Here’s How To Choose The Best Snorkeling Gear

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Here’s How To Choose The Best Snorkeling Gear

How to choose the Best Snorkeling Gear
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Snorkeling is undoubtedly one of the most exciting activities you can take part in while holidaying at the beach. Having the right type of snorkel set is crucial to ensuring a good time and safely, so here’s how to choose the best snorkeling gear.

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Here's how to choose the Best Snorkeling Gear for you. #travelclans
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The Mask

The snorkel mask I would say is the most important part of anyone’s snorkeling equipment and you do not want to price to be your main deciding factor. It is worth paying a little more in the long run.

The full-face snorkel mask is universally loved by beginners as it provides a panoramic view. Also, as the snorkel is integrated into the mask, you can breathe through your nose and not with your mouth with as with a traditional snorkel. The downside is that they can be bulky so would not be suited if you want to travel light.

Best Snorkeling Gear: Full-face Snorkel Mask #travelclans #snorkeling #snorkel

Take your time to see how it looks and feels. There should be enough space for your nose and around your eyes. Can you pinch your nose? If yes, that’s a good start

The best snorkel mask will seal nicely on your face without being too tight. To test the mask, put it on your face without the strap behind your head and inhale. This creates a seal on your face. Then, put down your hand. The mask should stay on your face thanks to the seal as long as you keep inhaling.

Now the test the strap. Place it on the back of your head and make sure it does not sit on your ears. If it does, it may hurt after a while so you’ll want to find another mask that fits better.

The best snorkel mask will seal nicely on your face without being too tight. To test the mask, put it on your face without the strap behind your head and inhale. This creates a seal on your face. Then, put down your hand. The mask should stay on your face thanks to the seal as long as you keep inhaling.

Now the test the strap. Place it on the back of you head and make sure it does not sit on your ears. f it does, it may hurt after a while so you’ll want to find another mask that fits better.

Make sure you chose a trusted brand that has done CO2 testing on their full-face snorkel masks.

The Snorkel

Simply put, the snorkel must be comfortable – you shouldn’t feel like the snorkel is pulling at your mouth. I suggest you opt for either a dry or semi-dry snorkel and ignore a wet snorkel altogether.

A dry snorkel has a valve at the top that prevents water from coming in but a snorkel can still fill up with water. In this case, the semi-dry snorkel has a splash guard that collects the water at the draining chamber at the bottom. With a big breath, you can easily purge the draining chamber.

The Fins

Comfort is the most crucial feature of your fins. Low quality or incorrect sized fins can you easily give you annoying blisters after a few minutes that usually last for many, many days.

There are different types of fins: closed foot or open foot, split or paddle and long or short.

Best Snorkeling Gear: Open foot, short paddle fins #travelclans #snorkel #snorkeling
Open foot, short paddle fins

The open foot is adjustable and they are a better fit however closed foot are lighter and more efficient. If you’re not a good swimmer and get tired easily, you’ll probably want performance and thus prefer closed foot fins.

Split fins make it easier to swim with smaller and quicker kicks which is ideal for long swims and you want to save energy.

Short fins are actually great for beginners as they are easier to kick. Bonus point – there is less risk of damaging the surrounding environment or kicking people nearby. Although it may feel harder to kick with long fins, it’s often more efficient. So just remember, long fins for long snorkeling sessions, short fins for short sessions!

A bag for your snorkel gear

When you buy a snorkel gear set, they tend to come in a mesh bag. However, if you buy your gear separately you will need to buy a bag. Couple of things you will want to consider when purchasing this bag:

  • Size (especially if you carry your fins in it)
  • Closure
  • Water Drainage
  • Shoulder straps for comfort
  • Quality of bag to handle the weight it will carry.
  • Additional pockets for items you do not want to mix with your snorkel equipment.

You need snorkeling swimwear!

You’ve seen the pics – people snorkeling with just their swimsuits. Looks great and all but actually it’s not a good idea! for two simple reasons

  • protect your skin from the sun and stingers
  • stay warm to snorkel longer

Fun Fact: we lose heat 4x faster in the water than in the air

Best Snorkeling Gear: Snorkeling Swimsuit #travelclans #snorkeling #snorkel
Snorkeling Swimsuit

If you don’t often snorkel, there is no need to invest in a wetsuit. Instead, get a cheaper Lycra suit or just a top.

Be careful also to protect your head from the sun when you go snorkeling by wearing a cap or bandanna.

A Snorkel Mask Strap Cover

Got long hair and don’t want the mask strap pulling or tangling your hair? Get a snorkel mask strap cover. It will make your life easier by gently slipping on the back of your head when you put it on and off. Pick a bright color so your family can identify you from behind when you are in a group or in a crowded area.

Underwater Camera Gear for Snorkeling

The most important thing when you snorkeling with your camera is to have it secured. With some full-face masks, they have a place to mount the camera (which is great for kids as they like to record their snorkeling adventure).

You also have to the option to attach it to your wrist or your belt (more this later). I would recommend attaching a floating tool to it. This can do the trick!

Weight belts for snorkeling

A weight belt allows you to go down more easily and stay down without having to kick too much. It is used by experienced snorkelers for freediving. Please note freediving includes more risks than just snorkeling at the surface. So if you are interested in this activity, I recommend you join a training course or read more about it before attempting it.

