Correct snorkel mask fitting is potentially one of the most important things for having a good time snorkeling. If it leaks or is uncomfortable it can be miserable.
Learn below how to choose the correct size and type of mask for your face shape, and how to test to see if it is the perfect fit, before you buy or rent it.
What you are looking for is an airtight seal around your face, without having the mask too tight.
First, take a good look at your face. Is it narrow or wide? Are your eyes close together or wide apart? Nicole has a wider face, and less space below her nose, and she uses the Tusa Liberator Plus mask. Galen's face is narrow, and the bridge of his nose is larger and he uses a Tilos 4 Window Panoramic mask.
Is your nose bigger or smaller? Do you have much space under your nose above your lip? So with these things in mind, try to pick a mask that looks like it will
fit your face instead of how many windows it has or how cool you think
Fitting Hint For Men - Don't forget to shave before you go to do your snorkel mask fitting. It is hard to test a seal with a lot of stubble (let alone a mustache, but that is another issue which we give a suggestion about on this page).
Now test it on your face. Pull the straps over the top of the mask and try the mask on your face, without putting the strap around your head. You must look in a mirror and notice where the skirt foot lies. Is it too narrow around the sides of your eyes? What about your nose, does it have plenty of room? You should not be pulling the nose pocket up against the underside of your nose. How about the bridge of your nose? Does the hard frame or glass rest on your nose anywhere? How about when you push the mask in a little bit? Because when you are snorkeling, water pressure will press the mask onto your face a bit.
Now, with the strap still over the top (not over your head yet), put the mask to your face, press slightly, inhale a small amount through your nose to suction it to your face, and release your hands. The mask should stay on your face without continuing to inhale.
You should be able to move around a bit without it falling off. Try moving your face muscles a bit. Does that break the seal? Try smiling. That will often break a seal on even a good fitting mask. But see what it does. (Sometimes we try to get each other to laugh when snorkeling to cause each other's face mask to flood).
Good so far? Notice that a good fitting mask will stay on with just a little suction. Now try it with the mask strap on your head. You should get an airtight fit with very light strap pressure.
The strap should sit high on the back of your head, not resting on your ears. If it rests on your ears it will get painful.
If you have to pull the straps tight to get a fit, or if you have big red marks when it comes off, you have it too tight. A leaky mask is more often a case of straps too tight than too loose.
Also, make sure with the mask fully on that you can easily pinch your nose so that you can clear your ears when diving underwater.
Finally, with your mask on with the straps, see what happens to the seal when you put a snorkel in your mouth. Most folks don't do this, but it can really change the shape of your face and break the seal of some masks. If it does, try another mask.
This step is easy. If you have found a mask that fits you perfectly, buy it! The price does not matter if it fits well. (OK. If the price does matter, you can note the exact model, size, and manufacturer and check online to see how much you might save. The place we like best for buying snorkeling equipment online is Amazon.com). Also take a careful look at what the mask looks like because the same mask is often sold branded with different names by different companies.
The full face snorkel masks are very different when it comes to fitting. There are many less steps. But as with normal masks, it is best to try them on at a store to be sure the fit is right. If you are purchasing online, we suggest that you measure your face as instructed by the manufacturer and choose the right size based on that. Be prepared that even if you order the correct size, it may not fit your face and you may need to try another brand. Read about our brand recommendations and pros and cons of these masks on our full face snorkel mask page.
If you wear glasses you probably want to read about your options in a prescription snorkel mask. You will need to find a two lens mask that fits well so that the prescription glass can be inserted.