The popularity of freediving and scuba diving has increased immensely in the last decade, which is why many people have forgotten that snorkeling can be equally exciting and fun. Snorkeling is an activity that doesn’t require much gear (some call it equipment-light activity), which allows you to bring and use your own gear on trips instead of using rental snorkeling equipment. If you intend to buy your first set of snorkeling gear, you need to know what the three essential items of snorkeling equipment are.
The mask is a must-have item of snorkeling gear. It is so because it creates an air space in front of the swimmer’s eyes, thus enabling them to focus and see clearly underwater. Many experienced snorkelers recommend silicone masks for they are comfortable, durable, and made to fit a world of faces. I advise you to look for snorkeling masks that come with a lens (or lenses) made from high-quality tempered glass and wide, comfy head straps. In case you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should opt for a snorkeling mask that can be fitted with corrective lenses.
Keep in mind that buying a quality mask means investing in a piece of snorkeling equipment that will make your underwater experience truly enjoyable, which is why its price shouldn’t be a problem.
The snorkel, as you may already know, is the item that allows you to breathe while your face is underwater. This piece of snorkeling equipment should be medium-sized because a snorkel that’s too long can make breathing hard.
When it comes to the snorkel style, you should know that simple tubes are many professional divers’ favorite option, but they require airway control in order to prevent water from entering the snorkel. That’s precisely why you might want to consider purchasing a snorkel that has a purge valve at the bottom. Lower purge valves trap the water and push it out of the bottom when the snorkeler exhales.
The fins are an important item of snorkeling gear because they convert the power produced by the swimmer’s leg muscles into efficient movement through the water. They come in two types: full foot fins and open heel fins. The full foot fins are used for snorkeling and diving in warm waters, whereas the open heel fins are used for snorkeling in cold waters and scuba diving.
Aside from a mask, a snorkel, and fins, you might want to consider buying a snorkeling exposure suit (a wetsuit will keep you warm when snorkeling in cooler waters) and a snorkeling vest (if you’re not confident enough in your swimming skills).