As snorkeling and diving have become more and more popular, the market of masks has grown along with the sports. There are now many different companies that are constantly researching how to make the highest quality mask. This is great for you as the quality and durability of these masks are always increasing.
Whether you are a beginner snorkeler or a seasoned diver, it is crucial that you have a complete understanding of the anatomy of a mask. This information will help you figure out the quality of mask before you purchase it. Knowing before you buy can save you from a low-quality strap breaking when you need it most.
This is the most important part of your mask as it is what allows you to see underwater. It is crucial that you pay attention to the size, shape, and field of view in your mask. The technology in the lens has greatly matured over the years now featuring scratch resistant and anti-fog technology.
Lenses are most often made using either tempered glass or plastic. When finding a mask for diving, almost all are made using tempered glass. This is an incredibly high quality lens as it tough enough to withstand extreme pressures. When this glass does break, it doesn’t do so in sharp shards and instead cracks in fragments as a car windshield does. This is much safer.
The frame is the part of your mask that holds your lenses in place. Modern masks feature plastic frames which help give a more low profile appearance. This is a strong improvement from the previous metal frame which led to a much heavier and bulkier mask. The plastic design provides a more desirable and comfortable feel. Some masks feature full face designs, a single lens or the more common dual lens. This is
Companies have started turning towards frameless designs. In this, the lens of your mask is bonded directly to the skirt providing for a wider field of view.
Besides the lens, the skirt is arguably the most important part of your mask. It is the part that connects the mask to your face which makes it responsible for creating the seal that keeps water from entering.
This part of the mask is usually made from one of three materials: silicone, rubber, or PVC. Silicone is by far the best of the three. It is soft and allows the seal to move with your face. Rubber is a more stiff material that can make the bond not as strong. It is also more prone to degrade if used in saltwater. PVC is a cheaper material that has a tendency to become stiffer in colder water. Keep this in mind if you are not snorkeling in a tropical destination.
Straps are important for securing the mask to your face. You will find these are the same material as the skirt. Some companies have developed a fancier strap which they claim is anti-tangle. This means people with long hair can wear these masks without worrying about their hair being pulled. Companies do this by making their straps from a neoprene material. Even if your mask doesn’t have this feature you can buy a sleeve and slip it over the strap to get the same effect.
Most diving masks have straps that are connected using a metal or plastic. The connection point is what make the straps adjustable. This is an important part of the mask because if this part breaks, it is nearly impossible to fix. It is recommended that this part is made using metal or a very high end plastic.
No matter what type of strap your mask comes with you can always buy replacement straps. This means that if you have trouble with your hair pulling in your strap, there are many aftermarket straps you can buy to fix this problem.
Knowing the anatomy of a mask can help you in deciding which one is best for you and your snorkeling needs. Understanding the terminology and build quality will also ensure that your mask is a perfect fit.
As scuba gear can get quite pricey, it is important to do what you can to care for your gear. Knowing the different parts of your mask will help to keep your gear working properly for even longer.
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Did this description of a mask help you have a better understanding of your gear? Ask any questions in the comment section below.