The GoPro’s unique size has led to a seemingly endless number of variations in which to mount and use a GoPro. If you are just starting out with a GoPro and rummaging through all the different mounts the camera comes without the box, or searching for aftermarket mounting options, it can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. To make things a bit easier for you, here are three of the most useful mounting options for your GoPro cameras.

This has become one of the most widely used mounting options for the GoPro. The basic idea is that by putting the camera at the end of a telescoping stick, the user can then get the camera closer to their intended subject without physically getting closer. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite mounting option, as having the GoPro at the end of a four-foot pole doesn’t allow the user to access the camera’s buttons easily. Along with that, with the camera at the end of a stick, it doesn’t offer much in the way of stability or composition. Most people come back with very wobbly shots with the subject passing in and out of the camera’s field of view. However, if you are unable to duck dive down a few feet but still want to get close-up shots of the fish and reef that aren’t from six-feet away, then this method of mounting a GoPro would be a good option for you.

Floating Single Hand Grip
This is very similar to the GoPole style, however, as the significantly shorter grip allows the user to easily reach the different buttons on the camera, while also offering much more in the way of camera stability and more accurate composition. Another benefit a lot of these aftermarket grips offer is that they float, even with the camera attached. If you accidentally drop the camera there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find it floating on the surface. This is a good option for those who are able to duck-dive down to the reef.

Dual Handled Tray

This is by far my most preferred mount for GoPro cameras as the dual handles allow for maximum camera stability while also being able to easily reach the buttons. This is the way professional camera operators mount their cameras, and it’s a great option for those that want to really get into underwater film and photography. Another benefit of the dual handled tray is that most brands will include the ball mounts at the end of the handles where you can attach video lights.

If you haven’t been snorkel shopping in a while you’ll probably notice a bunch of different options for snorkels you never knew existed! The classic snorkels you are probably most familiar with can now roll up into a little ball while others have purge valves and chambers at the base to collect excess water. Some have silicon accordion-like sections while others boast of their splash-proof or even dry tops! Then there’s the day-glow Darth Vader looking full face mask with a built-in snorkel protruding from the top of it! With all these vastly different options that all essentially serve the same purpose—a tube to breathe through as your face is planted in the water—you may be wondering which one is best for me? Here’s a quick and simple breakdown of the different styles and the intended purposes of each snorkel.

Classic Snorkel

In function, the classic snorkel or J-snorkel as they are often referred to hasn’t really changed much. What’s changed though in a lot of new classic “j” snorkels is the materials used to manufacture them. Many are now made from various polymers which allow for some short-term flexibility in the snorkels. Some can even be folded or rolled up completely for easier packing. These snorkels are not recommended for those who are new to snorkeling as they require a bit more effort to clear the water from. If you are an experienced and confident snorkel who likes to dive down and comfortable clearing the water upon surfacing then these are great snorkels.


  • Simple design
  • Easy to pack
  • Nearly indestructible
  • Low profile/hydrodynamic
  • Most affordable


  • Water needs to be cleared with a big exhale
  • Splashing water enters from the top more easily
  • The rigidity can be uncomfortable for some

Flexible Snorkels with Purge Valves

Snorkels with the flexible rubber or silicon section and accompanying purge valve at the base are some of the most popular among snorkelers now. The flexibility with these types of snorkels can make it a lot more comfortable to hold the snorkel in your mouth as well as providing two points of rotation for you to adjust the snorkel to fit around your head better. The purge valve below the mouthpiece—which is just a little silicon flap that opens one way—helps make clearing the snorkel a lot easier as the water will clear from the top and bottom. You can also lift your head out of the water and any water in the snorkel will just drain out through the bottom. These are great snorkels for people who are just beginning to snorkel and confident in the water to those who are seasoned snorkelers. Freediving or duck diving is not an issue at all with these snorkels and the added purge valve requires less force to fully clear the snorkel upon surfacing.


  • Easy to clear water
  • Flexibility allows for greater comfort
  • Mouthpiece drops away from the face when not in use
  • Affordable


  • The purge can fail if sand gets in it causing it to leak
  • Splashing water can enter through the top easier
  • The flexibility can cause the snorkel to flap around more when swimming fast
  • Extra drag can cause mouth fatigue

Semi-Dry Snorkel

Semi-dry snorkels will often look very similar to the flexible snorkel as they will typically have the flexible rubber section as well as a purge valve, but they will also have an added splash guard on top. Splash guards will come in different various designs, and some will even have moving parts, but the basic idea behind the splash guard is to help prevent any splashing water from entering through the top. The ergonomics and overall fit will be similar or the same as the previously mentioned type of snorkel, but with the added benefit of less water entering through the top of the snorkel when on the surface. These types of snorkels will let water in when fully submerged and may require a bit more force to fully clear the snorkel as the splash guard does add a bit of resistance. For those with larger lung capacities, this is also something to think about as the more obstacles a splash guard has to keep water out it may restrict the airflow a bit. A splash-guard with a larger diameter will allow more airflow and may be better for someone with larger lungs.


