At the end of June I took my first tentative steps into a loch in Perthshire for a swim. After spending forty minutes in the water with a group of like minded women I decided I loved it. Back home, I took to the internet, as you do, to find out what I should add to my cold water swimming kit list. I didn’t want this to become another really expensive hobby, I have enough of those! Something I could try and keep up all year round in just my swim suit but I would need other things to keep me warm and safe, before, during and after. Anything to add a cool factor would be an added bonus.
Two and a bit months later I can’t imagine my life without at least one wild swim a week. With thanks to Glasgow based Lomo Watersports I have continued my love affair with wild swimming through the summer. I wanted to share with you three items of equipment that should be on everyone’s cold water swimming kit list.
Be seen in the water with a tow float
At first I felt a wee bit silly having a tow float when I was mostly hugging the shoreline. When everyone else swam out across the loch in their wetsuits I watched as the bright floats bobbed around behind them. I felt a little bit over dressed if I’m honest but knew deep down it was the sensible thing to do.
Lomo had kindly sent me the rather bright orange dry bag tow float. Double bonus. I can be seen by people whilst in the water and I can take my valuables with me to keep them safe and dry.
The float itself has a decent length sturdy, adjustable strap which attaches around my waist and clips securely into place. Either side of the dry compartment are the air pockets which are easily inflated with just three or four good breaths. The valves for inflating are easy enough to use, although the first few times I opened up the deflate valve instead of just the top piece to inflate. My stupidity rather than any design flaw.
I haven’t used the bag part of the float for anything more than to keep car keys, phone and my watch dry. With more a case of not trusting myself to get the seal right, I did put my valuables into a zipped dry bag before putting them into the main compartment. I would say it could easily hold a pair of shoes and a travel towel as extras to valuables as it’s primary purpose for me will be a hi-viz warning that someone is in the water.
Multi-purpose changing robe
One of my main concerns about starting cold water swimming was getting changed and trying not to flash anyone. Actually even after my second swim I found myself stripping off in a car park in the middle of Fife in broad daylight. Fighting with the towel wasn’t much fun so when I received my changing robe from Lomo I was chuffed to bits and couldn’t wait to try it out.
Perfect for the colder months this changing robe is much thicker, wind and shower proof than the super cheap towel robe (affectionately named as the Jedi robe by the Dude) I had purchased from Decathlon. Don’t get me wrong my bright blue Jedi robe is perfect for the summer months but come the winter I am going to need something more substantial.
Throughout all of my swimming, so far, I have only had a handful of chillier days. Great for testing out my Lomo changing robe.
Instantly noticing the difference by not having the wind cut straight through the robe I felt warmer immediately. I even tested the hood out, which, like the rest of the robe is lined with thick towel material. The outer layer is almost like a shell type material, durable and easy enough to wipe clean. The detail stitching and branding comes in hot pink or lime green. This stands out well against the black robe material.
I love this robe although for me, a lady of larger proportions, I struggled with the logistics of getting dressed in this tight space. The material has no stretch in it so having my arms inside and trying to wrestle with my bra was a bit of an squeeze. Sadly it’s a one size fits all scenario. For me it’s not a mark down on the product. It’s well made. cosy and does what it says on the tin but maybe sizing could be something Lomo could look at in the future. I am going to preserver with it and hopefully I shall become more proficient at working in the small space.
Oooo, nearly forgot about the pockets. Both pockets are large and have zips, great for stashing a post swim snack.
Too cool for school, floating sunglasses
Yes you read that correctly. Floating sunglasses! Bloody genius.
I recently lost my much loved £40 pair of sunglasses in Loch Tay whilst canoeing. No time to reach in the water and grab them. They were like the sapphire necklace that Rose wears in the film Titanic, sinking to the bottom of the loch. Although I was gutted at the time to lose a pair of sunnies, they owed me nothing and have now been laid to rest. So my search began for replacements.
Lomo Watersports to the rescue.
For my leisurely, head above water swims I can get away with wearing sunglasses and believe it or not, even in Scotland, we need a good pair of sunglasses. With polarised lenses and protection from both UVA and UVB rays I don’t have to squint as the glare reflects off of the water.
The frames are lightweight and it’s easy to forget I am wearing them at times. They have also been mistaken for goggles and I proudly announced that these bad boys are my floating sunglasses. Followed by a demonstration.
They come with an elasticated head strap too, so the next time we go stand up paddleboarding I will put the strap on for extra security.
What’s more, they look cool too. The ones I have have green reflective tinted category 3 lenses. I have worn them out for walks and whilst driving too.
Cold water swimming kit list
The only other thing I have in my must take cold water swimming kit list are a pair of “water shoes.” Mine aren’t from Lomo and were purchased some time back but when they need replacing I shall definitely check out what Lomo has to offer.
I’m also thinking for the winter is some neoprene gloves. Other than that, that is the contents of my swim bag.
The dry bag tow float, changing robe and floating sun glasses were gifted to me by Lomo Watersport in Glasgow for the purpose of providing an honest review. I have loved working with this Scottish based company and the website is full of fab kit. Everything from drysuits and SUP’s to swim caps and nose clips.
Huge thank you to Lomo Watersport UK for gifting these items to me in return for an honest review. I also have a YouTube video as a work in progress so please keep your eyes peeled for that.