What to take wild swimming

Emily Cooper


Wild swimming is a fantastic hobby, even more so because it can be done for free! However, there are a few items that can make your swim safer and more enjoyable. Here's our list of items that you might want to consider taking on your river swimming debut.

Before & after swimming:

  • Dry clothes: this one is really important for helping you warm up after your swim. Staying in wet clothes is a disaster waiting to happen!
  • Socks, gloves and a hat: even if it's warm outside, it's good to bring these along. You might get colder than you think, and these items can help you to warm up quickly
  • A towel: drip-drying can be okay on a hot day, but it's better to be safe than shivering
  • A drink: swimming is thirsty work, so bring a drink to stay hydrated! If you're prone to getting cold, you might want to bring a hot drink in a thermos
  • A mobile phone: it's a good idea to keep a mobile phone nearby in case of emergencies
  • A good book: this isn't a necessity, but there's no better feeling than listening to water flow gently over the rocks while you get stuck into a good book. Need recommendations? We can help with that too - keep your eyes peeled for our books blog.
Wild River Swimming

During swimming:

  • What to wear: you don’t need any specialist clothing for wild swimming. In fact, some people wear nothing at all! If you’re sensitive to the cold, though, you might want to invest in a wetsuit.
  • Swimming cap: swimming caps can be a great way to keep yourself warm while you swim. In addition, it's highly recommended that you wear a brightly coloured, preferably high-vis swimming cap; if you get into any trouble, this makes it a lot easier to find you!
  • Swimming shoes: some people like to wear swimming shoes to protect their feet when getting in and out the water.
  • Goggles: if you're planning on submerging yourself, you might want to bring a pair of goggles.
  • A tow float: some people choose to swim with a tow float. They can help you to be seen and can also be used briefly if you get too tired to swim. However, if you're swimming in an area with low hanging trees or obstacles, tow floats can get caught up, so always be aware!
As always, the most important thing to consider when wild or river swimming is safety. That's why we recommend that you stick to our River Safety Routine, and follow it every time you get into the water.
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