It’s one of the great pleasures of cruising to explore the elements below you and for those of us not wanting to shell out on full-blown diving kit, picking up the best snorkel kit is the easy and cheap way to take a look below the surface.
When cruising in the tropics – or indeed sailing round the world – the time spent actually sailing is surprisingly insignificant for many and, apart from the ongoing task of yacht maintenance, provisioning and just existing, the rest of your time can typically be spent exploring and adventuring.
Finding the best snorkel for sailors can be a somewhat overwhelming task with literally thousands of options on the market, all purporting to do the same or similar things. So how do you choose what is best for you?
The first question you will want to ask yourself is how often you are likely to be snorkeling and how far offshore are you planning on sailing. A snorkel can be a useful safety device to help you free fouled props or rudders as well as keeping an eye on your boat’s condition below the waterline.
If this is the case you will want to invest in something a bit more bullet proof than you might look for if your snorkelling plans go no further than getting a glimpse of wildlife while at anchor occasionally.
Here we’ve focussed on snorkels and masks as a set on the assumption that you will likely be on the lookout for both. There are, however many options on the market for a snorkel by itself should you already have diving goggles or similar.
Best snorkel kit
When I first got my hands on a test version of the Decathlon Easybreath mask several years ago, it looked like nothing I had ever seen before. Admittedly my initial impression was that it seemed like a bit of a gimmick.
It certainly takes a bit of getting used to with the mask covering your whole face and, above water, made me feel a little claustrophobic. But once beneath the surface I was sold on its merits almost from the word go.
As the mask covers the entirety of your face, peripheral vision is really good and allows you to easily observe the underwater world around you. The added benefit of not requiring a mouthpiece is also a significant boon for those who are not used to snorkelling regularly.
A note of caution, however. I have never experienced any problems during use, but an acquaintance of mine really struggled to get a suitable fit on their face and, as such, suffered from water leaking into the mask.
It should also be noted that, should you be planning on diving to a reasonable depth, the full face style masks limit access to your nose so equalising can be difficult.
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Orsen Snorkel Set
As waterproof action cameras become ever more ubiquitous, it’s hardly surprising that snorkel manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and releasing snorkels designed with a mounting point to attach a camera and capture all the majesty of the underwater world.
This option from Orsen Sports is a traditional mask and mouthpiece combination – though the company does also produce a full face version with a mount on top too.
It’s made with high quality materials, featuring anti-fog tempered glass lenses, which can resist scratching and withstand deep-water pressures.
Crucially, the action camera mount is removable, which we would strongly recommend as they do represent a snagging hazard.
Cressi Premium Adult Dry Snorkel Combo Set
Cressi is a big name in the snorkelling and diving world and consistently produce high quality kit.
The mask included in this set is suitable for scuba diving and freediving as well as snorkelling, so it’s a good option for those a bit more serious about their snorkelling plans.
As the mask is suitable for scuba diving it does have somewhat reduced peripheral vision compared to others on this list, with a focus more towards performance than outright comfort.
The snorkel tube itself features a splash guard which should help reduce water ingress when using it on the surface.
It might be on the pricier side compared to some of the other options on this list, but you are buying a high quality product that can be trusted to deliver in the toughest conditions.
Orsen Snorkel Mask
Like the Decathlon Easybreath, this snorkel kit features full face coverage in a very similar stylen and will likely feature all of the vision and comfort benefits of the Decathlong one.
However, as is the case with Orsen’s other mask featured here, it also has an action camera mount to help you capture all that underwater footage.
As with the other Orsen mask, the camera mount is detachable so you can remove it when you are not filming.
These types of mask are great for beginners, but if you’re looking to do some more serious snorkelling then you will likely want to plump for a more traditional mask and tube combo.
Gul Tarpon Adult Mask Snorkel & Fin Set In Yellow Black
If you are looking to snorkel for any length of time then having flippers is something of a must to make swimming easier and more efficient. As such this mask, snorkel, and flipper kit gives you everything you need to get started in one package.
As ever with flippers, you will want to be careful around delicate landscapes and, if you are swimming around the sea bed, try as hard as possible not to kick up too much sand, disturbing the wildlife.
The whole set comes in its own carry case for easy stowage and to keep everything together. There is a splash guard on the snorkel for surface use.
It may not be the most advanced kit here, but for the price this will get you started, containing everything you need to start exploring beneath the surface.
Cressi Kids Snorkeling Combo Set
If you want to go snorkeling with your kids, you will want to think about getting them their own kit. Typically adult sized mask and smorkels will not fit a childs face or mouth, no matter how much adjustment they have
Once again from the popular Itlaian brand, Cressi, this kids kid delivers all the Cressi promise of quality in a package specifically designed for a child.
This mask is not designed for quite the depths of the adult version above, but the compromise is a softer skirt material around the mask to ensure that is does not rub or pinch.
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