The Complete Guide To Snorkeling Gear in 2022

Snorkeling Gear: The Complete Guide To All The Snorkeling Equipment

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

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

Things we like:

  • 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.

Things we don't like:

  • 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

Our Overall Review

4.2

Things we like:

  • 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.

Things we don't like:

  • 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

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. Unless, you go with a dual tube snorkel system like the Ameo Powerbreather with a head strap.

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.

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