Chilly water temperatures should not deter you from taking the plunge and enjoying a swim this winter. By equipping yourself with the right gear, you’ll be able to continue all year. Here’s our round-up of the best gear.

ROKA Maverick Pro Thermal Wetsuit

1. ROKA Maverick Pro Thermal Wetsuit
Arguably the most crucial piece of kit to maintain your body temperature, this top-end wetsuit is specifically designed for swimming in cold water. With a soft and warm thermal lining, it’s very cosy next to skin and has panels of varying thicknesses strategically placed around the body (it’s 5mm thick down the centre of the suit and on the legs, for instance, which also allows for added buoyancy), ensuring mobility and freedom of movement is largely unhindered. It’s unquestionably an investment piece, but should keep you warm in the most bracing of environments. £700, uk.roka.com

dhb Hydron Swim Booties 2.0

2. dhb Hydron Swim Booties 2.0
Even the most seasoned of cold-water swimmers are likely to cover their extremities, and these no-nonsense 3mm wetsuit booties, with non-slip sole, do the job nicely. £22, wiggle.co.uk

Zone3 Neoprene Buoyancy Shorts Originals 5/3mm

3. Zone3 Neoprene Buoyancy Shorts Originals 5/3mm
An alternative to a full wetsuit, these insulating swim shorts not only provide welcome extra buoyancy for the legs (with 3mm neoprene down the centre and 5mm down the sides of the shorts), but also help with hip rotation through each stroke. Skin tight, they are very supportive and sit securely in place, plus they’re made from Yamamoto rubber, which is widely regarded as the best neoprene available, and are made to last. £59, zone3.com

dhb Hydron Neoprene Swim Cap 2.0

4. dhb Hydron Neoprene Swim Cap 2.0
If front crawl is your preferred stroke, wearing a cap will help avoid ice-cream headaches and ensure your swim lasts more than a couple of minutes. It’s a simple piece of kit – this one is made from 3mm of neoprene and sits snugly around your head to keep cold water out. £20, wiggle.co.uk

ROKA R1 Goggles

5. ROKA R1 Goggles
Finding the perfect leak-proof goggles might involve a certain amount of trial and error – there is, of course, no one size fits all. Roka, a brand well-known among triathletes, has seemingly left no stone unturned in the development of its top-of-the-range R1 goggles, and the spec sheet is extensive: they’re anti-fog, anti-scratch, offer full protection from harmful UVA, UVB and UVC rays, and provide great visibility. We found there was no leaking when we put them to the test and they’re also comfortable to wear – so they may just do the job for you too. £35, uk.roka.com

TekraSport TekraPod

6. TekraSport TekraPod
Safety comes first when swimming in open water. This minimal and streamlined device easily straps onto your back, freeing up the arms for unhindered swimming. Should you find yourself in any trouble, simply pull the toggle and a CO2 canister will instantly inflate the emergency buoy. Attach the TekraLite LED strobe light if you’re swimming in low light for added visibility. €135, tekrasport.com

Garmin Forerunner 945 Watch

7. Garmin Forerunner 945 Watch
The Forerunner series is Garmin’s flagship multisports watch – updated almost every year since its inception some 18 years ago – and the 945 is its most recent release. Thanks to its accurate GPS, it will track the distance and route of open-water swims (and count lengths in an indoor pool), while automatically detecting stroke type. It also provides a host of other swimming-specific data, such as stroke rate and SWOLF (swimming efficiency). It has an integrated heart-rate monitor, which works while swimming, has a great battery of around 36 hours in full GPS mode, but is also lightweight at 49g. £489.99, buy.garmin.com

Zone3 Swim Safety Buoy & Dry Bag 28L

8. Zone3 Swim Safety Buoy & Dry Bag 28L
Strap this multipurpose inflatable dry bag around your waist and tow it behind you as you swim. Being both a bag and inflatable buoy (the design incorporates two integrated blow-up air chambers), it’s not only a great safety aid but stores your gear and valuables to keep them dry. It has really good visibility in open water, while also being low drag, and doubles as a flotation device that will support your weight should you need a break. £32.50, zone3.com

Red Original Long Sleeve Pro Change Robe

9. Red Original Long Sleeve Pro Change Robe
This waterproof and fleece-lined changing robe will get you warm after a bracing swim. Thanks to its generous size, there’s plenty of room to put your wetsuit on or off while wearing it, plus it has a waterproof pocket for valuables. Super-soft and cosy inside but with a robust outer layer, this is the perfect winter warmer in the foulest of weather. £144.95, redoriginal.com 

Crocs Classic All-Terrain Clogs

10. Crocs Classic All-Terrain Clogs
These adventure clogs have a chunky and grippy tread to get you safely to and from the water’s edge. They have a roomy fit and adjustable heel strap, so can accommodate booties and, of course, are easy to clean and quick to dry when you get home. £39.99, crocs.co.uk

Camelbak MultiBev SST Vacuum Stainless 500ml Bottle with 350ml Cup

11. Camelbak MultiBev SST Vacuum Stainless 500ml Bottle with 350ml Cup
This bottle is a double-wall vacuum insulated flask and insulated coffee cup rolled into one. The main flask will keep drinks hot for 14 hours and the cup for three hours – so it’s perfect for that post-swim cuppa. £49.99, camelbak.co.uk 

Aquapac 35L Lightweight Waterproof Backpack – Wet & Dry

12. Aquapac 35L Lightweight Waterproof Backpack – Wet & Dry
This lightweight roll-top rucksack is totally waterproof and will happily accommodate your wetsuit, quick-dry towel and a change of gear. The main compartment features an entirely self-contained (and detachable, if needed) internal second dry bag, so you can keep your wet swimming gear separate from anything dry. £79.99, aquapac.net

Red Original Quick Dry Microfibre Towel

13. Red Original Quick Dry Microfibre Towel
Nothing can beat a luxurious Egyptian cotton towel. However, reality is likely to dictate a more practical substitution in the outdoors: the microfibre towel. Despite being a generous size, it packs down incredibly small, is lightweight and highly absorbent, plus, as it’s antibacterial, you can get several uses out of it before it needs a wash, which is handy on a hiking trip. £24.95, redoriginal.com

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