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By Milda Varniene

December 6, 2019

Best Snorkeling Gear for 2020

Explore Silfra – the world’s top diving site – with the best snorkeling gear for 2020. 

Snorkeling in Silfra was voted one of the top five things to do in the world by Trip Advisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice. Grab the right snorkeling gear and make the most of your vacation!

Man snorkeling in Silfra Fissure
Snorkeling between two tectonic plates in Iceland

On our snorkel tours, we provide you with quality snorkeling gear you’ll need to explore Silfra. But you’re more than welcome to bring your own equipment as well.

We’re here to make the choice of equipment easy for you. In this blog, find our top picks for the best snorkeling gear, snorkeling sets, product comparisons and in-depth reviews. Let’s take a look!

Our Picks for the Best Snorkeling Equipment

If you’re in a rush, here are our favorite gear recommendations for 2020. For more of our personal favorites, keep scrolling down. We’ve also included buying tips for snorkeling gear.

Best Snorkeling Gear Sets Comparison

Best Mask: DGX Ultra View Frameless Mask

Best Snorkel: DBE Purge Snorkel

Best Fins: Apex RK3 Fins

The Best Snorkeling Gear Reviews

The first thing you’ll notice when choosing new snorkeling gear is that gear is sold both as individual components and as full sets. Later we’ll dig deeper into the pros and cons of these options. 

For now, let’s take a quick look at product comparisons and reviews for 2020.

Best Snorkel Masks Comparison

snorkeling masks comparison table for 2020

Snorkel Masks Reviews

A well-fitting mask is arguably the most important piece of snorkeling gear, especially at Silfra. With visibility exceeding over 300 ft (90 m), the waters in the fissure are among the clearest on Earth.

Wherever your snorkeling trip takes place, you don’t want to ruin your adventure with a foggy or leaking mask. Here’s our take on the best masks for a smooth snorkeling experience.

(The list doesn’t include full-face snorkel masks as they don’t fit with dry suits. We’ll talk about dry suits and why you need them for snorkeling at Silfra later.)

DGX Ultra View Frameless Mask: For Beginners

DGX Ultra Frameless Mask

Our expert guides use this mask daily and it proves its worth. This product features ultra-clear glass. Ordinary face masks have tiny iron particles in the lenses that block the light. This mask, on the other hand, is iron-free and has maximum light transmission.

The frameless design significantly expands your field of vision. Moreover, the DGX mask has a black silicone skirt to avoid confusing reflections on the inner surface of the glass.

Besides the awesome vision provided by the mask, the double silicone skirt also efficiently seals water out. All of the features make it the best snorkel mask for beginners.

The DGX mask is included on our Silfra tours.

Promate Scuba Dive Snorkeling Mask: For Glasses Wearers

Promate Optical Corrective Snorkeling Mask

A question our snorkeling guides often get asked is “What if I wear glasses?” Unfortunately, you can’t wear glasses under your snorkeling mask. Contact lenses are a great alternative, but if you don’t feel confident wearing them underwater, go for a prescription mask.

The Promate mask is a real game-changer on the market. If offers corrective lenses for the nearsighted from -1.0 to -10.0 and for the farsighted from 1.0 to +5.0 (by increments of 0.5 in both cases). 

Now, you’re probably wondering whether you can order different prescription strengths for each eye? The answer is yes! Bifocal lenses are also available. 

BONUS: This breakthrough mask also has a GoPro camera mount.

Tortuga Traditional Oval Single Lens Mask: For Traditionalists

Tortuga Oval Lens Mask

If you’re planning on snapping great pictures underwater, this old-school oval mask is the perfect choice. This product is popular with photographers because of its  clear view of the diver’s face. It also offers a wide field of vision and a great seal.

However, the high internal volume of air makes clearing the mask a little hard. 

Overall, the Tortuga mask is quite affordable and will make for a serious fashion statement.

Cressi F1 Snorkeling Frameless Mask: For Best Value

Cressi F1 Snorkeling Frameless Mask

Cressi is one of the best snorkeling gear brands on the market and has operated since 1946. Cressi F1 mask is a great piece of gear that doesn’t cost too much. It’s made from high-quality silicone and will last through many snorkeling seasons.

The wide-angle lens is made of anti-fog tempered glass and provides a good field of vision. The mask features easily adjustable buckles anchored directly to the skirt for maximum stability. 

It comes in multiple colors to suit your taste and folds up flat for easier packing.

Atomic Aquatics Venom Frameless Mask: For Experts

Atomic Aquatics Venom Frameless Dive Mask

This is a high-end mask known for superior quality and supreme comfort. It has an ultra-clear lens, one of the best on the market, so you get the best possible view. The wide design provides fantastic views in all directions.

The Atomic mask comes with its signature waterproof seal, known as Gummi Bear UltraSoft silicone. Expect an exceptionally snug and comfortable fit around your face. In addition, it has easily adjustable swivel buckets.

The Atomic isn’t a cheap mask, but it provides everything a professional snorkeler needs.

