Snorkel Equipment
Choose & Fit Your Gear

Believe us, good snorkel equipment makes your time in the water a joy, compared to a leaky fogging mask, a snorkel that floods easily, or fins that blister your feet. Perfectly fitting snorkel gear gets out of your way, out of your mind, enabling you to relax and focus on the great stuff underwater.

Here you'll learn all of your snorkeling equipment options, and how to get a perfect fit for your face, feet and mouth.

That's why it is best to buy vs. rent, even for beginners. Rentals rarely fit right. And once you have a good set of snorkeling gear, it will last you for years with minimal care. We have taken ours all over the world.

Snorkel Equipment Essentials

There are just three pieces of snorkel equipment that you have to have, a mask, snorkel and fins.

Mask Types & Fitting

Snorkel masks come in a large variety of styles and sizes and materials. You can get them with one window, or up to four. Some have plastic skirts, but 100% silicone is far better. The main thing is to get one of good quality that fits you perfectly. Our snorkel mask choices page at left will walk you through everything you need to know to make a good choice.

A perfectly fitting mask is essential for a good snorkeling experience. Learn what to look for.

And if you wear glasses, and don't use contacts, then get yourself a mask that will allow you to see like you have your glasses on.

If you only wear reading glasses and you have something you need to read in the water, like your camera settings, a fish guide, or a watch, there is an affordable solution. You can add magnifying lenses to your mask. Galen wrote this DiveOptx review of the brand he tried.

Then learn our tips on how to prevent snorkel mask fogging.

Snorkel Options

Snorkels seem simple, but they come in a bunch of different styles and types and sizes. And getting the right one is important for your mouth shape and preferences. Some have splash guards on top, or dry valves, with purge valves on the bottom. You can get them as a one piece tube, or with a flexible silicone tube section on bottom. Explore all your options on our snorkel page.

Full Face Snorkel Mask Options

Full face snorkel masks are a new option that combine a snorkel and a mask into one unit. For some people these are great, but they also have some disadvantages. We go over all the pros and cons as well as explain what brands to go with on our full face snorkel mask page.

Fin Choices

Depending on your skill level, strength and if you like to free-dive or not, your choice of snorkeling fins is pretty broad. You can get them with a closed or open foot, with split fins or solid, or compact travel versions. All you need to know is on our fins page.

Snorkel Gear Sets

If you are just starting, buying all your essential snorkel gear in one set can save you a lot of money on your snorkel equipment. It just may not all fit as good as selecting each part individually.

Darned Important Snorkel Equipment

The snorkel equipment below may not be essential, but you might be a bit crazy not to have and use it. Protection from the sun in particular deserves your full attention. And if you are not a good swimmer, then a flotation device is critical to have.

Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen

We have used many different sunscreens for snorkeling, and have done careful side-by-side tests to see which ones are the most water-resistant and provide the best protection. Click on our best snorkeling sunscreen page at left to read about these tests and find out what products won.

Besides your protection, using a reef friendly sunscreen is important, because the chemicals in most sunscreens have been proven to kill coral and fish, and to increase the chance of coral bleaching. In some places you may not be allowed in the water if you are not using a biodegradable sunscreen. Learn about reef-friendly sunscreens and our application tips.

If you also want to protect your lips from sunburn, you will need a water-resistant lip sunscreen balm. We tested and share our reviews of reef friendly snorkeling lip sunscreens on this page.

Rash Guards - For Sun Protection

Using sunscreen is good, but when we go in and out of the water several times in a day, it becomes a pain to re-apply every time. So we wear hooded long sleeve rash guards tops and full length leggings when we snorkel. Then we don't have to use sunscreen. And the rash guard provides a small amount of insulating warmth and jellyfish sting protection.

If you want extra warmth, you can get a thin neoprene top or a full or shorty wetsuit.

Snorkel Vest

A snorkel vest is basically an inflatable life preserver. It is a very useful tool and a good idea for most people. Read more about good reasons to use one even if you are a confident swimmer, find some recommendations for good vests to buy, and read about how to use them correctly.

Snorkel Equipment For A Better Time

The snorkel equipment suggestions below are not essential, but we have found they can really make snorkeling easier and more fun.

A Good Snorkel Bag

A well made snorkel bag with padded backpack strap(s) can really make your shoulders happier when walking or hiking to your next beach. A good sized bag will hold all your gear, keeping it organized and allowing it to dry. There are a variety of types and we have tried most of them and suggest a couple favorites.

Waterproof Bag/Box For Valuables

What about your car keys and wallet when you are snorkeling from a public beach? On all of our trips we use a waterproof box for keys, iPods, cell phones and wallets to keep them from getting stolen. It works great. Nicole just straps it around her waist on a snorkeling belt. On the page we also share other options, like waterproof bags and swim buoys.

Snorkeling Belt

A snorkeling belt is a great tool for carrying your waterproof box, shoes and your camera if you need your arms to swim. It is easy to make your own perfectly fitting elastic belt.

Snorkeling Weight Belt

Make freediving easier with a weight belt. It allows you to stay down to get that perfect picture or see under that ledge. Read Galen's recommendations for buying a weight belt and his tips for being safe using one.

Snorkeling Shoes For Rocky Water Entrances

Even if you wear closed foot fins like we do, you can wear snorkeling shoes for those rocky beach water entrances. You just have to have a belt to carry them with you. Open foot fins have the option of wearing boots in the fins, but you need to make sure the fins are big enough to fit them.

Contain Your Hair & Protect Your Head From The Sun

Long hair driving you nuts when snorkeling? Does it get stuck in your mask strap, or under your mask making it leak? Snorkeling swim caps or Buff Headwear are great solutions. They both have the added benefit of protecting your head and ears from the sun.

Mask Strap Cover

Particularly for folks with long hair, having a mask strap cover can be very nice. These are neoprene covers that go over your face mask straps. It keeps long hair from getting caught up in the sticky rubber straps, and spreads the pressure from the straps over a wider area. It also makes taking your face mask on and off easier.

Mask Case

You can buy nice little neoprene bags to store your mask or camera housing in when traveling. They are much better for traveling with than the hard plastic ones you may get with your mask. You can pick them up at Amazon here, and they come in 4 different sizes.

Pack Towel

Don't forget to throw a towel or two into your gear bag, for hanging out on the beach and wiping yourself down after your snorkel. We have found that an MSR Packtowl is a great, lightweight, quick-drying towel to travel with.

Snorkeling Watch

A snorkeling watch is a useful tool to keep an eye on how long you are spending in the water. Read about what depth rating you need and see analog and digital options for affordable and high end watches.

Fish, Creature & Coral ID Books

After snorkeling you will want to know what it is you saw while out there. It is essential that you own some identification books. Most popular would be identifying the fish you saw, but you could also get guides to help you identify the other creatures and corals you saw. This page gives you some options for good guides.

Night Snorkeling Lights

If you like to go night snorkeling, then getting a quality light that is designed for the purpose is actually essential. We provide a detailed look at all of your options for night snorkeling lights.

Snorkeling Cameras

Although not an essential piece of snorkel equipment, a waterproof snorkeling camera is great fun to have and use, to record your experience.

Everything you could need to know about selecting and using a waterproof camera is at this section of our site.

Non-Snorkeling Travel Gear We Like

Like a lot of you, we travel to our tropical snorkeling destinations. Traveling can have some challenges, but we have some favorite travel gear we use that really helps make traveling easier and more fun.



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