My Cold Water Kit
Occasionally, I get asked about my swim kit and rewarming practices. I've been pointing folks to www.loneswimmer.com for a while now, but hey, why not actually take the time and write up my own post? So here we go! (If you haven't checked out lone swimmer- do it now! Or after you finish here 😉)
A note on the timing of this post: it is late January and the river is pretty chilly at this point, between 42-39, so these are the things and practices I use at ice swimming temperatures (below 41 F/5 C). I use most of these things on warmer swims too, but wanted to speak to the context of this post.
Additionally, I want to preface this by saying that everyone's physiology is different and it's taken me years of trial and error to figure out what works for my body in the conditions I swim in. Depending on the conditions and how my body feels I'll use different combinations of my gear. Things I take into consideration when packing for a swim include: the combined air and water temperature (if it's under 100 F I bring most of my kit), weather (is it sunny, windy, rainy?), and how I'm feeling (Did I get enough sleep? How's my stress level?)
I bring four top layers. They are laid out from left to right in the order that I put them on. First is the black fleece vest, I put this on when I'm still down by the water and cover up with my dryrobe. Once back at the car I put on the long sleeve fleece jacket, then the hooded down vest, and put the dryrobe back on. Somewhere in there, I put on my pants...usually. On warmer mornings I sometimes forget and stand with my feet in the footbath drinking coffee and watching the sunrise.
Getting in! I leave my shoes at the water's edge as I get in. I've gotten pretty good at walking into the water with determination until it hits my belly button, then the cursing and yelling starts. Usually something about questionable life choices or comments on the wetness of the water. I'm famous for yelling and cursing, but eventually, I get my head in the water (mental cursing continues). Then I swim.