Reviewed by passionate snorkelers:

The Complete Guide To Snorkeling Gear in 2019

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Our snorkelers at work

We gave our passionate snorkel geeks a job:
Make the best guide to buying snorkel gear and add reviews of the best gear. We've been testing the snorkel gear on land, been swim with it, dived with it and made a guide that covers it all.

Torben Lonne

Snorkler and editor Torben is a water nut, with a passion for gear, diving and snorkeling.

Boby Taylor

Worked many years as snorkel guide Boby has a passion for diving, and just as much snorkeling.

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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: 

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.

 

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:

 

ScubaPro Spectra 2 Window Scuba/Snorkel Mask Review

ScubaPro Spectra 2 Window

We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the ScubaPro Spectra 2:

Our recommendations:

The ScubaPro Spectra 2 Window mask is not a cheap mask, however, tends to appear to be more expensive than it is.

Pro's and Con's of the ScubaPro Spectra 2 Window Scuba/Snorkel Mask:

  • Pros
  • This mask has a compact 2-window design.
  • Tempered glass lenses.
  • Swivel buckles for easy adjustment.
  • Double sealed silicone skirt.
  • Classed as the most comfortable mask on the market.
  • Cons
  • Not a cheap mask but worth its price.
  • Sometimes (depending on the shape of your face) the frame can push against the bridge of your nose.
  • The special finish on the mask can be easily damaged.

Cressi F1, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Frameless Mask Review

Cressi F1, Frameless Mask

We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Cressi F1, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Frameless Mask:

Our recommendations:

Most advanced snorkelers love a frameless mask and this mask does not disappoint. It comes in a range of colors to suit the buyer however; the clear mask is always the most popular.

Pro's and Con's of the Cressi F1, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Frameless Mask:

  • Pros
  • This mask is made from silicone and will last and last over many seasons of snorkeling.
  • Has a wide-angled lens made from tempered glass.
  • Anti-fog technology.
  • Easy to adjust buckles.
  • Best budget mask available on the market.
  • Cons
  • Tends to fog up quite easily.
  • Make sure to check the mask for issues or damages when it arrives.
  • Make sure it fits perfectly to your face before purchase.

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

HEAD Sea Vu Dry Full Face Snorkelling Mask

HEAD Sea Vu Dry Full Face Snorkelling Mask

Features of the HEAD Sea Vu Dry Full Face Snorkelling Mask:

  • 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.

Pro's:

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

Con's

  • Price is in the high end, but then again , it's made of quality material.
Check the price on: 
Leisurepro with shipping to US and Canada
Amazon with shipping worldwide

Seac Sub Unica Full Face Snorkel

Features of the Seac Sub Unica Full Face Snorkel:

  • 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.

Pro's:

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

Con's

  • As the size of the mask is so large, inevitably hair will get stuck in the skirt
  • Not made for diving under the water

Check the price on: 
Simplyscuba with shipping to UK and EU
Leisure Pro with shipping to US and Canada
Amazon with shipping worldwide

Aqua Lung Smart-Snorkel Full Face Mask

Aqua Lung Smart-Snorkel Full Face Mask

Features of the Aqua Lung Smart-Snorkel Full Face Mask:

  • 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.

Pro's:

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

Con's

  • Price is in the high end, but it's a good mask so worth it. 

Check the price on: 
Leisurepro with shipping to US and Canada
Simplyscuba with shipping to UK and EU
Amazon with shipping worldwide

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:

Aqua Lung Express Full Foot Fins

Aqua Lung Smart-Snorkel Full Face Mask

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Aqua Lung Express Full Foot Fins:

Advantages:
  • The blade of this fin is made up of 2 different materials that work perfectly to increase efficiency and flexibility.
  • Provides excellent power for scuba divers.
  • They have anti-slip pads on the base of the foot pockets, which prevents you from sliding around.
Disadvantages:
  • This is not a great fin for any other underwater sports other than scuba diving or snorkelling.

Check the price on:

Leisurepro with shipping to US and Canada
Amazon with shipping worldwide

ScubaPro Go Travel Fins Review

ScubaPro Go Travel Fins
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the ScubaPro Go Travel Fins:

Our recommendations:

Advantages and Disadvantages of the ScubaPro Go Travel Fins:

  • Advantages
  • Compact and lightweight, perfect for travel.
  • They are tough and durable made of 100% Monoprene® 
  • 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.
  • Disadvantages
  • Due 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.
  • Their 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.

