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Author: Zack Newsome

Zack is a lifelong adventurer passionate about sharing the thrill of the watersports with others. He loves fishing, sailing, paddling and exploring all types of water. He launched Outward Brands to inspire others to spend more time outdoors (and in the water) – improving mental health and more deeply connecting with nature.

Rainy Day Fly Fishing: A Comprehensive Guide

Fly fishing is a serene outdoor pastime cherished by many but pursued by few. Every angler’s experience is distinct and influenced by a range of factors, including the weather. Rainfall, once considered a non-favorable fishing condition, has started to pique the curiosity of anglers for the unique opportunities it presents. In this context, we’re focusing on three important aspects: appropriate gear selection, the effect of rain on fish behavior, and safety considerations while fly fishing in the rain.

Gear selection for fly fishing in the rain

Gear Selection for Fly Fishing in the Rain

Rainy conditions call for specific types of gear for efficient and enjoyable fly fishing expeditions. The gear selection process should focus on efficient water-resistant equipment, comfortable clothing options, and adapted types of rods and reels. A comprehensive kit for fly fishing in the rain should ideally contain weatherproof clothing, wet-rated fishing rods, reels, and accessories.

Weatherproof Clothing

One of the most critical considerations when gearing up for fly fishing in the rain is selecting the right type of clothing. Waterproof and quick-drying clothes are primary requirements to keep you dry, warm, and comfortable while fishing in wet weather. A heavy-duty, waterproof fishing jacket and rain pants are must-haves to protect against the rain and wind.

Fishing Rain Jacket

When choosing a rain jacket, consider one with a sturdy hood and sealed seams to prevent water seepage. Under your outer layer, wear synthetics or wool, which both wick away moisture and retain heat even when wet.

Here are some fishing rain jackets we like:

Rain Pants or Waders

Rain pants with sealable pockets are also beneficial, as they provide storage for small tools without the risk of water exposure. If you already have fishing waders, they can be combined with a rain jacket like those above to protect you from the elements and keep you dry. PVC waders are better suited to keep you dry than neoprene waders when fly fishing in the rain.

Here are some rain pants and waders we like:

Wading Boots

Consider investing in a pair of wading boots to keep your feet dry. Remember, wet feet can become uncomfortable fairly quickly, drastically reducing your fishing experience. While amazing to have on hand for wet weather fishing, you’ll find your wading boots come in handy for fishing in all types of weather and terrain.

Here are some wading boots we like:

Fly Fishing Rods and Reels

Gearing up for a rain-soaked fly fishing expedition also requires being equipped with the right kind of fishing rods and reels. Conventional wisdom among anglers suggests that a fast-action rod is best for wet weather fishing. These rods are less affected by water-weighted line and are ideally suited for larger rivers, where you could encounter large fish or fast currents.

Here are some saltwater-rated fly rods we like:

The reel, on the other hand, should be chosen for its durability and capability of handling rain-soaked lines. Saltwater reels, for example, which are designed to resist corrosion, work well because they are also great in protecting against the water accumulation that can occur during rainy fishing sessions.

Here are some saltwater-rated fly reels we like:


Accessories play an essential role during fly fishing in the rain. Waterproof or water-resistant containers for storing your flies and other accessories will protect them from moisture, ensuring their longevity and effectiveness. Moreover, a water-resistant fishing hat can offer extra protection to your face and eyes by preventing the rain from obstructing your vision.

You may also want to bring a fly treatment solution that is specifically designed to keep flies floating high even in the rain. Lastly, bring a towel to keep your hands dry for handling the rod and line. Remember, keeping your hands dry in wet weather can be instrumental in securing your grip on your equipment.

Taking Care of Your Waterproof Gear

One of the key aspects to successfully fly fishing in the rain rests in the condition of your waterproof equipment. To prolong their usability and maintain their top performance, it’s imperative to clean your gear after every outing. Make sure each item is fully dry before placing it into storage to prevent damage like mildew from accumulated moisture. Furthermore, applying a waterproofing solution to these items on a regular basis can help to preserve their water-resistant properties.

The right preparation is fundamental for a successful fly fishing trip in wet conditions. Dealing with rain doesn’t have to lead to disappointment and discomfort. In fact, with the right level of gear care and preparation, you can expertly tackle the challenges that fly fishing in wet weather can present.

An Orvis fly rod and reel sitting in a rocky stream while water rushes by.

Understanding the effect of rain on fish behavior

Grasping the Impact of Rain on Fish Behavior

Rain significantly influences the behavior of fish in different aquatic environments. It can affect water conditions like temperature and visibility, which subsequently impacts the activity of the fish. Major rainfalls can result in temperature fluctuations in the water, contributing to increased amounts of dissolved oxygen in the water which in turn excites fish activity and can make them more prone to biting.

When water cools, certain fish species, such as trout, are stimulated and become more lively. They feel comfortable in fresh, cool waters. On the other hand, species that thrive in warmer waters, like bass, may exhibit less activity and can even transition to a semi-dormant state. This highlights the importance of understanding the types of fish in your chosen fly fishing location and their respective responses to temperature shifts when planning a successful fly fishing trip under rainy conditions.

Increased rainfall can stir up sediments in the water, leading to lower visibility for the fish. This condition can make it trickier for them to identify potential meals. However, this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage for you as an angler. The reduced visibility may shield you from being seen, meaning fish might get less spooked by your movements or the movements above the water surface.

Strategies for Successful Fly Fishing in the Rain

Several strategies can be employed to maximize your chances of a catch during rainfall. One is using larger and darker flies. The reduced visibility often necessitates more conspicuous offerings. Another tip is to consider fishing near riverbanks or shores, as increased water flow can push food sources closer to these areas, attracting fish.

Rainfall may induce changes in water flow and currents. Heavy rain can lead to increased water flow, which may reposition the fish in the water bodies. Fish will often take shelter in slower-moving waters, so targeting these areas may increase the chances of a catch.

Most Active Fish Types During Different Rainfall Situations

Different fish species have their unique behavioral changes during the rain. Bass, for instance, are known to become more active and aggressive during light to moderate rain. They usually stay close to the shore and are likely to bite during these conditions.

On the other hand, trout tend to become more active during or immediately after a heavy downpour. A lot of terrestrial insects get washed into the river during heavy rains, contributing to an increase in the feeding activity of trout. Fly fishers can take advantage of this by using the appropriate bait to mimic these insects.

Fly Fishing in Rain: An Unexpected Opportunity

Rainfall, though perhaps counterintuitive, can in fact open up unique ways to engage in fly fishing. By understanding the impact of rain on fish behavior and water conditions, anglers can modify their strategies accordingly, possibly increasing their chances of reeling in a hearty catch during their outing.

For example, raindrops hitting the surface may make it more difficult for trout to distinguish a floating dry fly from the surface disturbances the rain creates.  Therefore, due to the changes in the water’s surface while it’s raining, dry flies are probably not going to produce many bites.  Cloudiness caused by increased sediment in the water from rain may also lead to decreased vision for the trout.  A solution to this would be to fish streamers or leeches which are usually bigger than other flies and may be more easily seen by the fishing in cloudy conditions.

No matter what strategies you employ while fly fishing in the rain, be creative and patient.  Don’t give up and use the opportunity to hone your fly fishing skills in this new (and often avoided) environment.  If you learn successful techniques to catch trout in the rain, you may find yourself with abundant opportunities to fish all alone on your favorite water.

A few brown trout holding in a stream underwater.

Safety considerations for fly fishing in the rain

Precautions: Navigating Risks Associated with Rainy Conditions

Fly fishing in the rain comes with its own set of safety considerations that should not be overlooked. Key among these is being cognizant of fluctuating river conditions that can suddenly render a seemingly harmless situation hazardous. Rapidly rising river levels brought on by rain can intensify water flow, complicating and endangering the process of wading. It’s critical to stay alert with regard to water conditions and clarity, and should matters take a turn for the worse, it’s best to relocate to safer grounds.

Weather Awareness: Thunderstorms and Lightning

Fly fishing in the rain may seem like a wonderful idea, but it can become extremely dangerous when combined with thunderstorms. Getting caught on a river during a thunderstorm can be perilous due to the increased risk of lightning strikes. It is crucial to remember that even light rain can be the precursor to a storm. Hence, always check the weather forecast before you set off on your fly fishing adventure.

Woman fly fishing in the rain while wading in a river.Gear: Essential Equipment for Rainy Conditions

Proper gear is essential for fly fishing in the rain. Waterproof jackets and trousers are critical to keep you dry. Waders should be used but make sure they are safe; cheap or ill-fitting waders can fill with water and become a drowning hazard. Also, use boots with good grip, as rocks can become slippery when wet. High-visibility clothing is also recommended as it can become harder for others to see you in the rain.

Fishing Plans: Inform Others

Always inform someone of your fishing plans before you set off. This includes where you are going, your expected return time, and any changes to the plan. This way, if something goes wrong, rescue teams have a starting point.

Handling Fish: Wet Hands and Nets

The way a fish is handled during catch and release is vital for its survival. During rainy conditions, anglers should prefer barbless hooks as they cause less damage and are easier to remove. It is also crucial that fish should only be handled with wet hands or nets to minimize damage to their skin and slime layer that protects them from infection.

Catch & Release: Best Practices in Rainy Conditions

In heavy rain, the water’s oxygen level can decrease, leaving the fish more stressed. For these reasons, fish should be kept in the water as much as possible when captured. Don’t keep the fish out of the water longer than you can keep your breath. Also, reducing handling time and quickly releasing the fish helps it recover better. Furthermore, proper handling of fishing lines is also advised in wet conditions to prevent line tangling and fish injuries.

The Bottom Line: Safety First

With these considerations, fly fishing in the rain can be a fruitful and thrilling experience. Remember, your safety is the most important. Enjoy the fishing, but always keep these precautions in mind. Whether it’s checking the weather, wearing appropriate gear, carefully handling the fish, or informing others of your plans, make sure every step is taken with plenty of caution in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable fishing experience.

Image describing the importance of safety in fly fishing in the rain.

