Recommended Products



  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Anyone ever use one of those "stationary swimmer" belts? The kind where you connect the end to the ladder or the lane line, and then you can swim in place?

    I may be left with only a very small pool to swim in soon. Would be very interested in any recommendations you guys have.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    IronMike said:

    Anyone ever use one of those "stationary swimmer" belts? The kind where you connect the end to the ladder or the lane line, and then you can swim in place?

    I may be left with only a very small pool to swim in soon. Would be very interested in any recommendations you guys have.

    Fast Eddie, a South Ender who is also an airline pilot used one while training for his successful EC crossing. Not sure of the brand/model though.

    IronMike - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • Does anyone have a recommendation for an acceptable budget 2-way VHF or UHF radio set? Budget is €100 max. (UK & Ire obv.) for swim organisation/safety? I don't know anything about them, so I'm guessing criteria such as range and water resistance (since they would be used on kayak or boat).

    Should I get a decent 2 piece set and hope to extend the set in future to more units (I assume they all share channels), or would it be possible to get a three (or four) unit set for the budget? Are budget units a waste of money? Do I get VHF or UHF or mixed?

    This is the first 2 unit set I looked at on AmazonUK which maxes the budget, and seems to have decent reviews.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited July 2014
    Donal looks good. brochure

    They talk about licence free but be sure to check with the local authorities if that's really the case with that send power and frequency. - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • BrendanBrendan Portland, ORMember
    Ive had the Suuntos Ambit2 S for about two months and I can say with complete honesty that I don't think ill ever buy another sport watch again. Its as close to perfect as I can imagine. The build quality is great, its decent enough looking that I don't feel ridiculous wearing it outside of the pool, and the app market is incredible.

    As for it usage, its accurate for counting laps in a pool using whatever accelerometer it has. I usually lose or gain 25 meters over the course of a 10k which is well within what i consider acceptable(and pretty easy to figure out). The GPS is pretty great and will automatically update Strava which is what was using to track my work outs. The battery life is 8 hours using the GPS at its most accurate(recording every second) which isn't ideal for some of the swims many of you go on, but luckily its adjustable.

    It saves your workouts and will allow you to scroll through them and look at a hundreds of different metrics that you can choose from. Also the app maker is pretty straight forward and the market is completely free. You can download apps from how many beers worth of calories you have burned to when the sunset will be or using the barometer to tell if there is a storm coming. Its really quite incredible.

    I wish i could think of something bad to say about this watch to give this review a bit more of a balanced feel, but other than it taking a bit of getting used to to swim with a watch, i have nothing negative to say. Im extremely happy with my purchase.
  • I just came across this DIY custom earplug set on Amazon, having no idea it was a thing. Custom-moulded earplugs cost about €100 here in Ireland. This DIY option seems like a great alternative between cheap and effective but easily lost silicone and expensive custom ear plugs.
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    @loneswimmer what are some of the benefits of earplugs? Do they inhibit hearing (listening for boat traffic or communicating with support people)? I seem to recall earplugs as helpful/necessary for cold water swimming, which I don't have much experience with.
  • @Spacemanspiff
    I need to wear earplugs for protection from ear infections. Both of my eardrums are perforated and I can get an infection in just minutes with unprotected ears. I have seen the DIY sets here in the US but I get the custom molds from my audiologist for $100 each. I have a wonderful, caring audiologist who will keep sending them back until they are perfect. She even worked with manufacturer to figure out a way to make them cover more of the lobe to keep water from coming in on flip turns. As bad as my ears are, it is money well spent.

    I have no functional hearing in one ear and significant hearing loss in the other that requires an aid. They make waterproof hearing aids but then I would lose my protection. I don't hear well without plugs so when they are in I hear almost nothing. I prefer not hearing anything while swimming anyway. It is much more peaceful. It can be difficult at times communicating with a crew or kayaker on long swims but not a big issue if addressed ahead of time.

    If you have made it this long without using plugs and the wonder drops "Ciprodex", consider yourself lucky.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited August 2014
    @Spacemanspff, they are essential for cold water swimming. Since the water is cold to cool here most of the time, I wear ear plugs about 50 weeks of the year. Regular exposure of the ear canal to cold over years, whether water or wind, causes exostosis (aka Surfer's Ear or Farmer's Ear), in which the bones surrounding the ear grow and hearing is lost. The only solution is painful ear surgery. The other solution is just to wear plugs all the time, which work perfectly. Silicone plugs do compromise hearing but not as much as you'd expect, you can still hear people talking to you or boat engines etc.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember

    @loneswimmer what are some of the benefits of earplugs? Do they inhibit hearing (listening for boat traffic or communicating with support people)? I seem to recall earplugs as helpful/necessary for cold water swimming, which I don't have much experience with.

    Reading up on Surfer's Ear was enough to convert me to ear plugs.

    I use the vented Doc's which were recommended to me by another swimmer. Buy one of the combo packs initially to figure out the correct size.