Mares Pure Instinct Razor Review

Mares Pure Instinct Razor

We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Mares Pure Instinct Razor:

Our recommendations:

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Mares Pure Instinct Razor:

  • Advantages
  • This is a new fin on the market and has interchangeable blades.
  • The foot pocket has been designed by an Italian foot clinic and is built for support and comfort.
  • The position of the blade makes this fin an extension of your leg reducing the need for excessive finning.
  • Disadvantages
  • These fins come up extremely small in size so make sure to choose a slightly larger fin, or try them on before you buy them.
  • The material can sometimes rub on your skin, so make sure to pick the best size for you.

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

Cressi Supernova Dry Snorkel

Cressi Supernova Dry Snorkel

We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Cressi Supernova Dry Snorkel:

Our recommendations:

Advantages & Disadvantages of the Cressi Supernova Dry Snorkel:

  • Advantages :
  • This snorkel is extremely comfortable to use.
  • It has a splashguard, which means if you’re ending your dive in choppy water, you do not need to worry about inhaling water.
  • One of the best snorkels available on the market.
  • Disadvantages :
  • This snorkel tends to flap around a bit if it hasn’t been fastened onto the mask properly.
  • If 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.

Aqua Lung Nautilus Foldable Travel Snorkel

Aqua Lung Nautilus Foldable Travel Snorkel

We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Aqua Lung Nautilus Foldable Travel Snorkel:

Our recommendations:

Advantages & Disadvantages of the Aqua Lung Nautilus Foldable Travel Snorkel:

  • Advantages :
  • This snorkel is ideal for the travelers. It’s lightweight and easy to pack.
  • It is flexible and easily sits on the face.
  • This is a great snorkel for beginner snorkelers and divers.
  • Disadvantages :
  • The airway can sometimes become blocked with dirt and sand, if not cleaned properly after every use.
  • There is no splashguard, meaning that water can enter the top of the snorkel whilst you’re on the surface.

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:

Aqua Lung Men's 3mm Quantum Stretch Shortie

This super stretchy wetsuit is made from 100 percent Quantum Stretch, nylon-2 neoprene. This makes the Aqua Lung shortie 200 percent stretchier than standard neoprene. The velcro collar is adjustable which helps to keep out the cold. Smooth chest and back panels dry out quickly and provide better warmth when on the surface.
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Aqua Lung Men's 3mm Quantum Stretch Shortie:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Thickness: 3 mm
  • Suitable for: 75 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 24 - 29.4 degrees Celsius
  • Zip: Back
  • Seams: Glued and sewn
  • Designed for: Men
  • Available sizes: S to 3XL
  • Color: Black/Blue
What we like:
  • The glued and sewn seams mean extra strength and durability.
  • Quantum Stretch, nylon-2 neoprene allows good freedom of movement.
What we don't like:
  • The velcro on the collar will stick to the inside of the suit when you are not wearing it. Be extra careful and fasten the velcro properly when storing the wetsuit.

NeoSport 3mm Neoprene Women's Shortie

This popular wetsuit is anatomically cut specifically for women. Sturdy and high-quality flatlock stitching helps to prevent chafing on the skin. Lycra-trimmed leg and wrist seals ensure trapped water won’t weigh you down. An internal, zippered pocket is a great idea for keeping essentials secure while you dive.
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the NeoSport 3mm Neoprene Women's Shortie:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Thickness: 3 mm
  • Suitable for: 75 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 24 - 29.4 degrees Celsius
  • Zip: Back
  • Seams: Glued and sewn
  • Designed for: Women
  • Available sizes: US 4 to 14
  • Color: Black, black/lavender
What we like:
  • Zippered inside pocket.
  • Flatlock stitching.
  • Great value for money.
What we don't like:
  • Loose fitting in the armpit and shoulder area.
  • Sizes come up small. Some customers recommend buying one size larger.
  • The suit is very buoyant.

Cressi Morea 3mm Men's Jumpsuit

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.
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Cressi Morea 3mm Men's Jumpsuit:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Thickness: 3 mm
  • Suitable for: 75 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 24 - 29.4 degrees Celsius
  • Zip: Back
  • Seams: Glued and sewn
  • Designed for: Men
  • Available sizes: S to 3XL
  • Color: Black/blue/white
What we like:
  • Comfortable and non-restrictive.
  • Rubberized neoprene chest panel.
  • Knee and shin patches.
What we don't like:
  • Some users report that the neoprene at the bottom of the zip is liable to rip if the zip is tugged closed too hard.

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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5 Comments

  1. Harley White

    Can you wear glasses inside a full face snorkelling mask?

    Reply
    • Torben Lonne

      Yes, it’s possible. and for most, you’ll be able to do this without them fogging up.

      Reply
  2. DPR613

    Looking at the Seaview V2 vs the Aqua lung full faced mask for an obligate nose breathing person who gave up on snorkeling until I saw the full mask. Thought between these two?

    Reply
  3. Josepsh

    I want too do that to snorkeling ?. .

    Reply

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