7. Thermal gloves, socks and cap
As with out of the water, your extremities will be the more sensitive to the cold. If you’re swimming in winter, in the sea or if you just don’t like the cold, some neoprene covers for your hands, feet and head will really help keep you warm, and prevent injury and illness.
We’d recommend taking a beanie hat as well for post-swim. You lose the majority of your body heat from your head so make sure you keep your head covered when you’re out of the water!
8. Anti-chafing balm
Chafing is the bane of many open water swimmers lives and can happen for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, some anti-chafing cream will help to prevent chafing, blisters and burn while helping to sooth and relieve and skin issues. You'll want to opt for something waterproof so it stays on and is effective when you’re swimming.
9. Waterproof bag
Finally, you’ll want a bag to put all your lovely kit in! Luckily, there are many bags designed with open water swimming in mind so they have lots of compartments for your valuables. Some will even have a special separate compartment for your wetsuit and wet gear so it doesn’t get the rest of your kit wet!
Wherever or whenever you’re swimming, we hope our tips and tricks are helpful! And if you’re sharing your pics on social media, please tag us and use #zone3 to take us on your open water swimming journey.
10. Thermal flask
There aren’t many things better than a warm cup of tea or coffee to be waiting for you when you get out the water. A good quality thermal flask will help to keep your drinks at its ideal temperature while you’re out swimming. Our insulated steel flask will keep your hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours and even has an in-built tea strainer!
Good luck and happy swimming!