The pleasure and thrill that fly fishing in the rain holds are truly unparalleled, merging the raw power of the natural elements with the artful mastery of angling. The amalgamation of the right gear, insight into fish behavior in rain, and crucial safety precautions can elevate this challenging experience to new highs. Whether you are an experienced angler chasing a new thrill or a novice entranced by the romance of rain-swept waters, knowing how to navigate these circumstances will enrich your overall fly fishing adventure.

Happy Fly Fishing in the Rain!

Prone Paddleboarding: A Comprehensive Guide

Embracing the surf, feeling the rhythm of the waves, and challenging your body’s strength and endurance in the open water; welcome to the world of the prone paddleboard. Prone paddleboarding is a sport that’s gaining momentum all over the globe. Conceived from surfing’s early days, it has emerged as an exhilarating standalone experience, encouraging participants to engage with the aquatic world in a truly unique way. This exploration will shed light on everything you need to know about prone paddleboarding – an intense yet fulfilling adventure that’s not merely about balance on a board but also about the continuous quest for personal progress.

Understanding Prone Paddleboarding

Understanding Prone Paddleboarding: The Basics

Prone paddleboarding, also known as traditional paddleboarding, is an outdoor water activity where the participant lies on their stomach on the board to paddle instead of standing upright. This sport requires efficient use of upper body strength as the arms play an instrumental role in paddling the prone paddleboard on the water’s surface. Legs and core strength are also necessary to maintain balance. Usually, the boards are elongated and narrower than stand-up paddleboards, providing agility and speed. Prone paddleboarding works as an excellent workout that promotes cardiovascular health and strengthens the core and upper body.

History and Evolution of the Prone Paddleboard

Prone paddleboarding is, in fact, an original form of water sports, with a history traced back to the Polynesian cultures in Hawaii. It was the primary means for early Hawaiians to travel from island to island, majorly for fishing and transportation purposes. Tom Blake, a surf legend, is typically credited with modernizing the paddleboard in the early 1930s. He was inspired by early Hawaiian designs and developed a hollow wooden board for better buoyancy, durability, and speed. With the rise in popularity of stand-up paddleboarding over the years, prone paddleboards took a back seat but are now again gaining attraction as an effective form of fitness exercise and racing sport.

Key Terms in Prone Paddleboarding

  • Striding: Moving down the board on your knees or stomach while maintaining momentum.
  • Sprint Start: A quick start technique that involves pushing your board into the water, leaping onto it, and immediately beginning to paddle.
  • Rail: The sides of your board.
  • Rocker: Describes the curve of the board from nose to tail, affecting the speed and maneuverability.

Types of Prone Paddleboarding Boards

The type of prone paddleboarding equipment used can affect one’s experience. There are mainly two types – the traditional Stock Paddleboard and the Unlimited Paddleboard. Stock paddleboards, measuring 12 feet long and roughly 20 inches wide, are designed for stability but limit the speed to some extent. They are best for beginners due to their durability and stability. On the other hand, Unlimited Paddleboards can vary in length and width and are designed for speed. With pointy noses and tapered tails, these boards allow for longer, more powerful paddling strokes. However, they require a higher fitness level and better paddling skills to balance.

The Role of Prone Paddleboarding in Fitness

With upper body and core strength, balance, and cardiovascular endurance among its benefits, prone paddleboarding is highly regarded as a full-body workout. It strengthens the back, shoulders, arms, and core, improving muscular strength and endurance. Plus, the requirement of balance and coordination skills can contribute to enhanced agility and flexibility. Moreover, prone paddleboarding inspires outdoor activity, fostering connection with nature, and promoting mental health benefits like reduced stress and improved mood.

Distinguishing Prone Paddleboarding from Stand-up Paddleboarding

Both prone and stand-up paddleboarding are engaging water sports, but the main distinction resides in the body positions assumed while participating. Prone paddleboarding heavily pressures the upper body as one lies down and paddles, while stand-up paddleboarding works more on the core and leg muscles, with participants in a standing position. This variation in physical demands gives each type its uniqueness in terms of fitness benefits and competitiveness.

A person paddling on a prone paddleboard in a serene lake surrounded by nature.

Prone Paddleboard Equipment and Accessories

The Practicalities of the Prone Paddleboard: Essential Gear and Accessories

Distinctive gear is required to fully enjoy and stay safe while prone paddleboarding. The first indispensable tool, naturally, is the prone paddleboard. These boards, which are slenderer and longer than stand-up paddleboards, range from about 10 to 20 feet in length, and are designed for maximum water glide and efficiency.

Renowned makers such as Bark, Surftech, and Kings Paddle Sports, offer diverse board designs and sizes to accommodate varying individual techniques and body structures. Select a board suitable to your weight and proficiency to ensure peak performance.

Safety gear should never be overlooked in paddleboarding. An essential item is a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket, more so when surfing in deep waters. A leash is also important, keeping the board within reach in case the paddler takes a spill. Additional safety measures like sun hats and sunscreen, as well as hydration packs for extended sessions, should also be considered.

Monitoring your gear should also be paramount. Items like a board bag for safe transport and storage, a paddle cover, and repair kits containing epoxy resins for fiberglass boards will aid in maintenance. Regular inspection, cleaning, and prompt repairs will significantly prolong the life of your board.

Guide to Purchasing Prone Paddleboards and Accessories

Choosing a prone paddleboard largely depends on the style of paddling you plan on engaging in. Speed and efficiency are the hallmarks of racing boards, but they may compromise stability. On the other hand, touring boards are designed for comfort during prolonged paddling sessions, though they might not be as fast.

Ranging in both quality and pricing, numerous brands offer sports equipment designed specifically for prone paddleboarding. Among these, Bark and Surftech are known for their specialized designs. For paddling needs, trusted brands like Aqua-Bound, Sawyer Paddles, and Black Project are recommended due to their reliable range of options.

For safety gear, acclaimed brands such as Mustang Survival, Stohlquist and NRS offer a great selection. Their range of PFDs come equipped with various features, such as phone pockets, hydration reservoirs, and reflective trims for visibility.

Throughout your research, don’t overlook the importance of maintenance gear. Often these items can be generalized or brand-specific. Explore the warranties and their coverage offered by different brands. Choosing renowned brands usually comes with an assurance of high-quality products and consistent customer service.

To conclude, an investment of time in research before venturing into the purchase of prone paddleboarding equipment will ensure you get gear that enables you to enjoy watersports safely and efficiently.

paddler on a prone paddleboard

Techniques and Training

Mastering Techniques in Prone Paddleboarding

Prone paddleboarding is a unique watersport in that it requires an individual to navigate water on a paddleboard by lying or kneeling down and propelling themselves using their hands. Before diving into tougher conditions, it’s important to get comfortable on the board in calm, still water. A commonly utilized paddling technique is the ‘arm pull’, where the paddler pushes back water using their hands, thereby promoting forward motion.

The ‘double-arm’ method is yet another approach towards paddling. In this technique, both arms simultaneously reach and pull at the water, akin to traditional swimming strokes. While it expedites movement, it also requires more energy. It’s crucial that paddlers familiarize themselves with alternating between single and double arm strokes, as the circumstances will dictate the use of these techniques.

Training and Fitness for Prone Paddleboarding

Just like any other sport, prone paddleboarding requires a good amount of strength and endurance. Newbies should start training gradually to build up their paddling fitness. Swimming is an excellent cross-training activity as it builds up your arm, shoulder, and core strength while improving your cardio fitness at the same time.

Other good exercises for prone paddleboarding include planks (for core stability), push-ups (for upper body strength), and squats and lunges (for leg strength). Combining these with regular paddling sessions on the water is crucial for gaining the right balance and coordination.

Improving Balance and Coordination

One of the most fundamental skills to master in prone paddleboarding is balance. Paddlers need to center their body weight on the board to keep it stable. Beginners can start by kneeling on the board before transitioning to lay down. Regularly practicing this transitioning can help the individual get accustomed to the board’s balance.

Additionally, practicing on dry ground can also help. Mimicking the paddling motion while lying on a fitness ball can improve your balance and coordination without the risk of falling into the water.

Mastering Advanced Prone Paddleboard Techniques

Gradually, as you become comfortable with the basic maneuvers of prone paddleboarding—using your board and paddle—you can start challenging yourself with advanced techniques. Successfully mastering these can involve fine-tuning actions like navigating through waves and performing smooth-sailing turns. One impactful way to execute the latter is to lean into the direction of the turn, pull towards the same side with your paddle and kick your legs towards the opposite side to execute a complete turn.

But remember, proficiency in such techniques comes only with time and continued practice. Patience is key in this learning journey. Keep practicing, be attuned to your body’s reactions, and make sure you are making the time on the water enjoyable. Prone paddleboarding is not just a matter of speed and skill—it’s also about fully experiencing and enjoying the aquatic environment.

prone paddleboarders racing

Health Benefits and Safety Measures

The Healthful Rewards of Prone Paddleboarding

Embarking on the journey of prone paddleboarding doesn’t only take you on aquatic adventures, it also serves as a comprehensive form of exercise. It stands out as a full-body endurance workout that synergistically engages every muscle from your toes to your head. It offers cardiovascular benefits similar to running or aerobics, however, it is much easier on your joints, minimizing the risk of serious damages or stress fractures. Toning the arms, shoulders, and back muscles forms a crucial part of the paddling process while your core and legs put in continual work to keep you balanced on the prone paddleboard.

According to diverse scientific research, prone paddleboarding is associated with increased calorie burning, strengthened endurance, and enhanced cardiorespiratory health. It has also gained recognition for its ability to amplify balance, coordination, and holistic body strength. The constant neuromuscular training that comes from trying to stay balanced further reinforces functional core strength and lower body stability.

Besides physical returns, prone paddleboarding also promotes mental health. Immersing yourself in the outdoors and being on the water is a naturally stress-relieving experience. The rhythmic and meditative layers that paddling adds can significantly help lighten moods, ease anxiety, and reduce stress levels.

Safety Measures in Prone Paddleboarding

Despite the numerous benefits, prone paddleboarding can come with inherent risks, mostly when conducted without proper safety measures. The first step towards safety is ensuring the use of appropriate gear, including a suitable board, a personal flotation device (PFD), a safety whistle, and, in certain conditions, a wetsuit or drysuit for heat retention.

