We use the internet for just about everything these days from banking to shopping and it often seems that we can purchase just about anything from the internet if we know where to look. However, every so often we come across something that makes us stop and think -‘wait, is this something I can buy online?’ Snorkel equipment is such an item. Often we are advised to go into a store and try the equipment on for size, but there is no reason why you cannot find one in a store and then look for a cheaper price online, or alternatively if you are an avid snorkeller then you may already know the size and brand that suits you best in which case you can simply look it up online.
The key to purchasing your equipment online is knowing exactly how to get the best possible deal while ensuring quality. One of the easiest ways to do so is to find a good, reputable supplier which is why year after year I keep on returning to my favorite shop for snorkel products because I have built up trust in them thanks to their fantastic service, low prices and quality equipment. To help you find such a relationship I have listed a few of my tips for buying snorkel gear online.
Find A Licensed Dealer
If you have a favored brand when it comes to your snorkel gear, then it is wise to seek out a retailer licensed dealer of that brand. The majority of manufacturers select a number of authorized retailers who can officially sell their products. When you purchase your gear from an authorized retailer you know that you are getting a genuine product and not a cheap imitation. In addition to this, you will know that you are backed by a manufacturer’s warranty allowing you to have your equipment repaired as necessary by someone who fully understands the brand.
Choosing Your Mask & Snorkel
It is important to choose the right mask and snorkel when buying your equipment for snorkeling. Ideally you should be able to try them on to get just the right fit. However, it is still possible to purchase these items online if you are careful. My advice is to opt for whatever brand you have been using as you will know how the sizing is and whether or not it fits comfortably. If you are not sure, then you can always visit your local store and try some on for size. It needs to fit snugly on the face so that it does not let air or water in, and it needs to be comfortable.
When buying online it is best to look for masks which are constructed from silicon, or more specifically Crystal Silicone which is the clearest and most supple allowing for a better fit and better visibility for the wearer. You should avoid those with PVC or polyvinyl materials as although it looks good and is often cheaper, it will usually begin to lose its flexibility over time, especially in cooler waters. This means that although silicone masks may be a little more expensive, they make a much better long term investment as they will last much longer. It is worth noting that scuba masks can be used for snorkeling, but a snorkel mask is not suitable for scuba diving.
In choosing a snorkel, the main consideration is who will be using it. An adult has a far greater lung capacity than a child and as a result the types of snorkels required are a little different. A snorkel consists of a tube, known as the barrel, and mouthpiece. An adult sized snorkel has a far larger bored barrel than a child sized one based on the difference in lung capacity. It is possible for an adult to use a child’s snorkel and vice versa, but it is not efficient and is not recommended. Like the snorkel masks, it is better to opt for the slightly more expensive silicone as rubber will develop cracks and dry out more quickly.
Hopefully this will give you a head start when it comes to choosing your snorkeling equipment online. If you need more assistance then talk to a local snorkel club for advice regarding brands to try and what sort of prices you an expect to pay for them.