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Full Face Snorkel Mask VS. Traditional: Which One Is Better?

Full Face Snorkel Mask VS. Traditional: Which One Is Better?

March 11, 2019

The full face snorkel mask has been around for several years now, but since many people haven’t gone snorkeling during that time, it’s still considered to be a new style snorkel mask. It’s no wonder we hear a lot of questions about the best snorkel gear for beginners. In this post, we’d like to help set the record straight and get you started on your own snorkeling adventure.

One look at our snorkel product line will make it clear that we think the full face snorkel mask is a terrific innovation—and ours is one of the most popular! But we want to be very clear that it isn’t always the best choice, depending on what kind of snorkeling you want to do.

We didn’t choose the design based on cost or availability. We love snorkeling and have done extensive product development and testing to make the best full face mask possible, and there’s just no comparison for snorkeling on the surface.

Free Diving Requires Traditional Snorkeling Gear

We love the full face snorkel mask for snorkeling, but for free diving—that’s a different story. Beginners are best off sticking to surface snorkeling regardless of the equipment they use, but when people get more familiar with being in the ocean and have developed their snorkeling skills, they often want to start diving below the surface to get a better look at things. This is also common with scuba divers when they are in the water with just snorkeling gear. If you want to be able to dive down more than a couple of feet, you’ll need to be able to equalize the pressure in your ears, so a traditional mask is better.

Water weighs a lot more than air, so when you dive down, the water creates pressure pushing inward on your ears, which can become painful and even result in injury if you can’t create an equal amount of pressure in the tiny tubes in your ears. Equalizing, or clearing, your ears is commonly done by pinching your nose closed and attempting to gently blow air out with your mouth shut. This essentially puts pressure against your middle ear to balance out the pressure caused on the other side. A traditional mask has a soft rubber cover over the nose so you can easily pinch your nostrils closed, but you can’t do that with the new style snorkel mask.

A Full Face Snorkel Mask Is the Best Snorkel Gear for Casual Surface Snorkeling

For recreational snorkeling on the surface, a full face snorkel mask has several advantages. The larger lens not only lets you see beneath you much better, but opens up your peripheral vision so you can see what’s happening all around you.

The really big innovation with the full face snorkel mask is that the snorkel is integrated into the mask, so you no longer have to hold it in your mouth, which can be uncomfortable and result in a sore jaw. More importantly, breathing through a tube that you hold in your teeth can cause pain and discomfort over time.

By building the snorkel into the mask and designing a valve system to allow air flow between mask compartments, the new design allows you to breathe through both your nose and mouth, for a more natural breathing experience.

The upgraded snorkel design in Wildhorn’s Seaview 180° made it much easier to keep water out of the snorkel, and the newer version, SV2, has an angled snorkel with even better technology for increasing airflow and eliminating water intake.

Another advantage is that if water leaks into the mask, it can run to the bottom of your chin instead of being held right under your eyes. When traditional masks leak salt water into your eye chamber it can cause discomfort and reduced visibility.

When You Shouldn’t Use a Mask and Snorkel

Breathing through a snorkel is only appropriate for relaxed surface swimming. If you are going to be swimming hard either for exercise or if you find yourself swimming against a current, you should not use a snorkel at all, but breathe the air directly by lifting your face out of the water. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to exert yourself when you are swimming with a full face snorkel mask, you should remove the whole mask and swim without it.

There are circumstances when a traditional mask or no mask at all is best, but for your general snorkeling needs, the Seaview 180° V2 can’t be beat. It is available in three sizes for comfort and effectiveness, so be sure to check out the sizing chart and order one today. Adventure awaits!




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Fins size 12

They arrived & they fit. Thank you for your help Nic! What should we do with the wrong sized used pair? I will write a review after we use them . Thanks again , LouAnn

Great product

Got this as an early Christmas present for my man friend. He didn’t want a helmet at first, but after using he warmed up. I guess he took a nasty spill at the hill and was thankful for it! My one complaint is with the vent - it doesn’t slide. Like at all. I did contact customer service to see if I was doing something wrong with sliding it - and they offered to replace, which my boyfriend didn’t want to do (it doesn’t bother him- he loves the helmet!) other than that it’s a fantastic helmet! (And it goes really well with the goggles)

Love them

I was struggling to find my man friend a pair of goggles that he liked in a decent price range. He’s an avid snow hoarder. I stumbled upon this sight, and it had all the specs that he wanted. We received them and I gave them as an early Christmas present, which he used right away. I am planning on getting a clear lens for Christmas (stocking stuffer) so we haven’t used that feature (yet!). I would recommend in style- comfort- and functionality. I love this brand so much - and now my boyfriend does too! Keep up the awesome gear!

A Must Have Bag

Excellent Design, perfect size and a must have easy carry day trail bag, best purchase I have done.

Warm, warm, warm, & cozy

Fingers inside of a mitten = genius move on Wildhorn’s part.
The linings is warm beyond measure and so very cozy!
The wrist strap, brilliant. I am sure people don’t use them, and how many people lose their gloves? I will always wear those bc I don’t want to lose these babies!