After your first time snorkeling, you will likely find yourself perusing the internet dreaming about the best places to snorkel in the world. While you explore different kinds of waters you may be wondering what to wear while snorkeling. The truth is, this varies largely between the different places that you go and the type of water you are exploring. There are however a few key items that you will need in order to make the most of your trip.
Quick Answer: 10 Best Snorkel Gear Items
This is arguably the most important part of snorkeling, after all the sport is named after it. With so many different snorkels on the market, you may be wondering how to choose the right one for you. A quality snorkel will give you the ability to spend hours cruising through the water while glancing into the underwater world. Being able to trust your snorkel is an important part of this sport.
2. Dry Snorkel
A dry snorkel is a special type of snorkel that ensures no water enters the tube. This is done by having a float that closes when the water rises above it. Obviously, this type of snorkel is best for places that have choppy water or high waves.
Having a good mask can be the difference between seeing the sea life below you to having a mask full of water. There are many aspects that make a mask great. The flap that sits on your skin should be a flexible material that can bend with your face’s contours. This will create a seal that doesn’t allow water to enter. The strap should sit comfortably without causing pressure points.
Sizing your mask: Finding a mask that fits perfectly is crucial for an awesome day on the water. This can be done by tilting your head back and placing a mask on your face like how it would sit in the water without putting the strap on. Instead breathe in through your nose and tilt your head back to a normal position. If there are no air leaks and it sits tight on your face then it fits properly. If the frame covers any part of your eye or vision, or there are air leaks you will need a different size.
4. Full Face Mask
Full face masks have skyrocketed in popularity over recent years. These are snorkels that cover your entire face which give you better visibility under the water. You don’t have to worry about holding onto the snorkel with your mouth as it sits at the top of the mask. These are all designed to not fog and be excellent at circulating the air throughout the mask.
There are two main kinds of fins: a full boot and a strap design. Each of these has their benefits and drawbacks. Full foot fins are designed to be able to just be slipped on. They are usually smaller and lighter than their open heel brothers. Open heel fins have been designed to be worn with water socks. This is also more desirable in cooler waters and can be a nice protective layer for your feet when walking on rocky shores.
The size also varies depending on what you’re using them for. Longer fins will move you through the water faster and with less effort. These are usually worn by beginners and free-divers. Shorter fins are more agile and require more power to move around but are easier to transport.
As undesirable as it may sound, wearing a wetsuit on your snorkeling experience can be incredibly helpful. The best wetsuit will look a bit different depending on the temperature of the water that you are swimming in. Used for more than just temperature control, wetsuits can protect you from harmful sun rays and provide protection from things in the water such as brushing against coral or from a jellyfish sting. In warmer climates, wearing a thin shorty style wetsuit can be more than adequate for providing protection. In cooler waters, you may want to consider a wetsuit that is a bit thicker.
7. Safety Gear
While it is easy to just jump in the water with a bathing suit, your snorkel, and your mask, it is wise to bring along a few extra safety precautions. This is especially true when you are traveling in unknown waters.
Oftentimes an hour out in the water feels more like 10 minutes and before you know it you can find yourself at the mercy of the elements. Not only this but the reflection of the sun on the water will magnify the effects of the sun and can easily leave you with a nasty burn and even sun stroke. This is enough to ruin a vacation and in extreme cases leave you in the hospital. Be sure to opt for a high-grade SPF and one that is waterproof. Don’t forget to keep reapplying throughout the day.
9. Whistle & Knife
Bringing along a whistle along with you while you snorkel can help get you if you get into a tricky situation. If you find yourself too far from shore you can use your whistle to alert people to your whereabouts.
You may want to also bring along a knife. This can prove helpful if you find yourself caught in a rope or fishing line.
A snorkeling vest is not the same as a personal flotation device (PFD). These vests are brightly colored that allows you to be easily seen in the water. Instead of providing the most buoyancy possible like a PFD these vests add just enough to allow you to comfortably float along the surface of the water. They also have pockets that have spots for a whistle and even a knife.
Oftentimes when you first try snorkeling you will find yourself hooked. All the beauty of the underwater world will have you wishing you could snorkel forever and that is why you may find it better to buy your own equipment rather than renting every time. In this case, it may be cheaper to buy a snorkel gear package which will leave you with everything you need to get out into the water.
Once you fall in love with snorkeling you may get tempted to take your experience even further and try your hand at scuba diving. Click here for an inside look at what you can expect on your first dive.
Have you fallen in love with snorkeling? Tell us about your experiences and favorite gear in the comment section below.