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Tips For Assembling Your Own Snorkeling Kit

When it comes to snorkeling, there are some pieces of equipment that everyone needs. It is possible to hire these, but for most people who are participating on a regular basis it is far more preferable to own their own set to ensure the best fit – not to mention that many feel it is just more hygienic! Let’s take a brief overview of the required gear that you will need in your snorkeling kit! There are four items that are considered essential : fins, a snorkel, a vest and a mask.

Snorkel Fins

There are a few different types of fins on the market to choose from but the most important factors to consider are fit, stiffness and design.  It is important to think about your feet when purchasing fins, just as you would with shoes! If you happen to have particularly wide feet or even high arches then you might find adjustable fins more appropriate, this is also true when purchasing fins for a child as they are still growing. It is important for fins to be snug, but not tight as this will not only put pressure on your feet, but will cause you to train the muscles in your legs as well.

Snorkeling Kit

The stiffer your fins are the further you will be able to propel yourself with each kick; however, this is a double edged sword as you will also need to have stronger legs to be able to use them effectively. Beginners and children are better sticking to a more flexible fin until they have built up both strength and technique.

Snorkeling Masks

Your mask is one of the most important parts of your snorkeling kit. Again it needs to be comfortably snug as a tight mask will cause headaches and even skin irritation. It must not be too loose either as it will let in air and/or water if it is. When choosing your mask think about the materials used in the skirt, strap and goggles.

The skirt (the part forming the seal between the goggles and your face) is usually either black rubber or silicone. I recommend choosing silicone even though it is more expensive, because the rubber will be more susceptible to cracking and stretching. Silicone is also much lighter and because it is clear it offers much better visibility. I feel that it is worth paying more for the additional benefits that silicone offers. You should always get the best snorkel products that your budget will allow.

In terms of the strap, as long as it does the job and is comfortable then the material used is not incredibly important. I usually always carry a spare strap in case of emergencies!

Snorkels

Perhaps more important than the mask is of course the snorkel. The most important factor here is the size! If you do not have a big enough barrel then it will not be easy to inhale enough air and if it is too small then exhaling will be difficult. The barrel size is determined by lung capacity so an adult snorkel is larger than a child’s one. In terms of materials, again the choice is between rubber and silicone. The same benefits of silicone apply to snorkels as they do to masks. Silicone is more expensive, but more durable. It is also possible to buy snorkels with a purge valve to stop salty water getting in your mouth if you are willing to splash out a little more cash.

Snorkel Vests

A vest is not essential, but it is a desirable item in terms of safety. A snorkel vest is essentially a flotation device consisting of an air bladder and straps. Wearing a vest enhances safety, but also makes snorkeling less tiring. With the vest keeping your body afloat you will need much less physical exertion allowing you to focus on the underwater sights all around you!

In addition to a vest, some avid snorkelers also like to wear a wetsuit to protect against cold water temperatures and the harmful rays of the sun. A wetsuit can also protect against potential cuts and scrapes caused by coral and other underwater hazards. It is well worth considering this addition.

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