Snorkeling is a fun and easy way to discover the underwater world, and compared to SCUBA diving requires relatively little gear. However, the equipment does matter if you want to have a better experience. Good quality fins allow you to swim better, while advanced masks provide a better view at the marine life below you. Before heading out for snorkeling, get to know the basics, and choose your gear wisely.

Snorkel Masks

The mask is your window to the world of the sea, and it should be a real diving or snorkeling mask. Masks with proper construction are shatterproof and can also withstand increased pressure if you decide to hold your breath and dive deeper. Tempered glass is a better material option than plastic, while the skirts should be from silicone, not rubber. Choose a mask with small volume that would not trap too much air or water if it gets inside. Smaller masks are easier to clear and equalising the pressure is also quicker. The nose should stay inside the air pocket to adjust to pressure changes. For the perfect fit, choose a mask with comfortable and adjustable head straps.

Snorkel Tubes

The snorkel tube allows you to breathe with your face underwater. This little tube, also called a snorkel, makes the whole process of snorkeling fun. In terms of length, it should not be too long, because inhaling is harder this way. Opt for medium length, and make sure the snorkel has some attachment to cling it to your mask so that you don't lose it. Mouthpiece comfort is also the key to good snorkeling. Soft silicone is a more convenient option than PVC. Some snorkels also have a special closing feature that stops water from entering when you take a dive. Consider this if you like diving a lot.

Snorkel Fins

SCUBA and snorkeling fins help you move faster in the water, providing a large surface area to push against. They also provide some flotation, keeping you horizontal. Full foot fins are easy to put on and take off and are the first option in warm waters. The open heel fins with neoprene boots are considerably heavier, but fit more snugly and are perfect for colder water. Choose the open heel type if you sometimes also go SCUBA diving, as you can use them for this, too. For basic snorkeling, however, simpler and shorter models will do.

Optional Extras

When snorkeling in cold water, you might consider a neoprene top, SCUBA and snorkeling boots, or a full wetsuit. If you typically snorkel in tropical areas, consider a good sunscreen for the best protection. Finally, you might want a dedicated snorkeling bag, simple mesh, or special duffel bag, to fit all your gear in.