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What To Wear: Wild Open Water Swimming

So you've heard of regular swimming, the type in a pool or a lido, but have you heard of wild swimming? Wild swimming is essentially swimming outside, in lakes, rivers, oceans and it can be really invigorating to swim outdoors.

You may be planning a wild swimming trip to simply try something different or you just fancy a dip in a lake or river when you see one on holiday - whatever the reason, being prepared should be the first priority.

Before we get into the wild swimming essentials, there are a few things to note. To begin with, you may need to check prior to your trip if you are allowed to swim at the location you select. Some places may not allow swimming, so to avoid any confusion or disappointment, do a quick search to see the best wild swimming locations in the area you'll be.

Once you've chosen a suitable location, you must think about the technical factors, such as the climate of where you will be swimming.

Are you going somewhere with scorching heat and a dazzling sun abroad? Or somewhere with cooler waters? Packing for the weather is extremely important when doing an activity like open water swimming. Wild swimming can be thrilling, but if the weather is too harsh then you may want to avoid the water. If the water is too cold or the weather is particularly bad, health risks could potentially arise. Always plan for the weather and ensure you make the best judgement when deciding whether to wild swim.

With this in mind, you may choose to swim when the weather is warmer. Swimming in the ocean or in a lake while on a hot summer holiday might sound like the perfect remedy for relaxation, so let's move on to what you should wear and pack.

A good starting point in deciding what to wear could be as simple as what you'd wear to a regular swim session, such as a swimming costume or trunks. Choose something that is breathable and not too tight, clothing that doesn't restrict movement and is comfortable. When wild swimming, comfort is key!

Modest swimwear is also a basic option for those who would prefer to cover up whilst swimming outdoors, so a swim dress or swim leggings might be suitable.

If you're planning an outdoor swim but are worried about the cold, you may prefer to opt for something that'll keep you warmer, like a wetsuit. A wetsuit can come in different styles, including those that completely cover your arms and legs, so this could be a good alternative to battle against the cooler temperatures and ensure you stay warmer for longer.

As well as the main outfit, wild swimming accessories are a must. You could expect to take goggles and swim caps, which you'd usually take to the swimming pool, but there are other items that you may want to consider also.

Swim socks, boots and gloves are all important outdoor swimming essentials, especially if the water is particularly cold. Using swimming gloves and socks can help you to keep warm and safe from any other outside factors while embarking on your outdoor swim as well.

Now you've got the main items, the clothing and accessories, there's a few more added extras that are vital for your wild swimming trip.

A spare change of clothes is crucial for when your swim is over, as well as a towel to dry off. Getting dry, warm and changed as soon as possible after your outdoor swim is integral, so having fresh clothing and a towel is a must.

Drinking water, or any other drink, for hydration is also important, so ensure you have a water bottle to hand for you and anyone else in your party for when you end your wild swim.

Wild swimming can be an exhilarating and fun adventure and it's incredibly different from swimming in your local gym's lanes or your hotel's heated pool. If you do choose to venture into the next lake or ocean you find, make sure you're fully prepared for the dip.