Water conditions, including temperature, currents, and weather, should be thoroughly assessed before entering the water. Sudden changes can present hazards to paddleboarders, especially those new to the sport or unfamiliar with the specific body of water.

Understanding basic first aid procedures, being able to swim, and knowledge of local marine life and hazards are all essential tools for a safe prone paddleboarding experience. Also, beginners should consider paddleboarding in groups or supervised by experienced paddlers before attempting to paddle alone.

Board handling and control are crucial factors in paddleboarding safety. This includes knowing how to quickly exit the prone paddleboard board in the event of a fall and being aware of how to maneuver the board to avoid obstructions and collisions.

In the end, while paddling a prone paddleboard is a highly beneficial and therapeutic sport, it mandates responsible and safe practices to prevent accidents and injuries. Regularly reviewing safety measures, staying updated about weather and water conditions, and wearing the right gear are good practices that will ensure a paddler’s safety and enjoyment of the sport.

wooden prone paddleboard on a lake

As our journey through the waters of the prone paddleboard comes to an end, we find that this immersive sport is more than just staying upright on a board. It pushes us, challenges us, and rewards us with beautiful experiences and substantial health benefits. It is a practice that needs respect for safety measures and an appreciation of the skills and equipment involved. In the ebb and flow of its waves, prone paddleboarding carries us closer towards a blend of fitness, mindfulness, endurance, and an inevitable bond with the water. Whether you’re just dipping your toes in or fully submerged in its global community, may the essence of prone paddleboarding keep your spirit riding high. So, grab your paddles and hit the water, because the ocean awaits, ready to etch a tale on the surface of your adventurous spirit.

Choosing Your First Paddle Board: Top Picks for Beginners

Paddleboarding is a popular water sport that offers a unique blend of relaxation and physical activity. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful glide on calm waters or an adventurous ride on rolling waves, paddle boarding has something to offer for everyone. If you’re new to this awesome sport, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is choosing your first paddle board.

The right paddle board can make all the difference in your initial experiences on the water. It can enhance your stability, boost your confidence, and help you progress quickly in mastering the sport. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the best paddle boards for beginners, ensuring that your first steps in the world of paddleboarding are smooth and enjoyable.

We’ll explore various factors to consider when choosing a paddle board, such as stability, size, weight, construction materials, and budget. Additionally, we’ll present a curated selection of top picks for beginner-friendly paddle boards, highlighting their key features and benefits for novice riders. Finally, we’ll share some additional tips to help you get started on the right foot.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to confidently make an informed decision about your first paddle board. So, let’s dive in and discover the best paddle boards for beginners that will pave the way for your exciting paddle-boarding journey!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Paddle Board for Beginners

Woman carrying an inflatable paddleboard on the beachBefore diving into the wide array of paddle board options available, it’s essential to understand the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect board for beginners. By keeping these factors in mind, you can ensure that your chosen paddleboard aligns with your skill level, preferences, and goals. Let’s explore these crucial considerations:

Stability: As a beginner, stability should be your top priority when choosing a paddleboard. Look for boards with a wide and long design, as they offer better stability on the water. A stable board will provide you with a solid platform to build your confidence and balance skills.

Size and Weight: The dimensions and weight of the paddle board play a crucial role in its overall performance and maneuverability. Generally, longer and wider boards offer more stability but can be slightly slower in the water. Consider your body weight and the intended use of the board to find the right balance between stability and maneuverability. For a stable beginner board, we recommend boards that are 32″ or wider and 6″ thick.

Construction Materials: Paddle boards are commonly constructed using different materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Fiberglass boards are lightweight and offer excellent performance, while inflatable boards provide easy storage and portability. Other materials, such as plastic or foam, may offer durability and affordability. Consider the trade-offs of each material and choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Price Range: Paddle boards can vary significantly in price, and as a beginner, you don’t need to break the bank for your first board. Determine your budget range and look for options within that range. Remember that while higher-priced boards may offer advanced features, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available that can still provide a great experience for beginners.

By considering these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and find a paddle board that meets your specific needs as a beginner. In the next section, we’ll delve into our top picks for the best paddle boards for beginners, taking into account the factors we’ve discussed here.

Top Picks for Beginner-Friendly Paddle Boards

Now that we’ve covered the essential factors to consider when choosing the best paddle boards for beginners, let’s explore our top picks for boards that are specifically designed to cater to novice riders. These boards have been carefully selected based on their stability, maneuverability, durability, and overall suitability for beginners. Let’s dive in:

Inflatable Paddleboards:

Due to their packability and portability, we prefer inflatable paddleboards over rigid paddleboards.  Inflatable paddleboards offer a paddleboard experience that’s very similar to a rigid SUP, but in a package that’s much more flexible and convenient and typically can be found at a much lower price. Due to the lower cost of entry and the ease of transport, beginning paddleboard will find themselves using an inflatable more often than a rigid board at a lower financial risk.

ROC Inflatable Paddleboard

At 33″ wide, the ROC Inflatable paddleboard hits the sweet spot for a beginner board. Rated at a weight limit of 350lbs, this board is forgiving for beginners of all sizes. Complete with a full range of accessories (including paddle, pump, leash, and carrying bag), the ROC paddleboard has everything you need to get out on the water. ROC is a US-based company with top-rated customer service. The ROC inflatable paddleboard is available in 11 colors each between $200 – $250.  With a 2-year warranty at this price point, this inflatable board is a great value for those looking at getting into paddleboarding.

Skatinger Super Wide SUP

The Skatinger Super Wide is an inflatable paddleboard that all beginners should consider.  At 11’6″ long and a crazy 35″ wide, the Skatinger might be the perfect setup for those getting started paddleboarding. Capable of carrying 430 lbs, the extra 3″ of width makes for a more stable board for beginners or can haul additional cargo or pets for experienced SUPers. We love the design of the Skatinger that reminds us of a cross between a high-tech and yet uber-clean look and feel. Like other boards on our list, the Skatinger comes with a plethora of included accessories to offer a complete beginner’s package. The only downfall of the Skatinger is the 6-month warranty – only half of the industry standard and much less than the ROC and BOTE 2-year plans.

Drift Inflatable SUP

Drift is a sister brand of one of our favorite paddleboard manufacturers, BOTE, and offers similar, yet less expensive paddleboards under the Drift name. Drift boards look great and their 11’6″ x 33″ offering is a great size for beginners. The Drift’s center and nose grab handles make it easy to transport and the 6″ thickness gives beginners the stability they need.  The Drift SUP comes with all the essential paddle board accessories: coiled leash, removable fin, repair kit, 3-piece aluminum paddle, paddle board pump, and backpack carrying bag.  The Due to its association with BOTE that yields quality boards at lower prices, the Drift SUP is one of our favorite choices for a beginner SUP.


In our eyes, BOTE is the brand to beat in the SUP world.  This uber-cool inflatable manufacturer includes magnetic cup holders in most of its products and sells pool rings for $250.  But if you refuse to be seduced by their overpriced and overhyped products, you’ll find some solid and industry-leading products offered by BOTE. The Wulf Aero paddleboard is a great example. In our opinion, the Wulf’s 10’6″ length and 33″ is the sweet spot for an inflatable paddleboard – balancing stability and speed in a single design. It’s a great-looking board and the BOTE name will make your friends think you paid a lot more than the mid-$400 price this model is offered at. Overall, it’s a great option for those who prefer to pick up a brand name board with a great warranty should something goes wrong.  The BOTE Wulf Aero comes with an industry-leading 2-year warranty that proves that BOTE builds a superior product that they stand behind.

Rigid Paddleboards:

Though inflatable technology has vastly improved in recent years, rigid paddleboards, made of fiberglass or other durable materials, will outperform their inflatable counterparts.  For those looking to start paddleboarding, but wanting to have the best-performing platform, a rigid SUP may be the best choice. While more expensive and more difficult to store and transport, rigid SUPs appeal to the purists of the sport.

Lifetime Amped Paddleboard

The Lifetime SUP is an HDPE-constructed rigid paddleboard that has “beginner board” written all over it. Its 11′ long x 32″ wide size is great for those just getting started in the sport.  You can pass the rigid Lifetime SUP down to your kids and grandkids with their unheard-of 5-year limited warranty.  This SUP is a tank that will most likely outlast you.  While it’s not the sexiest board on our list, the Lifetime SUP makes up for it with a practical, durable design at a decent price for a rigid SUP.  If you choose this board, think of it as the beginner’s platform that all of your friends and family will pass around on their way to getting a board of their own.  In a way, it’s the most beautiful role a board can play and for this reason, don’t look past the Lifetime rigid SUP.

Isle Versa Rigid SUP

We’ve been a fan of ISLE paddleboards for a while now.  ISLE is a quality brand with products that are elegantly designed and high quality.  ISLE paddleboards aren’t cheap, but they offer a great product that should last a long time. These ISLE rigid boards are epoxy boards – meaning they are lighter and 35% durable than fiberglass boards – perfect for beginners who may experience a ding or two.  The design of ISLE boards are sexy – they look great and exude quality. The best part? ISLE offers a 60-day trial period on their boards. “Ride it and love it OR return it” as they say.  And if you do keep your ISLE board and run into any issues, a standard 1-year warranty has you covered.

By presenting these top picks, we aim to provide you with a starting point in your search for the perfect beginner-friendly paddle board. Remember to consider your personal preferences, budget, and intended use of the board when making your final decision. In the next section, we’ll share some additional tips to help you make the most of your beginner paddle-boarding experience.

Looking for a list of “must-have” SUP accessories? Check out this article from our friends at Outward Spaces.

Additional Tips for Beginner Paddle Boarders

Congratulations on selecting one of the best paddle boards for beginners! As you embark on your paddle-boarding journey, here are some additional tips to enhance your experience and ensure a smooth transition into this exciting water sport:

Proper Paddle Length and Technique: Adjusting your paddle to the correct length and using proper paddling technique is crucial for efficient and comfortable paddling. Ensure that the paddle is adjusted to a height that allows for a slight bend in your elbows when standing upright on the board. Learn the proper paddling technique, which involves using your core muscles and engaging your whole body for efficient strokes.

