While we get quite a few questions here at DRIS about things like what the best breathing regulator is or the most advanced BCD for being able to maintain good trim and buoyancy the easiest is. While all are good questions, I believe firmly that these aren’t the most crucial pieces of equipment for a new diver to be investigating. Actually, the most important one is often chosen and purchased quickly just prior to their first confined water session. Having a mask that fits well, seals tight, and offers an optimum field of view could not be overstressed to the new diver. Simply put, a leaky, uncomfortable mask that a new diver cannot see well out of is often cause for a negative first dive experience more so than an ill fitting BCD or hard breathing regulator. To that end, let’s take a closer look at some of the main features of masks and how to choose a good one that will provide for an amazing experience in the underwater world.
First, the mask must fit well and be comfortable on the diver. One that pinches, or has an ill fitting nose pocket will only get worse as the pressure of depth is introduced. When looking as masks, make sure it can hold a seal…put it on without the strap in place, inhale and hold your breath. Does it stick to your face? If not move on, no matter how cool it looks. Secondly, when sealed…how does it feel on your face? Does it pinch? Feel natural?
Hopefully, by now you’ve picked out a few that feel comfortable and seal well. Now take a look at your selections and their features. While just about every mask skirt on the market nowadays is constructed of silicone, take a look at the color. Do you want a clear skirt that lets in more ambient light? Or are you someone who wants to focus more on your field of view without dancing light distractions? While most experienced divers opt for a low volume mask, sometimes your facial features preclude this being an optimum personal choice. If you have some low volume masks in your pile of choices be aware that low volume masks are usually easier to clear and less prone to getting knocked off of your face from currents or flow. Single pane or two pane? This choice is a combination of personal preference as well as whether or not you need or anticipate the need for corrective lenses.
Beyond that take a look at what field of view the masks you have narrowed it down to offer. Again this goes to whether or not you want to focus on what’s in front of you or enjoy a more “global view” of the underwater world. Now grab some defog, clean the mask with toothpaste and come diving with the crew at DRIS…and if that mask you bought from us isn’t perfect we offer a 60 day unconditional return policy!