Gear purchase for English Channel - What can be purchased in Dover?

nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
edited August 2016 in General Discussion
I am wondering about the volumes of gear; food items, clothing, etc. necessary to be provided for swimmer and crew - I have seen videos of swimmers on the dock with several plastic bins of equipment, and have read long lists from professional sources of necessities, plus a list of my own which I am generating. How much of these can be purchased in Dover? I am beginning to think that I need to ship a crate to my innkeepers in advance of some of the larger bulkier items - of clothing, or blankets, etc - advice from members will be appreciated!


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited April 2012
    Short answer is not a lot without some planning. Emma France will sell you Maxim at a good price if you email her and order it from her in time & collect it from her at Swimmer's beach on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Otherwise you probably won't find it in Dover, Folkestone or Canterbury.

    Channel grease is available at Varne Ridge Park in Capel le Ferne, half way between Dover & Folkestone. It used to be available in Boots in Dover but no longer. If you are staying in Varne Ridge, David & Evelyn have almost everything (non-consumable) that you need, blankets, feed poles and reels, whiteboards, flasks. Electronic lights can be bought from Michelle also on the beach at weekends. I have no idea if Peter in Hubert House provides anything.

  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    Thanks Loneswimmer. I will be staying at Varne Ridge so I am glad to know that some of the feeding apparatus and other items will be available there - I will contact them directly as well about this - quite a bit of gear and it will be helpful to have advice on organizing it all.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    I will! I am grateful for the opportunity to stay there and meet them. I know that they will be enormously helpful.
  • you can pre book all your items required for the EC when you arrive in Dover from the channel swimming focus office at 3 waterloo terrace just behind the swimmers beach and it will be ready for your tide slot. They are opening their office early next year and this will be their first season helping swimmers so try and support them.
  • The service at 3 Waterloo Terrace is not associated in any way with operations conducted by any other organizations or individual, the service is intended to be professional commercial service by and for swimmers from a swimmers perspective.
  • @doversoul maybe you would benefit from starting your own thread to advertise the service.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    @gnome4766, I asked @doversoul to clarify this service. The forum tries to be spam free. Of course, some things which are allowed such as swims have a cost so we can't be 100%. In the case of a commercial service such as this we don't allow specific threads for people to advertise themselves though I'd encourage @doversoul to interact with the forum members as the best way to advertise expertise and benefit for swimmers in Dover.

  • I see @loneswimmer sensible rules.
  • Gear/Clothes: I brought a few towels and a few layers of clothes for the swim...I ended in the daytime and had lovely sun on my back, so I didn't need to bundle up after my swim, but everybody is different. Whatever you need right now to warm yourself after a long swim should be a couple extra items just in case. There are clotheslines at the Varne (the best place to stay!!!), so you can dry your stuff while you're waiting. I also hit up B&Q which is like a UK version of Home Depot for the feeding reel, a few crates, and some other supplies. I highly recommend the lights sold on Dover beach...I've used them for other swims and they've held up fabulously.

    For the extra layers that may not fit into a suitcase: There's a store called Primark in can buy blankets, fuzzy socks, bathrobes and such very cheaply. They're also pretty disposable, so you won't feel too bad if you need to leave them behind.

    Food: I bought most of my food in Folkestone... there's a few large grocery stores for your water + food + crew food. It's close to VR.

    Make sure you bring your must-have feed foods from home - some items are not available in UK, but check with the group first if you aren't sure. In your rental, you may find that the people before you have left behind a few supplies such as tea, milk, sugar, and etc. (What else could one need?) You'll have all the cooking utensils and appliances you need to make your own meals, which comes in handy when you're looking to eat a ton of food. :)

    And bring sandals/crocs for Dover beach. :)
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited January 2014
    jgal wrote:
    And bring crocs for Dover beach. :)

    Egad! ...the death of fashion

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • JimBoucherJimBoucher Senior Member
    jgal - I'm sure Dover Town Council will claim they are a bit more civilised than your post suggests. They even have food shops in Dover, definitely clothes too and on occasions electricity, phone and wifi! But your point is well made, there are plenty of places to get the stuff you need and a few well placed emails on the established chat groups will help the furthest-flung swimmer to be up and ready soon after arrival.
  • LouisMLouisM Dublin, IrelandMember

    There really wasn't much to buy when I was there last year. I would try to bring as much as you can. That being said, if you have a car you could get a few bits and pieces in nearby towns/ Dover itself is just a port, there isn't an awful lot else going on.

  • LouisMLouisM Dublin, IrelandMember

    Mind you, I was only there for 36 hours or so

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited February 2018

    How much do you really need? Having taken two plastic boxes on the boat for EC, all carefully packed and labelled, I then discovered that I could manage with so much less, the result of having to pare it down to fit my entire kit, together with my clothes and stuff, in my luggage to fly to Zurich. I then did the same to L.A. for Catalina. The only things I bought extra were Desitin and pain meds. You could use trek towels, which weigh very little and take up less space.... and pack things like socks, lights and gels inside drinks bottles. I also took net bags for kit on the boat and to keep feeds in. Feed was a single tub of UCan, so that was easy to fit in. I was amazed at how little I actually needed.
    Buy crew food at the local supermarket, keeping it in one of their tough carriers. Take a few bungee cords to attach them to the boat rails.
    The one thing which is useful for EC which wasn't needed for warmer swims is a large pump flask, (3 or 5 litres) for keeping topped up with boiling water for crew drinks and swimmer feeds.

    I've just realised how old this thread is!

  • I know what you CAN'T buy... an EC Crossing!
    It's "priceless"... :)

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