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Outdoor swimming kit we love this spring

Size-inclusive hiking and swimwear, protein-boosted breakfast cereal and a change robe designed with wheelchair users in mind: a round up of the ten best pieces of outdoor swimming kit we’ve tried, tested, and loved this spring.

Chrome Industries Ruckas Tote


They say: This roomy bag has been cleverly designed to be worn either as a backpack or a tote, with convertible shoulder straps. The Ruckas Tote is PFC free and has been consciously constructed with weather resistant and recycled scratch resistant outer shells, with a spacious main compartment and a padded laptop sleeve. The tote also features a webbed hanging loop and wide, adjustable straps to allow for all-day carrying comfort and great weight distribution.  

Why we love it: We love this robust, versatile and lightweight bag, which converts easily between a rucksack and a tote. It’s made from water-resistant recycled fabric that feels hard-wearing and the straps are substantial, which isn’t always the case with hybrid bags like these. For its 0.5kg weight, it has a generous 27L capacity, which is ample room for a towel robe, swimsuit and goggles with two expandable pockets for drinks and an stash pocket for snacks. We’ve been using it for pool trips (it fits neatly in a locker) but we think it would also be ideal for post-work dips for those who prefer minimal kit.

KEEN Women’s Howser
III Slide


They say: KEEN’s Howser III Slide provides the ultimate comfort. Ethically constructed with a recycled PET plastic upper, these shoes feature a fleece lining with eco anti-odour technology for added warmth and long-lasting freshness. The removable PU insole provides extended comfort while the non-marking rubber outsole leaves no trace. The iconic KEEN fit provides generous space across the forefoot for toes to spread and ensures feet are comfortable at all times of the day.

Why we love it: We challenge you to slip these on after a cold water swim and not emit an audible “Aaah, that’s better.” Featuring a thick fleece lining, these slip-on shoes – basically slippers that you can wear outside – are so warm and comfortable. The flexible uppers, made from recycled PET plastic bottles, have a barely-there comfort, the lightweight insoles have built-in arch support and a generous fit across the forefoot gives you space to wriggle your toes. The high-traction rubber outsoles are grippy enough for muddy river banks, and a quick-cinch bungee gives a wraparound fit and keeps warmth in.

TRIBE Protein Muesli Breakfast

£18 (3x400g pouch)

They say: TRIBE Muesli is a great-tasting muesli and healthier alternative to sugar-filled cereals. It’s the first protein-boosted breakfast to win a Great Taste Award. Made with natural plant energy, and with 10g plant protein and 8g fibre, this is fuel without compromise.

Why we love it: After a swim, the sooner you can eat the better, the ideal window being within 30 minutes to an hour to help your muscles recover. Not doing so can leave you feeling depleted and dehydrated. While protein bars are a good choice for convenience (the whey or plant protein content helps with muscle building and recovery), TRIBE Muesli Breakfast is a delicious and healthy alternative. With 10g of plant protein per serving, it’s ideal for a post-swim breakfast. We’ve gotten into the routine of packing a food flask filled with milk ready to mix in muesli, and then tucking in as we warm up in the car.

So English Hampstead Hoodie


They say: Designed for men and women with plenty of room to manoeuvre and easily pulled on after a swim. Reassuringly comfortable and proudly made in the UK. An updated favourite hoodie in soft, double sided, mid-weight Italian cotton towelling. Every detail has been considered, especially with the new addition of a stretch panel on the sleeve and side body. Long sleeves, handy side pockets and stepped hem.

Why we love it: Outdoor swimming is rarely stylish so any opportunity to add something with a bit more elegance to our kit bag is always welcome. We love the colours and designs at So English. With a nostalgic nod these towelling pieces are both practical and beautiful. We loved the Hampstead Hoodie for it’s simplicity as well as the bright orange detail and stretch panels. It is ideal to throw on over swimwear when wet, or as a hoodie top heading out to swim. At some point during our day at the beach, each of us wore the Hampstead Hoodie – male, female and one of the kids!

dryrobe Adapt


They say: Designed to be adaptable enough to keep any athlete warm and dry, dryrobe Adapt is a truly unique garment, featuring an upper and lower half that zip together to protect you from the elements. A detachable lower half allows the dryrobe Adapt to be worn as a ‘sleeping bag’ in colder climates, while the upper half can be used as a separate jacket on warmer days. The outer and inner linings are made with the same high-performance, 100% recycled fabrics, as the dryrobe Advance.

