Should you Buy a Full Face Snorkel Mask?
Let’s have a closer look at full face snorkel masks which are hugely popular right now. But, do you need one and once you set out to buy one, how do you know which mask is right for you.
Okay, first things first, do you want or a need such snorkel goggles?
The critical question you need to ask yourself is whether you dive down a lot when you go snorkeling. If you do, then this type of snorkel mask might not be right for you.
When you go down, you need to equalize your ears. The easiest method is to pinch your nose and blow out through your nose. You can’t reach your nose when wearing a full face snorkel mask.
A few brands have started to introduce such goggles with the ability to pinch your nose. It seems a better choice to go with a traditional snorkel or dive masks where you can quickly reach your nose. There are other methods like wiggling your jaw or swallowing but those are pretty hard, and not everybody can do it.
Another problem when you enjoy diving down is the large air pocket in your mask. When you go down this air inside will shrink and cause a mask squeeze. You can counter it by blowing out through your nose but this takes a lot of effort and a lot of blowing out so, you won’t be down for a long time.
On top of the squeeze, the rather significant amount of air trapped in the mask will create an uplift. You’ll have a harder time to go down as you have so much air inside the mask that is trying to go back up to the surface!
When is a full face mask a good choice?
But, if you’re planning on staying on the surface, full face snorkel goggles may be the right thing for you. You can breathe through your mouth and nose like on the surface. You also have a large field of view which is ideal to see the underwater world.
Get the right size!
When you decide to get a snorkel mask, the first thing you have to consider is the correct size. These masks come in different sizes. Many of them also come specifically in sizes to fit children‘s heads.
The leading measurement is from the bridge of your nose to the chin. When you buy it online, you can find a size chart that allows you to pick the right size of the goggles. In a store, you can go and try the mask on.
Once you have the snorkel mask on, you can feel if there’s any room between your chin and the rubber from the mask. Also, don’t forget to check that the sides of the seal are tight and with no space between the mask and your skin.
Type of Lens
Another thing you need to consider is the type of lens the mask has. There are two kinds to pick from. There’s a panoramic version which is round all the way or a flat one which has curved edges on the side.
The main difference between the two is the panoramic one has some distortion. When you swim out some things might seem closer or farther away than they are.
The flat one does not have the distortion when you look straight out. It has more distortion though when you look around the edges. When you look straight ahead, you have a standard view.
Camera Mount or not?
If you have a GoPro or an action camera, it might be useful to check if there is a mount on the mask. Some have it included already, some you have to buy it separately, and for some masks, there isn’t one at all.
What you also want to check is if the mask is comfortable on your face. You could end up using the goggles for hours on end, so it needs to be comfortable. The straps on the side need to be tightened very easily, and you don’t want them to snap back, which they sometimes do on the cheaper models. The best snorkel goggles will have straps and skirts that are easy to use and don’t cause any sort of discomfort.
If you have any questions left about buying a full face mask, please let us know in the comments. Also, we love to know your experience when you have bought one. And if you have any other tips for other snorkeler’s, please leave them in the comments!