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How to choose a diving mask?

Not without a reason, a mask belongs to a diving ABC. When completing the equipment, it is always bought first and constitutes its basic element, greatly influencing the comfort of diving and our impressions underwater. Despite its simplicity and relatively low purchase cost, the choice of a mask should be a well-considered decision. Well chosen
Published: June 11, 2018 - 15:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:53
How to choose a diving mask?

Not without a reason, a mask belongs to a diving ABC. When completing the equipment, it is always bought first and constitutes its basic element, greatly influencing the comfort of diving and our impressions underwater. Despite its simplicity and relatively low purchase cost, the choice of a mask should be a well-considered decision.

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Well chosen and fitted diving mask will serve us for a very long time. In every diver’s career, however, there comes a time to change the equipment, but the mask, due to its simplicity and durability, is usually with us for the longest time. Underwater, it is our only window to the underwater world, so all the more we should take care and make a careful choice.

The first thing to consider when starting your search is whether you have a visual impairment. The necessity to wear glasses does not rule out the chance for good and sharp vision under water. Some of the diving masks have replaceable lenses, with the possibility of inserting corrective lenses. Deciding on this type of equipment we should make sure, that in the place where we buy the mask there are lenses corresponding to our defect. There are also corrective lenses which can be applied to the glass of your mask. In this case, and when using lenses, we can choose from all models available on the market.

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The next thing to do when choosing a mask is to check its fit to our face. A properly fitted mask will not leak, even with slight changes in facial expression. The fit is checked by placing the mask without the strap on your face and inhaling a little air through your nose. Then release the mask. The mask should remain suctioned until you let out some air through your nose again.

Nowadays, masks are manufactured from high-quality silicone that adapts very precisely to the facial features, so a large proportion of masks are simply universal. If you are still not convinced, there is another way to check the fit. To do this, we place the mask very close to our face and check whether its edge fits as closely as possible to our face.

When buying a mask, we can choose from many types. The basic divisions can be made according to the types of lenses, the capacity of the mask and the colour, both of the casing and of the silicone.

Most masks consist of one large or two smaller lenses. Both solutions provide sufficient visibility in all conditions. Some manufacturers also offer equipment with more lenses, providing an even larger field of vision, but this solution causes refraction of the image reaching our eyes, which in the long run may irritate and tire our eyes.

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Another important feature of a mask is the volume of air it contains. The less air the better. It is connected with the amount of air which needs to be blown inside in order to clean the mask after flooding it with water. Such a mask, apart from being easy to clean, allows to increase the field of vision, which is caused by a smaller distance of the glass from our eyes. On the other hand, we must not exaggerate and choose a mask that will rest on our forehead. Small volume is especially important in freediving. By equalising the pressure in such a mask, less valuable air is used during the dive.

While the colour of the frame of our mask is only a matter of taste, the colour of the silicone is somewhat more important. Silicones can be divided into those permeable to light, i.e. transparent and those impermeable to light, i.e. all coloured. The first ones brighten up the image we see, but some people perceive them negatively because of the distortions created on transparent silicone. Coloured silicones, usually black, allow us to focus completely on the image coming from behind the glass, which is why they are most often chosen by advanced divers and underwater photographers.

Any mask should be measured on a cleansed and degreased face, as any creams may cause it to adhere less well. We also need to make sure that hair does not get under the silicone. A male beard that is too full of hair can also be problematic, as it allows air to permeate the mask when trying it on.

The final selection test is to see if, with the mask on, you can hold your nose to blow it out.

When deciding on our first mask, we cannot be 100 per cent sure whether the model we have just chosen will suit us underwater. Unfortunately, to find out about it, we have to make a series of dives in it first. Only after such verification we will find out if our decision was right, however in most cases a well fitted mask will not cause us any problems underwater.

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Adam
Adam Sieczkowski instruktor nurkowania podróżnik z zamiłowania, wiecznie poszukuje nowych wyzwań.
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