Things have gotten really quiet around here so I thought I'd fire up this for discussion. I ripped my bright yellow cap and so I had to get a couple new caps. I immediately ran into almost insurmountable issues. But somehow I persevered and have a couple caps being shipped to me. But let me explain the issues and we can mull over everything to do with caps.
Issue 1. Sporting goods stores in my area have just about everything but swim gear. They typically have some goggles and a kick board with a picture of a frog on it. So that sent me online thus saving gas and the environment.
Issue 2. Speedo only makes latex caps in useless colors. I like Speedo because they have supported swimming since I was a little kid. So I have a certain brand loyalty to them. I'm old school. But all they've got is black, pink and white with a flag or something. I got a black swim cap from US Masters when I signed up this year. Black just doesn't strike me as a high visibility color, so I think US Masters might be geared toward pool swimming a little more than open water swimming. So now I needed to stray from Speedo and see what I could find.
Issue 3. Both latex and silicone caps are available. I've never tried silicone. I've heard it doesn't stay on your head too well. Latex caps seem to work pretty well for me, so I've stuck with them. I think I found a Speedo silicone cap in orange, but I just didn't want to take the giant leap into silicone. So I kept searching.
Issue 4. Color selection for almost brand doesn't seem to focus on the high visibility colors. In the past I have tried bright green, bright orange and bright yellow. I think bright yellow might be the most visible, but I decided I wanted orange this time. It matches the colors of our kayaks and our gear. It's our team color so to speak. Go Orange!
Issue 5. There's a lot of choices and sketchy products on the internet in case you didn't know that. I finally found some online storefront that actually had orange Speedo latex caps in stock. At least that's what the internet claimed. They could be 5 year old, discontinued stock, but I wanted bright orange Speedo caps. So I ordered a couple and maybe I will get them. They'll probably say they were out of orange and ship me black ones instead...
Discussion items: Silicone or Latex? Best high vis color? Speedo vs Nike? Finis? (Ha!) How do you store your caps when you don't use them for a long time? My yellow one ripped because I had stored it hanging on a plastic hanger. Where it touched the hanger, the latex hardened and the cap just ripped apart when I tried to put it on. Weird. I don't wear a cap in the pool because it's too hot. Am I a heathen?
One last item. In my online searching I found a cap offered in camouflage. I decided that it probably was a bad choice.
Silicone, all the way!
It doesn’t pull my hair when I take it off, nor does it squeeze my head in a vice.
I get my caps from swim outlet dot com. I have zero brand loyalty, and go for colors.
I wear hi viz pink or orange in the lake, and whichever other one I grab out of my bag.
All caps get stuffed into the front pocket of my swim bag. Silicone doesn’t get hard. My current cap has been in use for over a year. Sure, you’ll pay more, but they last for a lot longer than latex.
Plus, some people have latex allergies, so silicone is best for them.
+1 for silicone always and forever! Swimoutlet.com has a wide variety in al colors of the rainbow. I really like the Sporti ones - cheap, durable, and they come in hilarious designs.
another +1 for silicone, though I do know a couple people who have them start to slide off during long swims. like goggles, i think this is an individual head shape and size/hair volume and texture thing and the only way to know if it works for you is to try it! personally i don't like the way the latex ones are prone to rip my hair out when i take them off.
i have a large collection of silicone caps that i've collected from events over the years, and many of them live in the bottom of my swim bag. over time if they're never dried out they will get some spots of mold, but they are otherwise very durable!
I like silicone for open water (it's a hair warmer than latex), and latex for pool swimming (silicone caps tend to slide up/off during flip turns).
But, you have to buy caps? I haven't paid money for a cap in years--they proliferate like bunnies.
Another silicone/swim outlet.com groupie here.
Silicone caps seem to vary in how much they slip though. The thicker ones, like the marathon swimmers federation caps have a red envy to slip on me, so I have to yank them down. But I don’t have much hair so maybe that’s the cause.
Silicone, definitely. My new favorite is the Speedo silicone elastomeric cap. It doesn't pull my hair, stays in place, and is durable. My open water cap color is a combo bright pink, blue, and orange. Very visible - my husband calls it my unicorns and rainbows cap. For the pool, I usually use whatever color I can find online.
For storage I spray some gold bond foot powder spray inside the cap to prevent sticking. No judging! It's what I've found works to prolong my cap life.
I am a fan of the SwimOutlet Sporti brand silicon caps
Silicon. They last forever and feel sturdier, so to speak. I just let them air dry (both sides) and then stuff them in the bag.
Yes, they tend to slip sometimes, but for me they seldom really come off my head.
My favourite one lately is a matt orange. Otherwise, bright pink (magenta, in fact).
The last one I bough was like 20 years ago. I get them from events, I have a box with dozens, I'll never have time to use them all.
Some friends buy from Funky Trunks/Funkyta. Designs are awesome.
I'm another advocate of silicone caps. I tend to accumulate them as UK swim event organisers readily hamd them out upon event registration. I find putting a bit of hair spray on prevents slippage.
As for colours, a recent study investigated what swim suit colours are most visible to the life guards on pool side. I'm wondering if the same study could be applied to Hat colours. All I know is that before now I've been taken way off course aiming for an orange buoy that turned out to be someone's orange hat! Prescription Goggles have helped me resolve this issue!!! 😜
Thanks for the hairspray tip!
I haven’t counted but I have a big box of swim caps accumulating, most from events. I would always keep the “special” ones unused until recently when I realised how silly that was. Now I’m using them!
Another vote for silicone, I’ve lost patience for caps breaking mid- swim and the silicone ones last way longer and don’t melt in my car if I forget and leave them in there during the summer.
