Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
awestover89

Full Face Snorkel Mask

Recommended Posts

Curious if anybody has had any good or bad experiences with the full face masks? We snorkel a lot and always bring our own gear with us on cruises, and are really interested in trying out the full masks. I love snorkeling (and the few times I tried it, Scuba as well), but no matter how many times we go I always get a minor panic attack when I first get in the water and feel the water against my mouth. I'm hoping the full face masks will help alleviate that feeling a bit, since I won't actually feel the water against my face (we did a helmet dive and I had no problems at all with that)

 

I've been looking a lot at the Tribord Easybreath, https://amzn.to/2DtjQgI, but there are a ton of really cheap masks that look almost identical. Is there a particular brand that's actually recognized as good quality? I'd rather spend $50-$100+ on a good mask than $20 on something I have to replace every trip, but if the cheaper ones are the same thing as the more expensive, then no need to spend the extra 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of my response is copied and pasted from previous posts I've made.

 

I would recommend against a full face snorkel.  If you have issues with panic using a regular mask and snorkel, you'd likely be placing yourself at greater risk should you have leakage or flooding with a full face type.  That being said I cannot caution you strongly enough to avoid the cheap full face mask/snorkels.  If you decide you absolutely want to go with a full face, at least go with a brand like Tri-Bord or Head. 

 

I'm both a Scuba Instructor, and retired from decades as a Coroner's Investigator. I mention this because I have knowledge of what snorkeling is, and knowledge of the danger of death presented by oxygen displacement.

 

The danger is quite real. Carbon Dioxide is not poisonous, the way carbon monoxide is, but it displaces oxygen, causing hypoxia. Carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen, and other non-poisonous gases are frequently used in suicides by suffocation; again to displace oxygen, without creating the "air hunger" that would otherwise result. The point being the lungs fill, but since the oxygen is displaced, the person dies from lack of oxygen, without the discomfort of being unable to breathe. With the full-face snorkels, a lot of users say "If I felt a problem, I'd simply take the mask off". They don't realize they may never perceive the sensation of difficult breathing, Since they are breathing fine, but they're not breathing oxygen The lack of air hunger means a snorkeler likely will not realize their situation is becoming perilous.

 

The problem created by breathing improperly is hypercapnia (excessive CO2). This can result from hyperventilating with no other factor present (no mask, snorkel or other obstruction). This is exactly what happens when kids play the "choking game" where they deliberately hyperventilate, then another restricts their breathing. It's not the lack of oxygen directly, but the presence of carbon dioxide displacing oxygen. Further, the brain signals the breathing to occur in the presence of carbon dioxide, rather than the lack of oxygen, thus hypercapnia results in a autonomic response to breathe. This ends up in a even more rapid, and less efficient breathing. If not recognized and consciously overcome, hypoxia is the result. If on land, the person faints, and returns to baseline. If in water, loss of consciousness results in drowning. The volume of a full face snorkeling mask is much more than a snorkel. A snorkel gets very close to 100% exchange with every breath. If a full face mask is not designed to provide for proper exchange of exhaled gas, it is a nearly perfect system to cause hypercapnia. This is exacerbated if the user hyperventilates. This can result from exertion, or simply stress from the new experience; or, obviously, hypercapnia. Since the full face mask provides no means to equalize the ears, those using them tend not to dive below the surface, but even the effect of surface swimming can be enough to cause improper, rapid breathing.

 

Now, to be clear, the quality brands (Head, Tribord, etc), have design features to significantly lessen this danger, but the features rely on proper maintenance and cleaning that is easy to neglect. Most of the "knock-off" full face masks lack these design features, or they're poorly constructed. Some of these knock-offs are marketed in a way that a buyer thinks they're getting a good brand, when they aren't.

