Exploring the Oceans: A Guide to Choosing the Best Snorkeling Gear for Beginners
Getting as much as possible from your snorkeling experience is strongly related to what type of snorkeling gear you use.
While most people choose to borrow or rent gear for such activities, investing in a snorkel set of your own is the best way to ensure a comfortable fit and an optimal experience if you plan on doing it regularly. With your own gear, you’ll be able to enjoy hours of exploration without the worry of uncomfortable or ill-fitting equipment.
When it comes to selecting the best snorkel set, what factors should you consider?
Get familiar with the basic equipment
Snorkeling gear doesn’t have to be complicated. You only require a snorkel mask, snorkeling fins, and an actual snorkel, nothing else. A snorkeling wetsuit will also help.
Of course, you can add some extras, such as more safety equipment, but that’s a matter of personal preferences.
Compared to scuba diving, it’s simpler, but that doesn’t mean choosing the right equipment is easy. Fortunately, there are only a few simple things to pay attention to.
Deciding on the snorkeling mask
Don’t go for a cheap mask in a toy store, but an actual snorkel mask made for this purpose. A quality mask should have shatterproof glass and be able to take high pressure.
Opt for a mask with a small volume. The air between the mask and your face should be kept to a minimum. Less volume means water is easier to clear in case it gets in.
For optimal visibility, go for masks with a single piece of glass. These masks will provide greater visibility and are great for both novice and experienced divers.
The fit is even more important and quite simple to check. Get the mask on, but leave the strap. Inhale through the nose and let the mask go.
When you inhale, the face will expand, and mask should stick to the face because of the vacuum. If it does, put the strap on and exhale. You should be able to exhale with no effort whatsoever.
Pay attention to what it feels like on the forehead, nose, and between the eyes. If it’s comfy, you have a good fit, and you can start looking for snorkeling sites or snorkeling vacations.
Choosing the perfect snorkeling fins
For warm waters, full heel fins are the way to go. However, for colder waters, opt for open heel fins, as these can be easily adjusted in terms of fit and temperature.
Fins must be flexible, but make sure they’re stiff by the feet.
Beginners often opt for shorter fins when swimming on the water’s surface, as these provide optimal maneuverability. Additionally, snuba equipment is a great option to consider if you’re looking for something between what’s needed for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Making a decision on the snorkel
The snorkel can’t miss from your snorkeling set. Longer is not better, unlike most expectations. This is one of the best snorkeling tips out there. If it’s too long, it will be more difficult to breathe.
Too short is not great either. Opt for a medium size, so you can breathe while still keeping water out.
Go for a few snorkeling gear reviews before making a purchase. Some kits come with filters to prevent water from getting in, which isn’t too bad for beginners.
Ideally, you should have it attached, whether to the mask or your head, with a strap. Otherwise, you might lose it.
How about the snorkeling wetsuit?
You can normally rent a wetsuit from most snorkeling tours or sites, but buying your own will give you a better fit.
If you like snorkeling vacations in tropical areas, you can do with swimwear and perhaps some sun cream. Wetsuits become an actual necessity in cool waters, though.
Based on how you feel, you could opt for a simple top or a whole wetsuit. For more convenience, most people go for full wetsuits.
Go for neoprene to keep warm. It’s not perfect due to its buoyancy. If you’re not quite heavy enough to submerge easily, it’s possible to add a bit of extra weight to your belt. However, when it comes to health and safety, be sure not to add too much. It’s better to start a few pounds lighter than a few pounds heavier.
Snorkeling gear is not as complicated as it may seem at first glance. Most rules in this industry relate to common sense. Opt for things that will enhance your experience and make you appreciate snorkeling, rather than random stuff that will make it unpleasant and risky.