Essential Kit & Equipment for an Unforgettable Open Water Swimming Holiday

Embarking on an open water swimming holiday promises exhilarating adventures and unparalleled experiences. Whether you're diving into crystal-clear lakes, exploring rugged coastlines, or navigating picturesque rivers, the right equipment is crucial for a safe and enjoyable swim. NOW….. What to pack???? In this blog post, we will guide you through some key essentials and whilst this list is by no means a ‘one size fits all’, as swimming in cool mountain lakes may require different kit to a trip to the Pacific Ocean, we have picked some of our favourite travel companions for you to consider.

First of all you, and I guess this goes without saying, you will need a cossie (Women’s Swimwear) or some jammers or swim briefs (Men’s Swimwear). If you are heading to warmer climes and balmy waters, you may well opt to do all your swimming in a cossie, but even if you will be swimming in a wetsuit, a swimming costume can provide some much needed comfort, especially on longer swims, protecting our slightly more ‘delicate areas’ against rubbing and chafing after hours of wear. Then there’s obviously the conundrum of ‘discretion’. Although we know some swimmers prefer ‘going commando’, when you are swimming in a group environment and/or if you are heading to a country where nudity is still considered ‘taboo’, the intricate process of getting out of a wetsuit with nothing underneath can pose quite the challenge! We would also suggest packing multiple cossies for a variety of reasons. First of all there is the matter of unforeseen circumstances. It is not unusual for people to lose their swimming costume on a swimming holiday (and yes, balconies can be a hazard! Oooops!). Second, if you are heading to a tropical paradise, the humidity can mean drying your kit can take twice as long as usual (and worming your way into a damp costume is just not pleasant), AND finally….. clothes are a way to express yourself, and your swimsuit should be no exception. Hooray!

Top Tip: Pack at least one swimming costume in your hand luggage. If your hold luggage goes missing or is delayed, at least you will still be able to swim!

A well-fitting Wetsuit is a vital piece of equipment for open water swimmers, so it may come as no surprise that many of us choose to pack one for an open water swimming holiday. A very first consideration is obviously temperature (consider both water and air). Every swimmer has a different tolerance level and some feel the cold more than others. We also hear from many swimmers that they feel they become more susceptible to the cold as the swimming holiday progresses. Apart from insulation though, Wetsuits provide buoyancy, protection against the elements as well as protection from UV rays. And last but not least, do your homework. If you are heading to an area with an abundance of jellyfish, wearing a wetsuit or other protective clothing is indeed a very smart move!

Top Tip: If you are packing your wetsuit, make sure to pack it inside out to prevent any ‘snagging’ in your luggage or even better, pack it in a designated Waterproof Bag which will definitely come in super handy during your swimming holiday so effectively kills two birds with one stone…. Also pack some Luub! This will protect your skin from friction and chafing (which can be especially painful in salty water!) but applying it liberally on wrists and ankles also helps you to slide your wetsuit on and off more easily.

Clear visibility is essential for navigating open water so invest in high-quality Goggles that fit securely and provide both clarity and UV protection. Most of you will have a pair of favourite goggles but consider taking at least two pairs. Not only can it be extremely upsetting if you lose or damage a pair and you may well find yourself in an environment where finding a replacement may prove difficult. It is also a good idea to bring an additional pair to suit different light conditions. Different swims, perhaps at different times of the day, and indeed in different conditions, can call for different Goggles, so take one clear and one tinted pair so you are prepared for all!

And whilst we don’t see the trusted Tow Float appear on many swim holiday packing lists, we would thoroughly recommend you consider taking one. An open water swimming holiday may well take you to a beautiful location but unless you have been there before, this location may also present you with a number of unexpected hazards. Hazards can come in the form of other traffic in the water or even strong currents and streams. And, as always, Swim Safety is of the utmost priority! An open water swimming holiday may also test your endurance and resilience in the water as you may well be swimming further distances, daily…. And in unknown territory, which can sometimes be frightening! Additionally, tow floats can provide support if you become tired or experience cramps. And some models even offer the option to store essential items like water bottles, snacks, inhalers or even a phone for that all important holiday selfie. All in all, a Tow Float is a very valuable swim safety accessory which not only enhances your swimming experience but also ensures your well-being in the water. Dive into your swimming holiday with confidence and peace of mind!

