Unlike in many other water sports, snorkeling equipment is very simple: a diving mask, a snorkel and fins are all you need to get into the water and explore the seabed. But for more comfort, enjoyment and safety, you can add to your equipment.
This page will help you choose your equipment so that you can have the best possible experiences.
The mask is the centerpiece of your equipment. It does two things: allows you to see under water, and prevents water from getting into your nostrils (in snorkeling, you only breathe through your mouth).
One of the main features of a mask is the field of vision it gives you. The wider the field of vision, the more you will see under the water. It is recommended to have a diving mask with an angle of vision of at least 100° horizontally, and 90° vertically.
The appearance of the silicone skirt, which surrounds the glass and is placed against your face, should also be taken into account. If it is transparent, it will let in a lot of light. If it is black and opaque, it will protect you from too strong light and from reverberations, especially in a tropical environment.
Some diving masks come with a valve that allows you to get rid of the water that sometimes filters into the mask, simply by breathing out through your nose into the mask.
Lastly, the quality of the glass is also important. It can have an anti-reflective and UV coating, it can be shock-resistant, anti-mist and scratch-resistant… You should choose according to your preferences and your activities.
The snorkel enables you to breathe while keeping your face in the water so that you can carry on observing the seabed.
Choose a snorkel fitted with a valve, which means you can expel the water from the snorkel easily, by blowing out, particularly after freediving. You can do the same thing with snorkels that are not fitted with valves, but it is less simple.
Choose a snorkel with a mouthpiece (which you keep between your teeth) made of soft silicone, which is more comfortable than hard mouthpieces, particularly for long explorations.
Lastly, you should choose a snorkel that is flexible and relatively wide, making breathing easier, and adapted to your body type.
Fins help you move easily through the water and increase your safety. The features of the fins you choose will depend on your snorkeling activity.
For occasional explorations, over short distances and in calm seas, short fins (XXX) are enough. But for a more regular activity, over long distances and / or in areas with a current, or for freediving, you should choose long and flexible fins (about 70 cm), of the scuba-diving type, which will reinforce your strength in the water.
A number of types of full-foot or open-heel swimfins are available (adapted to a particular foot size or which you can adjust with a strap). Whatever your choice, take your time when you try them on, because your comfort in the water will depend on them.
These 2in1 (mask + snorkel) snorkeling masks feels more natural to many snorkelers since it covers the entire face. They offer the ability to breathe naturally through the mouth or nose, without having to “bite” on a traditional snorkel. Full face masks are designed not to fog up, and offers a large field of vision.
These masks are probably the best snorkel mask for beginners or anyone who just wants a “from the surface” snorkeling experience, but are not recommended for freediving. Indeed, you have more air in the mask, so it gets more difficult to dive down. Moreover, you don’t have access to your nose, so you have no way to equalize the pressure in your ears that increases when getting deep.
Some full-face masks have a built-in action cam mount.
In any case, choose an anti-UV rash guard, since your body (the back of your neck, shoulders, the back of your thighs, calves) is particularly exposed to the sun when you are in the water.
Adapt the thickness of the rash guard to the temperature of the water. Although a thickness of 3 mm is enough in tropical seas and in summer (water at +/-25°C), choose a 5 mm wetsuit in temperate seas (water at +/-20°C). In water below 15°C, opt for a thickness of 7 mm, because your body will get cold very quickly.
Although home-made techniques exist (such as using saliva, toothpaste or washing-up liquid, which is not very ecological), a large number of manufacturers have developed lines of anti-mist products. A few drops spread over the inside of the glass generally guarantees that you can swim without problems from mist. Choose ecological products so that you don’t leave behind harmful substances in natural environments when you rinse your mask.
We recommend cylindrical bags that you can close by rolling the top down. The capacity will depend on the amount of things you want to carry with you, but 25 to 40 liters is generally enough. The bag must not be too large or else it will hamper your movements in the water.
If you snorkel outside swimming areas and / or in areas where boats are sailing, then it is recommended (and often obligatory, depending on the country) to signal your presence with a signaling buoy fitted with a diving flag (red with a diagonal white stripe).