    They do inhibit hearing, but less so than the silicone putty style in my experience. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • I have a large face (I'm a large guy...) and I find swimming goggles ultimately leak around the seal. I used the Aquasphere Kaiman goggles for years whilst always trying on other manufacturers' goggles etc.. and nothing seems to be XL. Bigger lenses, yes, but not a bigger face/seal area. I even tried the Aquasphere Seal mask but again big lens, normal size seal area.

    Anyone with the same issue with advice? Thanks.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    Just a heads up to folk in the US who might be looking at a Fenix 2, you will be able to get them at a $100 discount from REI during their labor day sale (August 22nd-Sept 1) - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    I can highly recommend the Aqua Sphere Stationary Swimmer.

    I'm stuck to a 12m x 3m pool for two years, yet I want to do some long OW swims. Answer? This stationary swimmer set-up.

    Longer review to follow in a few days on my blog. Suffice it to say, I've attached it to the skimmer basket hole on one side of my pool, and the other ends to my ankles, and swim away happy as a clam (see what I did there). No problem with rubbing on my ankles/feet. And it is kind of fun to speed up (intervals!) and then feel the cords pull me back.

    So happy to be swimming again!

  • ttriventtriven Member

    That is pretty resourceful IronMike! I bought an ice compression thingie for my shoulder recently, and I like it. Icing does seem to help my shoulder, despite the current research (i didn't read the study, just the media coverage which said icing could be bad, but it seems to be a study of acute injury, not old age chronic shoulder injury). I haven't mastered the art of putting it on perfectly, so the compression is not quite there unless someone helps me, but it does allow me to put ice on and walk around or do stuff, which is a plus. I like ice better than those cold pack things, so I like this. You can use the ice bag separately if you want to use it somewhere besides your shoulder. It wasn't cheap at $59.99, but it's cheaper than renting one of those high end shoulder compression things. They sell them for other parts of the body too.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 12

    Cigarette-lighter powered mini-kettle - great for heating warm feeds on a boat lacking a stove.

    Buy on Amazon

    thanks for the tip, @david_barra


  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member

    Oh wow I want one of these!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WAMember

    That would've been nice when the camp stove died and the ship's stove caught fire...


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    OK, look through all three pages and did not see this yet, so here goes.

    Highly recommend the ISHOF SaferSwimmer dry bag.

    I used this bag on two recent trips to Issyk Kul (here in Kyrgyzstan) and to island Brac in Croatia. Put about 30-35K on it in both fresh and salt water. No apparently wearing of the straps or rubber of the bag.

    Put a huge amount of crap in it. For one swim (7+km) I had a pair of running shoes, shorts, t-shirt, cell phone, money, watch and socks in it. It was tight, but I was still able to flip over the opening the requisite number of times (4) and barely felt it following me through the water. (N.B., I bought the large bag.)

    Additionally, I am able to state confidently that the bag is very visible in both stormy weather (blog post to follow on this) as well as good. The bag is very visible pretty far out, too.

    Two thumbs up!

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    Just saw this online. If you buy a Spot Gen3 between now and 14 Sept for at least $149.95, you can get a rebate for 50% of the price. You can request the rebate (request must be postmarked) up to 30 Oct.

    Info here (link is a pdf)

  • andissandiss Member

    Orca jammers - best buy to date. Other 2 is my Swedes and Puttys for earplugs

    There are some horrible earplugs out there

  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member

    Best goggles ever Blue 70 Elements Inexpensive, no frills and super comfy without that whole facemask thing that seems popular with the kids these days. I put them on dry and went 23.5 hours without one single adjustment. I used B-70 Sirens for a few years, but their lower profile required that I trim my eyelashes... Yes, I have that problem. Don't hate me.


    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    Alright @david_barra, I'm trying those goggles out. I bought mine from SwimOutlet as I had a bunch of other things I needed, and the free shipping for $49 or more won out over the $10 shipping from B70 themselves or the $7.95 shipping from

    This'll be hard for me as I've been "sold" on Speedo hydroplex googles for years. But, I'm always looking out for an alternative for the day when, inevitably, Murphy will rear his ugly head and Speedo will stop making the hydroplexes.

  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member image A really good massage unit to work out the kinks in between ART sessions.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited September 24

    I've written a review on the range of products but I'm going to recommend the Chillswim Tow Donut as an ideal combination of visibility and storage and useful support for long open water training swims. I can't link directly to the Chill Swim shop due to their site architecture.

  • Here's my review of the new Swimovate Poolmate2 lap counting watch, which now has added open water features.

    Bottom line, it's a good improvement, and the solution to tracking distance, while kludgey, works pretty well, and makes it good value for money.

    @evmo, can you put in the MSF referrer links as usual?

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Thanks Donal!

    photo & amazon links:

    Buy on Amazon | Amazon UK

    Note: If you enter Amazon through this website, and you buy anything, MSF gets a small commission. This is our main source of revenue to offset the costs of running this site.

    Most people buying at Amazon do not enter via a referring website. Thus Amazon builds an extra 1-3% into the prices to all buyers to compensate for the commissions given to the minority that come through referring sites. Whether you buy at Amazon directly or enter via this site, your prices don’t change.

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