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Why doesn’t everyone who lives near the sea try snorkeling? It looks so simple, but there are a few hurdles to overcome. Unless you are fanatical about everything to do with water, you and your kids could be put off by the two-piece format: mouthpiece and mask. Salt water gets into the snorkel and the mask leaks. Plus, the mask is usually secured by a tight band, like the ones on goggles, and that pulls at your hair. It’s even worse when hair is wet. Putting a big breathing piece into one’s mouth isn’t very comfortable either.
Why not combine both parts of a snorkeling system into one mask? The immediate objection would be that breathing into a mask would cause it to fog up so you can’t see anything anyway. As for leaking, how would a mask solve that problem, or the issue of water getting through the tube? Salt water makes you gag and it gets up your nose. If a child was too comfortable, he would venture far out in the water anyway and be hard to keep track of.
Changing Expectations of Snorkeling Comfort
As of right now, all of those objections appear to have been overcome by the makers of several full face snorkel masks. They cost anywhere from $60 and up, come in sizes for all ages, and feature numerous colors. You might look like a space man dipping below the surface, but your experience of the ocean and its wildlife close to the shore will be far more enjoyable than it was when you were still using the uncomfortable two-piece system. Although the trend is relatively new, it’s taking off quickly anywhere snorkeling is a common activity. Copy-cats are already taking advantage of the popularity of full face snorkel masks so check for authenticity, quality, and warranty.
What Has Changed?
Now that the full face snorkel mask has been released, and by so many companies, customers are discovering that it’s actually easy to see through the visor. There is no fog, thanks to a simple design tweak which draws air away from the visor. A snorkeler doesn’t even have to put a mouthpiece between his teeth; the mask enables him to breathe without it the way he would above water. Okay, that’s an exaggeration; it’s going to feel weird, but not as strange as before.
A number of companies proclaim the wonders of their new snorkeling top pieces, the parts that stick out of the water. They talk about excellent visibility from the shore, an accurate tube length to prevent water getting inside, and some systems will even prevent water entering the tube if it drops below the surface.
Manufacturers of the new full face snorkel masks you can find online and at sporting good stores come with a number of features that will be attractive to individuals and families who would like to spend more time under the water exploring wildlife and talking about nature but haven’t been able to locate a comfortable system. You can go crazy with the cost, but even the most affordable ones are a big improvement over old-fashioned snorkeling equipment.
Brands of Snorkel Mask
Some of the brands you will see include Tribord, SeaFun, and Das Leben. I’ll talk about each one in a second. They mostly come with the same features except that several masks are either GoPro compatible or even come with a GoPro camera attached. In other words, they can be used to take underwater video and pictures. The small amount of research associated with this product so far suggests that people snorkel more with a mask than traditional equipment. More people try the sport and they stay in longer. You will likely see an increase in underwater video in your personal experience too.
These items are still secured to the face by a band, but it’s a three-part band rather than the sort that tugs, so it stays in place better too.
Enjoy the hassle-free design and several color choices plus something called “Dry Tech.” Dry Tech keeps salt water out of your mouth, plus the Seaview 180° is leak-resistant. Saying that, if the mask lets in any water, it is easy to release from around the pointed chin area without removing the mask. The breathing chamber is separate from your visor to prevent fogging.
Again, kids and adults alike will love this mask and can select from assorted shades so everyone knows which mask belongs to whom. The snorkel top was designed to be highly visible by parents watching their kids from the beach. The visor is made from polycarbonate, a durable synthetic material which will not shatter but provides superior visibility. Breathing is supposed to feel natural.
Sea Fun GoPro Compatible Mask
Maybe you don’t have a GoPro yet or you do not want to use it all the time, but it’s good to have the option. Choose the Sea Fun Snorkel Mask, buy your camera separately then decide whether you want to take pictures or not. The Sea Fun mask features a Dry Top Seal and Draw function which lets water out without taking the mask off. The visor is made from polycarbonate.
Das Leben 2nd Generation 180°
This is another GoPro compatible system in all sizes and several colors. The tube length is perfect for preventing water from getting inside at shallow depths. Air is drawn down and away from the mask to prevent fogging. Attach your GoPro if you like and capture images of a beautiful underwater world. Visibility is supposed to be at least as good if not superior to that provided by other models. The rest of the mask is made from tough plastic and the lining/seal is silicone.
H2O Ninja Mask
Breathe the same way you always do without a mouthpiece and without fogging using this stylish mask. The makers say it is easy to put on and use and comes apart so you can use the mask alone. With Dry Tech, as above, you won’t get salt water coming through the tube or seals around your face. This mask is particularly spacious, but also more expensive than most.