Recommended Products



  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    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 FranciscoCharter Member

    @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

  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember
    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 FranciscoCharter Member
    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 Arlington, VACharter 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!


    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • ttriventtriven Senior 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 2015

    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, WASenior Member

    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 Arlington, VACharter 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!


    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter 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)

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • andissandiss Senior 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 NYCharter 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 Arlington, VACharter 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.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

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

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited September 2015

    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.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2016

    I've tried a lot of different ear plug varieties..... From the maleable wax (roll 'em up and stick em in) to custom moulded rubber slugs.

    My preferred style is the finned silicon variety. A simple concept that is comfortable for long stretches.

    Swim Ears has improved upon this design!

    Swim Ears come with enough fittings to size them perfectly. I followed my goggle strap philosophy here: AS LOOSE AS ABLE TO FUNCTION PROPERLY......( No reason to be uncomfortable.) and tried the small size fins for a long pool session. They sealed well, for a normal workout, but off the blocks, I got a bit of leakage in one ear. I went to the medium fins, and tried again.... That did the trick.

    I appreciate the benefits of wearing ear plugs most in cold water. Swim Ears are easy to remove; even with frozen fingers that can't operate a zipper. Nice not to have to ask for assistance with that.

    Swim Ears are also designed to minimize acoustic loss. Indeed, I didn't experience the impairment levels common to ear plug use, and could carry on a conversation without yelling (any more than usual).


    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Smokin' deal alert, in case any of you guys are in the market for these TYR tech jammers:

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

  • So after reading @david_barra description of swimears, I decided to order a pair. When I got to the online checkout I saw that shipping was almost half the price of the ear plugs themselves so I abandoned. Overnight I received an email from them with a discount code which effectively meant the shipping would be for free. So I completed the order! Great customer service.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Water-activated LED glow sticks!


    I haven't used them (didn't even know they existed until recently), but it seems like a more eco-friendly, reusable alternative to the disposable chemical ones.

    Amazon carries one rated for 500 hours ($9.99), and also has a 4-pack rated for 300 hrs each ($21.99).

    Bummer they only come in flashing mode... I think solid is better for most night swimming use-cases.

    Personally I use the Road ID green LED light... but I know others prefer glowsticks.

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member

    @evmo like you we use a light similar to the Road ID above with a pair on the goggle and on the bathers for swims that start or finish in the dark. Note to those doing the EC- we noticed this year that there seemed to be a move away from the green lights to the white lights as a preference with some of the pilots. It may pay for people doing the EC to check with their individual pilots before purchasing .

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    edited March 2016

    @paulm This is the second difference I've found between EC and CC common practices with lights.

    1. EC pilots like the Road ID type lights on blink mode, whereas CC pilots want them on solid, and I agree from my experience. In choppy conditions it's amazing how long a blinking light can disappear with the timing of the off-blink and chop/wave blocking the on-blink, especially with increased distance...which is really the more important need!

    2. White light color is the least visible from a distance (more blinding up close to all support crew!) and gets more washed out with choppy white wash, and literally invisible in fog! I've found that green, red and blue are the most visible colors in all conditions and reflect more noticeably on the water surface. Not yellow or white. And, need I say a new/newer battery is a must! I've too often seen (and I've done it myself) use of training lights with worn batteries and dulled light! Splurge on a multipack of extra batts!

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    It's official!! I'm the first U.S. owner of a Swimboat!! Here she is on her maiden voyage in my swimming pool Tuesday night:

    Swim Boat (SCK)

    Prior to finding this gem in the back of H2Open magazine from my SCAR swag bag, I had been working on my own prototype "sled" (re-purposed surf board). This was fairly expensive by comparison (especially with the shipping from the UK) but so far it seems well worth the investment. This thing is amazing. It was built by an actual shipwright and the benefits are immediately apparent. This thing glides across the water like it's levitating. One gentle finger flick is all it took to send it across my pool (40 feet) with enough speed that my son had to stop it from hitting the wall. And it tracks so straight you'd think its on rails. I can't wait to test it out loaded down with gear.

    My mind is overflowing with creative applications.

    But first, I need a good pirate ship name to paint on the back...


    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    @spacemanspiff That's cooler than the other side of the pillow. Please give us a review once you've played with it for a while -- "Black Pearl" or is that too obvious

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    I wrote a review for some string:


    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member


    That looks awesome! I have done half a dozen 15-20k unsupported river swims but with this in tow I think it opens up the possibility of longer swims. There are a couple of 35k swims I wanted to do this year but couldn't sort out the logistics but thinking this might sort it out. :-)

    Let me know how it handles?

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    phodgeszoho said: @Spacemanspiff

    That looks awesome! I have done half a dozen 15-20k unsupported river swims but with this in tow I think it opens up the possibility of longer swims. There are a couple of 35k swims I wanted to do this year but couldn't sort out the logistics but thinking this might sort it out. :-)

    Let me know how it handles?

    It performs even better than expected. I've replaced the stock tether with one of those rubber tubes used to swim in place. I've loaded it down with 30-35 lbs of gear and towed into the wind, cross wind, choppy and smooth. It is barely even noticeable. It is FAR superior to SUP or kayak.

    I'm working on a solar panel the deck.

    I'd like to do some multi-day (or week?) long unsupported swims. Noodling on some ideas.


    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Spacemanspiff said:

    I'm working on a solar panel the deck.

    I'd like to do some multi-day (or week?) long unsupported swims. Noodling on some ideas.

    LOVE THIS!!! The Key-Master unlocking the possibilities! \m/

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