Renting vs Buying Snorkeling Equipment

One of the most popular vacation activities at seaside destinations around the world, snorkeling is a fun and accessible way to enjoy incredible underwater scenery and marine life. Many vacationers simply slide into the water at local beaches and resorts while others book guided snorkeling tours and expeditions to offshore islands and secluded coves. If you’re planning to sample some snorkeling or are an experienced snorkeler, you may be pondering the age-old holiday dilemma of whether to rent or buy snorkeling equipment.

Renting Snorkeling Equipment

In most seaside destinations hotels, tour operators and dive shops offer a variety of rental equipment. You’ll need a mask, snorkel and fins to set off on a Key West snorkeling adventure. If you’re only planning to snorkel a day or two or are new to the sport, renting may be the most cost-efficient option, as you won’t want to fork out a lot of cash just to spend a couple of hours in the water. Most rental equipment is available in a range of sizes, so you should be able to find a mask, snorkel and fins to get you around underwater for an afternoon. Also, snorkeling gear, particularly fins, can be heavy and bulky to pack, making rentals an easier option if space is at a premium . Some travelers bring their own snorkel and rent the rest of the equipment.

Buying Snorkeling Equipment

It may be worthwhile to check prices of rentals where you’re vacationing, as in some destinations rental fees can add up quickly. If you’re planning to do a lot of snorkeling, it may be worthwhile buying equipment of your own, while if you’re only anticipating a day trip it may be more reasonable to rent. Bear in mind that picking up a cheap multi-set may seem like a good deal, fit cannot be guaranteed. If you buy, be sure to try on masks to avoid discomfort, leakage and fogging.

Hygiene is another important consideration. If you rent equipment, there’s no guarantee it’s been properly sterilized, meaning you’ll be putting something in your mouth that’s chock full of germs, sort of like renting a toothbrush.

Basic snorkeling equipment can range from an inexpensive multi-set to very expensive individual pieces. Before setting off on vacation, you can buy gear at a specialty dive shops or at discount outlets like Wal-Mart and Costco. Choose gear that fits properly and suits your budget, though quality equipment will greatly enhance your snorkeling experience. If you love snorkeling, buying good equipment is an investment in a fun-filled future of underwater adventures.

The Importance of Fit in Snorkeling Equipment

The importance of mask fit is a big reason many people opt to buy their own equipment. Whether you rent or buy, remember that diving masks need to sit comfortably on the face, provide good visibility all around and accommodate the size and shape of the face. A mask that is too small will be uncomfortable and may cause headaches, while masks that are too large can leak and limit vision, causing possible safety issues. Ill-fitting snorkels can take in water or cause mouth pain, and fins that fit incorrectly may be cause sore feet or even be unusable.