Swim Box

My swim box is slightly infamous.

When surfing I used to keep my wetsuit and gear in a plastic crate, like a child’s toy crate. With swimming I was using one even more. At the Guillamenes, the car park is at the top of the cliff, and I preferred to change as soon as I got out of the water.

A few years ago, I had occasional problems at the Guillamenes, when I would return from a swim people had might interfered with my stuff, maybe taking my clothes and towel out and throwing them around or hiding them.  It was somewhat understandable. The people who were there when I got in the water were rarely then when I finished. They would come and go, and sometimes all they would see was a box of clothes with no-one around or in the water. Most people look no further than 50 metres out. And if I was a mile away (or even much less) they’d never see me.

So I eventually decided to put a really embarrassing hyperbolic overwrought note on the box. I talked up the problem of hypothermia and safety, so people would leave my stuff alone.  And it worked.

More and more people realised the brown box belonged to some guy they rarely saw who was out swimming. At Clonea, I would leave it in the middle of the beach so I had somewhere for my drink on breaks. Ned made fun of it at Sandycove, saying it was embarrassing, but it was a problem he hadn’t had to deal with. Last year I added something about the Channel and a link for the website for charity donations for the RNLI. And people contacted me who knew the box, but had never met me. One bunch of guys starting swimming open water more regularly, just because of the box! So here it is, in all its brown plastic mundaneness.

The stuff in it when I took the photo:

  • Flip flops
  • Plastic bottle with vinegar. Vinegar written prominently all over the bottle in case I have brain freeze
  • At least two pairs of  goggles, light and dark
  • Two swim hats (I’m still double-hatting for now)
  • Spare togs and spare (horrible) microfibre towel
  • Channel grease and vaseline
  • Wet wipes
  • Germolene in case of cuts
  • Waterproof Suntan lotion (high factor)
  • Heat blanket (in case of emergency)
  • Swimming night-light
  • Box of ear plugs
  • Bungee cord (to tow the box out to Sandycove Island)
  • Lid (to keep clothes dry)
  • Digital infrared thermometer
  • Car lock box (Keypod)


Plastic toy crates actually aren’t great. They break and crack and leak.  I went through three or four before I found this “unbreakable” box and lid. Round corners and edges on the box help as you throw it down on rocks and concrete and it stays afloat when towing it. Get a higher deeper box that you think you need.

Oops: missing is a small rubber car mat I bought for €2. It was covered in little rubber nubbins on one side that I quickly sliced off. It’s used mainly in winter to give me something to change on. Once this year I forgot to put it back n the box while I was out swimming. It froze to the ground in 15 minutes.


11 thoughts on “Swim Box

  1. Pingback: An ordinary early Irish summer’s swim | LoneSwimmer

  2. how well does the thermometer work, is it one for measuring temp in the ear, I’m interested in trying to see what symptoms I get at what temperature to try and build up my own warning signs


    • The infrared ones I’ve used seem to vary. Reliability hasn’t been great. One model was highly accurate, a replacement model seemingly identical was terrible. They aren’t suitable for body temperature measurement I think.


      • thanks I bought a low reading one you can use in your mouth but when it claimed I was 28 degrees after only 17 mins in 10 degrees I didn’t believe it, I wondered whether my mouth might have been colder than the rest of me via local cold water effects, it then said I was 32 degrees after getting changed at which point I was starting to get some big shivers that were hard to suppress


  3. i just made a bucket with small plastic bottles taped around, for feeds
    we tried it with eddie at inniscarra and it was working
    i had to drink 8 bottles of the most horrible strawberry dink to get the bottles ( ijust cant waste anything i paid for) but it worthed it
    torture bucket- just reminded us how much more difficult is it to drink in the water, specially in fresh water


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