While a new BCD or regulator set are key to SCUBA, nothing tops a well fitting and comfortable dive mask. You can still enjoy a dive with a BCD that doesn’t fit perfectly, or a reg set that doesn’t breathe quite the way that you want it, but an ill fitting and uncomfortable dive mask can ruin an otherwise perfect dive. What’s a diver to do? With the vast selection of masks on the market, it can be tough to find the perfect one. Luckily, you can reduce your search to the basics and make finding the best fitting and most comfortable mask easier!
Mask Fit and Seal
All of the cool features in the world mean nothing if a mask doesn’t fit, seal, and is comfortable. When selecting a mask, put it on your face with the strap off. Press it to your face, inhale and hold your breath for a few seconds. Look up, look down…does the mask stick to your face? Yes? It seals. No? Keep looking.
Now that you have found a few that fit and hold a seal. Go through them again, trying them on one by one. This time put the strap around the back of your head and adjust it. How does the mask feel? Is the nose pocket too small? Too big? How does the skirt feel around your face? Overall does the mask feel comfortable enough to wear for a few hours a day?
At this point, hopefully you have found a handful of masks that fit, seal, and are comfortable. Now is the time to take a look at the features you want in your mask. Do you want a clear skirt that will let in more ambient light? Or a dark skirt that will allow you more focus on what is in front of you? While it is preferable to use a low volume mask, sometimes facial features won’t allow the diver to wear one. In any case, low volume is preferable. Single or double pane? This is a matter of diver preference but consider if you’ll need prescription lenses in the mask. What about the field of view? Can you see what you want to see when wearing the mask. Again this is a matter of personal preference as some like to see more and others want to focus on what’s directly in front of them.
Caring For Your New Mask
When buying a mask, there are a few items that you may want to pick up before leaving the dive shop. While most masks come with a protective box, some do not. Make sure you have something that will keep your mask from getting damaged when not in use. It’s a fact of life, masks do fog. Make sure you have some anti-fog solution. Yes, some just spit in their masks and rub it in, but that’s not the best solution. Anti-fog is only a few bucks and a little goes a long way. What about straps? The biggest reason for calling a dive is a broken mask strap, make sure you have a couple of replacements on hand.
See? It’s Simple!
Yes, really, it’s that simple! Make sure the mask fits and seals, is comfortable, and has features you want. Also, don’t leave the dive shop with a couple of extra essentials that will ensure your mask is usable and functions well for years to come. Still have questions? Hit up any member of the DRIS team, we love to talk diving!