5 Essential Bits Of Kit For Open Water Swimming

May 22, 2023 3 min read

5 Essential Bits Of Kit For Open Water Swimming

If you haven’t tried open water swimming yet, you’re almost certainly in the minority. Plunging into the water in all seasons is a craze that is here to stay, offering a rush of serotonin that makes braving the cold well worth it. But whether you’re new to open water swimming or a long-standing advocate of the cold dip, getting your hands on the right equipment is vital for staying safe and reaping the benefits. Here are 5 of our essential bits of kit:


There are a couple of non-negotiables when it comes to open water swimming: it will do wonders for your fitness, you’re guaranteed to feel amazing afterwards, and the water will definitely feel cold when you first get in! Investing in a good wetsuit will ensure that you stay as warm as possible when it really matters and enhance how you experience the water. We’d recommend a 3mm or 5mm thickness to ensure you get the necessary balance between good insulation and the vital flexibility that is needed for successful swimming. The Scubapro Sport wetsuit, available for men and women, is a great choice. It allows for a full range of motion in the shoulders and arms to have you swimming with ease.

Gloves and boots

Though a wetsuit does wonders for keeping your core body temperature up, it’s your hands and feet that often get cold first. Taking steps to protect these body parts from a drop in temperature is essential and gloves and boots are an invaluable investment for open water swimmers of all abilities. There are different thicknesses available depending on your preference, though all good gloves should have well-sealed seams to prevent any water ingress. Try on different boots to find out what works for you. Getting used to the sensation of wearing shoes in the water can be challenging, but they will transform the way you adjust to the water in all conditions.

Changing robe

Changing robes have become a staple for all open water swimmers and it’s easy to see why. Soft, cosy and waterproof, changing robes are a multifunctional essential that help you to warm up effectively before your swim and then get dry quickly when back on shore. There are tons to choose from, though we’d suggest you start with the Forth Element Tidal Robe. Unlike some changing robes, this one has a lightweight, non-bulky construction that is easy to tuck neatly into your bag before you set off for your swim.


As the summer approaches, you might find yourself reaching for your cosy changing robe a little less. A storm poncho is an essential replacement when you spot the seasons shifting, offering ample changing space in all weathers. Windproof and with handy side vents, the Fourth Element Storm Poncho has your back no matter the conditions. Even in a heavy shower, you’re covered. The handy adjustable hood on this fast-drying, OceanPositive bit of kit gives you ample protection from the elements when you really need it.

Tow float

Staying safe and seen is essential when open water swimming, particularly if you are venturing out alone. From boats to divers, we share the water with all kinds of other users, and it’s important that all can spot you from some distance. A tow float is an essential piece of kit for boosting your visibility; the bright construction and Scubapro’s built-in flag will make you stand out even from the shore. Plus, this bit of open water swimming kit will provide you with some much-needed support when your body starts to tire.

Need some more help choosing the right bits of kit for your open water swimming adventure? Get in touch with the friendly team at Aquanauts today.
Lizzie Chapman
Lizzie Chapman

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