Importance of Wearing Safety Gear: Safety should always be a priority when engaging in water sports. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket, especially if you’re a beginner. PFDs provide buoyancy and can be life-saving in case of an emergency. Additionally, consider wearing a leash that attaches you to the board to prevent it from drifting away if you fall off.

Choosing the Right Location for Your First Paddle Boarding Experience: Selecting the appropriate location for your maiden paddle boarding adventure can greatly impact your overall enjoyment. Opt for calm and flat waters, such as lakes, ponds, or calm bays, as they provide a more stable and less challenging environment for beginners. Avoid strong currents, crowded areas, and areas with hazardous obstacles.

Practice Balancing and Basic Techniques: Before venturing into deeper waters, take some time to practice balancing on your paddle board in shallow areas. Get comfortable with the feeling of the board beneath your feet and practice basic techniques, such as paddling in a straight line, turning, and stopping. This will help build your confidence and improve your overall paddling skills.

Learn from Experienced Paddle Boarders: Seek guidance from experienced paddle boarders or consider taking lessons from a certified instructor. They can provide valuable tips, teach you proper techniques, and share their knowledge about paddle boarding safety and etiquette. Learning from others will accelerate your learning curve and ensure you develop good habits from the start.

By following these additional tips, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your beginner paddle-boarding experience. Remember to be patient with yourself, have fun, and enjoy the serenity of being out on the water. In the final section, we’ll recap the importance of choosing the right paddle board for beginners and share some closing thoughts.

Older woman paddleboarding in calm marina waters

The Bottom Line

Choosing your first paddle board as a beginner is an exciting and crucial step in your paddle boarding journey. By considering factors such as stability, size, weight, construction materials, and budget, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and skill level.

In this article, we explored the essential factors to consider when selecting a paddle board for beginners. We discussed the significance of stability and the impact of size and weight on maneuverability. We also delved into the various construction materials available and provided guidance on finding the right price range for your first board.

Furthermore, we presented our top picks for the best paddle boards for beginners, highlighting their key specifications, notable features, and suitability for novice riders. These recommendations serve as a starting point to help you narrow down your options and find a board that instills confidence and joy as you embark on your paddleboarding adventures.

We also provided additional tips to enhance your beginner paddleboarding experience. From adjusting your paddle length and wearing safety gear to selecting the right location and practicing basic techniques, these tips will contribute to a safe and enjoyable journey as you explore the beauty of paddle boarding.

Remember, paddle boarding is not just about physical activity—it’s about connecting with nature, finding inner peace, and discovering new perspectives. Embrace the learning process, cherish the moments on the water, and celebrate your progress along the way.

Now that you’re equipped with valuable insights and recommendations from our list of the best paddle boards for beginners, it’s time to choose your first paddle board and start your exhilarating paddleboarding journey. So, get out there, paddle with confidence, and let the waters guide you to unforgettable experiences!

Happy paddling!

Love paddling? Check out our list of the Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2023!

Stay Dry, Stay Happy: The Advantages of PVC Waders for Fishing Enthusiasts

Fishing is not just a hobby; it’s a way of life for many outdoor enthusiasts. There’s something serene and exhilarating about casting a line into the water, patiently waiting for the bite, and reeling in a prized catch. However, one thing that can quickly dampen the fishing experience is getting wet and uncomfortable. That’s where PVC waders come to the rescue!

In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of PVC waders for fishing enthusiasts. These versatile and durable waterproof garments are designed to keep you dry, allowing you to focus on what you love most—catching fish. Whether you’re wading through rivers, streams, or even marshy terrains, waders provide reliable protection against water intrusion.

Join us as we explore the various benefits of PVC waders, from their waterproof properties to their comfort and convenience features. We’ll also discuss important factors to consider when choosing the right pair of waders for your fishing adventures. With waders, you can bid farewell to wet clothes and say hello to enjoyable, dry fishing experiences.

So, get ready to dive into the world of PVC waders and discover how they can enhance your fishing trips. Remember, when it comes to fishing, the motto remains the same: Stay dry, stay happy!

Understanding PVC Waders

Before we dive into the advantages of PVC waders, let’s take a moment to understand what they are and how they’re constructed. PVC waders, also known as polyvinyl chloride waders, are waterproof garments designed to keep the wearer dry while fishing or engaging in other water-related activities.

PVC waders are made from a synthetic plastic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This material is renowned for its waterproof properties, making it an ideal choice for creating waders. The PVC fabric used in waders is often reinforced with additional layers or coatings to enhance durability and waterproofing capabilities.

PVC is all about waterproofing

fishing with PVC wadersThe primary advantage of PVC waders is their exceptional waterproofing ability. PVC is inherently resistant to water, which means it acts as a reliable barrier against moisture. The tightly woven or coated PVC fabric repels water, preventing it from seeping through and reaching your skin. This ensures that you stay dry and comfortable even when wading through deep waters or in rainy conditions.

Moreover, PVC waders offer excellent resistance to tears and punctures, further safeguarding against water intrusion. The durable nature of PVC material ensures that it can withstand rough surfaces and potential snags, making it a reliable choice for various fishing environments.

The different types and styles of PVC waders

PVC waders come in different types and styles to suit various preferences and fishing needs. The two primary types of PVC waders are chest waders and hip waders.

Chest Waders: These waders extend from the foot to the chest, offering full coverage and protection. They typically have adjustable suspenders or shoulder straps to keep them in place. Chest waders are popular among anglers who frequently venture into deeper waters or face challenging fishing conditions.

Hip Waders: Hip waders, as the name suggests, cover the lower body up to the hip area. They are ideal for shallower waters and situations where you don’t need full-body coverage. Hip waders are often more lightweight and easier to move around in, providing greater agility and flexibility.

In addition to the types, waders also come in various styles, such as bootfoot waders and stockingfoot waders. Bootfoot waders have integrated rubber boots, eliminating the need for separate fishing boots. Stockingfoot waders, on the other hand, feature neoprene or fabric feet and require separate wading boots.

Understanding the different types and styles of waders will help you make an informed decision when selecting the right pair for your fishing adventures. Whether you opt for chest waders or hip waders, bootfoot or stockingfoot, waders offer a range of options to cater to your specific needs and fishing preferences.

Now that we have a solid understanding of PVC waders and their construction, let’s explore the advantages they bring to fishing enthusiasts in more detail.

Advantages of PVC Waders for Fishing

Waterproof Protection

When it comes to fishing, staying dry is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. PVC waders excel in providing reliable waterproof protection. The tightly woven or coated PVC fabric acts as a barrier, preventing water from seeping through and keeping you comfortably dry throughout your fishing adventures. Whether you’re wading through streams, rivers, or standing in the rain, PVC waders are designed to keep water out and ensure you stay dry.

Moreover, PVC waders offer excellent resistance to tears and punctures. This durability ensures that you can confidently navigate rough terrains, rocky riverbeds, and other potentially abrasive environments without worrying about compromising the waterproofing capabilities of your waders. With PVC waders, you can focus on fishing without the constant discomfort of wet clothes.

Durability and Longevity

Fishing can be a demanding activity, exposing your gear to various elements. PVC waders are known for their exceptional durability and longevity, making them a reliable investment for fishing enthusiasts. The robust nature of PVC material ensures that it can withstand the rigors of fishing, including encounters with sharp objects, abrasive surfaces, and rough handling.

Compared to other materials, PVC waders are less prone to wear and tear, allowing them to withstand repeated use over time. With proper care and maintenance, PVC waders can serve you well for many fishing seasons, providing excellent value for your investment.

Versatility and Adaptability

Whether you’re fly fishing in a river, casting from the shore, or venturing into marshy wetlands, PVC waders offer versatility and adaptability for a wide range of fishing environments. These waders are designed to handle different water conditions, giving you the freedom to explore diverse fishing spots without worrying about getting wet.

PVC waders are particularly well-suited for situations that require wading into water. PVC chest waders provide full-body coverage, protecting not only your legs but also your torso, chest, and even arms, depending on the type of waders you choose. This comprehensive coverage ensures that you can confidently navigate deeper waters or traverse uneven terrain while keeping yourself dry.

Additionally, PVC waders accommodate various fishing techniques and styles. Whether you prefer standing still, moving around, or even kneeling while fishing, PVC waders offer the flexibility and freedom of movement you need to execute your preferred approach.

With their versatility and adaptability, PVC waders become an indispensable companion for fishing enthusiasts, enabling them to explore different fishing environments and techniques with ease.

wading in a river to fish with PVC waders

Comfort and Convenience

Breathability and Moisture Management

Comfort is key when spending long hours fishing, and PVC waders excel in providing a comfortable experience. While PVC is inherently waterproof, it also possesses breathability properties that allow moisture to escape from within the waders. This breathability helps to regulate body temperature and prevent the buildup of perspiration, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout your fishing adventures.

PVC waders often incorporate features like vented panels or strategically placed mesh linings to enhance airflow and improve breathability. These design elements facilitate the circulation of air, preventing excess heat and moisture buildup inside the waders. As a result, you can focus on fishing without feeling clammy or overheated, even in warmer weather conditions.

Ease of Use

PVC waders are designed with user convenience in mind. They are incredibly easy to put on and take off, allowing you to quickly gear up and get into the water. Many PVC waders feature adjustable shoulder straps or suspenders, enabling you to customize the fit to your preference. This adjustability ensures a secure and comfortable fit, regardless of your body shape or size.

Furthermore, PVC waders often have user-friendly features such as buckles, clips, or fasteners that make it a breeze to secure and adjust the waders as needed. This ease of use is especially valuable when you’re out on the water, where time is precious and convenience matters.

Additional Features for Convenience

PVC waders often come equipped with additional features that further enhance convenience during fishing trips. Some waders have integrated pockets, allowing you to store small essentials such as fishing accessories, tools, or personal belongings. These pockets keep your belongings easily accessible and protected from water.

Moreover, many PVC waders incorporate reinforced knees, providing extra durability and protection in areas prone to wear and tear. This feature is particularly beneficial when kneeling or crawling on rocky surfaces or rough terrain.

Additionally, some PVC waders include built-in gravel guards or gaiters to prevent debris, sand, or small rocks from entering your boots or waders. These guards keep your waders clean and comfortable, allowing you to focus on fishing rather than dealing with irritating particles inside your gear.

