The main thing you’re looking for when trying to purchase a quality snorkeling mask is to make sure that it has a 100% silicone skirt (the skirt is the part that seals the mask to your face to prevent leakage). Snorkel masks can come in a wide variety of colors and styles. Some have dual-lenses, some have one single large lens and others have a panoramic feature with 4 windows. Make sure that you try to get a mask that fits you perfectly. Also to note, at snorkeling specialty locations you can get a prescription snorkeling mask for those that wear glasses.
PRO TIP: How to Defog Snorkel Masks
The main tip is to ensure that you have proper fitting mask and then leaving that mask on as much as possible while snorkeling. Taking it on and off causes more fog on the lens. There a few ways to defog a snorkel mask and keep it from fogging: 1. Defogger: You can buy an inexpensive bottle of mask defoggermask defogger here. A few drips and rubbing it around works great. 2. Baby shampoo (no tears) mixed one part to 2 parts water. Put it in a small spray bottle and you can quickly defog an entire group. 3. Au Natural: Spit. As nasty as it sounds (and another reason you should buy snorkel gear rather than rent or use) the process works well. Spit in your mask, rub the spit around and rinse in salt water will keep the fog away for a bit. Not as effective as the other two options. Last but not least, here’s a detailed post on how to fit a snorkel mask.
Three types of snorkels:
- Dry Snorkel
We always recommend “dry snorkels”. These are snorkels with a valve like cover at the top of the tube that closes when you submerge to prevent water from entering your tube as well as preventing surface splashes from entering above water. A notch down from this is the “splash proof” snorkels that prevent splash water from getting in but don’t seal as you submerge. Good snorkels also have a purge valveat the bottom that allows you to blow out any water that may have entered the snorkel. Doing this while snorkeling prolongs your time under water and enjoying your time. Also, while there are 1-piece snorkels, the best type to get are the ones with a flexible silicone tube between the upper tube and mouth piece so that you can adjust for the most comfort. Note: Snorkels come in different makes and feel. There are rigid, soft, and even roll up snorkels that can be stowed in a small case and carried in a pocket. There are dry snorkels and traditional snorkels. Each person has their preferences and each type has pros and cons. If you wanted a detailed version of the different types of snorkels and tubes then go ahead and read our guide here.
There are fins with closed and open heel and there are lots of fins that come now in a convenient, shorter, travel size (these are often billed as “great for bodyboarding”, “trek fins“, or something of the sort. Depending on your skill level and swimming ability, the choices for fins are wide. Two things that we want to note: You don’t need to spend a couple of hundred of dollars on diving fins and you want to make sure that your foot fits comfortably into the fin without the need for “bootys”. The will be the ones that fit comfortably and that you can easily put on and take off. There are some that are better made than others but, in most cases, you’re snorkeling and you won’t require a lot of power and speed. With that in mind, the more propulsion and power that you have is better in some situations.
Things to remember about fins:
- Open heel are adjustable and will more likely to fit months to years after.
- Closed heel may be more snug and reduce the chance of coming off in the water.
- Standard size fins are usually fine for snorkeling and even SCUBA
- Travel size or “trek” fins are great for packing and luggage and easier to put and off in the water but they provide less propulsion through the water.
- Long Fins are most often used by skin divers, free divers, spear fishermen, and SCUBA folks. Unless you’re in open water and/or need more power then we don’t feel that long fins are necessary for most snorkeling experiences.
Many people wouldn’t put a quality snorkel bag on their list of snorkeling necessities, but we do. Getting a good snorkel bag that holds all of your snorkeling gear (to include towel, sunscreen, rashguard, defogger and lunch!) with padded shoulder straps…and that’s a bonus that you’ll soon be thankful for. Many of the best snorkeling destinations around the world are not “snorkeling tours” where you’re dropped off by a bus or boated out with a guide. Our most common place to snorkel is in Hawaii and there are many, many quality snorkeling spots all over the islands that may required a short hike to get to. Snorkeling gear bags are a necessities. Note: We usually advocate buying snorkeling sets, however we are yet to be blown away by a snorkeling bag that comes with a set. We highly recommend that you purchase and upgraded, better quality bag for your snorkel gear.
You’ll be out in the sun a lot. Even if you buy a rashguard (below) then you’ll still need to put sunscreen on your legs, back of your neck, head and face. You’ll also be spending the majority of your snorkeling time belly down, with your back in the air and under the hot, blazing sun…and you won’t even notice that is getting cooked because you’re into your snorkeling adventure and there is water splashing it and cooling it. We can’t stress enough how important this is to your health and comfort. Nothing can ruin a great vacation by being to sun burned to do anything after one day at the beach or on/in the water: Do yourself a favor and apply quality sunscreen generously to your entire body (extra coat on your back and head!) Don’t get cancer. Don’t get burned. Read our rash guard guide.
|Coral Safe All Natural Biodegradable Sunscreen, SPF 30, Reef Safe, Water Resistant, Approved for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving, 8 Fl Oz
|Safe Sea Anti-jellyfish Sting Protective Lotion - Sunscreen - Sunblock - Sea Lice - Jelly Fish (SPF50, 4oz Bottle, Single Pack)
|All Natural SPF 50 Biodegradable Visible Mineral Sunscreen by Tropical Sands, Water Resistant, Reef Safe, 5.4 Fl Ounces