Consider the following when choosing a weight belt:

  • the material – nylon is cheaper but may slide if you use a wetsuit. Rubber belts are heavier but not slip
  • quick release – in case of an emergency you should be able to get rid of the belt quickly
  • buckle – chose a metal buckle over a plastic one as plastic ones break easily. The metal buckle will be heavier but a lot more resistant.
  • color – stand out from the crowd and get one you can recognize instantly

You can opt for a pocket weight belt as it will is lighter and easier to carry.

There you go, everyone! I’ve covered the how to choose the best snorkel set and what to look out for in fins, masks, and snorkels. Hope you found it useful.

Go enjoy your snorkel adventures, have fun and stay safe!


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10 Responses

  1. Pentrental says:

    Great post I love snorkeling! The right gear is not always something I consider, so this information is definitely helpful. Some of the best reasons to snorkel are that you can do it pretty much anywhere off the beach or near a reef and it doesn’t take up too much time and cost.  Well done!

  2. RoDarrick says:

    This is perfectly laid out to fit into the perfect world of we water lovers. I am always a water enthusiast and I love exploring the waters to enjoy its beauties. Firstly, I love to scuba dive a lot but it seems exploring the oceans would be a better option. Choosing the snorkeling gear as laid out here is cool and I also live the options provided here for products to choose from thanks so much for sharing this.

  3. David says:

    This is something that I have always wanted to do, but have yet to try. My wife tells me stories about her snorkeling while she lived in Hawaii, and I know that I would love it. You offer some great advice on the gear needed to enjoy this activity while staying safe.

    I think the biggest issue for me would be the mask. Before reading this I didn’t know the process to get the right fit. I know that if my mask kept losing its seal I would not have an enjoyable time. We’re heading to the beach for our family vacation this year. I think it’s time for me to give it a try. I’m going to bookmark your site so when I’m ready to go I’ll have a guide and links to the gear that I want.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Tarun Denniz says:

      Hi David,

      I am glad I could help! 🙂 Hope you have a good time snorkeling and do let me know how it goes?

  4. Ray says:

    This is an informative and comprehensive look at the different aspects of snorkeling gear.  I have a similar set of snorkeling gear that you mentioned. I actually had the clear plastic straps turn yellow. The care of a snorkeling mask might be an excellent post idea for you. I have no idea how I could have prevented it. I stored it away and when I pulled it out a year later it was yellow. There must be a way to prevent it from happening.

    • Tarun Denniz says:

      Hi ray,

      the same thing happened to me as well. its oxidation of the material..the same happens to car headlights. you can a cleaner that makes it clear again but its a lot of effort rubbing in the solution to make it clear again.

  5. Merlynmac says:

    I wish you had this way back when (I’m talking like 1998).  I’m a SCUBA diver and having these tips would have helped me greatly.  Actually, they still might.

    You’re absolutely right about fit and view when it comes to a mask.  The better the fit, the better the experience.  Too many times I’ve rented gear only to deal with squeeze or leaks because the fit was wrong.  Other times, the view was restricted and really limited my ability to see my surroundings (thankfully, I’m not claustrophobic).

    Don’t get me started on snorkels.  Yes, as a SCUBA diver, my use is different but, when I’m at the surface, I’m always fighting my snorkel to the point where I don’t even want to have one any more.  Dry snorkels have made a hug difference between getting a lung full of air or one full of water.  Still, I’m not a huge fan as the attachment to my mask strap always causes me issues.  I may have to grab myself a mask with integrated snorkel for those times when I’m just snorkeling along the beach line.

    Comfort is a big thing when it comes to fins.  Make sure you get the right fit.  I’ve had sores and marks from using the wrong size for my foot.  Another thing is to consider fins for your kicking style.  If you’re a power kicker, there’s a fin for you.  If you’re a lazy-legger, there are fins that will propel you quite a distance with little effort.  I’ve tried a few different ones over the years and have finally settled on a pair I really like.

    A bag to carry it all (with proper drainage) is very important.  Snorkel gear, for the most part, is pretty durable so you don’t need separate compartments for it all.  If you protect your mask lens, the rest can pretty-much just be thrown together.  If you buy quality gear, it will last you for years.

    Don’t laugh at the whole wet suit idea.  I live in Northern California and a wet suite, if not a dry suit, is definitely needed in these cold waters.  I briefly moved to South Florida for about 8 years and laughed at people in wet suits there, as I was diving in swim trunks.  Then, I became acclimated to the warmer weather.  Within a couple of years I was in a wet suit too.

    One last comment.  When it comes to underwater cameras, it’s hard to beat the GoPro series.  I have 2 of them and take them diving with me all the time.  If you’re interested in taking underwater footage, you can’t go wrong with GoPro.

    Thanks again for this great post.  If only it was around when I was first starting out.  That said, the mask with integrated snorkel was a great tidbit for me.

    Scott

  6. Mahin Al Banna says:

    Hey Tarun,

    This is an unique and informative article I must say. I love to go on adventures and do different stuffs. Snorkeling is one of them. Getting under sea and exploring the world beneath that is always interesting. And it’s very important to choose the best snorkeling gears to have the best experience. I liked the list of the products you have given. I especially liked the Seavenger neoprene wetsuit and Omorc snorkel set very much as the are cheaper but looks great. I will keep your tips in mind while choosing my snorkel gear.

    Thank you very much for writing this helpful article.

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