The comfort and convenience features of PVC waders make them a practical choice for fishing enthusiasts who value a hassle-free and comfortable experience on the water.

Maintenance and Care

Cleaning and Storage Tips

Proper maintenance and care are essential to prolong the life of your PVC waders and ensure their optimal performance. Here are some cleaning and storage tips to keep your PVC waders in top condition:

  1. Rinse after use: After each fishing trip, rinse your PVC waders with fresh water to remove any dirt, debris, or saltwater. This helps prevent the accumulation of residue that could potentially damage the material.
  2. Use mild soap: For more thorough cleaning, use a mild soap or wader-specific cleaner. Gently scrub the surface of your PVC waders with a soft brush or sponge to remove any stains or stubborn dirt. Avoid using harsh chemicals or detergents that could degrade the PVC material.
  3. Dry properly: After cleaning, allow your waders to dry thoroughly before storing them. Hang them in a well-ventilated area or use a wader hanger to ensure proper air circulation. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or high heat sources, as this can cause the material to deteriorate.

Repairing PVC Waders

Even with their durability, PVC waders may occasionally require repair. Here are some tips for patching small tears or holes in your PVC waders:

  1. Clean and dry the area: Before patching, ensure the damaged area is clean and dry. Remove any debris or loose threads around the tear or hole.
  2. Use a PVC repair patch: Purchase a PVC repair patch or patch kit specifically designed for PVC waders. These patches are typically made of PVC material and have adhesive backing for easy application.
  3. Apply the patch: Cut the patch to an appropriate size, slightly larger than the damaged area. Peel off the backing and carefully apply the patch over the tear or hole, pressing it firmly to ensure proper adhesion. Smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles.
  4. Allow time to cure: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the curing time for the adhesive. Give the patch sufficient time to bond with the PVC material before using the waders again.

It’s important to note that larger or more significant damages may require professional repair or replacement of your  waders. Assess the severity of the damage and consult with a wader repair specialist if needed.

By following these maintenance and repair tips, you can extend the lifespan of your waders and keep them in excellent condition for future fishing trips.

Choosing the Right PVC Waders

fishing in a river with PVC wadersSize and Fit

When it comes to waders, selecting the right size is crucial for comfort and functionality. Ill-fitting waders can restrict movement, cause discomfort, and compromise their waterproofing capabilities. Consider the following tips when choosing the size of your waders:

  1. Measure accurately: Take precise measurements of your chest, waist, inseam, and shoe size. Refer to the manufacturer’s size chart to determine the appropriate size based on your measurements.
  2. Consider layering: If you plan to wear multiple layers underneath your waders for added insulation, make sure to account for this when selecting the size. You’ll want enough room to comfortably layer without feeling constricted.
  3. Try them on: Whenever possible, try on the waders before purchasing. This allows you to assess the fit, mobility, and comfort firsthand. Remember to wear the appropriate clothing you would typically wear while fishing to ensure an accurate assessment. Outdoor stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas each have a selection of waders in store to try on waders before purchasing.

Additional Features and Considerations

In addition to size, consider the following factors and features when choosing waders:

  1. Boot style: Determine whether you prefer bootfoot waders or stockingfoot waders. Bootfoot waders have integrated rubber boots, eliminating the need for separate fishing boots. Stockingfoot waders, on the other hand, have neoprene or fabric feet and require separate wading boots. Choose the style that suits your preference and fishing conditions.
  2. Insulation options: Waders are available in different insulation levels to cater to varying weather conditions. If you fish in colder climates or during colder seasons, consider insulated waders to provide extra warmth and comfort.
  3. Reinforcements and accessories: Pay attention to additional features like reinforced knees, gravel guards, or built-in pockets. These features can enhance durability, protection, and convenience, depending on your fishing needs and preferences.
  4. Brand reputation and quality: Research reputable brands known for producing high-quality waders. Read customer reviews and seek recommendations to ensure you invest in a reliable and durable product.

By considering size, additional features, and overall quality, you can select the waders that best suit your fishing style and environment.

PVC waders we love:

The Bottom Line

PVC waders have revolutionized the fishing experience for enthusiasts worldwide. With their exceptional waterproofing properties, durability, and versatility, PVC waders offer numerous advantages that enhance your time on the water.

By keeping you dry and comfortable, waders enable you to focus on what truly matters—catching fish and enjoying the serenity of nature. The waterproof nature of PVC material ensures that you can confidently wade through various water conditions, from rivers to marshy terrains, without worrying about getting wet.

Not only are PVC waders reliable in terms of their waterproof capabilities, but they also excel in terms of durability. Their resistance to tears, punctures, and general wear and tear means they can withstand the demands of fishing in rugged environments, providing long-lasting performance and value.

Comfort and convenience are further enhanced by the breathability, ease of use, and additional features offered by PVC waders. The breathability of PVC material keeps you dry and regulates body temperature, while user-friendly designs and thoughtful features make them a breeze to put on, adjust, and utilize during your fishing adventures.

However, it’s important to remember that proper maintenance and care are crucial for maximizing the lifespan of your waders. By following cleaning and storage guidelines, promptly repairing any damages, and considering important factors when choosing your waders, you can ensure they serve you well for years to come.

So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to enhance your fishing experiences, waders are a reliable and practical gear choice. Say goodbye to wet clothes, discomfort, and distractions caused by water intrusion. With waders, you can stay dry, stay happy, and fully immerse yourself in the joy of fishing.

Invest in a pair of PVC waders today and embark on unforgettable fishing adventures with confidence, comfort, and the assurance of staying dry throughout your journey.

Happy fishing!

Interesting in more articles about fishing? Check out our Fishing page.

The Best Scuba Masks of 2023

Dive with clarity & comfort with these best scuba masks of 2023

Best Overall
Cressi Big Eyes Evolution, Clear/Yellow, One Size
Best Budget
Adult Pano 3 Window Scuba Diving Mask, Tempered Glass Snorkel Mask Anti-Fog Swim Mask No Leakage Swim Goggles with Nose Cover Snorkeling Gear for Snorkeling, Freediving, Swimming (Black)
Best for Kids
Seago Kids Swim Goggles Snorkel Diving Mask for Youth(5-15), Anti-Fog 180° Clear View
Cressi Big Eyes Evolution
EXP VISION Pano 3 Window
Seago Kids Mask
An excellent mask at a great price makes this our overall pick.
A lot of features for a little cost. If you're on a budget you can't go wrong.
With anti-fog & tempered glass, this is a serious mask for kids.
Best Overall
Cressi Big Eyes Evolution, Clear/Yellow, One Size
Cressi Big Eyes Evolution
An excellent mask at a great price makes this our overall pick.
Best Budget
Adult Pano 3 Window Scuba Diving Mask, Tempered Glass Snorkel Mask Anti-Fog Swim Mask No Leakage Swim Goggles with Nose Cover Snorkeling Gear for Snorkeling, Freediving, Swimming (Black)
EXP VISION Pano 3 Window
A lot of features for a little cost. If you're on a budget you can't go wrong.
Best for Kids
Seago Kids Swim Goggles Snorkel Diving Mask for Youth(5-15), Anti-Fog 180° Clear View
Seago Kids Mask
With anti-fog & tempered glass, this is a serious mask for kids.

Diving into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves is an exhilarating experience that captures the imagination of adventurers worldwide. As scuba diving continues to gain popularity, the importance of having the right equipment cannot be overstated. Among the essential gear, a top-quality diving mask stands as a gateway to a breathtaking underwater realm. In 2023, scuba masks push the boundaries of clarity, comfort, and durability. To highlight the best scuba masks of 2023, we’ve explored the very best scuba diving masks that have emerged in 2023, enabling divers to witness the wonders of the deep with unmatched clarity, comfort, and precision.

Scuba masks in 2023 integrate advanced lens materials that enhance the overall diving experience. Anti-reflective coatings and high-definition optics have become standard, minimizing glare and distortion while maximizing clarity and color vibrancy. These masks utilize innovative lens technologies that offer exceptional peripheral vision, ensuring divers don’t miss out on any underwater marvels. Additionally, the masks feature ergonomic designs that provide a snug fit and minimize water ingress, enabling divers to focus on their surroundings without distraction. With robust materials and construction, these masks are built to withstand the harsh underwater environment, offering durability and reliability for countless adventures beneath the surface.

The Best Scuba Masks: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Cressi Big Eyes Evolution

Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Diving Mask

The Cressi Big Eyes is a standout choice for any diver looking for exceptional comfort and unparalleled visibility. With its unique inverted drop-shaped lenses, this mask offers an expansive field of vision, immersing divers in a panoramic underwater experience. The tempered glass lenses provide crystal-clear clarity, enhanced by an anti-reflective coating that minimizes glare. The soft silicone skirt and adjustable strap ensure a secure and comfortable fit, making it suitable for divers of all head sizes. Overall, the Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Scuba mask is a high-performance option that combines comfort, visibility, and quality construction, making it a reliable companion for underwater explorations. It’s a complete mask at a great price earning it our best overall pick.

Best Anti-Fog: ProShot Tidal Mask

ProShot Tidal Mask

The ProShot Tidal Mask is a game-changer in the world of scuba diving masks, offering a unique combination of functionality, durability, and innovation.  The mask’s design ensures a comfortable fit, with a soft silicone skirt and adjustable strap that accommodates a wide range of face shapes. The tempered glass lenses provide excellent clarity, and the anti-fog coating keeps the vision clear throughout the dive. Proshot is serious about keeping fog out of its Tidal mask as they include both an anti-fog film on the lenses as well as anti-fog spray.  These two anti-fog features keep your vision clearer than the other masks on our list – making it our best pick for anti-fog.

Most Comfortable: Atomic Venom Frameless Mask

Atomic Venom Frameless Mask

The Atomic Venom Frameless Mask is a testament to superior craftsmanship and innovation in the world of scuba diving masks. Its frameless design not only enhances the mask’s durability but also provides an extraordinary field of vision, allowing divers to fully immerse themselves in the underwater world. The mask’s ultra-clear lenses offer exceptional optical clarity, enabling divers to witness every detail with vividness and precision. The skirt, made from high-quality silicone, that Atomic calls “Gummi Bear UltraSoft”, ensures a comfortable and leak-free fit, while the adjustable strap allows for a personalized fit. The Venom’s “Gummi Bear Ultasoft” skirt really is soft and flexible making it our pick for the most comfortable mask.

