This guide will give you a basic knowledge of snorkeling products such as Dive masks, snorkels, purge valves, anti-fog, fins and snorkelling flippers.
Masks come in 2 basic shapes Oval and the more modern twin lens style. Most people prefer the twin lens style and this has now become more the norm. However there is still something to be said for the oval mask with a retro look. Oval masks are also good for underwater photography.
Masks are made from 3 types of material:
- PVC - a cheaper product and harder. Therefore not so comfortable on the face.
- Silitex - A slightly better form of PVC
- Silicon - VERY comfortable on the face and can be worn for a longer period. Also, has a much better seal against the water getting in. The silicon masks are generally made to a higher quality
My preference is for a silicon mask. I would not dive or snorkel with anything else.
In addition to this the cheaper masks lenses are made from Plastic whereas the more expensive mask comes with a Tempered glass lens. The glass lens makes for a clearer view and is altogether more durable with little chance of scratching.
Masks are designed to cover the nose to stop you sucking in water when using a snorkel. (Not a pleasant experience) The nose area can be pinched so that you can equalize when diving down or using scuba equipment.
Does it exist?
The reason a mask mists up it that the water is colder then the air in the mask, so it condenses on the glass in the mask. No matter how hard you try you wont stop this.
However, you could use an Anti-fog liquid that helps to prevent fogging. Anti Fog Liquid
Snorkels come in 3 main types:
A basic snorkel consists of a mouthpiece and a tube. A clip is positioned halfway up for attaching to the mask.
PVC mouthpiece - a cheaper product and harder, therefore not so comfortable on the mouth.
Silicon - VERY comfortable on the mouth and can be worn for a longer period. Also, it has a much better seal against the water getting in. The silicon snorkels are generally made to a higher quality
With Purge Valve
This type is the same as the basic but with the advantage of a valve that lets water drain away when you lift your head out of the water or when you expel air at a fast rate, thus forcing the water out of the valve. This makes snorkeling more comfortable due to the ease of being able to breath (Always an advantage!)
With Purge Valve and Semi Dry
The top of this snorkel stays dryer due to the design that attempts to deflect splashed water. This is for use in heavier rougher seas.
Water is going to get into any snorkel, as long as you have snorkel with a purge valve you will be able to get rid of the water anyway. If not search out a snorkel with a DRY TOP such as the Typhoon TS1
These type of fins have a strap at the heal to hold the fins on. They can be made of various materials, but the more expensive ones are more comfortable due to the quality of materials. Open heal are also designed to be used with boots or wetshoes. The exception to this is Hydrosplit fins that are designed to be worn without boots.
Designed to be worn without boots. They are better suited to warmer waters and ideal for snorkeling. Again the more expensive fins are made from better material and therefore are more comfortable.
These fins are designed to provide a smoother movement and are able to transmit power through the water more efficiently. Basically that means its easier to snorkel and less tiring. This type of fin is generally very expensive.
Dont forget when snorkelling, its very easy to get burnt on your back.
Rather that polluting the water with suncreams, try using a Rash Vest with a 50+ UPF UV Protection factor. Such as a Body Glove or Sola rash Vest Used mainly by surfers, these vest can be worn in the pool or the sea.