The Complete Guide To Snorkeling Gear in 2022

See all pictures

Do you Love snorkeling?

Here’s everything you need to know about snorkeling gear.

Get your fins on with our guide to getting the most from your snorkeling

In this article, we’ll look at all the equipment for snorkeling: 

  • What to look for in a snorkel mask and which mask to choose
  • The Best Full Face Snorkel Masks
  • What to look for when picking a good pair of fins
  • What to look for in a good snorkel & which to choose
  • The Best Wetsuits for snorkeling

We often think of snorkeling as an equipment-light kind of activity, and often just rent or borrow gear when we go snorkeling. Still, there are numerous advantages to having your own snorkeling gear.

Want to know more about Snorkeling read this guide: Covering the Basics of Snorkeling

The Basic Snorkeling Equipment

Snorkeling doesn’t require much gear, compared to scuba diving. But the lower amount of gear doesn’t make selecting that gear any less important.

The basics of snorkeling are a mask, fins, and a snorkel. In this guide, we’ll also take a look at the Full Face Snorkel mask and Wetsuits for snorkeling.

Now, let’s start looking at the traditional snorkeling mask.

All the Snorkeling Gear We've tested

Head Sea Vu Dry Featured Image
Read full review

Specs & Features

  • This full-face mask has an anti-fogging technology that allows you to breathe with both your mouth and nose without impairing vision.
  • A dry top snorkel at the top of the mask prevents water from entering the mask, if you are hit by a wave.
  • The skirt of the mask is made from silicone, creating a comfortable seal around the face.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    This full-face mask reduces jaw fatigue.
  • check-mark
    The dry snorkel prevents water from entering the mask and snorkel.
  • check-mark
    Has a shatterproof polycarbonate design.
  • check-mark
    The full-face mask provides a crystal clear view unlike any other mask.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markPrice is in the high end, but then again , it’s made of quality material.
Read full review

Where to buy:

head-sea-vu-dry-full-face-snorkelling-mask.jpg

Head Sea Vu Dry

Seac Sub Unica Featured Image
Read full review

Specs & Features

  • Full-face snorkel with excellent viewing.
  • It allows you to breathe through your nose and mouth at the same time.
  • It has a wide Z-shaped seal, which creates an effective watertight seal around the face.
  • The snorkel is removable allowing for easier storage.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    It has a purge valve at the base of the mask, if water should enter the mask it can easily be flushed out.
  • check-mark
    The huge bore snorkel allows plenty of fresh air to enter the mask.
  • check-mark
    Uses an anti-fog technology.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markAs the size of the mask is so large, inevitably hair will get stuck in the skirt
  • check-markNot made for diving under the water
Read full review

Where to buy:

Seac Sub Unica Product Image

Seac Sub Unica

aqua-lung-smart-snorkel-full-face-mask-1.jpg
Read full review

Specs & Features

  • This full-face mask has the lowest resistance breathing of any other full-faced mask.
  • It offers crystal clear vision.
  • It has a dry top snorkel with valve, which prevents water form entering the mask when fully submerged.
  • Snorkel tube is integrated into the top of the mask.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    This mask has a fog free design.
  • check-mark
    Offers 180-degree field of unobstructed vision.
  • check-mark
    Has a shatterproof polycarbonate design.
  • check-mark
    Has a hypoallergenic skirt and strap.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markPrice is in the high end, but it’s a good mask so worth it.
Read full review

Where to buy:

aqua-lung-smart-snorkel-full-face-mask-1.jpg

Aqua Lung Smart-Snorkel

Aqua Lung Smart Snorkel Featured Image
Read full review

Our Overall Review

4.2

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Has a full-face design.
  • check-mark
    Perfect for beginners.
  • check-mark
    No need to bite down on a mouthpiece and irritate your jaw.
  • check-mark
    Has a dry top snorkel design to reduce leaking.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markFogs up easily.
  • check-markHas no access to nose so cannot equalize.
  • check-markMake sure you try it on before you buy, to ensure the perfect fit.
Read full review

Where to buy:

aqua-lung-smart-snorkel-full-face-mask.jpg

Aqua Lung Smart-Snorkel

Related posts

Mares Pure Instinct Razor
Read full review

Our Overall Review

4.8

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    This is a new fin on the market and has interchangeable blades.
  • check-mark
    The foot pocket has been designed by an Italian foot clinic and is built for support and comfort.
  • check-mark
    The position of the blade makes this fin an extension of your leg reducing the need for excessive finning.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThese fins come up extremely small in size so make sure to choose a slightly larger fin, or try them on before you buy them.
  • check-markThe material can sometimes rub on your skin, so make sure to pick the best size for you.
Read full review

Where to buy:

mares-pure-instinct-razor.jpg

Mares Pure Instinct Razor

Aqua Lung Express
fullscreen
1/7
Read full review

The Aqua Lung Express fins are one of the bigger models and some of the most popular snorkeling fins on the market. This is because they provide snorkelers with a good balance between power and speed making them suitable for all levels.