Best Snorkels Comparison

snorkels comparison table for 2020

Snorkels Reviews

Snorkels come in three different types: classical, semi-dry, and dry. The main difference is whether the opening at top has a splash guard (or a valve mechanism). 

  • Classical snorkel has a full opening at the top that allows you to breathe in and out. 
  • Semi-dry snorkel has a splash guard at the top to keep water from entering the tube. 
  • Dry snorkel seals while underwater to prevent water from coming into the snorkel. 

Snorkels have little variation, but there are plenty of brands and styles to choose from. Find reviews below on our top picks for each type of snorkel.

Cressi Gringo Black Snorkel: A Classic Choice

Cressi Gringo Black Snorkel

If you’re looking for a classic snorkel, Cressi’s standard bore tube ticks all the boxes. It features a soft silicone mouthpiece that provides comfort for a long time underwater.

This snorkeling buddy has a wide tube to ensure maximum airflow. A sliding elastic clip makes it super easy to attach it to any mask.

DBE Purge Snorkel: Best for Comfort

DBE Purge Snorkel

This semi-dry snorkel is perfect for both beginners and more advanced snorkelers. That’s why we use it on our snorkeling tours. The DBE snorkel is designed with the snorkeler’s comfort in mind. The mouthpiece is made from silicone, ensuring ease of use.

A splash guard protects the top of the tube from splashes at the surface. So you can focus on exploring the rift without worrying about water in your snorkel!

In addition, it has a purge valve on the bottom that allows you to blow away any water that may have entered the tube.

Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel: Best for Surface Diving

Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel

This dry top snorkel is a dependable piece of gear. It has a comfortable angled mouthpiece that is also replaceable. This means you don’t need to throw the whole snorkel away when the mouthpiece starts to fail.

A nice touch is the self-draining chamber that makes it easy to purge. The setup is flexible and fits in any day bag.

Best Fins Comparison

fins comparison table for 2020

Fins Reviews

Fins are a must-have when snorkeling at Silfra. They can stick to your foot in two basic ways: in a foot pocket or by a strap over the heel.

The water in Silfra is about 35-37°F (2-4°C). This means you’ll have to wear neoprene booties for warmth. For that reason you should choose open-heel design fins. They fit better with booties.

Let’s take a look at our top picks for open-heel fins.

Apex RK3 Fins: Best for Powerful Kicks

Apex RK3 Fins

Apex RK3 fins are designed in collaboration with the U.S. military and are among the best on the market. They are made from thermoplastic rubber and are very durable. This exceptional piece of gear provides great maneuverability and plenty of power to each leg kick.

As these fins are noted for an extremely secure fit, you won’t have to worry about them slipping off your feet. We provide Apex RK3 fins on our snorkeling tours.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus: Best for Durability

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Fins

This product from Mares is the best choice within the average price range. They are made from durable material that provides quality and mobility. Bungee heel straps make donning and doffing a breeze. Swimmers love these fins for their great thrusting power.

Seavenger Torpedo Snorkeling Short Fins: Best for Travel

Seavenger-Torpedo Snorkeling Short Fins

These fins are short and lightweight, making them perfect for travelers. Unlike longer fins, they are easier to control and requires less energy to propel yourself forward. This means they are also less powerful. Overall these are good compact fins at an affordable price.

Ready to go snorkeling? Check out our award-winning Silfra tours and book your ticket today!

Snorkel Sets vs. Individual Gear Pieces

You can choose between buying the whole snorkeling kit at once or acquiring it piece by piece. Generally, sets include all three basic parts of snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel, and fins) or just a mask and a snorkel.

The biggest selling point of sets is value. Buying a set of snorkel gear tends to be cheaper than buying each component individually. In addition, all pieces in a set fit seamlessly and suit the same skill level. It’s perfect for beginners.

man chooses snorkeling mask
Buying a full snorkeling gear set will save you money. On the other hand, collecting your own gear set guarantees the perfect fit for each piece.

However, sets are made for an average person and might not fit you perfectly. This applies especially to masks that come in many different varieties.

Also, you might need something specific. For example, you need open-heel fins for snorkeling in Silfra to fit with neoprene booties. 

If you’re looking for professional snorkeling gear, it’s better to buy components individually

In a nutshell, buying a package will save you money but collecting your own gear set will ensure you get the perfect fit for each piece. 

Let’s dive into the next section and look at comparisons and reviews of the best snorkeling gear sets.

Best Snorkeling Sets Comparison

snorkeling sets comparison table for 2020

Snorkeling Equipment Packages Reviews

Cressi Palau Set With Snorkel Gear Bag: Best for Beginners

Cressi Palau Snorkel Sets

This set is the perfect starter for beginners. Inside you’ll find quality gear including a silicone mask, dry snorkel, fins, and a mesh carrying bag. The mask has strong tempered glass lenses and a conforming skirt edge that adapts to most faces. 

The dry snorkel automatically closes during submersion. This is a great feature when adventuring with kids. The fins have an open heel and an adjustable strap for an ideal fit. They are small and convenient for travel.

