Who does not love going on excursions? Of course, everybody loves picnics and trips to water parks, but for some thrill-seekers out there, adventure is everything. If you are also one of the thrill-seekers who are eager to quench their adrenaline thirst, then snorkeling is your way to go!
However, the thought of swimming alongside the sea creatures far under the surface of the sea is enough to give anyone goosebumps. It sure is scary! But snorkeling will be the most thrilling experience of your life if you are going for the first time. It is an ecstatic experience that lets you swim with the exotic sea creatures, but you will feel safe if you have your snorkeling vests on you.
Safety is a must
Whether you are a veteran snorkeler or you have just dived into the world of thrill-seeking and adventure, safety should be the first priority. Now, as snorkeling is not an activity limited to expert swimmers only, anyone can go for it if they have the right gear.
You can thoroughly enjoy and have the time of your life if you feel safe. Snorkeling vests are the most fundamental gear that you need to keep yourself alive in case of any mishap. Additionally, snorkeling vests not only keep you safe in case of any incidents but also help enhance your experience.
We have put together complete information on snorkeling vests along with a buying guide, so you know what to look for when getting one for yourself. If you have been meaning to snorkel your fears away but have been hesitant about your safety, then continue reading. We will be covering the two main types of snorkeling vests and the things to keep in mind when selecting the right one.
Life Jacket VS Snorkeling Vest
Okay, first things first. No matter how sturdy and durable life jacket you have, you cannot wear it instead of a snorkeling vest when going underwater for snorkeling. The reason lies in the technicality and the purpose of why both the vests are made.
The life jackets are made to keep you afloat. They are made of dense floatation foam, which is mostly stuffed in the front of the jacket to keep you in a tilted position so that your head is high. This is the main reason why you cannot use your life jacket as a snorkeling vest: it will try making you lean backward and your head above the water.
Contrary to these, snorkeling vests have air in them. They have to be inflated for use. Air is much less dense than the floatation foam, which is why; it allows more room for movement. Wearing a life jacket on a snorkeling experience will make you more tired as you will constantly be struggling to move forward and not upward toward the surface.
Types of Snorkeling Vests
Horse Collar Design
This is one of the main types of snorkeling vests. It comes with a U-shaped neck hole and secures with straps or clips around the torso.
This is a relatively new type of snorkeling vest. It is designed like a life vest. This type of snorkeling vest has soft fabric at the back as compared to straps in the horse collar design that helps protect from the sun’s UV rays. The back of these jacket style snorkeling vests is usually made of neoprene.
Considerations when buying a snorkeling vest
This very first consideration in buying a snorkeling vest depends entirely on your choice and preference. Both types of snorkeling vests are efficient in serving their purposes. Nevertheless, first-timers might find the jacket style snorkeling vest safer as it has a fabric at the back.
This is one of the most important considerations that you have to keep in mind when searching for a snorkeling vest. Buying the correct sized vest is as important as checking all the other safety features. Snorkeling vests come in different sizes and have adjustable straps.
Mostly, the snorkeling vests are bought according to the height of a person. Nonetheless, it is extremely important that you keep in mind the weight of the person as well. All the straps, buckles, or zippers in the vest should be tightly and snuggly wrapped around the body of the person.
Most importantly, you would not find the size charts of the snorkeling vests universal. The sizes may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. So, always be sure to check the maximum weight mentioned on the snorkeling vest before finalizing the purchase.
Whether you go for a horse-collar type or a jacket-style snorkeling vest, checking the material of straps and buckles is a critical step. As buckles and zippers are made of metal, they might be corrosive. Straps, however, are made of nylon or plastic.
Whatever the material is, what you should ensure for your safety and durability of the equipment is that the buckles or straps are non-corrosive. If you do not pay heed to this important aspect, your safety might be at stake. Also, the corrosion will render your jacket useless after using a few times.
It is suggested that snorkeling vests should be semi-inflated. Besides being safer, the semi-inflated snorkeling vests help in a smooth movement. They help you move around comfortably. Prefer a sturdy inflator tube irrespective of its material.
Inflator tubes are made of metal as well as plastic. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. An inflator tube made out of plastic is more flexible, while the metal one might prove to be tougher due to its high durability.
Appearance and Style
Nowadays, snorkeling vests do not only come in those monotonous neon colors only. The influx of attention snorkeling has been getting from people of all ages has led the manufacturers fulfilling everyone’s demand.
The newer designs have flashy bright colors to attract men and women alike. However, what we suggest is that you get yourself a color that can easily be spotted out by far in water for safety purposes, of course. Some snorkeling vests also have little pockets to keep your belongings safe.
How to Use a Snorkeling Vest
If you have decided on a snorkeling vest for yourself already, then you should know how to wear it as well. The most crucial part is inflating your snorkeling vest. These vests are orally inflated by opening the locking vest on the inflator. This locking vest helps keep the vest securely on you.
