Having coached thousands of individuals preparing for open water swims and triathlons, I understand the significance of the right gear. In this guide, I’ll walk you through seven essential products that guarantee a safe and comfortable experience.

Through years of hands-on experience, I’ve learned the crucial role that gear plays in open water swimming. From wetsuits designed for fluid movement to specialized caps and earplugs, each item has been carefully selected based on real-world feedback and proven results.

I want to assure you that the products I recommend are ones I stand by. Whether you’re a seasoned open water enthusiast or a triathlete eager to excel in open water conditions, this guide provides a practical overview of the gear you need for a confident and successful swim.

Before we dive into these recommended products, I want to be transparent with you. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a commission or receive compensation. This comes at no additional cost to you, and it helps support the content creation and maintenance of this website. Rest assured, my recommendations are based on my genuine belief in the quality and value of these products, all of which I stand by. Your trust is important to me, and I’m committed to providing you with honest and helpful information.

1. Synergy Wetsuit: Optimal Mobility and Core Warmth

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When it comes to wetsuits, I trust Synergy. Their reputation for quality and longevity is unparalleled. I’ve personally used Synergy wetsuits for years, not just in open water settings, but also during countless coaching sessions in indoor pools. Remarkably, my trusty Synergy wetsuit remains as intact and reliable as the day I first acquired it. This longevity is a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship and materials used in their construction.

Beyond durability, the Synergy wetsuit range, which includes options like the Quick John for both men and women, as well as the Long John tailored for men, strikes an impeccable balance between buoyancy and mobility. This careful equilibrium is crucial for maintaining optimal form and propulsion in the water.

One of the key design features that sets Synergy apart is the placement of arm openings. These are strategically positioned to provide a range of motion that’s virtually unrestricted. This means you’re able to maintain precise control over your strokes, whether you’re powering through a race or fine-tuning techniques with clients.

Additionally, the wetsuit’s core-warming properties are invaluable, especially in colder waters. This feature ensures you stay comfortable and maintain an optimal body temperature, even when faced with chilly conditions.

For men with denser leg musculature, the Long John variant offers the ideal level of buoyancy without impeding natural movement. Conversely, the Short Legs variant, designed for women, delivers a streamlined feel without excess buoyancy.

With Synergy, you’re not just investing in a wetsuit; you’re investing in years of reliable performance, whether it’s in the invigorating expanse of open water or within the controlled environment of a pool. Now, let’s explore another absolute essential for every open water swim…

2. TYR Warm Wear Cap: Guard Your Heat, Breathe Easy

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The TYR Warm Wear Cap is a game-changer in open water swimming. Its significance cannot be overstated, as most heat loss occurs through the head. This cap eliminates the discomfort of a chin strap, allowing you to breathe freely in the face of cold water. It’s designed to be worn under a brightly colored latex or silicon cap, ensuring not only warmth but also visibility.

Next up, a crucial accessory to protect your ears…

3. Wax Earplugs: Seal the Deal for Comfort and Safety

Say goodbye to vertigo and discomfort with these wax earplugs. They not only prevent heat loss but also keep water from flushing in and out of your ear canal. This double-edged protection is essential for preventing infection and the calcification of your ear canal. A small investment for long-term ear health.

Now, let’s focus on vision and eye protection…

4. Quality Goggles: See and Be Seen in Style

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Don’t compromise on vision. Opt for polarized or UV-protected lenses to shield your eyes from the elements and sun. I recommend Magic 5 goggles for a custom fit tailored to your unique facial features. Your eyes deserve the best protection out in open water.

Moving on to a crucial aspect of sun safety…

5. Zinc-Based Sunscreen: Shield Your Skin from Sun and Water

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In the realm of sun protection, there’s one steadfast companion: Elta MD’s high-quality, zinc-based sunscreen. Its formidable shield stands guard against the sun’s relentless glare bouncing off the water’s surface.

Personally, I rely on Elta MD’s water-resistant formulations infused with their top-notch zinc-based sunscreen for my daily sun defense and especially for open water escapades. Moreover, Elta MD’s high-quality, zinc-based sunscreen leaves no harsh residue, especially their tinted variant.

While the spray option is available for convenience, I highly recommend the rub-on application for optimal protection. It ensures thorough coverage and lasting defense against the sun’s rays, making it the preferred choice for those who prioritize skin safety in open water environments. When it comes to safeguarding your skin, compromising on quality should never be an option. Choose Elta MD for unparalleled protection and peace of mind.

6. Body Glide: Defend Against Chafing, Swim Pain-Free

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Chafing can be a painful setback in long-distance open water swimming. Protect your neck, arm pits, and inner bicep muscle with Body Glide. This affordable solution ensures you stay comfortable and pain-free, whether you’re in a wetsuit or not.

Last but not least, a vital tool for visibility and safety…

7. Swim Buoy: Be Seen, Stay Safe

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While a swim buoy may not function as a flotation device, it plays a pivotal role in enhancing visibility during open water swims. This crucial piece of equipment ensures that both fellow swimmers and watercraft alike can readily identify your presence, significantly bolstering safety measures. What sets the New Wave Swim Buoy apart is its thoughtful design, which includes a pouch to store other items.

This feature allows you to securely store essential items without impeding your swim. It’s a dual-purpose tool that combines safety and practicality, making it an indispensable companion for any open water enthusiast.


SWIMVICE program thumbnail showcasing the cognitive benefits of swimming for a better brain.

Gear aside, technique is crucial when it comes to mastering open water swimming. Join my SWIMVICE program today, and let’s refine your skills for tackling the challenges of open water. Whether you’re an aspiring triathlete or a dedicated open water enthusiast, my wealth of experience will be your compass in achieving your aquatic goals.

In the domain of open water swimming, the fusion of comfort and safety is paramount. With these top 7 must-have products, you’re not just adequately equipped – you’re primed for success. As a fervent advocate of open water swimming, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative impact these essentials can have. Remember, it’s not just about the gear; it’s about how it empowers you to conquer the elements. So, gear up, and let every stroke be a testament to your unwavering dedication and unyielding resolve. Here’s to safe, exhilarating, and empowering open water swims!

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