What Snorkel Gear Do You Need to Buy?
Going snorkeling is one of the greatest experiences that you will ever have in the water. Not only do adults become mesmerized by the marine life just below the surface of the water, but it is a great nature lesson for kids. Take all the pictures you can. Enjoy the moments while they last. Once your snorkeling time is over you’ll often think back to what a great time you had and the amazing life that you experienced: sea turtles, seals, colorful fish, eels, octopi, and gorgeous living coral reef.
Having the snorkeling gear that you nee-and quality gear at that-can be the difference between you having the time of your life and becoming frustrated because your snorkeling experience was degraded by a leaky mask, fogged lenses, fault flippers, a snorkel that kept filling with water, and a bad sunburn. Most people don’t even know what snorkel gear to buy. That’s why we’re here to help. Here’s our comprehensive snorkel buying guide that will tell what snorkel gear you need to buy and why; from the essentials, to the important, to the items that will ensure that your snorkeling experience is luxurious time to remember and to capture the video and picture that you need to keep forever. Here we go!
Essential Items for Snorkeling are:
- Carry bag
- Mask Defogger
- Beach towel
Best Snorkel Gear Must Haves!
This is the best snorkel gear that we usually recommend here at SnorkelStore.net. Unless you’re a seasoned snorkeler who is already looking to upgrade their current snorkeling gear, then buying a quality snorkeling set is certainly the way to go! If you’re new to snorkeling and/or going on a vacation where snorkeling will be taking place then you could find everything that you need in a snorkeling set of your choice.
There are some really good, quality snorkeling set manufacturers. While choosing your snorkeling gear piece by piece may ensure a better fit, it can also be more expensive. Also, some people do not have access to dive shops and snorkeling shops where you would have to go to truly get a “perfect fit”. If this is the case with you then you can purchase a snorkel set online. Pay attention to the fits and fitting comments in reviews and you’ll be sure to get a good enough set that fits well and provides a great snorkeling experience. Some of the better snorkeling set manufacturers are: Aqualung, U.S. Divers (an Aqualung subsidiary), Seavenger, Cressi, and Phantom Aquatics.
Try Taking a Look at one of these 3 Great Snorkel Sets
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.
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 preventing surface splashes from getting in your tube. 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.
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.
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 buy 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. 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.
Important Snorkel Equipment:
You don’t need this snorkeling equipment but it makes the experience safer and better!
Keeping your mask defogged is pretty important to your snorkeling enjoyment but it also has to do with safety, in our opinion. If you’re mask is constantly fogging up and you need to stop, pull it off, rinse it and then spit in it again and again…you’re going to be putting yourself in a precarious situation, especially when you’re in deeper water as you try to tread in place and defog your mask. Buy a defogger and you’ll rarely even notice that you have a mask on at times. Mask defogger is probably the greatest piece of equipment to buy other than your actual snorkeling gear.
Rashguards Rashguards are the best possible option for the person who wants to stay protected from the sun and not have to apply sunscreen several times a day. They also help protect the skin from accidental bumps and scrapes from coral. Just make sure that you’re buying a rashguard with sun protection factor (SPF). We’ve taken the time write a guide on how to pick out and determine which snorkel rash guards are best for you. READ OUR IN-DEPTH SNORKELING RASH GUARD GUIDE!
Snorkeling vests are basically inflatable vests that you wear to aid in your snorkeling, floating, and balance. They keep you from getting fatigued in the water and are also a safety item. NOTE: They are NOT life-preservers or personal flotation devices. They are for ASSISTANCE only! Wantinga snorkel vest and needing a snorkeling vest are two very different things. Many snorkeling companies and tours will require that you wear them. They don’t care how strong of a swimmer you are…they don’t want to be responsible for your drowning. However, strong swimmers also use snorkeling vests for a better experience. Snorkeling vests make snorkeling and floating easier and they enrich the experience for many who prefer to wear them. Read our snorkeling vest buying guide!
Items that make Snorkeling a Better Time
Call these things “luxury items” that you may or may not want depending on your snorkeling style!
Waterproof cases aren’t paramount to snorkeling. If you’re snorkeling from a beach then this is really just a precaution. However, if you’re doing a snorkeling tour from a boat or kayaking out to one of your favorite locations then waterproof cases could protect your electronics, jewelry, wallet, etc. NOTE: I never trust a waterproof plastic bag to put my smartphone in and take pictures under water.
Water shoes are great for snorkeling, especially when entering the water. Some of the best snorkeling spots in the world are accessible only by entering the water through rocks. Not only do they hurt your feet but they’re also slick with algae and seaweed which could lead to injury. Most people don’t realize that walking gingerly over rocks and sharp objects in the water add to being off-balance which leads to falls and injuries. Many snorkeling fins can fit right over water shoes if you buy them to the correct, large-enough fit. Or, once you have entered the water to a point where you want to put your snorkeling fins on then you can simply toss your water shoes back onto dry land.
We’re not here to sell you on buying an underwater camera for your snorkeling experience but they sure are a lot of fun to capture your experience and keep the memories. (Not to mention, posting all of your awesome snorkeling photos and videos on social media will make all of your friends jealous.) You don’t need a real expensive underwater camera, either. Some inexpensive and even disposable waterproof cameras can take pretty nice images. However, the higher that you buy the better your pictures and videos will be. Currently, I’m using a GoPro Hero 3+ and it’s pretty awesome. However, in the past I have used disposables and a Fuji that I really liked. Good Snorkel Cameras from Nikon
This is another thing that you will need if you do a lot of snorkeling and start to do night snorkel trips. If you’re part of a night snorkeling tour then the company and guides should provide these but it may be good to have one of your own, as well.
The rubber straps of snorkel masks are sticky and tough. Long hair gets caught in them making it painful, hard to take off, and could get in the way of the fit. Mask hair guards are made of neoprene and they cover the mask straps so that hair doesn’t get caught in them as well as evenly dispersing the pressure of the strap over more area so that it’s less painful and doesn’t leave you with big marks on your head and face. If you’re snorkel mask strap hurts you or your hair gets caught in it a lot, then a mask strap hair guard may be just what you need.
Knowing what snorkel gear to buy can really make your snorkeling experience a good one. Haphazardly buying cheap snorkel gear at a local department store just won’t cut it for most snorkeling trips and adventures. Know the best snorkel gear you’ll need and how to choose the best will make your snorkeling experience a great one.