Seavenger Aviator Snorkeling Set: Best for Families

Seavenger Aviator Snorkeling Set

Seavenger is one of the best snorkeling equipment brands. These guys are known for making high-quality and dependable gear.

The Aviator set includes a single-lens mask, dry-top snorkel, and open-heel fins. The best thing about this set is that it comes in different sizes and is perfect for outfitting the whole family. In addition, the set is compact and will easily fit in your luggage.

Phantom Aquatics Velocity: Best Set Without Fins

Phantom Aquatics Velocity set

This is a great snorkel and mask combo for those who want to purchase fins separately. The mask has good downward vision and a wide split strap for a snug fit.

The semi-dry snorkel keeps water out when it splashes over the snorkel. As every good snorkel should, it features a purge valve for blowing out any water that gets inside.

The set comes in multiple colors and at a fair price. No wonder it’s among the best rated snorkeling gear on the market.

What Other Snorkel Gear Do I Need to Snorkel at Silfra?

The water at Silfra is ice cold at around 35-37°F (2-4°C). That means you’ll need to wear a dry suit in addition to your mask, snorkel, and fins.

The good news is that our tours provide neoprene dry suits from the companies Waterproof and 0’Three. More precisely, we use the model D70 from Waterproof and the Port 10 from O’Three. These suits are made from high-quality components and will keep you warm throughout your adventure.

Group of people taking picture before snorkeling
With a top-notch dry suit you’re ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure at Silfra

The only thing you need to bring with you on a tour is the thermal base layer. Your base layer needs to be thin and made of wool, fleece or synthetic fabric. We advise avoiding cotton, as it quickly absorbs moisture and loses its ability to retain warmth.

You’ll also need to wear warm undergarments beneath your drysuit, thick neoprene gloves, and thick hood for extra warmth. We provide all this equipment.

If all this talk about thermals and dry suits makes your head spin, don’t worry. We’ve created a video to give you a better idea of how the gearing up process for snorkeling at Silfra works.

How to put on a dry suit?

A Buyer’s Guide to the Best Snorkel Gear

So now you know all about our top-rated snorkel gear, but how do you choose the best fit?

We’re all different and have different needs. And that’s alright.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know before spending your hard-earned money on new snorkeling gear.

How to Find the Right Fitting Snorkel Mask

Your mask should fit neatly and tightly. Check if the mask fits with these few easy steps:

  • Put it over your face without putting on the strap.
  • Inhale lightly through your nose.
  • Let the mask go.

If the mask sticks to your face, it fits!

Tourist putting on snorkeling gear
A proper fit is the most important feature of a snorkeling mask

There are a few other things to check before purchasing your mask:

  • Make sure your mask is made specially for diving or snorkeling. Don’t buy a cheap mask at a supermarket because these won’t give the necessary clarity.
  • Look for mono-glass masks, which are made of one large piece of glass. This will enable a good field of vision. 
  • The mask should have a relatively small volume to prevent any problems in case water gets in. Put the mask strap on, and exhale from your nose. You should be able to force the air under the bottom of the mask without too much effort. This means that if water gets in, emptying the mask will be relatively easy.
  • Wear the mask for a few minutes and note any uncomfortable pressure on your face. Typical places are the underside of the tip of the nose, between the eyes and on the forehead. If all of these are comfortable, you’re well on your way to finding a good mask.

What to Look for in a Snorkel

Man snorkeling in silfra fissure
A snorkel mouthpiece should rest comfortably in your jaw
  • Keep your snorkel fairly medium-length. It should give you enough flexibility to look around while your head is submerged. A long snorkel will be harder to breathe with.
  • Look for a snorkel with a splash guard that helps to protect the top of the snorkel from splashes at the surface. 
  • A good snorkel will have a purge valve for easy exhalation of water.
  • Make sure the mouthpiece comfortably fits in your jaw. 
  • Make sure your snorkel attaches securely to your mask strap.

How to Pick the Right Snorkeling Fins

Man Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure With Fins
If you’re planning to snorkel in cold water, you’ll want fins with adjustable straps

If you’re thinking of bringing your own fins to Silfra, please make sure that they are open-heeled fins, as they will need to fit with a neoprene boot. 

Before you buy fins, take a few moments to find the right fin for you at the dive store:

  • Put on a neoprene boot and then slide into the fin. Make sure it’s snug, not too tight or too loose. Keep in mind that it will relax a bit in the water.
  • Your foot should fit all the way in but leave enough space so that it’s comfortable. 
  • If your toes reach the end of the fin, it’s too small. 
  • Adjust the strap to fit comfortably. Insert your small finger between your heel and the back of the foot pocket. If you can’t, it’s too tight; if you can wiggle a lot, then it’s too loose. 
  • Flex your heel back and forth, testing to see if there are any hard spots that dig into your foot.

To find more information about snorkeling and what you need to know before your first snorkeling adventure, check out our article: What is Snorkeling.

Is the underwater world calling to you? Check out our snorkeling tours and find your next adventure! 

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