What Are the Types of Snorkeling Gear?

Having a complete set of snorkeling gear is something that will be important to make sure you fully enjoy the activity. Snorkel gear is composed of three types of equipment: the mask, the snorkel, and fins. This equipment comes in different variants as well. If you’re new to snorkeling and you’re thinking about getting yourself your own snorkeling gear, here are the different types of equipment to help you pick the best options.

Mask Types

The mask is the part that will help you see the underwater clearly. The important thing to remember in choosing a mask is it should fit you perfectly. Here are some of the mask types that you can choose from.

  • Classic: This mask has one big lens which covers your eyes up to your nose. It will surely let you see everything clearly. The downside is it does not fit tight enough and might not seal your face from water strongly.  
  • One Lens Mask: This is another single lens mask, but the difference is it has a nose pocket which allows an unobstructed view forward. However, it does not have much room for your nose bridge.
  • Split Mask: This one is a two-lens mask which has more room for a bigger nose bridge. There is also less air in this mask.
  • Three/Four Lens Mask: These masks have side windows which allow and more light to pass through and a better peripheral vision. Though, these added side windows increase the weight of the mask.
  • Frameless Mask: This mask does not have a plastic frame. Instead, the single lens is glued directly to the silicone skirt. It is lightweight and more flexible.
  • Prescription Masks: If you have poor eyesight or if you wear prescription glasses, there are prescription masks available in stores which you can use when you go snorkeling. There are also different kinds of prescription masks, such as those with bonded corrective lenses, custom prescription lenses, and drop-in lens mask. There are varieties of styles to choose from as well and you can check some reviews here.

Snorkel Types

Choosing a good snorkel is important because this is the part that will help you breathe comfortably underwater. Here are different types of snorkel.

  • Classic: This type is the normal solid tube with a mouthpiece. Sometimes they can be bent but it’s not that flexible.
  • Flexible with Purge: This one has a partial flexible silicone tube which can be more comfortable to use because it will not poke your mouth that much. It also has a purge valve which keeps a small amount of water from entering your mouth.
  • Semi-Dry with Splash Guard: This snorkel prevents splashed water to enter the tube easily to avoid being choked by water. However, it does not completely stop the water from entering when you go underwater.
  • Dry Snorkel: This is the most comfortable snorkel to use. It has a dry valve which seals out the water and air completely when you dive underwater or when you encounter a wave.

Fin Types

Fins will help you to swim easier and faster while snorkeling. There are three basic types of fins to choose from:

  • Closed Foot: These fins weigh less which makes it easy for you to move. It also gives the foot more protection since it is closed. 
  • Open Foot: If you prefer wearing diving boots when snorkeling, these fins are the best for you. However, they are somewhat heavy. It is best to use this kind of fin when you’re going to a rocky beach.
  • Split Fins: The two above mentioned types of fins are both paddle fins which are regular ones we use. Split fins, on the other hand, are designed to enhance its efficiency. It is designed with a lateral split which extends through most of the blade length. It is proven by some users that this type of fin is great because it can propel you faster compared to the traditional paddle fins. This type is best if you plan on snorkeling for a longer amount of time because paddling with them does not take much of energy.

Full Face Snorkel Mask

There is also a full-face snorkel mask which is a relatively new option. A lot of people find this mask more convenient to use because of three reasons.

  • Visibility – The frame of this mask seals behind your face, meaning, it will not alter your view.
  • Water Barrier – Since it seals around your entire face, there is less chance of water getting into the mask.
  • Natural breathing – A full face snorkel mask doesn’t have any mouthpiece. It allows you to inhale and exhale through either your nose and mouth. Allowing you to breathe naturally can make you feel more relaxed underwater.

However, snorkeling for a long period of time using this mask can eventually make you feel uncomfortable because it’s somehow difficult to get a full fresh breath of air which can make your face feel hot.   

Additional Snorkeling Gears

There are some snorkeling gears that are not necessary, but some find them useful to have as well.

First is the snorkel vest. This can be helpful if you’re not a confident swimmer, or if you don’t know how to swim.  It can provide you extra buoyancy which can decrease your worry about keeping your body afloat. Most of them have bright colors which can make you more noticeable in water.

Another useful snorkel accessory is snorkeling shoes. Since some beaches have rocky water entrances these might provide an added safety for your feet even when you’re wearing fins already.

The last accessory to consider is the snorkel cap. If you have long hair and you do not want it to go all over your face when you snorkel, it will be useful for you to have a snorkel cap. This can also protect your head and ears from the sun.

Now that you know the different types of snorkeling gear, it will be easier for you to choose the best options that will fit your needs. Just remember that more than being stylish, comfort should always be your top priority.