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Snorkeling Gear 101: What Equipment Is Needed Explore

Snorkeling can be one of the most exhilarating activities you can get into. If you are a beginner, then having the right gear is pretty important.

With it, you will ensure that you are well prepared and that it all goes smoothly. So, if you are wondering, what snorkeling gear do I need to enjoy a day out, you are in the right place.

For snorkeling, you need some basic gear like a mask, a snorkel, and fins. A wetsuit also helps if you are in a cold climate. It will help you stay warm when snorkeling. Other things like sea scooters and snorkeling cameras are bonus gear that makes it more fun.

Understanding the basics of these gears is the best way to figure out what you need. You should also understand how all of these gears work. So, let’s dive into all these in more detail.

Defogging: Why Snorkel Defogging Is...

I also have tips on choosing the right gear for you. To make things even easier, I will even suggest some top brands you can trust when buying snorkeling gear.

what snorkeling gear do i need

The Most Essential Snorkeling Gears 

If you want to get into snorkeling, there is not that much gear you need to get. You should be all good with just a mask and a snorkel.

That is the bare minimum. However, if you want to be geared up properly, there are more than just these two.

You can also get yourself some fins and also a wetsuit. Honestly, and I think you would agree with me there, seeing someone snorkeling without a wetsuit is pretty rare.

So, let’s look at a detailed list of all the proper gear you should get for snorkeling.

Mask

Ask any snorkeling expert and they will tell you that a mask is one of the most important things to get. You just cannot go snorkeling without it. The mask serves two very important functions.

One is that it protects your face from saltwater. Without it, it could get quite irritating after a while when you are snorkeling.

And second is it also gives you clear vision. You probably have dove into a swimming pool. Without any kind of facial gear, you do not really get a clear view underwater. That is where the mask comes in.

It gives you a clear underwater view so you can see where you are going and also enjoy the beauty of the underwater world. You need to get ones that fit your face properly and are comfortable to wear.

There are mainly two types you can choose from. The first type is a wide goggle. It covers your nose with a silicon cover. The other type is more modern and covers your full face.

A stylish mask like this one can get you started with ease.

Anti-fog Mask Cleaner

Next up is an anti-fog mask cleaner. Some might say that you do not need it for snorkeling. And they would be right. An anti-fog mask cleaner is more of a bonus gear.

However, I still included it in the main section just because I think having one really gives you some quality-of-life improvements.

It is a liquid-like substance that divers put inside their masks to prevent them from fogging up. It helps when diving and maintains a clear visor. This will help you see consistently well when you are underwater. 

If you are snorkeling, then an anti-fog mask cleaner is a must-have. While some might put this in a bonus category, I think it is important.

Speaking of bonus gear, keep on reading. I included a whole section dedicated to bonus gear.

Snorkel

Cannot go snorkeling without a snorkel. Now, can you? If you ask a snorkeler to pick just one piece of gear that they would use, it will probably be a snorkel. This is because it is what helps you breathe underwater. Pretty important, isn’t it? 

The idea behind a snorkel is pretty simple. It is made from a hollow tube with a U-bend at the bottom. You put the bottom part into your mouth.

The other end will rise above the water surface a bit and help you breathe the air above it.

Modern snorkels are very comfortable and have mechanisms that allow them to securely attach to your mask. They have rubber pieces that fit perfectly.

Check out this one from the guys over at TUSA for a quality snorkel.

Wetsuit

A good wetsuit is a must for someone who snorkels regularly. If you are a somewhat rare snorkeler, then it is not necessary. That being said, wetsuits help you stay warm when swimming. 

So, if you live in a cold climate, a wetsuit might be a great investment. The main mechanism by which it does this is by keeping a very thin layer of water between your skin and the suit.

This helps you keep your body temperature at a comfortable level.

But they can be quite expensive. That is why I do not recommend one for absolute beginners. Or those who do not snorkel that often.

If you live in a pretty cold place, then you might need one regardless of whether you swim or not. So, getting a good one is a good investment nonetheless.

Fins

Alright, then there are fins. This might just very well be the second most expensive gear for snorkeling. Their purpose is to help you swim with more ease.

There are two types of finds you can buy for snorkeling. 

The first one is more form-fitting and has full foot fins. They wrap around your feet completely and will give you a secure fit.

They are not that adjustable, though. So, that is something you might need to keep in mind. Fully wrapped fins are also called closed fins.

The second type is our open heel fins. These use straps to wrap around your feet. They can be worn with your feet and also allow you to adjust them.

But you might want to wear them with boots. This will help you avoid any kind of chafing.

Boots

This leads me to the next gear you should definitely have, which is boots. Snorkeling boots serve two purposes. One is the same as a wetsuit but for your feet.

When you are diving or snorkeling, keeping your feet warm and comfortable is just as important as your body.

Another is it helps give open heeled fins some much-needed grip. Since the fins will be attached to the boots, they will not rub against your feet and chafe them.

Swimming Knife

A swimming knife for snorkeling is a very specific purchase. You do not need it unless you are snorkeling for a specific reason. That is for fishing or cutting lines.

You will find thousands of good-hearted souls who do not only dive or snorkel for the sake of it. 

They love the thrill and also help the sea life by cutting fishing lines. Not only this, but those who work at an oil rig also need to use a swimming knife.

So, it depends on whether you need to cut any wires or fishing nets or not. I would not consider this a necessary purchase but it is nice to have one.

Bonus Snorkeling Gears That Are Nice To Have 

While the gears above would work great for any beginner to experienced snorkeler if you want to go snorkeling quite often then there are some pretty sweet extra or bonus gears you can get to make the whole experience even better. 

Let me make one thing very clear. These gears are not essential. So, do not get intimidated by them.

These are completely optional things that you can get if you have the time and money to splurge a little bit.

