Snorkeling Equipment: Sub-Surface Essentials

So your two-week vacation is coming up and you haven't a clue where to go. And with all the travel brochures you picked up from your agent, you now have seventeen choices instead of just three or four. Your spouse says Hawaii, your kids say Miami, your heart says Caribbean and your credit card says Lake Tahoe. No matter which aquatic location you pick, you can always use a few sets of Snorkeling essentials.

Snorkeling Equipment Costs: The Price Of Air

Great gear is available in most sports stores, which carry nearly all the brands from AirTech to Zeagle. Your budget doesn't really matter, because you can get a decent set for as little as $50. Of course, you could go for a $10 set but that might mean water inside and outside your mask, and probably in the snorkel as well. Besides, it may not be something you can bequeath in your Will. Opt for the ones that come as a set, along with a carry bag for convenience. Of course, there are professional sets that may cost more, but for a typical vacation, around $150 to $200 for a family of four is typical. If you'd rather mix and match from different brands that are available, it might cost you more, but then you get to choose specific combinations and features that may not be available in sets.

Sticking With Basic Snorkel Gear: To Accessorize Or Not

When buying a snorkeling mask, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you want a pleasurable snorkeling experience. A good mask is supposed to be the right size, should form a seal that doesn't let water in, provides crystal-clear vision, and will not shatter, sending shards of glass right into your eyes in case there's an accident. These are the basic features, but a lot of accessorizing is possible, such as stick-on reading glasses, for example. Or elastic and Velcro retaining straps that don't tug on long hair the way silicone rubber ones do.

A Tube For Breathing: Who'd Have Thought?

A snorkel is not just a tube that lets you breathe when your head is under the water, although it is. Several years and millions of dollars in research have given rise to various systems that are designed to keep the tubes water-free at all times. These are called 'dry' snorkels, and achieve this objective using a combination of one-way valves and splash-guards. Open snorkels don't have any of these but are preferred by some divers, creating a fairly big market for them. When picking a snorkel, make sure that it will be easy to breathe in, as well as easy to purge any water that may get in. Long snorkels with large-bore tubes are easy to breathe with, but hard to purge of water. The other factor that deserves some thought is the mouthpiece. Unless this is a perfect fit and is very comfortable from the beginning, it's going to make your mouth sore, and may even cause some lacerations. And no points for guessing what salt water will do to an open wound.

Like A Fish To Water: Fins Are Fun

Fins are the last of the main accessories of snorkeling, unless you want to nitpick and say "but what about a swimsuit". Well, let's call that a given. Now about those fins; you obviously want to find ones that will hold on to your feet, but that's not all there is to it. There are as many types of fins as there are feet – well, almost. Fins are basically clown shoes that have been run over by a truck or four, for lack of better imagery. Full-footed fins are fine for frolicking frogmen, but may not be suitable for professional divers, who prefer adjustable fins like the ever-popular classic, the Scubapro Jet Fin, which are worn with diving booties. Fin technology is so advanced that the different kinds available today may look more suitable for the Sea of Tranquility rather than any earthly water body.

Snorkeling Is Fun, But So Are Canyons

A last word of advice, for what it's worth. To be absolutely platitudinous, take care of your snorkeling equipment because it will need to take care of you. Proper storage away from direct sunlight, dust and thieves will help them last you for years to come. And when you're done shopping for all of your snorkeling gear, you could always change your mind and go to the Grand Canyon this year.