So, you are enjoying your snorkeling adventures so much that you even decided to buy your own gear? Good for you! Having your own snorkeling gear will allow you to practice this enjoyable and relaxing sport anytime you want without having to worry about renting the equipment or asking your friend to use his/hers.
Like many new divers when buying their first gear, you too may be feeling confused about which type of snorkeling gear to get. Relax, our advice will help you get what you need in no time.
A mask is a piece of equipment that creates an air space in front of your eyes so they can focus underwater. The nose pocket allows you to equalize the air pressure in the mask as you go deeper.
When shopping for a mask, make sure you choose a model that fits right. A proper fit mask should rest evenly in your face with no gaps. Once you place the mask on your face, gently inhale through your nose to see if the mask seals easily on your face. You will also have to place the snorkel mouthpiece in your mouth to see if the mask will still feel comfortable and without any gaps. Make sure the nose pocket doesn’t touch your nose and that the skirt feels comfortable on your upper lip.
You’ll come across a whole range of mask options, including side, top and bottom panes for a wider field of vision. Some models will also have purge valves for venting any water that leaks in, and others quick strap adjustments. These options (and a range of color schemes) are a matter of personal preference. Just make sure the mask you choose fits right.
Tip- Light colored or clear mask skirts allow more light in and are generally more comfortable for beginners.
Although simple in design, a snorkel plays an important function in snorkeling – it allows you breathe while floating face-down on the surface. Like masks, there will also be an array of snorkel options and features to choose from. But we recommend you to stay focused on the basics.
You will want a mouthpiece that feels good in your mouth and breathes dry and easy. In an attempt to keep snorkels dry, many manufacturers also make them bulkier and harder to breathe through. A good snorkel is one that offers a good compromise between ease of breathing and dry comfort. Keep in mind that the bigger the snorkel, the more drag it will create in the water. Another important factor to consider is how the snorkel attaches to your mask. Look for a durable, yet simple and easy-to-operate attachment.
Tip- If you are not planning to do a lot of snorkeling, a simple, basic snorkel model is all you should look for.
Fins will help you move easily through water. Comfort and efficiency are the two things you will want to consider here. When trying on fins, make sure they fit tight but don’t pinch your toes or bend the arches of your feet. If you can’t wiggle your toes, that means the fins are too small. Efficiency is often determined by the design, size, and stiffness of the fins. If you have a strong leg and hip muscles, you can efficiently use a bigger, stiffer fin. But if you are a smaller diver or a less conditioned diver, you will be more comfortable with smaller, more flexible fins. Make sure straps and buckles are easy to use.
Tip – Choosing the right pair is important to prevent muscle fatigue and cramping and good fins will enhance your enjoyment of diving.