  • Flexibility allows for greater comfort
  • Mouthpiece drops away from face when not in use
  • Helps keep splashing water out
  • Can be fully submerged and cleared quite easily
  • Extra drag can cause mouth fatigue


  • Does not keep 100% of the water out
  • Splash guard can add a bit of resistance for breathing and clearing
  • Can be fully submerged and cleared quite easily
  • Extra drag can cause mouth fatigue

Dry Snorkelers

Dry snorkels are some of the most recent types of snorkels on the market and are slightly more complex than any of the other types of snorkels we’ve mentioned, but still very easy to use. These snorkels will typically feature the flexible tube as well as a purge valve at the bottom, but also be fitted with a valve at the top which blocks out all water—even when completely submerged. These snorkels are great for those that want absolutely no water in their snorkel at any time. While these snorkels can be submerged, it’s good to keep in mind that if you do like to dive down deeper than eight to ten feet the tube will collapse with the added pressure and can even suck your tongue into the mouthpiece which is quite uncomfortable. Something else to keep in mind is that many brands or models of dry snorkels have been known to get stuck in the closed position for no reason at all. In the closed position no airflow is possible and can be a bit disconcerting if it happens regularly while snorkeling. Also, because of all the moving parts now involved in the dry valve they are prone to get stuck in either the open or closed position if sand or dried salt builds up between the mechanisms. Before purchasing a dry snorkel it’s a good idea to read the different reviews, even the more expensive brands and models can have issues with the dry valves. 


  • Keeps all water out
  • Flexibility allows for greater comfort
  • Mouthpiece drops away from face when not in use
  • Purge valve allows water to exit through the bottom easily


  • The dry valve can get stuck in the open or closed position
  • Snorkels with smaller dry valves can be more restrictive for breathing
  • More expensive than other types of snorkels.

Full Face Mask

The full face masks are the most complex as they combine both the mask and snorkel in one design that fully covers the face. Prior to purchasing one of these though you need to be made aware that not all brands and models are safe. In the past, there have been a number of deaths linked to these types of masks as a result of drowning and also co2 poisoning. Buying cheap off-brand versions are not recommended and not allowed on our snorkel safaris. With that in mind, if you get one of the approved models and it fits properly they can be great as you just breathe as you would on land with a much larger field of view. The snorkels protruding from the top are dry snorkels so no water is allowed in. Full face masks are great for those that are nervous bout snorkeling and really not comfortable with the traditional mask as snorkel set up. Full face masks are not recommended for those that like to dive down. Also, really make sure that prior to buying a full face mask you try it on to make sure it fits your face perfectly, any leaks can flood the entire mask which is less than ideal. 

Internationally Approved Models 

SEAC: SEAC offers a number of models of full face masks, all of which are safe and approved for snorkeling.

Head/Ocean Reef: Similar to SEAC these brands are also tested and approved for snorkeling.


  • Large field of view
  • Breathing is more natural without a snorkel in the mouth
  • Can be a more comfortable fit
  • Snorkel keeps all water out


  • Large and not ideal to pack
  • Leaks can be very disruptive and potentially dangerous
  • Not ideal for duck diving
  • Dry valve can get stuck in the open or closed position with a build-up of sand and salt
  • Most expensive type of snorkel/mask

If you’ve never been on a snorkel safari before, let alone the country the safari will be in, you may be wondering what to pack! While we offer safaris to a variety of locations all around the world, the vast majority of them will require a very similar packing list as most of them take place in resorts of a similar caliber and tropical climates.


While we are staying at some of the nicest resorts in the area, these tours are very casual with t-shirt and shorts being the general ensemble for most guests. For all of our tropical snorkel safaris the weather will most certainly be warm, but in some places rain is possible so it’s always a good idea to bring a sweater or rain jacket just in case. Also, there may be some internal flights or taxi’s where the AC is quite cold and a jumper will again come in very handy. Also, keep in mind most of the resorts will have a laundry service so no need to pack two weeks worth of clothes. No need to pack beach towels or anything like that, the resorts will provide all of that.

snorkeling gear being packed with cat in the bag


For about 90% of the trip you’ll be comfortable in sandals or even barefoot. However, for those transit days and land tours it’s best to have a pair or trainers.

Underwater Gear

While just about all the resorts will have all the necessary snorkel gear to rent or borrow, we always suggest bringing your own so you will be consistently comfortable in the water, since rental gear may not always fit you the way your own personal gear would. Not to state the obvious but your own mask and snorkel would be a great thing to pack, as well as fins. For most of our locations full foot fins are just fine, but there are a few locations like the Philippines where we strongly suggest bringing the open heel type of fin so you can wear booties since a lot of the water entries and exits are over smooth stone with the possibility of sea urchins. Also, since we are doing a lot of snorkeling it’s not a bad idea to bring your own wetsuit or thermals to wear in the water. We’ve found that those guests who are usually comfortable snorkeling in just a t-shirt or rash guard are often getting a bit cold in the water after five days or so and will end up needing to rent a wetsuit to stay warm.

snorkeler putting on fourth element thermal at sunset

Underwater Accessories

There are some fantastic underwater cameras on the market now that are not only affordable but also take outstanding photos with the different underwater modes now included in the camera settings. Something else we suggest bringing, especially if you want to do some night or sunset snorkels, is your own underwater torch or flashlight with rechargeable batteries.

