Wild swimming packing list; 10 things I put in my rucksack.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

What I carry in my bag depends on where we are going, how cold the water is, what season it is, and so many other things. But here is a short list of what I might carry with me.

1. Swimmers - well duh! I love Batokos swimming costumes, they are made from 100% recycled plastic and come in the best patterns. In cold water I might wear my Oneill 2mm shortie wetsuit.

Warm water swimming in Croatia

My wetsuit - great for playing in cold water. Glen Etive in Scotland.

2. Travel towel. Mine is a plain blue one from Mountain Warehouse but there are all kinds of fun patterned ones out there if you're feeling flashy.

3. Water bottle. Many swim spots come with a hike. My 'Hydro Flask' never leaves my side.

4. Lightweight snack. I normally carry biscuits - after a cold water swim your body has burnt lots of energy trying to keep warm. Sometimes, if the water is cold enough, I will eat ALOT of biscuits.

5. Swim shoes. These are really helpful for traversing sharp rocks and I find they help my grip on slippery rocks as well. Other people prefer bare feet if it's a bit slippery. In a pinch I will also wear my Merrel sandals, which are the most comfortable thing I've ever put on my feet and are suitable for getting wet.

6. Raincoat. So you've had a great swim, finally dry and back in your clothes, then the heavens open and you get a drenching. Not good. I love my NorthFace coat.

7. Warm clothing. After you swim your body temperature will be lowered and it's important to keep warm. You'll be surprised how cold you can feel, especially if there is no sun to warm you up, and in the UK, often there isn't! Sometimes I'll even wear a woolly hat in to the water.

8. A friend. Unless it's a spot I frequent often, I rarely venture off wild swimming by myself. And if I do, I only go where there are other people in sight, preferably in the water. Best thing to do is take a mate to keep an eye out.

9. Suncream and insect repellent. You'll enjoy your swim more if you're not worried about being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Just bear in mind that whatever you put on your body, ends up in the water. I once swam in a lake that was coated in a layer of oily sunscreen; I couldn't help but think that this couldn't be good for the lake or the fish that lived in it.

10. Decent rucksack and waterproof bag for storing wet items on the journey home. Reuse an old plastic bag, use a mini dry bag or if you really want then you can get trendy mermaid bags made for carrying wet swimmers. I love my waterproof Trakke rucksack. It's the best!

Trakke rucksack come everywhere with me!

Everything else is up to you. Aside from this, many of my best swims have been opportunist and I haven't had anything with me at all. A surprise skinny dip is definitely good for the soul. Remember to be brave but be safe :)

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