Top Tip: If luggage space is of essence and you are now wondering how in heaven’s name you are going to ‘fit in’ a Tow Float as well, swap your hand luggage for a Wild Swim Bag. Cleverly designed as a back pack, just pack your kit (you can fit 30 litres of hand luggage inside whilst using it as a backpack), head out for your swimming holiday, and when you are ready to ‘dive in’, just remove the shoulder and chest straps and voila, you are left with a Dry Bag/Tow Float.

A swim/travel savvy Towel is another great holiday companion and not to be underestimated when it comes to essential travel companions. Gone are the days when luggage space was taken up by bulky beach towels! Whether you opt for a super absorbent microfibre towel or a lovely colourful Hammam Towel, both are super lightweight and easy to pack. Great for drying yourself off after a swim session but the Hammam Towel also makes a great picnic blanket, or a fabulous impromptu beach cover up (for both men and women) when required.

I tend to spend endless time fussing over my toiletries! I’m not sure whether it’s just me or whether a lot of you spend hours considering what to take on holiday and what to leave behind? The very first item I consider is sunscreen. Obviously it’s important to protect yourself from the sun, even when you spend a lot of your time in the water. My second consideration is definitely a mosquito repellent (for some reason mossies seem to love me despite of my love of garlic, vitamin B supplements and whatever else I’ve tried, and wherever I go!). And then there’s Hair & Body! So stumbling upon The Intrepid Explorer’s Outdoor Pack of Skincare Toiletries was nothing less than a godsend. They not only smell beautiful, but they do the job!

If you opt not to swim in a Wetsuit, have you considered taking an additional form of sun and sting protection? Swimming in new countries, environments, climates can pose a whole new set of dangers. You may well not be used to relentless sunshine? Or you may be swimming in different waters where sea creatures are abundant. We, at the Outdoor Swimmer Shop, love our Rash Vests! Not only do they provide the necessary UV protection, they protect against those nasty jellyfish and are easily layered with a wetsuit when swimming in colder climes providing an extra layer! What’s not to love?

Bring a reusable drinks bottle or flask Travel Cups and Bottles. Or even better, bring two! An absolute essential in our opinion. Bring one for water and another for a ‘pick me up’, an Electrolite or some form of Sports Drink to keep you going (when the going gets tough!)

A Swimming Cap is most definitely optional but we, at the Outdoor Swimmer Shop, are definitely advocates of  ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ and what better to help you do this than wear a funky, bright coloured Swimming Cap? Wearing a brightly coloured swimming cap not only keeps your head warm and covered, but more importantly, it will make sure you are easily visible in the water.

Another optional item is neoprene! Neoprene Socks and Gloves, or even a Neoprene Swimming Cap? Depending on where you are heading, neoprene socks and gloves offer valuable insulation and protect your extremities from the cold. However, we know plenty of swimmers who love wearing socks, even in warmer climates as they provide an extra layer of protection against the ‘unknown’.

Another ‘forgotten’ item on most swim holiday packing lists seems to be the ‘Changing Robe’. Whilst I totally get not wanting to pack a bulky changing robe (unless you are heading for colder climes!), I could not imagine my swimming life without a Changing Robe of some sort! And changing robes come in so many gorgeous forms nowadays! From a gorgeous selection of Towelling Changing Robes, to the pure Cotton Changing Robe to the quick dry Microfibre Changing Robe, there’s something for everyone out there.


As you embark on your open water swimming holiday, packing the right equipment is crucial to ensure safety, comfort, and a memorable experience. is your trusted source for high-quality gear that caters specifically to the needs of open water swimmers. From wetsuits and goggles to tow floats and apparel, our comprehensive range of products will equip you for an extraordinary adventure in the open water. So pack your bags, dive in, and make lifelong memories on your next open water swimming holiday!