Open water swimming has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity over the last few years, it’s easy to take part in, you don’t need lots of expensive equipment, and you can do it year round. If, however, you do choose to take a dip during the colder months, the one thing you will be wanting to do is stay warm!
At Mikes, we’re sometimes asked whether diving wetsuits are suitable for open water swimming and the short answer is yes, there are lots of great diving products that are perfectly suitable for open water swimming.
That’s why we’ve created an Open Water Swimming collection at Mike's featuring some of these brilliant products:
Heavy duty, thick wetsuits aren’t great for swimming, they’re too restrictive and often overly buoyant. Whether you choose a shortie or a fullsuit depends entirely on how warm you want to be!
Fourth Element are a UK based manufacturer in Cornwall who design excellent products. Their 3mm Xenos range is a perfect mix of flexibility and warmth. They also make the Surface suit, a multi-sport wetsuit, that their founder uses for open water swimming, that is made from a sustainable plant based neoprene called Yulex and would be a perfect choice.
Waterproof is a Swedish brand (it’s not actually waterproof, just the brand name) with a great reputation. Their Neoskin suits are thin, lightweight and flexible.
After something a little something extra to keep your core warm? How about a hooded vest that helps to protect your core body temperature and your head which accounts for a third of heat loss. The Fourth Element Thermocline 2 Hooded Vest is a lightweight and flexible option.
The latest generation of dive computers like the Garmin Descent MK2 and MK2i are capable of doing more than just calculating your nitrogen loading and dive profile. Garmin, a multi-sport fitness watch giant, developed their new dive computer with extra everyday sensors that monitor pulse rate, GPS position and more so that it can also function fully as a multi-sport watch which means activities like outdoor swimming can be recorded straight from your dive computer.
Boots and socks
You may want some form of foot protection, either for warmth or for protecting your feet on the walk to and from the water (or both). Again, heavy-duty dive boots aren’t great for swimming in but lightweight socks and slip on boots are ideal. Waterproof make the B1 sock and Fourth Element also do a warm Thermocline Fin Socks. The Scubapro Delta Short or Fourth Element Rock Hopper are perfect as small slip on boots.
Gloves and Hoods
If you don’t like ice cream headaches or numb hands then you’ll want a hood and a set of gloves! Again Fourth Element have a great range of products Gloves and Hoods. Other good lightweight glove options can be found here.
Goggles and Accessories
At Mike's we have a couple of great options for those who want to wear goggles- the View goggles are one of the few available with a full range of negative and positive prescription lenses. Also, the Aqua Lung Sphera Mask is a very popular freediving mask that has an enclosed nose piece.
You will need a specific de-fog too to use with goggles, standard de-fog for diving masks can damage plastic lenses, so you’ll need to use something like the TUSA Anti-fog or the McNett Goggle Bright.
After the swim
When you exit the water, probably the first thing you’ll want to do is get warm! Dryrobes like the Fourth Element Storm Poncho are brilliant as they keep you toasty and also protect your modesty when you’re changing too.
Finally, many people find a drybag useful, either for keeping stuff dry on the beach or for keeping the boot of the car dry when you put all your wet gear away after the swim.
As, always if you have any questions please contact us, and we’ll be very happy to help!