 

Harris

Denver, CO

www.divessi.com/pro/64612

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, awestover89 said:

I've been looking a lot at the Tribord Easybreath, https://amzn.to/2DtjQgI, but there are a ton of really cheap masks that look almost identical. Is there a particular brand that's actually recognized as good quality? I'd rather spend $50-$100+ on a good mask than $20 on something I have to replace every trip, but if the cheaper ones are the same thing as the more expensive, then no need to spend the extra 

 

FYI, you can save yourself a lot by buying from the manufacturer/marketer direct.  They're made for a French-based sports equipment retailer called Decathlon (Tribord is one of their brands).  You can mail order the stuff or buy from the sole store in the U.S. (outside San Francisco).  Price in the U.S. market is USD 28.90

 

https://www.decathlon.com/products/surface-snorkeling-mask-easybreath?adept-product=surface-snorkeling-mask-easybreath&adept_product_id=surface-snorkeling-mask-easybreath&source=search

 

Disclaimer: I have not even tried/trial fitted the above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend the Tribord Easybreath. My wife loves hers. I've tried two other brands (Head and another I can't remember) and they both leaked.  I own a Tribord as well but don't typically use it since I tend to free dive while snorkeling but they are very comfortable and easy to use. They are great for surface snorkeling.

Edited by mac66

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I think OMEIV gave some really great, very important, information, that alot of people just don't think about.

So I wanted to share my story of my first (and subsequent) use of a full face snorkel mask:

 

We purchased two higher end full-face masks before a land trip to Belize in January 2018 (sorry, cant recall the exact brand right now). I'm a very experienced (surface only) snorkeler, and I've had scuba cert. for almost 20 years (but haven't even attempted an open water dive in awhile due to some inner ear issues), as a result, I *might* have been a bit cocky, and didn't really try on the mask before tossing them in the luggage.

I didn't give in a second thought till I was hopping in the water from a tiny fishing boat at a reef. Double checked the seals(I have long hair, and its always a fight to keep *all* my hair out of a mask), made sure everything felt comfy. 

Within  ninety seconds of starting to swim away from the boat, after some critters I had spotted, I thought I was having a panic attack. Stopped, yanked mask off, took a few deep breaths, and started all over. It happened again, and again, and again.  I tried hanging on to the boat for security and sticking my face in, nothing helped. I just felt like I wasn't getting any air.

Eventually I just gave up for awhile and went on chilled on the boat till I felt calmer (and apparently missed a pretty awesome wild sea turtle interaction).  I refused to get back in the water till we were at the second snorkel stop. I've had panic attacks on land, but I've never had any anxiety around water, so I was pretty freaked out. While in the boat, I started trying on the mask, and practicing breathing with in.

Turns out It was so ingrained in me to breath through my mouth underwater (whether, through a snorkel or a regulator) that I needed to consciously pay attention and breath through only my nose. Half way through the second snorkel stop I was having no issues at all.

We used the masks again on a Disney cruise in October of this year, and I didn't have to think twice about my breathing and snorkeled for very long periods of time with no issues and, amazingly - No leaks from my hair escaping its ties. I've actually found it to have the best seal I've personally ever experienced with any type of mask.

 

I *don't* think my early issues with the mask are necessarily normal, both of those trips were with my boyfriend, who is a strong swimmer but has far less snorkeling, and no diving experience, and he had absolutely no issues at all.

 

At the present time, I can only surface snorkel (I start feeling severe inner ear pressure that I can't alleviate by about 8-10" under the surface), so for me the mask works wonderfully. 

If you want to try one, I agree with everyone else, that you should go for a quality  mask rather than a cheaper one.

Even though OP had no issues with a helmet dive, I'd still suggest you try practicing with a new mask a bit before you find yourself in open water. As you (OP) already know, panic and water are a terrible combination.

 

as a nice bonus: They also make for nice underwater photos and selfies.

GOPR1066.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Judyrem said:

Deep Sea O2 works wonderfully.  I used to dive for many years but have stopped and have just snorkeled.

This mask is amazing, no CO2 build up does not leak and does not FOG.  I bought it on Amazon and is worth every penny.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DNN8LVX/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

I like the fact that you can equalize your ears and dive. Going to have to look into that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/12/2019 at 5:05 PM, cruising cockroach said:

 

FYI, you can save yourself a lot by buying from the manufacturer/marketer direct.  They're made for a French-based sports equipment retailer called Decathlon (Tribord is one of their brands).  You can mail order the stuff or buy from the sole store in the U.S. (outside San Francisco).  Price in the U.S. market is USD 28.90

 

https://www.decathlon.com/products/surface-snorkeling-mask-easybreath?adept-product=surface-snorkeling-mask-easybreath&adept_product_id=surface-snorkeling-mask-easybreath&source=search

 

Disclaimer: I have not even tried/trial fitted the above.

DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!! You saved me a bunch of money!  The exact one I was going to buy on Amazon was over $50 and on the link you sent, it was just about $30.  I can't thank you enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...