What Do You Need For Snorkeling? Gear Checklist & More

Snorkeling is an exciting water activity that allows you to explore the underwater world and witness the beauty of marine life up close. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it is essential to have the right gear. 

In this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive gear checklist for snorkeling. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, this guide will help you understand the essential equipment you need to make the most of your snorkeling adventure.

Snorkel Mask

A snorkel mask is the most crucial piece of equipment for snorkeling. It provides a clear view underwater and allows you to breathe comfortably while keeping your face dry. When choosing a snorkel mask, opt for one that fits properly and has a snug seal. Look for features such as tempered glass lenses for better visibility, a wide field of view, and a comfortable strap that can be easily adjusted. 

It is recommended to try on different masks to find the one that suits you best.

The fit of the snorkel mask is crucial to prevent water from leaking in. Make sure that the mask creates a seal around your face, covering your nose and eyes completely. To test the fit, place the mask on your face without securing the strap and inhale gently through your nose.

The mask should stay in place without any air leakage. Remember, a well-fitting mask can greatly enhance your snorkeling experience by providing an unobstructed view of the underwater wonders.


A snorkel is a tube that allows you to breathe while keeping your head submerged in the water. Look for a snorkel with a comfortable mouthpiece that fits securely in your mouth. Some snorkels have a purge valve that helps clear any water that enters the tube.

Additionally, consider getting a dry-top snorkel that prevents water from entering the tube when you dive below the surface. This feature can enhance your snorkeling experience by eliminating the need to clear water from the snorkel.

The snorkel should be of appropriate length, allowing you to comfortably reach the surface to breathe without straining your neck. Ensure that the mouthpiece is made of soft, non-irritating material and fits comfortably in your mouth. It is also essential to test the purge valve, if present, to ensure it functions properly. By choosing a reliable snorkel, you can enjoy uninterrupted breathing and focus on exploring the underwater world.

If you are comfortable snorkeling, some people eventually opt to use no snorkel at all. 


Fins provide propulsion and help you move efficiently through the water while snorkeling. They come in various styles, including full-foot fins and open-heel fins. Full-foot fins are worn barefoot and are suitable for warm water snorkeling, while open-heel fins require neoprene booties and are more versatile for different water conditions.

When choosing fins, ensure they fit comfortably and snugly. Fins that are too loose can cause blisters, while fins that are too tight may restrict circulation. Consider the size and stiffness of the fins based on your skill level and swimming ability.

Properly fitting fins are essential to maximize your swimming efficiency and reduce fatigue. The fins should fit snugly but not constrict your feet. It’s important to try on different sizes and styles to find the most comfortable pair. Additionally, consider the water conditions you’ll be snorkeling in. For warm tropical waters, full-foot fins are often sufficient, while open-heel fins offer more flexibility for various temperatures and environments.

Snorkeling Vest 

A snorkeling vest is an inflatable device that provides buoyancy and enhances safety in the water. It allows you to float effortlessly and conserves energy while snorkeling. Snorkeling vests are especially useful for beginners or those who are not confident swimmers.

Look for vests that are adjustable and provide a secure fit. Ensure that the vest does not restrict your movements and allows you to dive underwater comfortably when needed.

A well-fitted snorkeling vest can offer added peace of mind, particularly if you’re a novice or prefer extra buoyancy. The vest should have adjustable straps or buckles to ensure a snug fit around your torso. Before entering the water, inflate the vest to a comfortable level, allowing you to float effortlessly at the surface. Remember to release some air if you want to dive underwater, and inflate it again when resurfacing. A snorkeling vest provides an extra layer of safety and support, making your snorkeling experience more enjoyable.

Rash Guard or Wetsuit 

Depending on the water temperature, you may need a rash guard or a wetsuit to protect your skin and provide insulation. A rash guard is a lightweight, quick-drying shirt that offers sun protection and prevents chafing. It is suitable for snorkeling in warm waters.

On the other hand, a wetsuit provides thermal insulation and is ideal for cooler water conditions. Choose a wetsuit thickness that matches the water temperature you will be snorkeling in. Additionally, consider wearing a dive skin or lycra suit underneath for added comfort and protection.

To protect your skin from sunburn and abrasions, a rash guard is an excellent choice for snorkeling in warm climates. Look for a rash guard made of UV-resistant material, and consider long sleeves for added sun protection. In colder waters, a wetsuit is essential to keep you warm and comfortable during extended snorkeling sessions. Choose a wetsuit thickness suitable for the water temperature, ensuring it provides insulation without restricting your movements. Layering with a dive skin or lycra suit can provide additional comfort, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Other Items You Should Bring Snorkeling

  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Choose a sunscreen that is labeled “reef-safe” to protect your skin without harming the delicate coral reefs and marine life. Look for a sunscreen that is free from oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can be harmful to coral reefs.
  • Towel: Bring a lightweight and quick-drying towel to dry off after snorkeling or lounging on the beach. Microfiber towels are a great option as they are compact and absorbent, making them easy to carry and efficient for drying.
  • Snacks & Water: Pack some light snacks such as energy bars or fruit to keep you fueled during your snorkeling adventure. Staying hydrated is crucial, so bring an ample supply of water to drink before, during, and after snorkeling.
  • UV Protection Clothing: Consider wearing UV protection clothing, such as rash guards or long-sleeved shirts, to shield your skin from harmful sun rays. These clothing items are designed to provide UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and reduce your exposure to harmful UV radiation.

Double-Check Your Snorkeling Gear & Enjoy! 

Having the right gear is essential for a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience. The gear checklist provided in this blog post covers the essential equipment you need to get started with snorkeling. Remember to choose gear that fits well and suits your preferences. It’s also crucial to take proper care of your gear to ensure its longevity and performance. By investing in high-quality snorkeling equipment and following safety guidelines, you can dive into the mesmerizing underwater world and create unforgettable memories. Happy snorkeling!