The travel kit list: wild swimming gear for winter 2021

Open water swimming in rivers, lakes or the sea requires both know-how and essential kit — especially in winter.

By Amelia Duggan
Published 31 Oct 2021, 15:00 GMT, Updated 21 Jan 2022, 16:27 GMT
Left to right: Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Cap; Zone3 Aspect ‘Breaststroke’ Wetsuit; and the RuckRaft inflatable. 

Left to right: Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Cap; Zone3 Aspect ‘Breaststroke’ Wetsuit; and the RuckRaft inflatable. 

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

1. Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Cap

Keep warm and dry post-swim, whatever the weather, with this waterproof and windproof cap. Its breathable technology makes it a practical choice whatever the season. £20.

2. Zone3 Aspect  ‘Breaststroke’ Wetsuit

This high-performance wetsuit has stretchy inner leg panels, as well as extended mobility across the chest to enable a range of strokes. Suitable for both open-water dips and competitive swims, it offers warmth, durability, visibility and streamlined, glued seams to help you glide smoothly through the water. £159.

3. RuckRaft

Off on an intrepid, self-supported swim? Load up to 15kg of supplies and equipment into RuckRaft’s dry sack, strap it to the streamlined inflatable then tow it behind you. It’s also great to simply load up with snacks, and to use as a buoyancy aid for longer swims. Its bright colour means added visibility. £164.

Left to right: the TekraPod backpack; Finisterre Nieuwland 2e Yulex Swimsuit; and the Nuasan active body wipes.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

4. TekraPod

This streamlined, backpack-style safety device includes a CO2-powered, pull cord-activated, pop-up float to grab in moments of crisis or tiredness. Race-legal too. €135 (£116).

5. Finisterre Nieuwland 2e Yulex Swimsuit

Catering to the UK’s ever-expanding community of open-water swimmers, this 2mm swimsuit offers more warmth than a normal one-piece. Being made from natural Yulex rubber means 80% less CO2 than traditional neoprene swimsuits. £110.

6. Nuasan active body wipes

If showering isn’t an option when you emerge from the water, opt for a wipe-down with these sweet-smelling, 100% biodegradable wipes, made from plant fibres and packed with natural ingredients, including bamboo and peppermint. Each pack contains 25 wipes, individually wrapped so they don’t dry out. €15.95 (£13.70).


Left to right: the Dakine Cyclone Tote Pack 27L; the Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve coat; and the Oofos Oolala Limited Sandals. 

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

7. Dakine Cyclone Tote Pack 27L

This stylish, splash-proof and tear-proof bag has padded straps that convert it from a tote to a backpack. Taped seams and waterproof zips help to keep contents safe. £110. 

8. Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve

Launched by UK surfer Gideon Bright in 2010, the cult-hit Dryrobe range offers a cover under which to wriggle in and out of swimwear. With its insulating lining, fleecy pockets and windproof outer layer (available in 12 different colours) the long-sleeve version is ideal for the colder months. £160. 

9. Oofos Oolala Limited Sandal 

Designed with impact-absorbing foam and offering contoured arch support, these aren’t your usual flip flops. The super-light materials used are all engineered to go easy on tired feet and joints. Whether used on pebbly beaches or at the lido, these functional sandals are an essential accessory for athletes on the move. £55.

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