Sea Scooter

A sea scooter is for those who are looking for the best time while snorkeling. If you want to maximize the fun factor, then a sea scooter will help you do exactly that.

These motorized machines act as propulsion devices. 

They are meant to increase your speed when swimming/diving. It also helps you increase your range as well. Plus, they can be used as water toys as well. Sea scooters do not come that cheap. 

However, they are not crazy expensive either. A high-quality and powerful sea scooter is a great addition if you are in the intermediate skill level.

Snorkeling Camera

Love capturing memories? Then a camera is something you will appreciate. You can capture your snorkeling adventures and enjoy them later.

Who knows, sometimes there can be that magical experience while snorkeling that you would want to be on camera. 

It could be that you find something really interesting like an old sunken shipwreck or come across a very cool fish that you have never seen before.

Having a snorkeling camera will allow you to record all these moments and keep them forever.  Plus, you can also share them on social media for all your friends and family to enjoy.

If you have a snorkeling group, having your dives and snorkeling sessions recorded can be quite fun because you can discuss them later on when you are hanging out.

When buying one though, you need to make sure that they are waterproof. This might seem pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how many stories I have heard about water-damaged cameras. 

Phones nowadays are water-resistant. But that does not help with snorkeling at all, instead choosing a high-quality waterproof camera is the smart way to go.

Watch

A watch is something only viable for an advanced snorkeler. If you have been snorkeling for a while, and do not own a snorkeling watch, you can start to rethink it. Snorkeling watches do not just tell you the time. Of course, not.

They can give you valuable information like depth and water pressure. And hey, knowing the time and how long you have been underwater being pretty important as well.

Dry Bag

All this gear needs to be put somewhere safe and secure. A dry snorkeling bag will do the best job of giving you a convenient way of carrying all this equipment. So, get your hands on a dry snorkeling bag. 

You do not need to get a super expensive one. A high-quality bag like this one will do the job just fine. It is environmentally friendly and also has lots of features like built-in pouches, side mesh, and durable build quality.

Having a snorkeling bag will also help keep your car safe as well. When you are returning home from a snorkeling or diving session, your equipment will probably be all wet.

Unless you waited hours for them to dry. Especially, your wetsuit will be completely soaked. 

That is not something you want to carry into your car without having it dried out first. So, with a dry bag, you can keep it inside and not have to worry about your gear making your car seats wet.

Should You Buy Or Rent Snorkeling Gears?

To be honest, there are quite a few snorkeling gear choices you can get your hands on. While not all of them are essential, there are still quite a few.

Some of them can be expensive. If you want to have fun, you will want fins and sea scooters. 

All these can be quite expensive as well. So, a question many beginner snorkelers ask is whether they should rent or buy the gear. There is no single answer to this question. Both have their pros and cons. 

Renting is perfect for someone who does not snorkel that often. If you snorkel maybe once or twice every couple of months, it probably does not make sense for you to buy the gear.

You can rent the gear and just pay the rental fee for it when you use it.

Perfect Fit 

First up, if you happen to be a regular diver or a snorkeler, then having your gear is worth it. You will know every gear will fit you perfectly because you bought it yourself. Rented hardware might not fit you perfectly. 

This can cause discomfort when you are snorkeling. And if your gear makes you uncomfortable during a session, you probably will not enjoy it all that much.

Could Be Cheaper In The Long Run

If you take good care of your gears, they can last quite a long time. That is if they have been bought from reputable brands. Speaking of brands, I included a small list of the top brands as well.

In the long run, buying the gear will be cheaper since it is a one-time payment. While renting will not cost as much upfront, over time you will be paying the rental fees and that can add up to become even more expensive. 

This again depends on how often you snorkel and also how much the rental rate is. The basic snorkeling gear is not that outrageously expensive.

Maintenance

The last thing you want is to start snorkeling and realize that your mask is not working properly or that the snorkel is faulty while underwater. 

That can be very annoying. If you rented the gear, you would need to get out of the water, change the gear, and then dive in. Whereas if you own the gear yourself, you can be sure that the gears are well cared for. 

You can do all the routine maintenance and everything. Knowing that all your gear will work the moment you dive in gives you some peace of mind. 

Hygiene

This is sort of a big one. At least for me. I am not a fan of using the same wetsuit that others have used. And what about snorkels? The rubber mouthpiece has been inside so many others’ mouths. 

It kind of makes me gag just thinking about it. Hygiene might be one of the biggest reasons not to rent. Of course, some of my concerns are exaggerated.

Any good snorkeling rental sanitizes the gear properly. But having your gear just for yourself is not quite the same as sanitizing it.

At the end of the day, you do not need to buy everything. I suggest you at least buy the essentials if you are a regular snorkeler. Things like a snorkeling watch or sea scooter can be rented when you need to.

How To Select The Best Snorkeling Gear?

If you want to get the best gear for yourself, you need to know what to look for. There are a lot of kinds of gear. So, in this section, I will give you a general overview of the main things to check for.

Do not worry, I will keep it pretty brief. When trying out the gear, you will know whether it works for you or not by feeling for the fit.

Most snorkeling gears are supposed to hug your skin closely to entrap heat and also increase the fluidity of your movement underwater.

Other things to check are: 

  • Comfort
  • Materials (durability)
  • Replacement part availability
  • Features
  • Price
  • The reputation of the brand

Wrapping Up

Hope this guide answered your question about what snorkeling gear I need. The basic gear set is not that intimidating. A mask, wetsuit, fins, and a snorkel will get you all set up.

But if you want to dive in and have more fun, then you can check out some of the bonus gears like a sea scooter and snorkeling camera.

Check out our list of the best snorkels over here, we consistently update this list to ensure it is up to date!

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Written by Water Diversions

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