Snorkeling Gear

Our top snorkeling gear picks. Much of this gear has been used extensively on numerous snorkeling trips. If any of the gear wore out, it would be purchased again. Rather than complicate things with multiple options, we've simplified our gear picks down to individual items we recommend.

TUSA Solla Snorkel Fins

Full foot, paddle fins. I own a pair of these and have used them extensively for years. They show no sign of slowing down. With good care they should continue to last for many more years. If they ever wore out, I would just buy another pair.

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Why I like these fins: They are full foot and you can slip them on and off with ease. This comes in handy if you are at a sketchy shore location or want to get off the snorkel boat first. Also, when you are back in the boat, it’s a quick one-handed slip off. I have never had a problem of them not fitting correctly or being too loose. They have a good thrust when kicking. There is a lot of good engineering put into this fin and I really feel the difference out there. For the quality of the fin, they are also affordable when compared to others.

Why I don’t like open heel? This is a snorkel fin with a ratchet strap on the back to hold your foot in place. They are actually heavier than closed foot. It’s not much, but the same model and size TUSA Solla fin with open heel fin weights more than the full foot version. The other reason is ease of use, I like simple things. Many of the snorkel locations I visit, you need to get in the water and moving otherwise the waves will bounce you around against coral. I don’t want to be fiddling with a ratchet strap with two hands. I can jump in the water and slip these on with one hand.

Why I don’t like split fins? This is a snorkel fin that is split down the middle with two flappy sides. These fins are softer to push but you loose thrust and maneuverability. They are more commonly used by divers that need to kick their mass around for 45 minutes on a dive. And they are not exactly in a hurry because they are trying to conserve air. The maneuverability of the common paddle fin allows you to control yourself with simple flicks of the ankle when getting in close to coral and marine life.

Any snorkel fin will rub your soft wet foot and develop blisters after about a half hour. If you continue, these will develop into open sores. You should really get snorkeling socks. These inexpensive things saved my feet. I can snorkel vigorously for several hours a day for a week and never get any blisters when using these socks.

TUSA Plantina II Hyperdry Snorkel

Another TUSA product I have used extensively for years and would buy another one if it wore out. There are several special features which make this a fantastic snorkel at a great price.

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High Flow Purge – There is a valve at the bottom of the snorkel that purges the water when you blow out. You don’t have to push the water all the way to the top of the snorkel to clear it. This helps you clear the snorkel with less effort. And even if you get a little water in the snorkel, all you need to do is give a quick puff to expel.

Hyperdry System – The tip of the snorkel is designed to expel water should you get hit with a wave. The water catches in a passive channel and drains it without getting down the snorkel. Other types of snorkel have a valve system at the top. I prefer a simpler design because there is less to break and the valve at the top sometimes closes unexpectedly cutting off your air.

Promate Frameless Mask

I own one of these and have used it extensively, it’s a great mask for the price. If it wore out, I would just get another one. Features of this mask:

Glass lens. You should always use a glass lens mask vs plastic lens. Higher quality, less prone to scratches and easier to keep the fog out.

Frameless mask design. A newer style of mask where the silicone skirt is connected directly to the lens. Slimmer design that lowers the internal volume. That means there is less trapped air you need to equalize when you dive.

Wide vision. Single large glass lens offers a wide range of vision. Larger up and down view than most other styles. I prefer this design over the style with individual lenses per eye. In my opinion this gives you a better range of vision.

Affordable. You can certainly spend a lot on a mask. In my opinion this mask hits the sweet spot of affordability and quality.

Certainly, everybody’s face is different, so it may not fit everybody.

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Special note on full face masks. These are a newer trend in snorkeling. It’s a full bubble type mask that covers your entire face with a connected snorkel coming out the top by your forehead. Please don’t get one of these, in my opinion they are stupid and possibly dangerous. There is a lot of air space inside the mask making it impossible to dive because you cannot equalize the pressure. They are also potentially dangerous because there are concerns of people suffocating in them. There is a lot of air space inside of them and carbon dioxide could potentially build up and suffocate you. Don’t just take my word on it, do online searches for news stories: Full Face Snorkel Mask Suffocation.

AXESEA Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Long sleeve rash guards are essential for snorkeling. I wouldn’t go without them. They prevent sunburn and give you some protection in the water. I’ve used a couple rash guards and have settled on this one. Why I like this one is how it fits the body. Certainly, everybody is shaped differently. But for me, it fits loosely but not too loose. What I mean is, I have tried tighter fitting rash guards before and they are uncomfortable. They squeeze your body and emphasis your lumpy bits (Hey, you want to look good out there too!). The tighter fitting shirt would also ride up and expose the “tramp stamp” area just above my waist. As a result, I would get sunburned there. This AXESEA Rash Guard fits almost like a shirt without being too loose. You want some streamline ability in the water. And for me, this rash guard also does not ride up and cause sunburn around your waist. Overall, I think this rash guard has a great loose fit without being floppy loose.

Womens Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Ladies, sorry I haven’t worn women’s clothing for some time, so I can’t recommend a specific rash guard. You have lots of cute options. The only advice I can offer is to get a long sleeve, read the descriptions on how it fits (loose or tight) and stick to surfing company brands. They make the best quality rash guards that are durable and built for performance. Here is an example from AXESEA.

GoPro HERO7

GoPro is the standard in sports cameras. I shoot all my video on a GoPro. The newest model HERO7 has built in Video Stabilization to reduce shaky video. It’s waterproof up to 33 feet. Shoots up to 4K video. You can take video and pictures with it, so why would you purchase underwater photo camera? GoPro is also small and can be operated with one hand. It fits in a pocket or can hang off a wrist strap when you need both hands. Seriously, why are you even considering purchasing a different snorkeling camera? Just get a GoPro.

Waterproof Telescoping Selfie Stick

I love this thing and have used it extensively. It is perfect for attaching your GoPro to while snorkeling. For starters it is specifically built for use in seawater. It collapses down to a hand holder and then extends to 19 inches. It has a snug wrist strap so you will never drop it. When I am out snorkeling, I swim around with it collapsed, then when I want to take a video, I quickly extend it to get the shot. If I need both hands for something, I just let go of it and let it dangle from my wrist. The telescoping extension feature is why I like it so much. You can use it to get a close shot of something while keeping a distance. And of course, you can use it to get selfie shots while free diving.

Freestyle Shark Classic Watch

The best snorkeling watches are actually surf watches. They are durable and waterproof to snorkeling depths. And hey why not, they have tide data on them as well. I own a similar model and am very happy with it. I bought one after my cheap $30 waterproof watch broke and leaked on the first day of the second trip I took it on. I bought a Freestyle Shark and have used it extensively ever since. I recently replaced the battery on it. The company recommends sending to them to replace the battery, that way it’s sealed up correctly.

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What I use a snorkeling watch for, is timing how long I have been in the water. Sometimes I get distracted and stay out longer than I wanted to. Everybody knows their own limits. Sometimes I don’t realize how tired I am until back on shore. If you push your limits too much you may find yourself in trouble.

Other than that, this watch is a great travel watch for tropical beach vacations. You are not going to want to have your phone with you everywhere. You will still need to know what time it is, when to meet someone, when to catch the taxi, when the snorkeling trip starts, when your plane leaves. You will be in and out of the water, rinsing off from the beach. You can put this watch on and forget about it, not having to worry about damage. And if you want something that will last, you need to spend a little. Otherwise you’ll have to replace the same cheap watch over and over.
More Color Options: Grey, Blue, Black, Black on Black

Deep See Lycra Fin Socks

These simple fin socks allow some incredible comfort when snorkeling. Before I discovered them, I would get red marks on my feet after only a half-hour of snorkeling. If I continued, they would get worse and eventually break the skin. Open sores, on your feet, while at the beach in a foreign country = not good. When your feet are wet, the skin becomes soft and fins will rub your skin causing blisters. These simple thin fin socks prevent all of this. I can snorkel several hours a day for a week and never get any blistering on my feet. It’s incredible. These socks are intended to be thin, so they fit in your full foot snorkel fins. They are not intended to be thick like dive booties. They are made with quick drying material and can be easily wadded up and put in your swim shorts pocket when out of the water. They are thin and not intended to last forever. That being said, I abuse them a lot and they hold up well. One pair will last more than one aggressive snorkeling trip. But they are rather inexpensive, and I bring two pairs on a trip with me just in case they rip. Do your feet a favor and get a pair.

