Watersports across the board all require equipment be used that is relative to that particular sport and snorkeling is no different. There are basic pieces for snorkeling that are needed to actively participate in this sport and it includes a mask, snorkel, fins and a snorkeling vest. As simplistic as this sounds, it is easy to be quickly overwhelmed with the wide variety of styles and the various bells and whistles associated with each specific item.
MASK & SNORKEL
The mask is a viewing device, which, when worn on the face allows you to view the underwater world. Without it, everything viewed under the water would be a blur. It creates an air space in front of your eyes which is what they need in order to be able to focus correctly. Because features, materials and styles of masks are so diverse, be sure to read our article Selecting the Right Mask which will aid in the selection process.
The snorkel apparatus is a tube which allows you to breathe while at the surface while their face is submerged. Since the average human head weighs around 10 pounds, the snorkel could also be described as an energy saving device as it eliminates the energy expenditure needed to lift the hear clear of the water in order to inhale air. They are either adult or child specific with respect to the size and the length of the barrel. (To read more on the tubes, click here). There are three designs with additional comfort features which are discussed in our Select The Right One For You.
FINS & SNORKELING VEST
Fins are worn on your feet and are used for in-water locomotion. They make it easier to move through the water allowing greater distances to be achieved than would be possible without them. They attach to your feet by way of a either a shoe-like foot pocket or a half foot pocket with heel strap. Some styles are environment specific while others may be for specialized use. Use of snorkeling vests benefit all snorkelers but it are especially important for those who are not strong swimmers and for children. For more on various types that are available, be sure to read our article Select the Right Pair.
Snorkeling vests main purpose is to allow you a means of resting should you become overexerted while you are in the water. By simply adding air orally to the vest will off set any negative buoyancy allowing you to remain comfortably afloat until you are rested enough to continue. While it is considered to assist with the positive buoyancy, it is not intended to be used in lieu of a certified life jacket when such jackets are required. Tips on personal selection as well as other helpful advice may be obtained by reading How to Select the Right Snorkeling Vest.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & COMFORT ITEMS
While the aforementioned items are deemed essential to this sport, there is an additional piece of equipment that should be considered. The item is in the form of exposure protection which can consist of Neoprene rubber based shorties or wetsuits, lycra based jumpsuits or rash guards. The purpose is multi-fold but and can include thermal insulation, protection from the burning rays of the sun and even protection from accidental contact with various types of marine life. Explore the differences between the materials used in their construction by going to our article entitled Whats the Difference.
There is quite a variety of other accessory items which are designed to enhance your in-water experience making it infinitely more enjoyable. Equipment care items such as defog and cleaners, comfort items like padded fin or mask straps, and even fish I.D.books and cards designed to further introduce and educate you to beauty and wonder of our world beneath the waves. Give yourself a moment or two to explore the various equipment categories, articles, videos and blogs available on our website. Check back often as content is added or updated frequently.
WHAT IS THE BEST SNORKEL GEAR FOR YOU
Once the determination of what gear is actually needed cursory research leads to the belief that the 'best' gear for them is the most expensive. The question of what equipment is needed quickly leads to another which is 'What is the best snorkeling gear?'. This query has led many a person along paths which have usually led to the assumption that the answer would be 'The most expensive.' If anything is to be learned when researching equipment, it should be that there is an order of importance with respect to equipment as to which factors are more important than others when determining which is the "best" for the user.
COMFORT - It should go without saying that if something is physically uncomfortable to wear or to use, then that feeling will have a negative affect on both performance and overall enjoyment.
FIT - Gear that is ill fitting is almost a guarantee that the users experience will not be as pleasant as it could. This is especially true in the instance of masks and fins. A mask that does not fit will allow water to enter while in use and fins whose foot pockets are too tight or too loose will either cause cramping or irritation in the form of blistering.
MATERIALS - One should take into account, the materials of which the equipment is made. Lesser quality materials used in key areas of the equipment can have an adverse affect on that item's durability and in many cases its fit and comfort capabilities.
FEATURES & BENEFITS - Exploring the options available with regard to items being considered. Certain options on a particular piece of equipment may further enhance the comfort value for the user. Read the bells and whistles that are available.
REPLACEMENT PARTS - When researching equipment, taking into consideration the availability of user-friendly replacement parts should be more than just a fleeting thought. Unless it is excessively abused, quality equipment should last a person many years. While this longevity does require some responsible effort from the owner, there will be instances of wearing parts that might need replacement such as mask and fin straps. It is in one's best interest to make sure that there suitable replacement parts are available.
AFFORDABILITY - Affordability is probably the next thing to be considered when deciding which is the best equipment. Most people have a basic idea of how much they want to spend and those that don't would be best to research using the above criteria as a base for budgeting.
Knowing the basic equipment needed as well as being able to build that information into an understanding of what is needed with regard to that equipment not only helps to create a more informed consumer but will also build confidence and increase enjoyment and appreciation in this amazing sport.