After opening the locking vest, you need to blow air in the vest. Before that, you have to push open the nipple that prevents air from getting out. Once you have inflated the vest, close the hole by pressing down the nipple so that the air doesn’t get out. This step has to be done very carefully as a lot of air gets out when you pull your mouth away from the hole to press in the nipple.
The last step is to close down the locking vest.
No matter how much anyone stresses the importance of good quality snorkeling equipment, it is still less. Nothing should undermine the importance of durable equipment. Never compromise your safety for money. Only get a snorkeling vest that is made of sturdy material and has safety features.
Snorkeling After a Meal is a Big No-No
Never try to ignore this precaution. As swimming is also forbidden right after you have had a meal, snorkeling in full stomach can be extremely dangerous for you. The pressure on your stomach and body will render you uncomfortable, while salt and water will have an adverse effect on your full stomach.
Our Top Picks
- Max Weight Capacity: 220 lbs.
- Type: Horse Collar Design
If you are a beginner venturing in the world of snorkeling, this Faxpot snorkeling vest is the most suitable for you. It is made of nylon material from the outside, which makes it quite durable, while the inside is made of waterproof PVC layer that can support high loads.
The bright color of this snorkeling vest makes it the best choice for beginners to be easily spotted underwater. It folds up nice and easy so that you can take it anywhere you want or tuck it comfortably in a small bag as well. It is available in two colors to choose from: yellow and blue.
- Max Weight Capacity: N/A
- Type: Horse Collar Design
If you are a style enthusiast and would consider the outlook of a snorkeling vest as equally as you would consider its durability, then get your hands on this Jetty inflatable snorkeling vest. It comes in this shiny black color with blue straps. Available in three sizes to choose from: small, large, and extra-large.
The interior, as well as exterior of this Jetty inflatable snorkel vest, is made of high-quality, durable material to provide you with utmost comfort and safety while you enjoy your snorkeling experience. The most attractive quality of this snorkel vest is that its buckles snuggly wrap around your waist instead of your crotch. So, you can get rid of that irritating crotch strap and still be safe with the jacket wrapped around your waist.
- Max Weight Capacity: up to 100 pounds (kids), 100-190 pounds (adults), and 190-230 pounds (extra-large)
- Type: Horse Collar Design
This particular snorkeling vest by Innovative Scuba made to our list because it is exceptionally sturdy and comfortable. It is made of nylon, which adds up to its sturdiness and durability. The design of this snorkeling vest is very minimalistic. Inflating and deflating it is a piece of cake. You can easily inflate it underwater as well with the help of an Intuitive screw-down oral inflation mouthpiece made of plastic (included).
These vests are available in three sizes and colors. For maximum durability, they are made of durable 210 denier urethane-coated nylon.
- Max Weight Capacity: 80-220 lbs.
- Type: Horse Collar Design
Do you hate overpacking and love to pack as minimally as possible? The new Rrtizan inflatable snorkel vest becomes the size of a small book when deflated. So, this should be your first choice if you are looking for something that does not make your bag heavy.
The best thing about this snorkeling vest is its adjustability. Its straps and buckles can easily be adjusted to many lengths and sizes. It has horizontal as well as vertical buckles to keep you intact in the vest. The material of the vest provides you with great buoyancy.
- Max Weight Capacity: Up to 80 lbs. (youth size), 80-180 lbs. (adult size), and 180+ lbs. (Adult XL)
- Type: Horse Collar Design
This horsecollar snorkeling vest comes in various sizes: Adult, Adult XL, and Youth. It is available in a bright neon color, which is a must for beginners as it helps in easy spotting under the water. The straps on this Typhoon Sports quality inflatable snorkel vest snugly wrap around you, giving you maximum support and safety. If you are looking for an economical snorkel vest without compromising the quality and safety, then this Typhoon Sports quality snorkel vest is the one for you.
Moreover, it is easy to inflate and deflate underwater as well.
- Sizes Available: Waist 24 to 27 inches (X-Small), Waist 27 to 31 inches (Small), Waist 31 to 35 inches (Medium), Waist 35 to 39 inches (Large), and Waist 39 to 43 inches (XL)
- Type: Jacket Design
If you ask a veteran snorkeler about a brand that they can rely on, they would probably name the Scubapro. This jacket style snorkeling vest by Scubapro is exceptionally durable with high buoyancy. The oral inflator in this snorkeling vest is easy to use.
It is lined with neoprene to add comfort and warmth to your snorkeling experience while protecting your back from the scorching sun rays. It has pockets also.
Snorkeling is an experience of a lifetime. Besides being thrilling, it is one of the most wonderful experiences to swim alongside the beautiful sea life. It lets you witness the raw image of the sea habitat. Never miss the opportunity if you get a chance to go snorkeling. Stay safe, and have fun!