Why we love it: As a wheelchair user I have tried SO many changing robes but they either bunch up when I sit in my wheelchair or I end up damaging them by rubbing on the wheels. The dryrobe Adapt is full length and comes down to the ankles, which is great because it means it covers all of you – legs included. It unzips in the middle meaning you can use it in multiple ways. The top part is an ideal length for a coat in a wheelchair, the bottom part can be used to keep the legs warm and protected from the wind. You can easily tighten the sleeves meaning you can self-propel your chair without them getting in the way. All the zips have long tags so they’re easy to use even with limited dexterity. (Words by Sophie Etheridge)

PICKLE Wave Sweatshirt


They say: Our unique wave print sweatshirt inspired by the waves of Folkestone. This sweatshirt is super soft and perfect to match your little one. This shape drops over the shoulder and is slightly shorter than our unisex wave sweatshirt. For a straighter fit go to our unisex wave sweatshirt. Printed in Leicester and made in Nottingham.

Why we love it: Mum of four, Claire, started out making bodysuits for little ones in 2016 and has started making clothes for grown ups, too. We love this wave print sweatshirt, inspired by the seascape at Folkestone, which you can twin with the baby or kids sweaters. Made with super soft cotton, it’s lightweight but so cosy and warm – a lovely soft layer to pull on after a dip. The women’s version has a boxy fit with dropped shoulders, or you can try the unisex if you prefer a more standard crewneck shape.

CRAGHOPPERS Women’s Kiwi Pro II Trousers


They say: It’s easy to see why Kiwi Pro Trousers are so popular with serious hikers all over the world. The sun-protective, anti-insect construction is complemented by a flattering fit for superb day-long comfort and performance in the active outdoors. If you’re looking for agile outdoor trousers for year-round adventures, your search stops here. (UK Size 8-24).

Why we love it: Trousers when you have a bit of a tummy or big hips are hard to find. Either too big around waist and tight on hips, or you can’t even get them on. These were a dream fit and so comfortable. They didn’t fall down while hiking, they were light and had just the right level of stretch. The water repellent finish meant we were kept dry on a wet day on the hills and the fact they are made from recycled materials is always encouraging!

ALPKIT Fortitude Hillwalking waterproof Jacket


They say: Fortitude is a classic, all-weather hillwalking waterproof. Hardshell protection for horizontal squalls, driving winds and so-hard-it’s-raining-upwards downpours. It’s got a longer cut to keep more of you dry and a regular fit to give plenty of room for layers on colder days. Fortitude is for those dawn to dusk days on the hill.

Why we love it: This is designed with a generous fit, so even though we were at the top of the size chart, it still fit and there was room for a warm layer underneath. It is light but also brilliant in wind and especially, in the rain. They boast it is highly waterproof and they were not wrong. We also loved the length of the jacket that actually went over the hips, the chest pocket which is perfect for an OS map and a decent hood.

OSPREY Sportlite 25 Extended Fit


They say: Confidently step out on the trail with the Sportlite 25 EF, one of our most minimalist technical day packs. Carry all of your essentials with the convenience of panel-loading design and simple, clean internal organisation. While this pack may look minimal, it’s not so stripped down that it’ll sacrifice comfort. An AirScape back panel and suspension system moves with you dynamically with a broadened fit range that stays stable and ventilated. (Designed to fit up to 70-inch hips)

Why we love it: In simple terms the extended hip belt and shoulder straps is the biggest winner with this pack. The fact that it can fit and distribute the weight of the pack correctly makes such a huge difference. Having hip-belt pockets that are actually accessible is also a game changer.

DEAKIN & BLUE Body Happy Suit Violet & Rose


They say: Our best-selling and award-winning Signature Swimsuit with a brand new joyful look. In bright and beautiful Violet & Rose, this is a perfect swimsuit for your weekly swim and holiday fun. Made to make you feel happy with built-in bust support, a sweetheart neckline and show-stopping contrasting colours. £15 from the sale of every Body Happy Suit will go to our friends at Body Happy Org who promote positive body image in young children. (UK 10-24).

Why we love it: The signature suit from Deakin & Blue has always been a suit that looks great as well as brilliant for some proper swimming. This new twist with thick fabric across all panels is even better. From the minute we put it on, we had to head to the water and every time we do in this suit, we turn heads!

Last updated May 2024. All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Click here to subscribe to the magazine. Read more Outdoor Swimmer gear reviews.

Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.