What to Look for in Your First Mask and Snorkel Set

Ready to explore the water? Here’s how to set out with the right gear.

Snorkeling is fun for the whole family, so investing in a set will lead to a lifetime of adventures.Shutterstock

There’s nothing like snorkeling to let you see the ocean at its finest. Being just below the surface of the water, but not so close you disturb their habitats, lets you see the natural world under the waves as it really is, not when it’s running away from you. Still, snorkeling is a lot better when you have your own gear, so know what to look for.

Make the Adjustment

Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Freediving MaskCressi

It all starts with a good fit. Your snorkel and mask set should be easy to adjust and should fit snugly without feeling like it's cutting into you or that the straps are too tight. It should also stay fixed over time, as you don't want water leaking into your mask. Look for strong buckles and straps and adjustment systems you can work without having to take your mask off.

As Clear as Day

SwimStar Anti-Fog/Panoramic Tempered Glass Snorkel MaskSwimStar

Lens placement is another point to consider. Masks can come in single-lens or dual-lens designs. Single lenses offer an uninterrupted view and may not press against more sensitive pressure points around the eyes, while dual-lens designs are more secure and sturdy, especially important if the kids will be fighting over who gets to snorkel next.

Easy as 1-2-3

OMORC Anti-Fog Snorkel Mask with Impact Resistant Panoramic Tempered GlassOMORC

Ease of use will offer a better swim. Look for snorkels that will be easy to clear and that offer methods of keeping water out, so you don't have to resort to the usual hard breath out to get your snorkel clear. Also look for sets designed to connect in some way, so you've got the option of keeping snorkel and mask together, either when packing or in the water. It'll also make it more family-friendly if you plan to share a mask and snorkel, so you won't be spending your time emptying a snorkel, just settling the question of who gets it next.