Human beings have an innate drive to explore the unexplorable. Mountains, deserts, coral reefs – we’re eager to conquer worlds that should be inaccessible to us. Snorkelling is a great example because water forms the most alien of landscapes. The question is, which are the best full-face snorkel masks for those bold enough to uncover its secrets?
More than anything else, your choice of snorkel should be perfect. Yes, it’s important to have high quality fins when scuba diving, but your mask is priority number one. If it doesn’t fit properly or function as expected, you could end up in an uncomfortable situation. So, it’s worth spending a little more time picking out a reliable product, especially if it’s your first one.
This article covers the basics to tell you what to look for, why it’s important and what makes a good full-face snorkel mask.
Know Your Equipment
The first thing to note is the difference between scuba and deep diving masks. While they look very similar, diving masks are usually of a higher quality. They are more rigorously tested because they need to stand up to greater pressures. Crucially, a scuba mask may be used for snorkelling, but a regular snorkel cannot be used for diving.
It’s up to you to choose but be aware that diving masks tend to be significantly pricier. If you’re going to be snorkelling in shallow depths, a midrange product is fine. Just make sure the glass or plastic faceplate is properly sealed. The last thing you want is to spend a snorkelling trip fiddling with an uncomfortable mask.
Getting the Perfect Fit
There is no shortage of diversity when it comes to mask styles and designs. However, the fit is more important than aesthetic. If you’re buying online, choose a vendor with a robust returns policy. You’re going to want to try the product on right away and send it straight back if it doesn’t feel right. Here’s how you can tell if a full-face snorkel mask fits correctly:
Place the mask over your face. Inhale gently and test to see if it stays in place when you take your hands away. Keep breathing and pay attention to any seams or joins through which air may enter. There should be no leaks. Vision should be completely clear. Your face should not press uncomfortably against the pane. If your forehead or nose feels squashed, the mask may be too tight.
Choosing Your Snorkel
If you’re buying a full-face mask, it’ll likely come with a snorkel already attached. This means you should scrutinise the snorkel carefully before you buy as well. There are four types of snorkel on the market. The standard tube, with nothing but a hole in either end. The semi-dry snorkel which has a partial cover to stop water entering the tube.
There’s also the fully dry snorkel. This has a floating valve that shuts itself when the user is submerged underwater. Finally, there’s the roll up snorkel which is highly flexible. It works in the same way, but it can be scrunched up and carried in a pocket without risking damage. Many modern snorkels (except for the cheapest standard designs) now come with a purge valve for quickly expelling water.
Why It’s Important to Get the Right Snorkel
The more comfortable you feel in the water, the more enjoyable your diving experience is going to be. Whether you’re sticking close to the surface or heading deeper, you need a mask and snorkel that, essentially, feels invisible. It should provide everything you need – unobstructed air flow, clear vision, a flawless seal – without restricting movement or your ability to have an amazing adventure.
This is post from a guest author about innovative products – snorkel masks.