Unusual gear

emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member
edited October 2013 in General Discussion
I'm working on a story about the things we take along on marathon swims, and I'm curious to know what's in your box of gear as you board the boat? What's the most unusual, superstitious, remarkable, or otherwise vital piece of equipment you tote along for a marathon swim? Is there an item that you simply cannot fathom doing a swim without? For me, it's Mr. Bear and lots of zinc oxide.

Stop me if you've heard this one...
A grasshopper walks into a bar...



  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Kinda lame, but I need a bottle of defizzed Pepsi Max at the end.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Infant liquid advil
    The rock from my Catalina finish (my first channel)
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I went and looked in my box, just in case. All pretty normal. Only one rubber duck.


  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    @ssthomas brought up some memories.

    MUST have desitin and infant liquid advil or ibuprofin, one serving each in two 12oz bottles of Crystal Light (any flavor except red).

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    edited October 2013
    Desitin, vitamin I, Carbopro (all normal), plus I try to always bring my sons giant rubber duckie and of course a beer if I finish the swim.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Oh, yeh, I guess I need to add carrots to my list. After this summer, I'll never do a swim without them!
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    I bring an Ultimate Warrior wrestling figurine from the mid-80s - it's a reminder to always bring the INTENSITY! The Warrior was the mascot for our local club team growing up - brings back fond memories of 'Master of Puppets' blasting in the locker room...

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • I used an old beach towel the whole season that my roomie from Distance Week in Cork gave. It now has a hole in it but it means the world to me. I took it with me when I attempted the EC. I also attached a Paddington key ring from my daughter to my feed bottle. I took symbols which I treasure like a Tough Mudder finisher's head band that a crew member wore. They also wore medals I got or bib numbers from races that were really hard to finish. It helped me, but not enough to get a across completely. Now, I find that the very things I wore (lights goggles and bathers) mean much more to me now and I cherish them.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Titanium spork.
    Wahl clipper to trim my eyelashes so they don’t rub my goggles.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • a full strength COKE, and enough money for a burger and fries where ever I am.
  • For Catalina, there is quite the superstitious rabbit leg doing the rounds - I don't recall the whole story, but there is even a lengthy essay accompanying it.

    If we include swim support in this discussion, the "box of gear" might generate a few pages, but one that is pretty unusual for me with sit-on-top kayaking through years of trial and error, is cycling leg warmers. I might look silly, but they keep me warm after 15 hours of wind on wet legs from the more splashy swimmers (trust me, hypothermia is not for swimmers only). I use oversized shorts for support (accurate bio breaks) and the leg warmers ensure heat retention without losing "functionality". Limitations of a continuous wet suit or long pants require a stop for bio breaks, or I suppose being very comfortable with your ... self (if you are in a wetsuit). This way I am always by the swimmer's side without skipping a beat.

    This technique has not been certified for lady kayakers yet - patent pending :-).
  • Pop Tarts before every big swim.
    I don't even like them any more, but I ate one before a couple big training swims and my first open water races with no issues.

    Brought them along on my first 5K and 10K. Now it just seems like good karma before intimidating swims. Not broke, don't fix.
  • Sorta...glow sticks. It is more just that I haven't taken them out and secretely don't want to. I had them for a 5K fun run at night and somehow the leftovers made it into my bag. I am planning on Catalina in the near future (one year after TBMS), so the glow sticks are still there because.....I need them...for Catalina....so I can't take them out? I think maybe they are just a nice reminder for me to keep working hard.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    Anyone looking for gear recommendations should check out photos of this guy in the Yukon River.


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

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    @malinaka - that was an awesome read. Thank you for sharing it

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