The Aqua Lung Express provides superior performance by combining a custom-made techno-polymer alloy blade and Armadillo membrane for excellent responsiveness. The rubber side ribs channel water down the length of the fin for enhanced agility and control.

The Aqua Lung Express features a midfoot Flex Joint that creates more rigidity, increasing the power of each fin stroke. All fins are designed with anti-slip rubber pads on the bottom of the foot pocket for maximum traction against slippery surfaces making it an excellent choice for spearfishing as well as open water snorkeling/diving.

These are quite big though, and might be too much fin for leisure.

Specs & Features

  • Best Suited For: Beginners, Speed, Power
  • Material: Techno-polymer alloy
  • Style: Full Foot
  • Blade Type: Not vented
  • Sizes: XS-XL

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Great for warm water
  • check-mark
    Allows for efficient snorkeling
  • check-mark
    Less leg strain thanks to the ergonomic design
  • check-mark
    Impressive construction makes it robust and rigid

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markQuite large for taking on a plane
Read full review

Where to buy:

aqua-lung-express-fins-2.jpg

Aqua Lung Express

Soft Food Pockets

Go Travel One
fullscreen
1/7
Read full review

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Compact and lightweight, perfect for travel.
  • check-mark
    They are tough and durable made of 100% Monoprene®
  • check-mark
    They have a hook and hole at the tip for easy storage, great to tie up on the back of your backpack when going on a beach trip.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markDue to their tough nature, they can sometimes be a little hard on the foot when swimming. Meaning that they may require a shoe or boot underneath to prevent rubbing on your skin.
  • check-markTheir range of sizes usually runs quite small, if you’re planning on wearing a shoe or boot underneath, you may wish to buy a couple of sizes larger than you are.
Read full review

Where to buy:

scubapro-go-travel-fins.jpg

ScubaPro Go Travel

Related posts

Best for Travel

Aqua Lung Nautilus Featured Image
Read full review

Our Overall Review

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    This snorkel is ideal for the travelers. It’s lightweight and easy to pack.
  • check-mark
    It is flexible and easily sits on the face.
  • check-mark
    This is a great snorkel for beginner snorkelers and divers.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe airway can sometimes become blocked with dirt and sand, if not cleaned properly after every use.
  • check-markThere is no splashguard, meaning that water can enter the top of the snorkel whilst you’re on the surface.
Read full review

Where to buy:

aqua-lung-nautilus-foldable-travel-snorkel.jpg

Aqua Lung Nautilus

Most Affordable

Cressi Supernova Featured Image
Read full review

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    This snorkel is extremely comfortable to use.
  • check-mark
    It has a splashguard, which means if you’re ending your dive in choppy water, you do not need to worry about inhaling water.
  • check-mark
    One of the best snorkels available on the market.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThis snorkel tends to flap around a bit if it hasn’t been fastened onto the mask properly.
  • check-markIf you get sand stuck in the valve at the top of the snorkel, this can block the tube and therefore not allow you to breathe through it.
Read full review

Where to buy:

cressi-supernova-dry-snorkel.jpg

Cressi Supernova

Related posts

cressi-morea-3mm-mens-featured
Read full review

Made from Ultraspan neoprene, the Cressi Morea is amazingly flexible. With a rubberized neoprene chest panel, you have a non-slip contact area for BCD straps that is resistant to abrasion. Padded knee and shin patches prevent your knees from getting scratched if you need to kneel. The stitching is done with an anti-fraying thread making the Cressi Morea a wetsuit that lasts.

Specs & Features

  • Thickness: 3 mm
  • Suitable for: 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 24 – 29.4 degrees Celsius
  • Zip: Back
  • Seam: Glued and sewn
  • Designed for: Women

Our Overall Review

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    The cut is great for women of all shapes and sizes.
  • check-mark
    Durability.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSizes are on the large side.
Read full review

Where to buy:

cressi-morea-3mm-mens-jumpsuit1.jpg

Cressi Morea 3mm Men’s

What to Look For When Choosing a Snorkeling Mask

The mask allows to see underwater, and seeing as we’re snorkeling to experience the underwater world, this is of course critical.