Best for Smaller Faces: Scubapro Spectra

Scubapro Spectra

The Scubapro Spectra scuba mask is a true gem in the world of diving gear, offering a perfect blend of style, comfort, and functionality. Its sleek and low-profile design not only enhances hydrodynamics but also provides an expansive field of vision, allowing divers to fully appreciate their underwater surroundings. The mask features high-quality tempered glass lenses that deliver exceptional clarity, ensuring optimal visibility in varying light conditions. The soft silicone skirt offers a comfortable and secure fit, while the adjustable strap with quick-release buckles allows for easy customization. The Spectra fits best on smaller or narrower faces, and may not be best for those with large or round faces.

Best for Videographers: OCTOMASK Frameless Mask

OCTOMASK Frameless Mask with GoPro Mount

The OCTOMASK Frameless Mask is a remarkable option for divers seeking a blend of comfort, functionality, and durability. Its frameless design provides a wide field of vision, allowing divers to fully immerse themselves in the underwater world. The mask’s high-quality lenses offer exceptional clarity and sharpness, ensuring excellent visibility even in challenging conditions. The soft silicone skirt and adjustable strap ensure a comfortable and secure fit, accommodating a range of face shapes and sizes. Additionally, the integrated GoPro mount adds versatility to capture stunning underwater footage effortlessly. With its reliable construction and user-friendly features, the OCTOMASK Frameless Mask is a fantastic choice for divers who prioritize both performance and the ability to document their underwater experiences.

Best for Kids: Seago Kids Mask

Seago Kids Mask

The Seago Kids Mask is a fantastic choice for young adventurers venturing into the underwater world. Specifically designed for children, this mask offers a comfortable and secure fit to ensure a positive diving experience. The mask features a soft and hypoallergenic silicone skirt that molds gently to their faces, preventing water leakage while providing lasting comfort. The tempered glass lenses provide excellent clarity, allowing kids to explore underwater wonders with clear vision. With its adjustable strap, the Seago Kids Mask can be customized to fit various head sizes, ensuring a snug and safe fit for children of different ages. Overall, this mask combines comfort, durability, and functionality, making it an excellent option for introducing children to the joys of snorkeling and diving.

Best Budget: EXP VISION Pano 3 Window Diving Mask

EXP VISION Pano 3 Window Diving Mask

At under $30, The EXP VISION Pano 3 Window Diving Mask is a remarkable choice for divers seeking an immersive and panoramic underwater experience. With its three-window design, this mask provides an expansive field of vision, offering divers a clear and unobstructed view of their surroundings. The tempered glass lenses deliver excellent optical clarity, enhancing the visibility of underwater marvels. The mask’s comfortable silicone skirt forms a reliable seal, preventing water from entering while ensuring a snug fit for extended periods of diving. The adjustable strap with easy-to-use buckles allows for quick and convenient customization, accommodating various head sizes. It may not be the best mask on the market, but for those on a budget or those who only dive occasionally, the Pano 3 is a solid mask that offers tremendous value.

What is a low volume mask?

A low volume mask, also known as a low-profile mask, refers to a diving mask with a reduced internal airspace between the diver’s face and the lenses. This design feature offers several advantages to divers. Firstly, a low volume mask requires less effort to equalize the pressure inside the mask, making it more comfortable and efficient during descents. Additionally, the reduced airspace means that the mask sits closer to the face, resulting in a wider field of vision and reduced drag in the water. This allows divers to have a clearer and unobstructed view of the underwater environment, enhancing their overall diving experience. Low volume masks are particularly popular among freedivers, spearfishers, and photographers who prioritize streamlined performance and optimal visibility.

What is a frameless mask?

A frameless diving mask is a type of mask that lacks a rigid frame surrounding the lenses. Instead of a traditional frame, the lenses are directly attached to the skirt, which is made of soft and flexible silicone material. This design offers several benefits to divers. Firstly, a frameless mask provides a lightweight and compact option, making it easy to pack and carry. The absence of a frame also allows for a wider field of vision, as there are no obstructions or blind spots caused by the frame. Additionally, the lack of a frame enhances the flexibility and adaptability of the mask, resulting in a comfortable and secure fit that conforms to the diver’s face shape. Frameless masks are favored by many divers for their minimalistic design, excellent peripheral vision, and streamlined performance.

Are tempered glass lenses important?

Unlike regular glass or plastic lenses, tempered glass is specifically treated to withstand the rigors of scuba diving. This process involves subjecting the glass to intense heat followed by rapid cooling, resulting in increased strength and resistance to impact. In the event of accidental impact or pressure changes underwater, tempered glass lenses are less likely to shatter or break, reducing the risk of injury to the diver. Moreover, tempered glass lenses offer superior optical clarity, providing a distortion-free and clear view of the underwater environment. This allows divers to fully appreciate the vibrant colors and intricate details of marine life, enhancing their overall diving experience. For these reasons, tempered glass lenses are an essential feature in scuba masks, ensuring both safety and optimal visibility for divers.

While offering superior clarity and durability, tempered glass lenses are heavier than non-glass lenses.  They also will shatter more easily if dropped on hard surfaces.  Therefore, masks with tempered glass lenses should be handled with more care than non-glass masks.

The Bottom Line

The world of scuba masks is filled with a diverse array of options, each offering unique features and advantages. From the panoramic views offered by frameless masks to the durability and safety of tempered glass lenses, the best scuba masks of today cater to the needs and preferences of every diver. These masks not only prioritize comfort and functionality but also push the boundaries of optical clarity, allowing divers to immerse themselves fully in the wonders of the underwater world. Whether you’re a recreational diver, a professional explorer, or a passionate underwater photographer, the right scuba mask can truly enhance your diving experience. By choosing one of the top-rated masks available, you can embark on your underwater adventures with confidence, knowing that you have the best equipment to accompany you on your journey into the depths. So, gear up, explore the options, and dive into the breathtaking beauty that awaits beneath the surface.

Happy Diving!

Interested in discovering the best full-face snorkeling masks?  Check out our guide to the best full face snorkels masks of 2023.

The Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2023

Cruise your local waters in style with the help of these best inflatable kayaks of 2023

Best Overall
Bestway Hydro-Force 2-Person Ventura Elite Inflatable Kayak Set | Includes Kayak, 2 Aluminum Paddles, Hand Pump, 2 Fins and Carry Bag
Best Features
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R-P AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak - Pump Included - 15" - Red
Best Budget
INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: Includes Deluxe 86in Aluminum Oars and High-Output Pump – SuperStrong PVC – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity , Yellow
Hydro-Force Ventura Elite X1
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak
Explorer K2
This affordable and well-rounded kayak is the perfect recreational kayak.
Multiple deck options. Aluminum ribs for improved tracking.
This inexpensive kayak is an amazing value for the money.
Best Overall
Bestway Hydro-Force 2-Person Ventura Elite Inflatable Kayak Set | Includes Kayak, 2 Aluminum Paddles, Hand Pump, 2 Fins and Carry Bag
Hydro-Force Ventura Elite X1
This affordable and well-rounded kayak is the perfect recreational kayak.
Best Features
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R-P AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak - Pump Included - 15" - Red
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak
Multiple deck options. Aluminum ribs for improved tracking.
Best Budget
INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: Includes Deluxe 86in Aluminum Oars and High-Output Pump – SuperStrong PVC – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity , Yellow
Explorer K2
This inexpensive kayak is an amazing value for the money.

Kayaking is a great way to get out on the water and explore nature from a unique perspective. It’s great exercise, good for your mental health, and it’s full of adventure.  Our friends over at Outward Spaces have recently written about why kayaking is so much fun, but if you’ve spent much time in a kayak – you already know how much of a blast it can be.

Hard shell kayaks take up a lot of space, are heavy, and require special vehicle considerations to get them out to your local waters.  Inflatable Kayaks, on the other hand, pack away into a carrying bag, can be easily stored in a small space, and fit into just about any vehicle on the road.  Once you arrive at your water of choice, you inflate your kayak and hit the water. When you’re done paddling, the kayak is deflated, folded up, slipped back into the bag, and thrown back into the trunk. Inflatable kayaks offer convenience that get you out on the water more often and they can be just as much fun as a hard-shell kayak.

In our search for the best inflatable kayak of 2023, we looked at a number of models currently available and put together our list of the best of the best. Whether you are a beginning kayaker or an experienced pro, there is an inflatable kayak that will help you get paddling more quickly and with less hassle than a traditional kayak.

The Best Inflatable Kayaks: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Hydro-Force Ventura Elite X1

Hydro-Force Ventura Elite X1 Inflatable Kayak

Due to its balance of quality construction, included accessories, and affordable price, the Hydro-Force Ventura Elite X1 is our best overall inflatable kayak of 2023. The Ventura Elite X1 is a great-looking kayak built for 2 paddlers. It features a premium coated nylon cover that is oil-proof, waterproof, Uv resistant, and puncture resistant. The Ventura Elite X1 comes with everything you need to get out on the water right out of the box and includes 2 aluminum paddles, and hand pump, 2 removable skegs, a gear bag, a carrying bag, and a patch kit. It features a drop-stitch I-beam inflatable floor for stability and the 2 skegs are interchangeable to customize the ride to your tastes.

What we love: The 2 storage compartments – the front gear bag + storage behind each seat allow you to bring your gear along and ensure it stays put.  We also think the teal color looks pretty sharp.

