What Is Wild Swimming?

What Is Wild Swimming? - Dry Bags

Wild swimming is hugely popular in the UK. However, without the right equipment, Wild swimming can be quite unpleasant or even dangerous. This article explains all the equipment you need for wild swimming, so you can be safe and enjoy yourself.

We've also heard many stories of wild swimmers regretting not taking #4 with them. But, we'll discuss that in more detail later on.

What Is Wild Swimming? 

Wild swimming pool

As the name suggests, wild swimming is going swimming in natural (i.e., wild) water. This could be a river, a lake, or even the ocean. Swimming in natural waters is enjoyable and adventurous, which is why many swimmers prefer it over artificial swimming pools, which just aren't as fun. 

It's a great way to enjoy a weekend in the local area while doing something that might be a new experience. 

How To Start Wild Swimming

In theory, you would need to find the closest lake, beach, or river and jump in - but not so fast. Doing this can be pretty dangerous, as you need to research your local area first to see which areas are safe and allow swimming.

Besides, you should also ensure that you have the right wild swimming gear to keep you safe at all times. Swimming in natural waters does pose some risks that artificial swimming pools don't, so you need to be prepared for them correctly. 

Wild Swimming Gear: What Do I Need For Wild Swimming?

Here's a list of the equipment that you'll need for wild swimming:

  1. Wet suit/Towel
  2. Tow float
  3. Waterproof first-aid kit
  4. Waterproof phone bag
  5. Shell earplugs
  6. Nose clip

Below, we've discussed this equipment in more detail, so you can understand why it's essential. At Drybags, we offer various innovative tow floats wild swimming equipment that will keep you safe by allowing you to stay visible. Just like you, we're also outdoor enthusiasts, so we use our products ourselves, so we know exactly what a wild swimmer needs. You can read more on our about page here. Or jump straight to our wild swimming collection.

The Obvious Essentials

The first bits of equipment that come to mind are the obvious essentials; a wet suit, towel, and a thermal vest. In terms of the wet suit, we also recommend getting some wet suit gloves and boots. Otherwise, your hands and feet' temperate can drop, which will affect the rest of your body.

How To Choose a Wet Suit For Wild Swimming

We also wanted to give you three tips on choosing a wet suit for wild swimming: 

  • Make sure it has a snug fit - it's always worth trying on before you buy!
  • The material will come in a range of thickness, from 3 to 5mm, generally
  • Look at reviews to see customer experiences and find one that others have confirmed works well.

Something to keep in mind is that your wet suit should feel tight. Otherwise, cold water will be able to flush through, and your temperature will drop, which defeats the point. 

Tow Float/Dry Bag

Floating Dry Bag

A tow float is a lightweight piece of equipment that attaches to your back, allowing others to find you easily in lakes, rivers, or the ocean. This is an essential piece of equipment, especially for beginners, as it will help those around you recognise where you are.

If you are going too far out or into a zone where you're not meant to, the people around you will be able to stop you in time. Plus, it's also nice to find your friends quickly without having to swim around the water, which can often make things worse - as you end up swimming in opposite directions.

One of our favourites is the swim secure floating dry bag, as this acts as a tow float and keeps your belongings safe. It also has some inflatable buoy support, so you can rest in open water - which is often needed.

Using a dry bag also allows you to finish your swimming trip in a different place to where you started, which is often great for convenience. 


You can also find some alternatives and other models in our swimming collection that have similar functions.

Waterproof First Aid Kit

Waterproof first aid kit

Things can go wrong, and it's always best to be on the safe side - especially if you're swimming in an area where there isn't first aid around. If you're swimming at a beach, where there is first aid available, having this kit is not essential but still helpful.

We don't recommend ordinary first aid kits, as they are not waterproof, damaging the equipment inside.

Our waterproof first aid kit is produced in mega tough nylon coated in PVC and includes 52 pieces of first aid equipment. You can check out our waterproof first aid kit here.

Waterproof Phone Bag

Here's a very affordable piece of equipment that many regret not investing in before wild swimming. The waterproof phone bag is completely waterproof and will keep your phone safe, no matter how far or deep you swim.

While many of the latest phones claim they are waterproof or water-resistant - this is usually only to certain levels. And quite often, people end up with defective phones after wild swimming.  Plus, by having your phone with you while swimming, you won't risk it being stolen because you've always got it with you.

You can learn more about our waterproof phone bag here.

Ear Plugs

Otitis externa, also known as swimmer's ear, is caused by bacteria build up in the ear. While it's rarely serious, it can be excruciating in our experience. Therefore, we always recommend using waterproof earplugs, which will stop the water and bacteria from reaching the deeper parts of your ear (that it affects). 

Our super-soft earplugs are only easy-to-clean, re-usable, and affordable at just £3.50. You can find them in our wild swimming collection here.

Nose Clips

While the nose doesn't pose as many risks as your ears, bacteria from the ocean, lake, or river can also build-up, and cause painful infections. You can also prevent this by using swimmer's nose clips. 

Nose clips will also keep your nose dry when swimming, which avoids the unpleasant feeling of breathing in water. If you would like to check out our nose clips, you can also find them in our wild swimming gear collection. 

Wild Swimming & Gear: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Wild swimming dangerous?

No wild swimming is not dangerous if you take the right equipment and always research where you are swimming. Just ensure that you are not jumping in from too high, and have the right equipment. If you head over to Google and just look for wild swimming information in your local area, you should find some helpful websites that will guide you in the right direction. 

Is Wild swimming legal?

Yes, wild swimming is legal in most lakes, rivers, and sea areas. However, there will usually be signs that say "no swimming allowed" if it isn't. In general, though, most lakes, rivers, and beaches throughout the UK allow swimmers, but it's always best to do your research first. 

What Are The Benefits of Wild Swimming? 

Here are some of the benefits of wild swimming:

  • It boosts your immune system
  • It boosts your brainpower 
  • Potential weight loss (in many cases, not always) 
  • Improved mental health
  • It's fun 
  • Less muscle soreness

Wild Swimming: Final Thoughts

We hope this guide on Wild swimming has been useful to you. If you have any questions about the wild swimming gear, we have likely answered them on the individual product pages, so make sure to check them out. 

If you would like to browse our wild swimming collection, you can check it out here.