Open Water Swimming Essentials


Now that it’s heating up out there, open waters have never seemed so appealing. Keen to take the plunge but don’t know what to pack? Unlike the local lido, the great outdoors and its glorious swimming spots don’t have lockers and changing rooms to stash your stuff, so it is a case of being organised. Ahead, a fool-proof open water swimming pack list so that you can get out there and enjoy yourself.  


Depending on the season, open waters can be pretty cold, so a lot of the time, you’re going to want to wear a wetsuit. If you’ve never worn one or haven’t tried one in a while, don’t be apprehensive. They actually give you an advantage as they’re very buoyant. If waters are warmer, you might choose not to wear one or go for a shorty style, but for some events, like Great Swim, they are obligatory so do check if you’re unsure. Check out Zone3 for wetsuits that are great quality and value, and for a wetsuit that will last a lifetime. 


Be it a cossie or a pair of slim-fitting trunks, don’t forget your swimmers. You’re going to want to wear something under your wetsuit or else you risk serious chaffing! Plus, when you get out of the water when you’ve finished, it means you can easily strip down whilst saving your modesty! 


Unless you’re somewhere particularly beautiful, chances are open waters aren’t going to be as clear as a swimming pool or lido…! Goggles are more for protecting your eyes from the splash of choppy waters rather than dunking your head in search of marine life. Go for a reliable, well fitting pair for your own comfort.

Swim cap

Many open water events have obligatory coloured swim caps for safety but that aside, it’s a given for keeping your hair clean and dry, whilst helping keep you warm. Everyone participating in a Great Swim series event is sent a Great Swim branded swim cap in advance of the event — both safe and practical, don’t forget it!

Ear Plugs

Not an essential but if you’re antsy about water in your ears, or simply want to ward off infections, pack a pair of egg plugs that you can slot in and they’ll sit tightly under your swim cap. 

Dry Bag

Now this is nifty! A dry bag is a waterproof bag that you can take in the water with and guarantee everything inside — phones, fresh clothes and all — will stay bone dry. Ideal if swimming from A to B or don’t want to leave your valuables unattended. There are various types to choose from but most float on the water so they don’t drag you down, plus, they double up as a buoy. Clever.

Microfibre Towel

And if you’re packing a dry bag, you might as well pack a towel! A microfibre towel that is for maximum absorbency, minimum bulk.

Swim Socks

Very much dependent on both how cold the water is and how hardy you are (!) but some choose to wear swim socks in the water for extra warmth. They’re anti-slip too, good for getting in and out of the water sometimes.


Whistle and Compass

Open water swimming spots vary greatly but for your safety, it’s always recommended to have a whistle and a compass on you in the water on the off chance you find yourself in any trouble. 


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