Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
Get into Wild Swimming
22, Jun, 2018
Share in the joy and adventure of swimming outdoors with these tips and inspiration from our expert Alpkiteers: the whys, hows, and wheres of wild swimming...
"We promise to strip and dip wherever we can"
...just part of the Outdoor Swimming Societies manifesto. Well, even if some of us prefer to strip and put on a wetsuit before we dip, there's no denying the pleasure that open water swimming, or wild swimming, can bring. From a plunge into a icy cool pool after a hot day on the hill to a 2 mile round trip out to remote islands, there's something for everyone when it comes to connecting with water and your inner dolphin... or fish, or lobster...
The benefits of wild swimming
Why we think you should take the plunge in wild waters...
Swim now, glow later. Tingle all day long after an early morning dip. Or plunging into natural pools on a warm day after a walk, run or ride is ace.
A new view. Seeing those places you know and love from the water lets you look at them anew. Experience hidden spots away from the tow paths and car parks.
It can be quick. It doesn’t take long to feel alive with a quick dip - no long slogs necessary.
Incredible exercise. If you do swim for longer you’ll get fit quicker.
Getting dry. Warm and dry afterwards with a flask of hot chocolate could be the best thing ever.
The deep friendships you make. Swimming is a social activity, but can also be a great leveller … everyone is equal in the water
It’s a bit naughty. Grown-ups always said don’t swim in open water - now you get to decide for yourself…but stay safe!
How to stay safe when wild swimming
Suzanna Swims has a quick few pointers to offer. If you are unsure or want to give it a try in more of a social situation, hunt around for local groups and guides in your area. (In fact, Suzanna just happens to run guided sessions from Alpkit Ambleside... Contact the Ambleside Store to get involved.)
1. Never swim alone.
It is more fun swimming with a friend! Always let someone know where you are.
2. Know your limits.
And don’t stay in too long. Beginners should allow one minute per degree of water.
3. Take appropriate clothing.
Warm gear for after your swim and suitable footwear – swim shoes make it easier to get in and out of the water.
4. Never jump straight in.
Get in slowly and inspect the area you intend to swim in for hidden hazards like rocks or branches.
5. Get the glory shot.
Always make sure you have an SD card in your camera!
Where to go wild swimming?
Fnding patches of blue on the OS map, hiking to them and hopping in is a great way to sprinkle some added spice onto your weekly adventure.
The Outdoor Swimming Society have a great crowd-sourced wild swimming map to give you some pointers too, check it out at wildswim.com then pack your dry bag and head off on a new adventure.
What to take and wear wild swimming?
Well, in all honesty, you don't have to wear anything, but some discretion may be needed in these circumstances and we certainly wouldn't suggest it for the local Lido. That's the beauty of wild swimming, you can take as little as you want.
"You learn to love the Speedo. I used to be embarrassed in anything other than baggy board shorts – now I rock my Speedos with pride. This is the skimpy, unflattering uniform of all swimmers and you should enjoy being part of the tribe!" (Jack Hudson, Wild Swimming Brothers)
We'd recommend a pair of speedos or a swimming costume as a minimum. Some warm clothes to change into after the swim come in handy too, and why not a BruKit make yourself a nice warm drink when get out again. If you're in for longer periods or the water is particularly cold, we'd recommmend a wetsuit.
We have developed a range of wetsuits to cover most needs: from the Lotic suit which encourages a more natural swimming position, to the thermally lined Silvertip for particualrly cold waters. Alpkit Wetsuits... explore the whole range.
Terrapin Natural Swimming Wetsuit [Mens]Swimming wetsuit for a natural swimming position in the water, thinner more flexible neoprene for a thermal protection and greater range of movement£119.99
Terrapin Natural Swimming Wetsuit [Womens]Swimming wetsuit for a natural swimming position in the water, thinner more flexible neoprene for a thermal protection and greater range of movement£119.99
Lotic Swimming Wetsuit [Mens]Fine-tuned to maximise comfort and time in the water; a combination of flexibility, thickness and stretch makes Lotic our best all-round wetsuit for swimming in open water£149.99
Lotic Swimming Wetsuit [Womens]Fine-tuned to maximise comfort and time in the water; a combination of flexibility, thickness and stretch makes Lotic our best all-round wetsuit for swimming in open water£149.99
Silvertip Thermal Swimming Wetsuit [Mens]With increased buoyancy and a thermal fleece lining, Silvertip is the ideal wetsuit for swimming in colder water£199.99
Silvertip Thermal Swimming Wetsuit [Womens]Increased buoyancy and thermally fleece-lined, Silvertip is the ideal wetsuit for swimming in colder water£199.99
DryDock 50Tough and hardwearing 50 litre duffle holdall. Airline luggage friendly, with rucksack straps and waterproof construction, for protecting your gear as you haul it round the world£59.99
Balance [Mens]Perfectly balanced waterproof for the wet weather warrior: a deceptively tough jacket, delivering bone dry days without the weight penalty£189.99
ClipStainless steel 350ml flask for hot or cold fluids with a handy clip lid£10.99
BruKitHeat it and eat it, a 560 g integrated cooking system for quick cooking on the go. Ideal for fresh brews on the trail, hot soup and nutritious one-pot wonders£44.99