A lot of people wonder what type of wetsuit they need for a snorkeling trip, if any at all. My recommendation would be yes, no matter where you go snorkeling and how warm the water, purely for protection from the sun. But that’s just me being hyper-aware of anything that involves being in the sun, as I happen to be ‘blessed’ with a skin type that turns a really awesome shade of reddish pink after several minute of sun, then right back to that shade of white that can only be described as pale after the peeling process is over. So yes, this blog is going to be all about what type of wetsuit you need for several different locations. 


Skin Suits and Rash Guard

snorkeler diving down to photograph coral reef

  • Best for warmer waters of if you just naturally run hot. 

These types of exposure suits are great for warmer waters as they really just protect you from the sun and the little stingers in the water, without letting you get too warm. The skin suits are great options as they are basically just a thin lycra material that will either be full body design or a long sleeve t-shirt you can wear with your swimming shorts. If you want to do a bit of freediving, this option is great as you won’t need to pack along any extra weights to help you dive down since the lycra suit is neutrally buoyant. 

1 mm Wetsuits

Snorkeler diving down to photograph marine life

  • Good for warmer waters or if you have a tenancy to get a bit chilly.

The 1mm option will give you a bit of added protection if you happen to get a bit cold even in warmer waters, or if you plan to do a long snorkel session. If you intend to do0 some freediving I would recommend taking a smaller weight with you as the added neoprene will keep you more buoyant. 

3-5mm Wetsuits

Happy couple snorkeling a reef in Komodo

  • Best for colder waters or for people that really get cold no matter how warm the water. 

A 3mm wetsuit is a great in-between option if you’re planning a trip to a place like Komodo or Alor where temperatures changes can be quite dramatic. Whereas the 5mm option will keep you warm—quite possibly too warm—depending on the water temperatures. If you’re planning to do a lot of snorkeling in cold water—say 18 degrees Celcius or 64 degrees Fahrenheit—this is not a bad choice. However, if you plan a bit of duck-diving or freedving you’ll need to pack along some extra lead as this amount of neoprene can be very buoyant. 

Just because you’re next snorkel trip is planned for the tropics doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be paddling about in bathwater. For example, in places like Komodo, Alor, Bali, and Tonga I know that you may do one dive in water that is eighty-two degrees Fahrenheit only to jump in on the next snorkel site to find that it’s sixty-four! So, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research before hand into what the water temperature is like in the area you’ll be snorkeling and then dress yourself accordingly. 

With so many many compact cameras on the market, all of which seem to do everything from 4K video to doing your laundry, it can be a daunting task in picking the right one for your upcoming snorkel trip. You can check any of the popular forums and websites that break down the different cameras, but all the reviews are based on how a camera operates on land, and what we need are the relevant details regarding how the cameras do underwater. So, in order to make things a little easier on you I’ve put together a little list of the best cameras that are ideal for this very purpose.  

The Olympus TG-5 is a real powerhouse of a camera, despite being able to fit in your pocket. After seeing it in action on multiple occasions, it’s not wonder it’s one of the top waterproof cameras of the year. That’s right, I said waterproof. You can literally take this camera out of the box and jump straight into the ocean with this bad-boy. If you were to purchase the housing Olympus makes for the camera, which will allow you to take it to forty-five meters should you decide to go for a dive—or you just happen to be an exceptional free-diver—you have the added assurance of knowing the housing will defiantly keep the water out. You would really have to try hard to flood this camera.

olympus tg5 on beach

Aside from being waterproof, the TG-5 also offers some really impressive functions that are extremely beneficial to  snorkelers. Arguably the most important when it comes to bringing out the natural colors of the reef, is that it has a built in underwater white balance mode, along with two additional custom white balance modes. Now, some of you may be wondering what this all means. As we all know, even in the shallow water we start to lose the natural colors of the reef, the first being the reds. So, to overcome this we need to adjust the white balance accordingly, the easiest way being to switch into underwater mode it comes with. This will basically create a digital red filter and will instantaneously bring the brilliant colors of the shallow reef out, no flash needed!

Manta ray belly
No White Balance
Manta Ray Belly
With White Balance

Some of the other benefits of the TG-5 include RAW photo capabilities so you can play around with your photos in your post-production software just like the pros. It also has a remarkable ability to shoot in low light with minimal loss in the overall quality of the image. Along with that it offers what seems like an infinite amount of aftermarket products like strobes, video light, and different wet-lenses so you wont’ need to upgrade cameras as your skills start to improve.