Snorkeling is a great way to explore underwater worlds without the training and equipment required for Scuba diving. But do you know how to measure for a snorkel mask that’s fitted for you?
Perhaps the only key element to keep in mind when getting started in this water sport is the fit of your snorkel mask. You want the right size snorkel mask to make sure it stays in place properly on your face throughout the day. Constantly having to adjust the mask, and dealing with water sneaking in through the sides, could make this activity more frustrating than relaxing.
We’ll use the article below to guild you through the process of measuring for a new snorkeling mask. This is a pretty simple task overall, but there are a few key points to keep in mind. Let’s get started!
Measuring Correctly for a New Snorkel Mask
Let’s get right into it – to measure yourself or someone else properly for a new snorkel mask, follow the advice below.
Right off the bat, you are going to find that the word “measure” isn’t quite right in this application. That’s because, most of the time, you aren’t really going to take any measurements of your face, chin or nose for your new snorkel mask.
The typical snorkel mask manufacturer offers adult and children’s sizes, but that’s about it. You aren’t going to be taking detailed measurements of your face width to compare to a long list of sizing options – that’s just not how this industry works.
Know Your Face Shape
Get a good idea of the shape of your face and how it compares to average and other various shapes.
You may already have a pretty good idea of whether you have a narrow or wide face shape, but you could always look in a mirror or even take a selfie to get a better idea.
Read Customer Reviews
Now, you probably aren’t going to find a snorkel mask that is marketed specifically to your face shape, but you can use reviews to see what people say about how the mask fits their face shape.
For example, if you read a few reviews and find that people consistently say that a given mask works well for a narrow face – and you have a rounder face – that product probably isn’t a good fit. Different brands will fit in different ways, so take some time to review the options you find on the market and try out one that sounds like a good option.
Try On a Mask
If possible, consider trying on masks in person so you can see how each one fits without any guesswork required. Rather than looking at size charts and hoping for the best, you can put the mask on and use something called the “suction test” to see how it fits.
Do the “Suction Test”
A snorkel mask should fit tightly to your face and create a seal that keeps water out. So, trying to generate suction while trying one on is a good way to see how the snorkel mask fits in your case.
To do the suction test, put the mask on and position it properly over your eyes and nose. With the flexible skirt of the mask in the right place, press firmly on the mask to engage it with your face.
What Happens When You Release that Pressure?
A snorkel mask that fits properly will stay in place, held by the suction that is created between the mask skirt and your face. A poor fit will result in either no suction or very low suction that won’t be enough to deal with water pressure once you actually go out for a swim.
Why Does a Good Snorkel Mask Fit Matter?
Often, the fit is not taken into consideration when grabbing a mask to use for an afternoon of snorkeling in some beautiful clear water.
Consider the case of a typical tourist visiting a tropical beach destination and wanting to see what’s lurking beneath the surface. This traveler probably didn’t pack some travel fins, or even their mask, so they’ll simply rent or borrow one from the resort where they are staying. There’s a small chance that any attention will be paid to their face shape or whether they have a normal sized nose – they’ll just take a mask and be on their way.
While this casual approach can still allow you to have some fun, it will be less than ideal. Making sure your mask fits and works with the various features of your face will lead to a more enjoyable day on the water for the following reasons.
It Keeps Water from Creeping In
If for no other reason, you’ll want your face mask to fit well so it can keep water from seeping inside the mask. As the water builds up, you will quickly lose your ability to see down through the lens into the depths below – and that was the whole point of putting on the face snorkeling mask in the first place.
By contrast, a mask that is the correct size will keep most of the water out, allowing you to better enjoy this activity with fewer interruptions.
Offers Improved Comfort
Not only will a poorly-fitting mask make it hard to keep water out, but it will also lead to painful spots on areas that may rub around your face. Specifically, the bridge of your nose and your upper lip are two spots that might become painful or uncomfortable when snorkel masks don’t fit as they should. If you opt for one of the full face masks, you could also have chin discomfort without the perfect fit.
Allows You to Spend More Time Snorkeling
It would be frustrating to really start to enjoy your snorkeling experience only to need to stop because water keeps getting into your mask or your face is starting to hurt. Taking the time to find a new mask that will fit great means you can stay in the water longer and have more fun with family and friends. When they fit just right, snorkel masks should stay out of the way and do their job in the background while you see what nature has to offer.
What are Full Face Snorkel Masks?
There is another category of snorkel masks that you should keep in mind when shopping, as it will require a slightly different fit.
Why Choose a Full Face Mask?
With a full face snorkel mask, you’ll have something that goes from above your eyes all the way down to your chin, rather than stopping at your nose. The full face snorkel mask will be more comfortable for some people, although not everyone shares that opinion. And, if you would simply like to keep more of your face dry and out of the water as you explore, a full face snorkel mask may be the right pick.
These bigger face masks are instantly noticeable as a different type of equipment than standard snorkel masks.
How to Measure for a Full Face Snorkel Mask
When fitting for a full face snorkeling mask, the most important dimension is going to be that between the bridge of your nose and the bottom of your chin.
In this case, you would measure that distance on your face and then use that information to pick out the correct size full face snorkel mask. While face shapes still come into play here, the measurement from your nose to your chin should help you zero in on the right product quite quickly.
Standard or Full-Face Snorkel Masks: What’s the Difference?
The difference between a full face snorkel mask and a standard snorkel mask comes down to how you want to breathe while underwater.
Since your whole face is covered with a full face snorkel mask, you can breathe through your nose if you want to – something that doesn’t work in a traditional mask.
With a standard mask, only breathing through your mouth will get you the fresh air you need to keep your head tucked under the surface. Also, you might find that you can see better out of this style mask, allowing you to see more of the area than you could otherwise.
On the downside, this is an integrated unit with the snorkel connected to the top of the mask, so it isn’t as versatile as a traditional setup. With a standard mask and snorkel, you can free dive if you wish by simply not using the breathing tube. You won’t have that flexibility with the full face approach, and you also may not enjoy the bulkier feel of the larger mask as you swim around over the course of a day.
A Good Fit Makes a Great Experience
It’s frustrating to deal with snorkel mask brands that don’t quite fit your face correctly, but a little trial and error should lead you to something you love. And, once you find a quality mask that fits your face properly and is secure throughout a long snorkeling session, be sure to treat that mask well to get a long useful life from this fun piece of equipment.