Mask construction

Make sure your mask of choice is a “real” diving or snorkeling mask. By this I mean that it should be made for the purpose of diving or snorkeling, rather than a cheap mask bought in a supermarket.

Properly constructed masks will feature shatterproof glass and are made so they can withstand pressure if you go for breath-hold dives.

How should the Mask be designed

When choosing a mask, pick one with a relatively small volume, meaning that the air space trapped inside the mask isn’t larger than necessary.

This will make it easier to clear if water should come in, and makes it easier to equalize it if you dive below the surface.

Go for one with a good field of vision. I prefer mono-glass masks, meaning that the mask is made up with one large piece of class, rather than two pieces, one for each eye, but this is a matter of personal taste.

Read Our Full Guide to a Snorkel Mask

How to check if the Mask fit

The fit of the mask is crucial, but can be done in a few easy steps:

  • Put the mask on without putting the strap around your head
  • Inhale lightly through your nose
  • Let the mask go

If the mask sticks to your face simply from the vacuum you create by inhaling, it has a reasonably good fit.

Put the mask strap on and exhale from your nose. You should be able to force the exhaled air out under the mask skirt without too much effort. Otherwise, emptying the mask if water comes in will be difficult.

Wear the mask for a few minutes and make note of anywhere the mask puts uncomfortable pressure on your face.

Typical places are the underside of the tip of the nose, between the eyes and on the forehead. If all of these are comfortable, you’re well on your way to finding a good mask.

Here are some of our snorkeling mask recommendations:

The Full Face Snorkeling Mask

If your snorkeling and water activities only are on the surface, then a Full Face snorkel mask is a great option for you.

I’ll give you great comfort and a more natural way of breathing using booth nose and mouth.

Here are our recommendations for a good Full Face Snorkel Mask

Choosing Fins for Snorkeling

Most people snorkel in warm water, so full-heel fins are the better choice here.

If you’ll be snorkeling in cold water, where you’ll be wearing booties, an open-heel fin is a better choice.

Go for a fin with a reasonable amount of flex, but stiffer around the foot.

If you intend to do basic snorkeling, sticking to the surface, and will be traveling with them, you may want to consider a shorter fin, which is easier to pack. If you’ll be doing breath-hold diving, consider a traditional freediving fin, which tends to be longer and give more thrust in relation to energy used.

Read the full Snorkel fin guide

Here are our recommendations for great Snorkel Fins:

Choosing the Right Snorkel

A snorkel is a fairly basic piece of equipment. Go for one that isn’t too long, as the longer the snorkel is, the harder it is to breathe in.

A good, medium length will work well in making breathing easy while being elevated enough to keep it out of the water.

A variety of oneway filters are used to prevent water from entering the snorkel, and these can be a benefit for snorkeling in choppy water, or for people looking to do breath-hold dives.

Make sure your snorkel of choice can be somehow attached to your mask strap so you don’t drop it accidentally.

Read the Full guide to picking the best Snorkel 

Here are our recommendations for the best Snorkels

Choosing a Snorkeling Wetsuit

For tropical waters, “exposure protection” may simply be swimwear and lots of Reef Safe Sun lotion.

But a rash guard can be helpful for a bit of protection against the sun and a bit of warmth for extended snorkel trips.

For cooler waters, a neoprene top (short-sleeved, sleeveless or full-sleeved as you prefer) can help keep you warm, and for even cooler waters, consider a wetsuit, either a shorty or a full-length.

If you do wear any neoprene elements, do factor in the buoyancy of these, and if you chose to do any dives, consider adding a bit of weight on a weight belt to allow you to submerge. Err on the side of caution, though, and better to be a pound too light, rather than a pound too heavy, when breath-hold diving.

Here are our recommendations for snorkeling wetsuits:

Do I Need To Bring a Knife for Snorkeling

Some snorkelers bring dives on their trips. Largely, these are unnecessary, as entanglement is typically not a big risk during snorkeling.

If you are going to areas where sea kelp or old fishing nets can pose a risk, a knife can be a good idea, though.

Choose a small one that can be attached on your lower leg.

Your Snorkel Equipment Setup?

What equipment do you bring on a snorkeling trip and what do you choose to rent? Have you ever had a bad snorkel equipment experience? Bad rental gear etc.? We’d love to hear your snorkel gear stories right here.

Related Reviews

Related Reviews

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments