Choosing the right snorkel mask is important because it has a serious impact on how enjoyable your snorkeling experience is. Ideally, you will want to have a mask that comfortably fits your face so that you forget it is even there. However, as everyone’s face is different, there are no masks that are right for everyone. You will need to consider certain factors of the mask to determine the one that is right for you.
The Skirt Of The Mask
When you look at snorkel masks, you need to take the time to consider the skirt. This is the part of the mask that makes contact with your skin. Skirts come in a range of widths, and you need to find the one that fits your face the best. It is recommended that you use a wide skirt because you want more of the edge to make contact with your skin. The more contact there is, the tighter the seal will be, and the less water will infiltrate.
If you are going to be purchasing a mask, you need to ensure that the materials are correct. Silicone skirts are the best because rubber skirts will start to crack over time as they become brittle. Silicone masks are known to last for many years and are considered a better investment if you are buying the mask.
Look At Peripheral Vision
You may not consider peripheral vision when you first look at masks, but it is important. A lot of masks make the wearer feel like they have tunnel vision and this might not be the best thing. You will need to try the mask on to determine how much it constricts your vision. When you have the mask on you should roll your eyes to check your peripheral vision and determine if you are happy with this.
Low Volume Masks
When you dive underwater, the weight of the water will cause the air in your mask to compress. The deeper you go, the more pressure will be applied. To counteract this pressure, you will need to exhale slightly through the nose and use your air to fill the mask and equalize the pressure. The volume of air in your mask will affect this, and you need to consider that.
Low volume masks are recommended for free diving as the lenses are closer to the face which reduces the amount of air. The less air in the mask the less you have to blow in to equalize the pressure. Low volume masks also help with fogging as the less you exhale into the mask, the less chance of fogging.
Full Face Masks
You might also want to consider a full face mask. This will allow you to breath easier and keep your whole face dry. Because full face snorkel masks have a larger air volume, they are less good for free diving. It will take a lot of your air to equalize the pressure and prevent the masks being pushed into your face.
No Fog Lenses
Fogged up masks will make your snorkeling experience rather unpleasant, so you will want to consider this. Many mask manufacturers make no fog lenses, but this does not mean they will completely fog free. It means that they are extremely low fog and minimal preparation will be needed to keep them clear of fog when you snorkel.
Vision Enhancing Coatings
You may find that some of the masks you look at offer vision enhancing coatings. These are a good idea if you think you may be snorkeling in less than ideal lighting conditions. These masks will have a coating on the lenses that increase the underwater clarity during poor lighting conditions. Of course, this does not mean you will be able to see in the dark.
The tinting added to the lenses will make images appear clearer by cutting down the glare present when snorkeling. The lenses will also filter certain light wavelengths, and help you see better underwater. While these lenses do increase your ability to see while snorkeling, it’s not worth spending too much extra.