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The snorkeling equipment comes in all shapes and sizes. Mainly a snorkel kit (or snorkel pack) consists of a separate snorkel and diving goggles. Today there are snorkel masks with the integrated tube and glasses. This is enough to snorkel recreationally, by the pool, near the coast, or in calm water. However, to do more advanced snorkeling it is advisable to add snorkel fins (also called vernacular flippers) and eventually a wetsuit. You can also add some water socks, water shoes, or gloves to increase the fun.
The most important thing when buying a snorkel tube (snorkel) is that it fits comfortably. For each person it is different but thanks to the great choice of snorkeling tubes there is a good one for everyone. Nowadays most snorkels have a mouthpiece and silicone tube. They are soft and flexible so many people prefer these. A good snorkel can now be purchased for 10 to 15 euros. The most expensive models go up to around 50 euros and offer more options and possibly more comfort.
The length and thickness of the snorkel tube are also important features. With a short snorkel tube, the water easily enters while a thin breathing tube there is a lot of breathing resistance. If the tube is too long or thick, there is a risk that exhaled air cannot escape outside before inhaling again, so inhale air with little oxygen. That is why there are special snorkel tubes for children which are smaller and with a smaller nozzle.
In general, the snorkel has a length between 35 and 45 centimeters and an internal diameter between 1.9 and 2.5 centimeters. Today there are many models with a splash guard on the top of the snorkel tube that prevents water from entering through the snorkel and with a purge valve on the bottom that lets water blow out easily in case some water came in.
Read more about the snorkel tube and its various components
Of course, you can snorkel with simple diving goggles but it is nevertheless advisable to buy diving goggles that include the nose (also called a diving mask). Also, if you want to dive at a 90-degree angle or stay underwater for a long time, a more professional mask is much more comfortable for snorkeling.
A very important factor when choosing diving goggles is a wide field of vision. Also, the diving goggles should fit well on the face so that the water is kept outside. This can be done by buying a mask with a closing edge ( facepiece ) of soft silicone. It is also important that the mask has enough space for the nose and that it closes completely. The elastic that puts on the mask has to be comfortable (not tight). The glass of the glasses must be safety glass (tempered) and unbreakable. If you wear glasses you may consider putting on glasses or a cheaper solution is to wear one-day contact lenses.
To avoid condensation inside the diving goggles while snorkeling (and diving) there are several things to do. For example, after buying it you can scrub with toothpaste (leave it for a while) and then rinse or leave it for 24 hours in water. There is also a special anti-fog spray in the dive shops that can be applied before snorkeling or diving. Scrubbing also works with a little saliva on the glass to avoid condensation.
The diving fins are not necessary but they are very nice, especially if you want to travel quite a distance in the water. With fins, you can move quickly through the water without using too much energy. Also in running water it is advisable to use diving fins so that when it enters the current, it will be possible to put more force to get out of there. In general, flexible diving fins allow you to move comfortably snorkeling. This type of diving fins often has a closed heel. Find more information about the different types of diving fins.
But if you want to dive at a 90-degree angle and dive several meters below the water, stronger and stronger fins are recommended. There is an alternative for the recreational diver who does not want to use diving fins and be able to stand in shallow water. They are various types of water shoes. These also protect you against sharp objects on the ground.
Snorkel vest, Rashguard or wetsuit
There are vests for snorkeling special. It is a combination of a life jacket and a swimming vest. The advantage of this type of vest is that you can blow air inside and so you can snorkel calmly without getting tired quickly. There are different types of vests, simple ones that are put on the head and vests that are more similar to a jacket, and that also keeps the heat. Vests with pockets and vests with whistles. It is certainly highly recommended for children.
Rash guards and wetsuits are popular for many people who snorkel. It is especially advisable to use them when you are going to dive into cold water or stay in the water for a long time. Apart from the cold it also protects against wounds (planer) and ensures extra buoyancy.
There are variants with long and short sleeves and legs. A rash guard (a type of swimming shirt) is often made of lycra and nylon. It does not protect as well by the cold as a wetsuit. The most important thing is that they protect you from the sun (UV radiation). You can also use a rash guard under the wetsuit and of course also a snorkel vest over your suit.
Aqua Shoes, Socks and Gloves
If you want to snorkel without fins it is advisable to wear some footwear. Also, the use of water socks or gloves can increase the comfort of snorkeling. This keeps the heat longer and also protects against rocks and underwater life (it doesn’t touch!)