Length: 10′ 10″
Width: 34″
Weight: 35lb
Seating Capacity: 2
Weight Capacity: 440 lbs

Best For Touring: AQUAGLIDE Navarro 130 Convertible Inflatable Kayak

AQUAGLIDE Navarro Convertible Inflatable Kayak

The AQUAGLIDE Navarro 130 is a single inflatable kayak that’s built for touring but can also handle the rapids.  The Navarro 130’s unique zip-on deck cover makes this kayak look for like a traditional kayak than others on our list and keeps water out while keeping you dry. At 13 feet and 3 inches long, the Navarro is longer than most kayaks on our list – especially considering it’s only a single kayak.  This extra length adds speed and makes paddling easier, earning the Navarro 130 our “best pick for touring” distinction. At only 35 lbs, the Navarro 130 is easily handled by 1 person. This kayak also has a hex shell covering its pontoons making it more durable and quicker in the water – both great features in a touring kayak. Unlike other inflatable kayaks on our list, the Navarro comes only with a seat and storage bag, so you’ll have to pick up a paddle and pump separately.

What we love: The extra length adds some speed that makes this kayak more fun and easier to paddle for long periods of time. The extended deck on the front and rear help to keep water out.

Length: 13′ 3″
Width: 37″
Weight: 35 lbs
Seating Capacity: 1
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

Best Features: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak

Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

The full-featured Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak is a 2-person touring kayak that takes flexibility to new levels.  Its “AdvancedFrame” name comes from its built-in aluminum ribs that help define the hull shape to improve tracking and durability.  This aluminum frame helps it perform more like a traditional kayak while also protecting it against bumps and scrapes.  Optional deck covers can be purchased to change the look and function of the kayak. Choose between single or double “closed” decks to help keep you drier when paddling in rougher conditions or stick with the included standard “open” deck for easier maneuverability and access in the kayak.  No matter what you choose, the decks can be easily swapped – making this a “convertible” kayak and giving you options. The AvancedFrame Convertible also has three seat attachment points – one in the front and one in the back for double paddlers or attach a single seat in the middle for a single paddler only.  At 15 feet long and boasting a weight capacity of 550 lbs, this kayak is especially helpful for taller paddlers or those who have a lot of gear to bring along.  Included with the AdvancedFrame kayak is a duffle bag for storage, hand pump, and 2 folding seats.  The various seat arrangements, aluminum frame, and options to purchase additional deck configurations earn the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak our “best features” designation.

What we love: The 3 seat attachment points give you options. With the built-in aluminum frame ribs, this kayak tracks really well and is comfortable for long trips – even if you’re on the taller side of things.

Length: 15′
Width: 32″
Weight: 52 lbs
Seating Capacity: 2
Weight Capacity: 550 lbs

Best for Fishing: Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Fishing kayaks give anglers the ability to get out where the fish are. An inflatable fishing kayak adds the ease of packing away the kayak when you’re done for the day.  The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130 is a fishing kayak that’s well-equipped to land the big catch – again and again. Its padded high-back seat and included footrest will keep you comfortable all day long.  What makes this fishing kayak stand out is the placement of 5 modular equipment mounts to equip your kayak for some serious fishing.  Attach commonly available rod holders, bait trays, downriggers, and more to customize your fishing setup using the 5 mounting points.  The Steelhead 130’s 10-foot, 10-inch length won’t win you any races, but its 39.5 inches of width provides more stability when fishing and gives you a bit more room for your gear. Its width combined with its drop-stitch inflatable floor gives you a stable fishing platform. The Steelhead also includes a paddle, removable skeg, travel bag, padded seat, footrest, and dual action hand pump. It can be used in both salt and fresh water and is rated for up to class III rapids.

What we love: The module equipment mounts allow you to trick out your kayak with all of your gear to build the ultimate kayak fishing setup.

Length: 10′ 10″
Width: 39.5″
Weight: 40 lbs
Seating Capacity: 1
Weight Capacity: 550 lbs

Best Budget: Explorer K2

Explorer K2 Kayak Inflatable Kayak

Our best budget pick is the 2-person Explorer K2 by Intex.  While not as durable or as featured as other kayaks on our list, the Explorer K2 offers a great value kayak for those on a tight budget.  Made for smaller bodies of water including lakes and mild rivers, the Explorer K2 includes everything you need to get out of the water including a hand pump, 2 paddles, a carry bag, 2 removable seats, a removable skeg, and a repair patch. Its inflatable seats aren’t as comfortable or durable as padded seats found on more expensive kayaks, but they do the job and are comfortable enough for short trips.  With only a 300 lb capacity, the Explorer K2 is best for kids, smaller adults, or a single paddler. The Explorer K2 doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles in the feature department, it gets the job done as a simple and inexpensive way to get out on the water.  Want to kayak without spending a small fortune? The Explorer K2 may be the right choice for you.

What we love: The Explorer K2 is an amazing value for the money. It’s a great choice for those who don’t kayak often but want a kayak when the opportunity arises.

Length: 10′ 3″
Width: 36″
Weight: 30.6 lbs
Seating Capacity: 2
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs

The Pros and Cons of Inflatable Kayaks

The biggest pro of inflatable kayaks is their portability.  When deflated, inflatable kayaks need less space to store, don’t need expensive roof racks to transport, and can be carried to the water’s edge by one person.

The biggest con of inflatable kayaks is how they handle on the water.  They typically are slower, don’t track as well, and can be more easily blown around by the wind compared to traditional hard-shell kayaks.

For a full rundown of the various pros and cons of inflatable kayaks, visit Outward Spaces.

What type of inflatable kayak is right for me?

It depends on how you like to paddle and what types of water you want to kayak on.  If you’re looking for a kayak to leisurely paddle on flat water (a lake or mild river) a recreational kayak like the Ventura Elite X1 or the Explorer X2 are good options.  Recreational kayaks like these will give you the most bang for your buck and will provide enjoyable experiences on the water at more affordable prices.

If you want to paddle for a cardio workout or want to kayak long distances, a touring kayak is the best choice.  These kayaks are built to be more comfortable (allowing for longer trips) and longer (allowing for more speed and efficiency when paddling). Touring kayaks are best suited for large lakes or calm ocean conditions, but can also be used in small whitewater (typically up to class III rapids).

If you are looking to kayak in rapids and whitewater, it’s best to stick with a traditional hard-shell kayak built for this purpose.  Whitewater kayaks are designed to be waterproof in case of a roll in rapids.  Inflatable kayaks aren’t designed to roll or recover easily from being overturned like whitewater kayaks are.  While many inflatable kayaks can be enjoyed on rapids up to class III, it’s best to stay away from rapids above class II when paddling one.

Finally, if you want to fish from your inflatable kayak, it’s best to look for kayaks that are designed with fishing in mind.  Look for inflatable kayaks that have good width (at least 36″) and have the ability to properly mount fishing gear on the kayak.  Inflatable kayaks with built-in rod holders and adequate space for fishing gear are the best options for fishing.  We also recommend a single kayak if fishing is the priority.  Space can get tight with two fishermen on a double kayak.

What’s the best way to inflate an inflatable kayak?

A lot of inflatable kayaks come with a hand pump.  Inflatable kayaks are typically inflated to low pressures and a hand pump is perfectly adequate to use. However, if you use your inflatable kayak often, we highly recommend purchasing a 12V electric pump, such as the OutdoorMaster Shark, to quickly and easily inflate your kayak at your car before carrying it down to the water’s edge.  The hand pumps that inflatable kayaks include are often unreliable with gauges that aren’t accurate. 12V pumps typically have digital gauges and shut off automatically at your desired pressure – making them hands-free once you start them up.

What kind of inflation valves do inflatable kayaks use?

Unfortunately, inflatable kayak manufacturers choose to use various inflation valves in their products.  Many inflatable kayaks have a combination of Boston valves and Halkey Roberts valves.  If your inflatable kayak comes with a pump, the manufacturers should also include any adaptors needed.  If you choose to purchase an electric pump as recommended above, make sure to choose one that includes a variety of adaptors.  having adaptors for various types of valves will allow you to inflate all sorts of items around the house with your electric pump – adding value to your investment.

The Bottom Line

Kayaking is a ton of fun and offers a unique way to enjoy nature.  Traditional kayaks are heavy, bulky, and hard to transport.  Inflatable kayaks are lighter weight, pack up into a small carrying bag, and can be transported easily in the back of any car.  Inflatable kayaks offer a more convenient way to tap into the adventure that kayaking offers – resulting in your getting out on the water more often.

Inflatable kayaks are available in many different types, sizes, and styles.  When purchasing an inflatable kayak, be sure to consider your budget, how you’ll use it, and what types of water you want to paddle on. No matter your paddling preferences, purchasing an inflatable kayak will have you out on the water in no time and with less hassle.

Happy Paddling!

Looking for more paddling resources?  Check out our paddling page.

The Best Full Face Snorkel Masks of 2023

Explore the underwater world & experience all that awaits with the help of these best full face snorkel masks of 2023.

Best Overall
Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask with Latest Dry Top System,Foldable 180 Degree Panoramic View Snorkeling Mask with Camera Mount,Safe Breathing,Anti-Leak&Anti-Fog
Best for Kids
Zipoute Snorkel Full Face Snorkel Mask for Kids, Kids Snorkeling Set 180 Degree Panoramic View, Safe Anti-Leak Anti-Fog, Foldable Dry Top Snorkeling Gear for Kids Adult
Most Comfortable
Seaview 180 V3 Full Face Snorkel Mask Adult- The V3 is The Perfect Snorkeling Gear for Adults and Kids- Patented Flowtech Side Snorkel Design- Up to 600% Easier Breathing. Snorkeling Gear for Kids
Greatever G2
Zipoute Full Face Snorkel Mask for Kids
Seaview 180 V3
This well-designed mask is a winner due to its quality and ease of use.
Kids-friendly "shark" design is cute and fun.
High-tech look and feel, provides the most natural breathing experience.
Best Overall
Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask with Latest Dry Top System,Foldable 180 Degree Panoramic View Snorkeling Mask with Camera Mount,Safe Breathing,Anti-Leak&Anti-Fog
Greatever G2
This well-designed mask is a winner due to its quality and ease of use.
Best for Kids
Zipoute Snorkel Full Face Snorkel Mask for Kids, Kids Snorkeling Set 180 Degree Panoramic View, Safe Anti-Leak Anti-Fog, Foldable Dry Top Snorkeling Gear for Kids Adult
Zipoute Full Face Snorkel Mask for Kids
Kids-friendly "shark" design is cute and fun.
Most Comfortable
Seaview 180 V3 Full Face Snorkel Mask Adult- The V3 is The Perfect Snorkeling Gear for Adults and Kids- Patented Flowtech Side Snorkel Design- Up to 600% Easier Breathing. Snorkeling Gear for Kids
Seaview 180 V3
High-tech look and feel, provides the most natural breathing experience.

