How to choose your snorkel gear (for beginners)
Getting yourself good snorkeling gear is often a big back and forth decision for first time or newbie snorkelers, but here is some good news, picking your snorkel gear is a lot easier and far cheaper than you think.
Our advice for folks looking for new snorkel gear is this, go for plain and simple, stay away from gadgets and gimmicks, you'll be glad you did.
Choosing a snorkeling mask
Your mask should fit snug on your face if you place it over your face, without the strap on, take a little breath in and it should stay on your face. If it doesn't, try a slightly bigger or smaller mask until you get it right. Check the strap to make sure it’s easy to adjust ...some masks have such complicated strap adjustment features that it can frustrate the most patient of humans. Also check to ensure at the seal is double and relatively soft, in my opinion, softer masks mold to the shape of your face easier and as a result tend to leak a lot less. When it comes to design, two lenses vs one and the likes that is very much up to personal choice, however if you do wear glasses and plan on getting a prescription lens put in a some time, be sure to check that your mask is suitable for this and the lenses can be removed (your local optometrist should be able to assist with advice on this)
Choosing a snorkel
Plain and simple is best, we always recommend avoiding snorkels with anti splash values and purge values and one way values, and I'll tell you why, from years of experience buying snorkeling gear for our tourists, leave your snorkel gear in the salty water or sand or sun for a few hours and those delicate little valves simple warp, break or leak. A normal, good old-fashioned straight through snorkel simply cannot break or leak. A lot of problems solved. Also pay attention to how the snorkel gets attached to your mask, some snorkels come with relatively complex hooks and attachment methods, the plain rubber circle method is the most reliable and easy to replace if it breaks (in fact you can replace it with an elastic band if you need to, unlike the more complicated attachment methods)
| Note what we mean by all the things that can go wrong / break / get sand in an wear down on more complicated snorkels. In our experience, snorkels like this just cause problems and you end up with a lot of water in your mouth || Compared to a regular old plain snorkel, where pretty much nothing can go wrong. It will last you a lifetime and hardly any chance of leaking or similar issues. |
Choosing Fins for snorkeling
Well this is normally down to simple comfort and personal choice. Be sure your fin fits snug but not tight. Always try your fins on when they are wet (dry fins will inevitably feel tighter than they are in the water) for the purposes of snorkeling you may also want to avoid the heavier open fin and boot system in favour of a lighter closed heel.
And there you have it, we recommend keeping snorkeling gear simple, we have purchased expensive brand names and found them generally as comfortable, versatile and durable as inexpensive less known brands. In fact I can list scores of people that will vouch for this approach.
As a rule, there is very little that can go wrong with snorkel gear, it's so simple, so keep to that rule by not over complicating your gear and you’ll have loads of fun and pain free, comfortable snorkel gear.
Extra's to include in your snorkel gear
And then final items or extras that you may want to include in your snorkel gear:
- A rash vest, many a first time snorkeler has been burned to a crisp on their backs snorkeling along, quietly unaware of how you're getting burnt, rash vest = snorkeling gear essential. Even an old t-shirt will work as an alternative.
- If you're on a snorkeling holiday or major mission take a spare mouth piece for your snorkel and spare strap for you mask, if these break you could find yourself stranded.
- A mask strap cover, especially if you have longer hair can help avoid painful and frustrating hair tangled in mask strap experiences
Take time and get comfortable with your new snorkeling gear and make sure you know how to use your snorkeling gear, it will make your entire experience far more fun, comfortable and happy. Even if it means blowing some bubbles in the bathtub, taking the time to get your mask fitting nicely and making certain you are comfortable will be well worth your while.