Ensuring that you have the essential items in your swim bag is just as important as having a properly stocked gym bag. Now every item mentioned will not be a must have depending on what your activities are. You may be participating in water aerobics and pack differently than if you wanted to go swim laps. I want to break the items into two groups: regulars & extras.
- A Swim Bag –
You want to have a bag solely for swimming. Using the same bag for different activities requires removing and restocking items. This will ensure that you will not arrive to your activity and find that you forgot something. Next, it is recommended that you choose a bag that is water resistant. Depending on your preference, you can choose any shape or size that you find appealing. You may want to make sure that it has extra pockets or zipper pockets to store other items in an organized manner.
- Inner Waterproof Bag –
If your swim bag does not come with a separate compartment for storing wet or dry clothes, then you are going to want to include a smaller waterproof bag. This could be something as simple as a larger ziplock bag. This way you can store your wet clothes in there without getting everything else inside wet and vice versa for your dry clothes.
- Swim Suit –
The suit you choose will all depend on your aqua activity. If you are an active lap swimmer, you may want a suit that is drag resistant. If you are participating in aqua classes such as water aerobics or aquacise, you will want a suit that you can move around comfortably in to ensure that you will get a good workout. You will also need to choose between a one piece or bikini for girls, or trunks or briefs. Above all, you want to make sure that you are comfortable in whatever suit you choose.
- Goggles –
Wearing goggles will help protect your eyes from the chlorine and will help you see where you are going. You can find goggles in different sizing to fit you face type. As with your swim suit, the style of goggle that you choose will depend on your aqua activities. Swimming outside may call for tinted goggles, while you may not need that inside. If you are participating in a family free swim, you may choose to wear a mask style goggle. Those swimming laps may choose to wear a small fit style.
- Swimming Cap –
If swimming in a pool with chlorine, swim caps will help protect your hair from the effects of the chemicals. Swim caps also help you tie up your hair so that it doesn’t get in your way during free swim or during those fat burning water classes. For those who swim competitively or are more of the lap swimmers, the caps help reduce drag to make your swim more efficient. They come in many different sizes and styles, so find one that suits you.
- Towel –
I figure that this is a no brainer, but how many times have you forgot your towel? Once again having a dedicated bag for swimming will help ensure that a towel will always be there for you. If you’re going to the pool or beach for fun with family and friends, you may want more of a beach towel; one that is nice and big that you can sit on as well as to use to dry off. If you are packing for laps or classes, you will need a towel to dry off after the swim or shower.
- Flip Flops –
You don’t want to be walking around a pool in your tennis shoes or work shoes. Getting the inside of your shoes wet is no fun. But you may also not want to walk around barefoot, especially in locker rooms and showers. This being said, be sure to pack a pair of flip flops. Try to get ones that have good grip at the bottom or slip resistant, important for being around the water. Plus they are easy to slip off in on between your classes or during your breaks from the laps.
- Shampoo & Shower Gel –
If you choose to take a shower after your aqua activity, be sure to pack your hair and body cleansers along with a washing utensil. The brand or type is up to you. Some will say use cleansers meant for the washing off pool chemicals and others would say that it isn’t necessary. I prefer to pack them in a ziplock bag which makes them easy to carry into the shower. There is nothing more annoying than getting to the shower after a swim and realizing that you don’t have your have your washing essentials.
- Change of Clothes –
Unless you plan to ride home in your wet swim suit, pack a change of clothes. You will need the clothes whether you plan to shower there or at home. You do not want to be sitting in a wet swim suit. The extra inner bag could house your change of clothes if you want to ensure that they stay dry from the other items in your bag. Once you take them out, throw your wet suit in there. And I stand corrected, the most annoying thing to forget to pack is your undies. Don’t want to go the rest of the day without those!
- Nose Clip –
These are up to your preference. We all know the feeling of getting water up the nose. Not fun. Depending on your breathing technique, you may or may not choose to use one.
- Anti-Fog Spray –
Nowadays, most goggles are made to be fog resistant. Choosing to throw this in your bag is up to you. Most competitive swimmers will use as a backup. If you’re an avid lap swimmer, you may want to throw some in there just in case.
- Flippers & Paddles –
Many use these to add a little boost to their swim. As a bonus, using them can help your technique. You’ll see the lap swimmers or those taking swim lessons using these. Check your facility’s policy on their use before you pack them. Also, be sure to choose a swim bag large enough to accommodate them.
- Waterproof Watch –
Once again this one is up to you. Lap swimmers will benefit the most from one. I prefer to have one because I don’t want to get my phone wet trying to check the time when I’m at the beach or pool. Yes they might leave a bit of a tan line if you are wearing it outside in the water. But it beats your phone getting water damage!
- Sunscreen –
Not necessarily an extra. Only made this list because you really only need it for outdoor water activities. It may also be on this list because this one really should be a no brainer. However, be sure that you choose a waterproof brand. Also the SPF should be adequate for the amount of time that you choose to stay in the sun.