I have to get the “long hair” type since my hair is really long. Normal ones usually either give me a headache or find their way off my head. I, too, am a Sporti silicone cap from swim outlet fan (they sell long hair caps). I’ve also had a few good caps from TYR and a few others from various events that have worked out well, in particular my SBCSA cap.
Never had an issue with silicone slipping. I vastly prefer them for not ripping as easily as latex. I use what ever brand the South End gets with their logo on.
http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
I guess I'm going to have to try silicone one of these days. Currently using one of my free latex caps while I wait for my bright orange latex caps to show up. But it sure seems like a lot of people like silicone.
This morning I thought more about cap color because I saw a guy swimming out a ways. He had no cap and was almost invisible. No buoy either. Normally I don't worry about that, but he was swimming more or less into the standard route of the local regular water skiers. He did seem pretty aware and was swimming heads up when the skiers entered the picture. These particular skiers are also conscientious and I saw them modify their course, so they must have seen him. But I thought it was a bit of an unnecessary risk to not have any visibility on the water.
Do any of you guys forgo caps and/or buoys when you swim open water? I do no cap in the pool, but when I'm swimming open water, the cap goes on. I use a buoy when I swim alone.
I always wear a cap. I skip the buoy when I'm in the ocean, because I'm afraid of it preventing me from diving under the waves, but I also don't swim in the ocean very much and when I do, it's in places where there aren't boats, (or I have a kayaker/escort boat).
I also don't use the buoy in my river (there's just paddlers and people floating on inner tubes, no power boats). Although, maybe I should, on account of the bridge jumping children that fall out of the sky. Those creatures are the most terrifying hazards of open water.
Water skiiers scare the poop out of me, as do jet skis and anyone else going faster than 5 mph. If I'm in a lake with fast boats and no kayaker, I bring the buoy and stay in water so shallow I can see the bottom, an arms-length or two from shore.
I don't feel that the buoy provides much visibility beyond that which is provided by a paddler wearing bright colors. I feel comfortable swimming next to a kayak even if there are speedy boats around. I think they kind of know to expect kayakers.
No cap in pool (short hair)
If I am swimming in open water in an area that restricts boat traffic I won't necessarily cap, but if there is any chance of boats/jet ski's etcetera I will always cap and try to swim in ways that minimize risk of unintended interactions e.g., next week I'll be swimming in a sound that has a lot of boat traffic, but will target an area that has crab pots since the high speed boats avoid that area.
I used to swim with the tow buoy a lot more, but it's kind of annoying so only use it if it is an area I am uncertain about the boat traffic, or want to improve visibility to someone on the shore (e.g., my wife who may be wondering where the heck I have gotten to).
http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
The only time I take my cap off in open water is when it's so hot that I need to do it to regulate body temp. Water down here gets SUPER warm this time of year. But, I then have to deal with getting hair all over the place, so must use many hair ties!
Another silicone fan, unless I am swimming in really warm water in which case I find that the latex caps hold a little less heat. I also love the Sporti caps for their fun graphics and colors. I've pretty much purchased them all from SwimOutlet.
I'm with CoS. MSF sells very hi-viz caps. Sure, they're in silicone, but silicone is way more comfortable. At least for me. And I've got (practically) no hair. (Yes, sometime I have to pull them down, but sometimes I just don't care; my goggles will keep it on.) I wear an MSF cap every swim, whether pool or OW. I also wear my MSF t-shirts everywhere. Someone actually asked me once if I "own the company" because of how often I'm wearing MSF gear. I told them no, but that "I'm the brand ambassador."
You've said so much in just two sentences.
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
Where does one obtain MSF caps and other swag?
Silicone caps all the way. They don't pull my hair and last as much as four years. They're warmer, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on where you're swimming. I'm not a fan of swim buoys and have rarely used them, since they tend to suck most of the enjoyment out of swimming. I nearly always swim with a kayak and avoid areas with boat traffic. I don't swim OW alone, so I'll just swim at the pool if I don't have a buddy or kayaker.
It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.
I totally understand the pros of swim caps, but I am like Snoopy having a collar put on him. I just can't do it. Doesn't matter the type or conditions, two seconds and I feel like my entire being is being strangled. I was forced to wear one for the NYC triathlon and it seriously hindered my performance because all I could think about was getting that damned thing off my head. LOL. I know it's a "me" thing, but I don't think I'll ever be any different. All the best!
I hear ya! We have men on our team who HATE them, and have resorted to using old baseball caps to protect their pates from the sun when we swim outside for Masters.
Is it possible that the caps make you feel like you're strangling in your head because they are too small? As in, you've got a "larger than the median/mean sized head for which big companies make caps"? If that's the case, maybe finding a larger one would help?
Ladies and Gentlemen. I'm very thrilled to try out my new Orange MSF Silicone swim cap! I haven't worn it yet, but that silicone feels really nice to the touch. This will be an exciting new step for me as I have been a latex wearer for quite some time. I also think that rocking' the MSF logo on that bright orange cap will help me go faster and longer in my swims next summer.
Speaking of which... Now I know precisely when summer is, because I also got one of the MSF calendars so I can mark the date! I have to say (even though I've already said it), the photography is excellent! I almost didn't notice that there were little squares with dates underneath the pictures. First paper calendar I've had since the Sea Gals gave me a personalized, autographed calendar many years ago. (That was a keeper too...)
I love my new orange MSF cap! It's a perfect fit with the right amount of stretchiness to stay on without squeezing my head. I love silicone caps, but some are too tight and don't stretch enough to be comfortable over time.
It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.