In our search for the best full face snorkel mask of 2023, we looked at a number of the best-selling mask on the market. Whether you are a beginning snorkeler or an experienced pro, full-face snorkels offer an immersive underwater experience, making them a popular choice among snorkelers of all skill levels. One of the key advantages of full-face snorkels is their innovative design, which combines a mask and snorkel into a single piece. This eliminates the need for a separate mouthpiece and allows for effortless breathing through both the nose and mouth. With a 180-degree panoramic view, these masks provide an expansive field of vision, enhancing the overall snorkeling experience. Full-face snorkels are also equipped with a dry-top system that prevents water from entering the mask, ensuring a comfortable and stress-free snorkeling session. The ease of use and comfort provided by full-face snorkels make them an excellent choice for those seeking convenience and an enhanced snorkeling adventure.

The best full-face snorkel masks: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Greatever G2

Greatever G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask

Top on our list and ranked as the overall best full-face snorkel mask is the Greatever G2. The Greatever G2 full-face snorkel mask is comfortable to wear, easy to use, and receives strong positive reviews on its breathability. The large crystal-clear viewing area of the G2 gives you an unimpeded view of the ocean below.  The G2 has a comfortable silicon seal that keeps water out and adjustable straps to easily fit the mask firmly to your face. It also has a floating ball mechanism that seals the snorkel when it’s underwater to prevent water intrusion but releases on the surface to allow air to flow freely. The G2 is also equipped with a GoPro camera mount to add your action camera to capture your underwater memories. Even with its wealth of features and a 75% 5-star review rating, it’s the price of the G2 that makes it our overall winner. At just under $30 (at the time of writing), the affordability of the Greatever G2 combined with its feature set makes it our “Best Overall” pick.

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Most Comfortable: Seaview 180 V3

Seaview 180 V3 Full Face Snorkel Mask

While all full-face snorkel masks look like they were pulled straight from a sci-fi movie, the Seaview 180 V3 looks even more futuristic than the rest. We like that the Seaview has its snorkel positioned on the side like a traditional mask and snorkel setup.  Seaview claims that this side snorkel design makes it up to 600% easier to breathe.  While we’re not exactly sure how they arrived at this number, what is clear is that the SeaView is the most comfortable in terms of breathing on our list. But while its snorkel may be traditionally positioned, that’s about all that is traditional about this snorkel mask.  The V3 has been expertly molded to fit most faces resulting in an ergonomic comfort fit to go along with its 180-degree full view. The 180 V3 is built robustly to withstand all the bumps and bruises you’ll throw at it and the snorkel detaches for easier storage.  It comes in 3 sizes and 6 colors and has a GoPro mount on the side of the mask – opposite the snorkel.

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Best for those with Glasses: Ocean Reef Aria QR+

OCEAN REEF Aria QR + Quick Release Snorkeling Mask

The Aria QR+ from Ocean Reef includes an easy-to-use quick-release system (hence the name QR+) to provide greater comfort when putting on and taking off the mask. To prevent fogging, it has a special air circulation system inside the mask that keeps its 180-degree full visual clear to see the underwater world. Ocean Reef, an Italian company, offers unique accessories for the QR+ that leave this full-face snorkel mask standing above the rest.  Those with glasses will appreciate that the QR+ has been built with prescription lenses in mind. An optical lenses support kit (glasses frames) can be purchased separately, combined with lenses according to your prescription, and fitted inside the QR=+ to allow those with glasses the ability to see underwater clearly. The QR+ can also accept Ocean Reef’s Snorkie Talkie – a two-way communication device that allows you to talk with others while snorkeling.  We’re not sure how this feature works, but we’d love the chance to try it out! Overall, the Aria QR+ is a great full-face snorkel option that’s well-built and full of features.  It’s $100 price tag is a bit high, but the availability to add custom prescription lenses to the mask makes the higher cost worthwhile for those who wear glasses.

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Best for Kids: Zipoute Full Face Snorkel Mask for Kids

Zipoute Kids Full Face Snorkel Mask

Designed in the shape of a shark’s mouth, the Zipoute kids full-face snorkel mask is cute and fun in all the right ways.  Kids will love pretending that they are a shark as they view the sea creatures below them. Its dry-top anti-leakage system keeps water out of the snorkel while allowing air to flow in without restriction. The zipoute also has a dual airflow anti-fog system to allow CO2 out of the mark while also preventing the mask from fogging. The playful design gives kids confidence while snorkeling and they LOVE using it.  The snorkel folds away for easy storage and the mask comes in 3 colors (blue, green, and pink) if you child prefers a shark of a different color.  The sheer fun and the fact that kids love this snorkel mask make it our pick for the best full-face snorkel mask for kids.

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Best Budget: W WSTOO Snorkel Mask

W WSTOO Snorkel Mask

While the W WSTOO Snorkel Mask may be our top budget pick, it’s still a well-rounded full-face snorkel mask option. Available in 20 different color variations, there’s a good chance you can find a W WSTOO that fits your style perfectly. With three independent air ducts, the W WSTOO easily routes both O2 and CO2 in and out of the mask ensuring easy breathing while snorkeling. The W WSTOO snorkel mask is comfortable, fogs only minimally, and has a 180-degree viewing angle to give you a wide-angle view of the ocean below. Some users have noted a small amount of water leakage during use, so make sure to adjust the W WSTOO to properly fit your face to prevent leaks.  For under $30, we think the W WSTOO is a great budget pick up – especially if you’re not doing heavy snorkeling and want to save for other vacation activities.

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Things to consider before buying a full-face snorkel mask

If you’re new to using a full-face snorkel, you may be unsure about what aspects to focus on and how to prioritize finding the right fit and features that will ensure the best possible experience in the water. To assist you with this, we have prepared a useful guide that highlights some key points for your consideration. To begin with, it’s important to grasp the distinction between a traditional mask and a full-face mask. Once you have a clear understanding of this, you can then decide on the type of underwater exploration you desire, your skill level, and any additional equipment you may wish to bring along on your snorkeling adventure.

What is a full-face snorkel mask?

Unlike the regular snorkel masks that only cover your eyes and nose, the full-face mask is a game-changer. It wraps around your entire face, from your hairline down to your chin. It’s split into two sections: the top part offers you an incredible panoramic view of the underwater world, while the bottom part snugly covers your mouth and nose, connecting you smoothly to the snorkel tube sticking out from the top. With a full face mask, you can say goodbye to those annoying gag reflexes and the struggle of biting down on a rubber tube. This awesome mask lets you breathe naturally through both your nose and mouth, all without fogging up your vision. Thanks to wide straps, it stays put on your face, and the waterproof seal ensures minimal to no leaks, no matter what you’re up to underwater.

Is a full-face snorkel mask right for me?

Full-face snorkels are best for casual snorkelers looking for a wide view of the underwater world while staying close to the surface. Diving below the surface with full-face snorkels can be challenging as they restrict access to your nose to equalize pressure.  In other words, they aren’t for free divers, but provide awesome views in a comfortable fit for most snorkelers. Full-face masks are more comfortable than traditional mask and snorkel sets and provide unobstructed views of the sea life below.  Due to their increased size and one-piece design, full-face snorkels also offer a better platform for mounting action cameras (such as a GoPro) and often include a built-in mount on the mask to add your camera in seconds.

Do you wear glasses?

Snorkeling with glasses can be challenging, but it’s important that those with prescription glasses see the underwater world with clarity.  Fitting glasses inside a snorkel mask (full-face or otherwise) is never a good idea as they can cause fit issues and caused leaks in your mask. Fortunately, some full-face snorkel mask manufacturers (like Ocean Reef) have those with glasses in mind.  With the Ocean Reef Aria QR+, an Optical Lenses Support kit can be purchased separately and fitted inside the Aria QR+.  The Optical Lenses Support kit is a glasses frame that built to fit securely inside the Aria Qr+ and can be fitted either with prescription glasses from your optometrist or can be purchased through Ocean Reef (OCEAN REEF Lens for Lens 2.0 Support).  However you choose to kit out your Aria QR+, you’ll be able to full advantage of the 180-degree viewing a full-face snorkel mask provides.

Is underwater video important to you when snorkeling?

There’s something special about documenting your snorkeling adventure with crystal clear 4K video.  It’s a luxury for sure, but sharing your underwater experience with friends and family allows them to experience the underwater world along with you.  Action cameras are all over the market and one of their key features is being waterproof – perfect for your snorkeling adventure.  Many full-face snorkel masks have a built-in action can mount on the mask meaning you can connect your camera easily within seconds and be ready to capture all those fish and aquatic animals.  Due to its industry-leading image stabilization and quality, we recommend the GoPro action camera for all of your adventures. Most full-face masks include a GoPro-style mount so you’ll never have mounting issues when attaching a GoPro to your mask.  Many other action cams on the market have also adopted the GoPro-style mount, but if you have an action camera with a different mounting style, make sure you have the proper adapters before you hit the water to ensure your camera will stay in place.

The Bottom Line

Full-face snorkel masks are more comfortable to wear and make it easier to breathe underwater without the awkwardness of a traditional snorkel.  They are the perfect choice for snorkelers who prefer to stay on the surface – looking down at the marine world.  Due to restricted access to your nose while wearing a full-face snorkel mask, they aren’t good for those who prefer to dive down to get a closer look at objects on the bottom.  And if you are a free diver or enjoy diving below the surface for long periods of time, full-face snorkel mask aren’t for you.  A traditional mask and snorkel that allows for access to your nose to equalize pressure when diving is the better option.

As full-face snorkel masks become more popular, there are many full-face masks available to purchase.  When choosing the right full-face snorkel mask for you, consider how you like to snorkel, whether you wear need prescription lenses, and if you’ll shoot video while enjoying the underwater sights.  With your new full-face mask in hand, you’ll be ready to hit the water in comfort and style.

Happy snorkeling!

Looking for more on snorkeling? Visit our snorkeling page for more!