Swimming Events Guide 2024
EXTRA,  February 2024,  GEAR,  Product Reviews

Safety gear for wild swimming

A waterproof first aid kit, durable safety lights that clip easily to a tow float, marine whistles and a waist pouch for keeping your valuables and medications dry while you swim: we review five items of safety gear for outdoor swimmers.

Read our guide to the best tow floats for wild swimming.

Puffin Swim Waterproof Waist Pouch


They say: The Puffin waterproof waist pouch for swimmers is ideal for storing your phone, keys, cards or cash at the lake, beach or river, whether surfing, swimming, canoeing or sunbathing. Use it in your drybag tow-float for extra waterproof security for your phone and other electronics. Use it to carry mandatory kit during your swimrun.

We say: How to carry your valuables when swimming is always a conundrum – solved quite neatly by a bum bag for swimmers. Strapped around the waist, this small waterproof bag is big enough for cash, keys, wallet and phone and doesn’t cause unnecessary drag or discomfort while swimming. It has three waterproof seals and a velcro closure. It can also be worn under a wetsuit. It could also be useful for paddleboarding and swimrun.

Overboard Waterproof First Aid Bag with Treatments


They say: Thanks to fully welded seams and our trusty Fold Seal System, this 100% waterproof first aid bag is suitable for quick submersion and even floats if dropped in water. It includes over 30 treatments for injuries typically sustained from water sports.

We say: Whether you are an outdoors professional or simply want to make sure you are able to look after yourself and your fellow swimmers, this is a great product to have with you on adventures. It comes with 30 First Aid treatments but has plenty of space to add more. A sturdy 3L drybag, with shoulder strap and belt loop, contains a nylon pouch of useful bandages, gauzes and dressings etc. The bag is small enough to fit in your kit bag or strap to a paddleboard. It will also fit in larger tow floats.

Swim Secure Expedition Lights


They say: The most durable safety light available on the market. The mini carabiner makes it easy to attach the light; it can be clipped to the loops on dry bags, and the rope on tow floats. The light is operated by twisting the domed lens, easy to do even with chilly fingers.

We say: These are our go-to lights for low light or night swimming. They are robust and useful in all conditions. Brilliant for clipping onto the back of goggle straps or swimsuits, they ensure swimmer visibility in challenging weather. They are also fun to stuff inside tow floats for glowing balloons on the water, but practically they are just essential for safe swimming. We clip them in trees to help us return to an entry point, too. They survive being submerged and thrown about in kit bags!

Restube Active


They say: Whether swimming or stand-up paddling, for training or in competition. Wear it stowed in the compact pocket to have your focus even more in the moment. Pull the trigger and the Restube buoy inflates within seconds. Restube active provides enough buoyancy (75N) for adults to lean over and lift their head out of the water. It is reusable by screwing in a new CO2 cartridge and easy to repack.

We say: A smart piece of kit that is super if you don’t want to carry stuff with you. The belted buoy doesn’t impact swimming, no more tangling with tow ropes or taming a float in the wind. It inflates super quickly and is very visible. Because of the replacement cartridges, this isn’t a friend of the environment, which is why we scored it a bit lower. But it’s great for events where tow floats are not allowed, but you want reassurance.

Swimcell Orange Emergency Whistle For Swimming (3-pack)


They say: A pack of three marine swimming whistles for survival. Weighing just 6g each you’ll hardly notice the whistle around your neck or attached to your gear. A super loud dual tone emergency whistle, reaching over 85 decibels. It floats and is easy to see.

We say: A whistle is often part of the compulsory kit in swimrun, for a good reason. If you need to attract attention fast, a shrill whistle is a good way to do it. That also makes them a useful piece of kit to take on swimming adventures. These simple whistles from Swimcell do the job. They’re loud, work when wet and are bright orange so easy to spot. With a lanyard and a clip, they’re unobtrusive either clipped to a costume or tied to your tow float.

Read our guide to the best tow Find all the gear you need for open water swimming, from adventure bags and swimming togs to tow floats and changing robes, at the Outdoor Swimming Shop. If you buy a product through a link on this page we may receive a commission.

Read our guide to the best tow floats for wild swimming.

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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.