Open Water Swimming Equipment Essentials

open water swimmer red cap breathing to side

If you’re heading to the ocean for the first time, you may be wondering what open water swimming equipment to pack.

Even if it seems like a sunny day, you will likely feel cold when exiting the water, and therefore need to have the necessary equipment with you.

Here is a list of recommended open water swimming equipment to make your swimming experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Open Water Swimming Equipment Checklist

  1. Swimming costume

Let’s start with the most obvious. You’ll need a swimming costume, preferably one that is comfortable and that fits you well. When trying on a new cozzy, make sure it fits snugly (no loose hanging material) but still allows for enough movement.  

  1. Swimming cap

A swimming cap has two purposes – One, to keep hair out of your eyes, and two, to help keep you warm in cold water. With open water swimming you want to retain as much body heat as possible, therefore we recommend using a silicone cap.

  1. Swimming goggles

There are a range of swimming goggles on the market: fitness, performance, racing, tinted lenses, you name it. The main thing to look out for when choosing a pair of goggles is correct fit. Remove the goggles from the packaging, and without placing the straps over your head, firmly press the goggles onto your eyes. A well-fitted pair will suction around your eyes and stay on for a few seconds without falling off.

  1. Wetsuit (optional)

Some open water swimmers may opt to wear a wetsuit for extra warmth. A wetsuit is made from neoprene and allows for a layer of water to be trapped between the swimmer’s skin and the suit, which then warms up and helps to keep the swimmer warm. Most swimming events have a wetsuit category, which means that you will be classified separately from the skins (non-wetsuit) swimmers.

What to pack for after the swim

  • A towel to dry off with
  • Warm clothing to change into (the “After Drop” is on its way! more about that later)
  • Extra layers to keep you warm: buff, beanie, gloves
  • A hot drink, such as tea or hot chocolate, to help warm you from the inside out
  • A charged cell-phone in case of an emergency (voice activation is useful for cold fingers)

Safety First

Always head out in a group, and make sure to let someone know your planned route. Remember, safety first!

Enjoy your outdoor adventure, and if you have any questions, feel free to email us on

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