Aquapac Waterproof Keymaster

The best way to hold your valuables and keep them dry while snorkeling. I own one of these and I wear it all day long while out snorkeling. It’s got a lanyard to hang around your neck and then I tuck it under my shirt. The case has a patented locking design. Just flip the tabs to open or close. It’s a good quality case, there are a lot of other cheaper knockoffs out there. I use it to hold my ID, credit card, some cash and keys to scooter or accommodations. Typically, I leave a few items on the shore while snorkeling. Things that I won’t be crushed if I lost. It’s great piece of mind to have your valuables on you at all times. I’ve been stopped by divers and asked about it. I even use it as a security wallet when out and about wearing street clothes. This case will not fit phones or passports, try the Aquapac Classic.

Aquapac Classic Waterproof Phone Case (Plus)

Same as the Aquapac Keymaster but large enough to fit cell phones and passports. I wouldn’t go much larger size than this to take snorkeling. What happens is, you won’t be able to get all the air out of the pack, and it will act like a floating balloon.

Quick Spit AntiFog

Unless you want to spit directly in your mask (yuck) this is an essential item to have. To maintain a clear mask, you should apply this on your mask before going out snorkeling. Without it, your mask will fog up in a short time and you won’t see anything. Expand for video demo on how to use.

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Mask Scrub Cleaner

For pre treatment of brand new masks and long term maintenance, use JAWS Scrub Mask and Slate. Brand new masks have some silicone droplet residue on the lens. If left untreated, your mask will continuously fog up. Also, after about 20 snorkels there will be a buildup of gunk that does not come off with the anti fog spray. Spread some Scrub on the mask, rub with your fingers and rinse. One bottle should last a while. Expand for video demo on how to use.

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Volador Diving Flashlight

Good light for night snorkeling that doesn’t break the bank. I own one of these and I feel it hits the sweet spot of quality and price. Nice bright light that is easy to operate. I've been night snorkeling with a group and I was the only one with this light. It was bright enough for everyone to have a good time. The light comes with a rechargeable battery. That is helpful because you always want a full battery when you head out for the night.

Stahlsac Panama Mesh Backpack

You’ll need something to carry all your snorkeling gear going to and from the beach. This one is a mesh bag so, your gear can dry a little while you carry it. Shoulder strap for easy carrying. Small zipper pocket to separate your valuables. Can easily be crushed down and put in your luggage for travel (weighs only 1 pound). Or use it as a small carry on. The bag is 28 inches tall so it can fit your full-size snorkel fins and a whole lot more. That may seem too big and floppy, but let’s be serious, everyone you are with will try to throw items in there for you to carry. So, you might as well not skimp on the size.

Osprey Talon 44 Pack

Great international traveling pack. I’ve owned two of these, and would buy another one if it ever wore out. I originally got it for weekend backpacking trips, but soon found out it can fit all my snorkel gear (including Tusa Solla full foot fins) and it still fits in the overhead carry on bins on an airplane (9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches or 22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm). It is so wonderful to arrive in a foreign country and breeze through customs when you have everything on you. I can jump in a taxi and sit it right on my lap, board a ferry and bring it with me. I don’t like having my bag out of sight, or trusting it to porters. And I don’t like waiting for them to retrieve my bag. It is such great piece of mind to have everything with you when traveling internationally.

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I also travel light so it works for me. If you are the type of traveler that brings half your closet with you, this wouldn’t work for you. Personally, I don’t need much at a tropical beach location. Just a couple shirts and shorts along with my snorkel gear. Note: if you overload the top flap of this backpack it will be too large for airplane carry on. Just don’t fill it too much. Should that be a concern, you can easily have a second smaller bag and transfer what you need to get past the gate agents.

Osprey is also the top backpack brand in the world. Very good quality and excellent features.