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Personal Snorkeling Equipment Recommendation

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Can anyone recommend some decent but reasonable priced snorkel sets - its me, my husband and our 11 & 14 year old kids... we have a cruise in November and thinking of just buying our own equipment...

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The best thing to do is find a dive shop near you, preferably one with their own pool.  A snorkeling "set" is always going to be some component.  The critical thing is a good mask.  The right mask for one person may be completely wrong for another.  Fins have a lot of different designs.  Some have better propulsion, others pack more easily for travel, and thir weight can vary.  I would strongly recommend an open heel design.  Most of these you wear with booties, although ScubaPro has a model, called the Go fin, that has a bungee strap, is quite light and designed for travel, and doesn't require boots.  Almost any snorkel a dive shop sells should work well for you. 

 

The advantage of a shop with its own pool is that you should be able to try equipment before you buy it.  This means you can get good fit and go on your trip knowing you'll be set.

 

I realize you could get something on line or at Costco or what not, for probably a third of the price of going through a dive shop.  However, considering the cost of the excursions, let alone the rarity of the opportunity to enjoy great snorkeling locations, the price of quality is a bargain in the long run. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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Definitely go to a dive shop,a lot of them offer a snorkeling class,would be a fun family activity. I however disagree on the fin recommendation, a full foot fin is more comfortable and perfect for snorkeling, the open heel fins are bigger,heavier,you need boots and are more for scuba in my opinion. Having your own gear is the way to go,don’t forget the mask defogger,enjoy!

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Posted (edited)

For diving I would recommend a dive shop. Just for snorkeling not so much. 

 

As long as you get the right  masks to fit your face size you are probably good to go.  My family's been using the same bubble pack packaged mask/snorkel for about 20 years with no problems. It ain't rocket science and I don't see spending a lot of money on something that you're likely to use only once or twice a year.

 

For fins, I recommend a short travel fin with an open back. That way they take up less room to pack and you can use booties/water shoes with them.  We bought US Divers short fins a couple years ago after seeing them on a cruise to Cozumel.  For snorkeling, it's all you need. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/U-S-Divers-Trek-Fin-Compact/dp/B005XYJFTA/ref=sr_1_6?hvadid=78477693762691&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&keywords=us+divers+travel+fins&qid=1563977231&s=gateway&sr=8-6

 

You can probably buy them in a set with mask/snorkel and fins.

 

On the other hand you could probably just go to Walmart and pick up a set that would work.

 

Sometimes good enough is good enough. Inexpensive masks and fins are good enough.

Edited by mac66

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Just an FYI, there are open heel snorkel fins available that do not require boots. All four fo us use them and find them more comfortable than full foot fins.

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We all have our preferences, whatever you get make sure it is at least decent quality. And as was stated above if you can try it out before buying all the better.

 

Whatever mask you get spend the time to make sure you clean the lens inside and out before you get to your destination or you will be highly disappointed in the experience. A good regular toothpaste works best to clean the film from the lens. And do this until you can't fog the lens (see YouTube) there are many videos on this. Also buy a good defogging compound for your dives (spit works but these work better.)

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On 7/24/2019 at 7:09 AM, mac66 said:

For fins, I recommend a short travel fin with an open back. That way they take up less room to pack and you can use booties/water shoes with them.  We bought US Divers short fins a couple years ago after seeing them on a cruise to Cozumel.  For snorkeling, it's all you need. 

I'm a decent swimmer but last December in Tahiti with my short fins I couldn't keep up with a group of three other swimmers following a big manta ray in deep water. The current was not that strong. I think they are fine for simple snorkeling but if you are going to be swimming any distance forget them. Going back to Tahiti this winter and bringing my usual fins- the shorties don't save that much space. I've been snorkeling for many years several times a year and I recommend a full foot fin too.

 

I also got tired of leaky masks and was fitted at a dive shop several years back and no more leaks.

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On 8/18/2019 at 3:58 PM, Petoonya said:

Going back to Tahiti this winter and bringing my usual fins- the shorties don't save that much space.

 

Looked at my "usual" fins after I wrote the above and there was a tiny tear starting at the heel. Got on Amazon and bought 2 pair. A rubber pair:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GIOX73S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and some Cressi's:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00T9LQ4CE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thought I'd try them both an hopefully choose a winner. The rubber ones seemed pretty nice except I couldn't get over the sensation that the outside/front of my foot was being twisted.

The Cressi's are wonderful. They have the little upturn at the heel to make them easy to take on and off and a silicon like material in the footpad which also helps with the easy on/off. They don't have that rigid feeling to them that many of the firmer fins have which should make them comfortable in the water, and not make legs cramp up. They also have something called "Self Adjusting Foot Pocket System" which for me anyway really works. Have a high instep and many fins cut into the front of my foot. They are also very lightweight even though they are 20" long.

 

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On 8/18/2019 at 6:58 PM, Petoonya said:

I'm a decent swimmer but last December in Tahiti with my short fins I couldn't keep up with a group of three other swimmers following a big manta ray in deep water. The current was not that strong. I think they are fine for simple snorkeling but if you are going to be swimming any distance forget them. Going back to Tahiti this winter and bringing my usual fins- the shorties don't save that much space. I've been snorkeling for many years several times a year and I recommend a full foot fin too.

 

I also got tired of leaky masks and was fitted at a dive shop several years back and no more leaks.

 

Full foot fins are fine but the reason I like open back fins is that you can wear with with water shoes, booties when the shore is rough. Wore full foot fins for years but went to Cozumel once where the shore was so rocky you could barely walk out into the surf. There I saw people wearing booties/water shoes and open back fins. Had an AH HA! moment. Of course you can wear open back fins bare footed as well.

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Again it's all a matter of personal preference..... I wear Scuba Pro Jet fins with booties I have worn these since I started diving many many years ago. I also like purge valve masks and open bore snorkels. I grew up diving in Hawaii so I'm just a bit spoiled.

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For rocky areas agree that open footed fins with booties are the best option. The places I go are sandy or boat access and the full footed ones are the most comfy- I also wear these one size larger with booties. Always best to go to a dive shop if at all possible to try on a few pairs and see which ones you and your feet like best.

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Since you mention you have kids, for them, get the open heel fins.  That way as their foot grows you don't have to purchase new fins. 

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Once you get the equipment, make sure you and the kids get a chance to mess around in a pool and really practice with it -- check for fit, comfort, make sure everything works, get the de-fogging situation sorted, practice clearing the snorkel, etc. 

 

We just got back from a snorkeling trip where we didn't do this, and it would have made a TON of difference. Luckily, we were just driving and overnighting, so we can try again in a month or so. But hands-on practice definitely makes perfect. 

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