Sun Protection

Thought there is always plenty of shade at the resorts and on the boats most of our tours are right around the equator where the sun is very intense so it’s a great idea to bring plenty of sun protection. One garment that has become increasingly popular as it’s a very versatile piece of clothing both in and out of the water is the Buff. This simple bit of cloth can be worn around the neck, over the lower half of the face like a bandit, like a bandanna, or just over the top of your head to keep your scalp from burning during the snorkel sessions. Outside of the Buff we strongly urge you to bring reef safe sun cream as well.

man wearing sun protective clothing

This video explains everything you need to know about all the different options of what to wear during one of our snorkeling safaris.

In my experience as a snorkel guide for Snorkel Venture, I’ve found that a lot of guests turn up on tours thinking that they will be comfortable snorkeling in their swimming suit and a lycra rash guard because the tropical water is warm. While this may be true for certain individuals who are immune to being cold, the vast majority of guests who didn’t bring an insulated exposure suit like a wetsuit, do start to get cold several days into our snorkeling expeditions. No matter how warm the water, after three to four snorkels every day for a few days in a row, most will find that they are getting cold soon into the snorkeling session and eventually end up renting or borrowing an exposure suite from the resort. To avoid this, I always suggest to guests that they bring their own. Then of course there is the question and debate about which kind of exposure suit is best for your. To make things quick and simple, here’s a little break down of the pros and cons of the two most popular types of exposure suits, the more traditional neoprene wetsuit, or the newer and very popular thermal suits, both of which now have an eco friendly option from one of the industries most trusted brands.

Neoprene Wetsuits

Neoprene wetsuits have been around for ages now and have become the most common type of exposure suit. There are a variety of styles from full suits, shorties, ones with hoods, front zips, back zips, and ones with cup holders. Just kidding about the cup holders.  These are not the only options either, each of these different style will be offered in a variety of thicknesses to suit each persons susceptibility to getting cold and water temperatures. Wetsuits are a great option as an exposure suit as they are quite durable so long as you take care of them and they instantly make you look like a super hero. However, there are a few downsides to them with the most common complaint being their difficulty to put on one. They are very tight, particularly the first few times you wear them, and it does take some time to get one on and take it off again, which a lot of people find very annoying. So annoying in fact that I’ve known people who would rather be cold then put on a wetsuit. However, once you move beyond that ‘getting to know each other phase’ a wetsuit can be very comfortable and offer a significant amount of warmth. In regards to traveling, they are quite heavy and a rather large item to pack into your suitcase, particularly the thicker ones.

Thermal Suits

fourth element thermal suits

Thermal suits have becoming increasingly popular since the were released in the last decade or so, particularly for those who are tired or cumbersome neoprene and also for those with an allergy to the material. These thermal suits may look, feel, and fit more like a pair of trendy pajamas than an underwater exposure suit, but don’t be fooled because these will keep you a very comfortable temperature for the duration of your snorkels. In terms of how they fit and feel thermal suits are very different than wetsuits.  Instead of being made from neoprene, they have a soft fleece lining and a durable nylon exterior. The function in the water is nearly the same as a wetsuit though, as the fleece traps a thin layer of water which your body heats up and in turn keeps you warm. However, out of the water they fleece wicks the water from you skin which again helps keep you comfortable during windy surface intervals, unlike neoprene. The designs are as varied as the wetsuit designs, with full suit options, top and bottom sets, shorts, bikinis, vests, hoods, and anything else you could imagine. The top and bottom set fit just like a fleece sweater set would and are very easy to put on as they have front and back zip options. Another point in the ‘Bonus’ column, particularly for those that like to duck dive, is that thermal suits are neutrally buoyant which means you don’t need to wear weights to counteract the buoyancy of neoprene. The thermals are also very light weight, dry very quickly, which relieves a lot of the stress of packing.

An Eco Twist

Whether you are preferential to the old school neoprene wetsuits like I am, or prefer the more sophisticated thermals, there is an awesome and highly durable eco friendly option to each type of exposure suit thanks to Fourth Element, a company who’s products have been on the cutting edge for years already. Their sleek thermal option is all fabricated from recycled ghost nets, which are responsible for unimaginable destruction on reefs and marine creatures alike, and transforming them into a thread which their thermals and an assortment of other products are then made from. For their wetsuits, since they are made largely of rubber based, they are using post consumer scrap tires along with a host of other post consumer materials to formulate the neoprene. Regardless of your choice, you can snorkel easy knowing that not only they you will be warm throughout the trip, but also that your new suit is not contributing to the production of excess materials with a significant reduction in energy consumption during the manufacturing process.