From brisk dips at the Brecon Beacons to swimming in St Nectan’s in Cornwall, taking the plunge and venturing out to wild swimming spots has increased in popularity in recent years – and it’s not hard to see why.
Not only is swimming great for your health but, by embracing wild swimming, you get to enjoy the great outdoors and an energy boost from the fresh water!
If you love swimming in the wild, you’ve probably noticed it’s not quite the same as swimming in your local pool… You may want to be a bit more prepared for your next outdoor swim, so take a look at our guide for things to bring the next time you head to your favourite spot.
What is Wild Swimming?
Wild swimming is simply swimming in natural waters (the wild). These are usually lakes and rivers but swimming in the ocean is also considered to be wild swimming, though it’s usually a bit more intense than having a paddle at the beach.
Top Pieces of Wild Swimming Kit
- Silicone Swimming Cap – If you’re swimming outdoors it’s vital that you wear a brightly coloured silicone hat. Yes, you may look like a Skittle and feel a little silly, but the hat will keep your head warm. More importantly, it will make sure you’re easy to spot in the water.
- Wetsuit – If you’re new to wild swimming it’s wise to wear a wetsuit. It’ll keep you much warmer than a regular swimming costume and let’s face it, the water in the UK isn’t warm! It’ll also add buoyancy which will help you to swim faster too.
- Goggles – Goggles are a must-have piece of equipment when it comes to wild swimming. Our SilverSlick goggles have extra wide curved lenses, making them perfect for open swimming. They are also tinted which will help block the sun on a bright day and let you see more clearly.
- Socks & Gloves – your hands and feet are the parts that feel the cold the most so getting a good pair of neoprene socks and gloves will be your saviour on a chilly day.
- Rash Vest – Obviously you’ll need your usual swimming attire under your wetsuit, but if you find you get cold easily then try a rash vest under your wetsuit made of thin neoprene.
- Ear Plugs – If you’re someone that suffers from discomfort when water gets in your ears then you would definitely benefit from getting a good pair of earplugs, especially as open water swimming means the water can be much colder.
- Swim Tow Float – If you’re heading to the water on your own then a must-have accessory would be a swim tow float. The tow-float provides increased visibility so you can always be seen in the water, and if you need to rest you can simply hold onto the float rather than tread water.
- Towel – Don’t underestimate the power of a towel. This will be the first thing you’ll want when you get out of the water!
Where Should I Go Wild Swimming?
The UK is full of beautiful places to go for a swim! It’s easy to be spoilt for choice, so we’ve compiled a guide to our 5 Favourite Spots for Wild Swimming in the UK to help with your decision. If you want to travel a little further, have a look at our Top 5 Wild Swimming Spots in Europe!
How to Stay Safe when Wild Swimming
Knowing all the facts about where you are going to take the plunge is very important. Remember that you are swimming at your own risk, but there are precautions you can take to prevent any accidents.
- How deep is the water? Always gauge the depth before you go jumping in.
- Check the temperature of the water. If you just jump into a body of water you could suffer from cold shock which can lead to hyperventilating due to your body not acclimatising. If you need advice on preparing for swimming in cold water; check out our blog to Swimming in Winter Season.
- It’s always a good idea to take a buddy wild swimming with you for safety, just in case a problem should occur. Of course, the more the merrier, so why not go with a group of friends to boost that fun summer feeling? If swimming with a friend isn’t possible then trail a bright tow float behind you on a cord. Although they’re not designed as buoyancy aids and should never be relied on as such, tow floats can give you something to hang onto for a second if you need a rest.
- Make sure to know and plan your escape routes. Think about where you’re going to enter the water and be sure that you can exit again easily.
Wherever you decide to go, have fun and be safe! If you plan on taking a trip somewhere soon and are in need of some kit to add to your equipment list, our SilverSlick goggles are made for the wild waters and won’t let you down.