Whether you are a snorkeler or diver, you are going to need a snorkel at some point. A snorkel is obviously an important piece of equipment for snorkeling. If you want more information about snorkels in general, you can read our article: How Does A Snorkel Work?
A dry snorkel is a type of snorkel that comes with a water-sensitive mechanism that prevents you from getting a mouthful of water while snorkeling. With less water getting into your snorkel, you’ll be able to swim for as long as you can endure it without having to surface.
I created this guide to help understand the various features of a dry snorkel and how to choose one that meets your needs. So here we go.
What Is a Dry Snorkel And How Does It Work?
Dry snorkels are a design of snorkels that has a cover (splash guard) and a valve mechanism at the top of the tube that keeps water entering the tube when you submerge or at the water surface. The main benefit of dry snorkels is that you’ll never have a tube full of water when diving or snorkeling, making your experience more enjoyable.
The valve mechanism activates the instant you submerge, whether accidentally or intentionally, and uses a float mechanism to seal the top of the tube to keep water out. Though some water will spill into the snorkel, it’ll be very minimal and can be easily cleared by blowing sharply into the snorkel.
There’s also a splashguard at the top that prevents surface water (splashes, waves) from entering the tube when you are not submerged.
Dry Snorkel vs. Semi-Dry Snorkel
Semi-dry snorkels are something of a hybrid between traditional snorkels and dry snorkels. Like dry snorkels, semi-dry snorkels will keep out surface water (splashes, waves) through several slits and angles that prevent water from entering the tube.
However, unlike dry snorkels, semi-dry snorkels don’t keep water out when submerged. Water will get into the tube of the snorkel and must be cleared regularly.
The benefits of semi-dry snorkels are their lightweight design (compared to dry snorkels) and the fact that they cause less drag than dry snorkels making them more suitable for freediving and scuba diving.
So, if you just want to snorkel and not dive, you should go for a dry snorkel while semi-dry snorkels are more suitable for diving.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Dry Snorkels
Minimal Water In The Tube
This is the main feature and benefit of dry snorkels as their design keeps water out of the snorkel tube and ensures you don’t end up with a mouthful of water. And this will improve your snorkeling/diving experience.
You can stay longer underwater when using a dry snorkel since you have to clear the snorkel less frequently thanks to the minimal water that enters the snorkel. You can also swim for longer without having to surface.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine with dry snorkels. The main disadvantage of dry snorkels is that the air in the top part of the snorkel can add buoyancy and cause drag making it more difficult to move underwater. This may be a problem when diving and makes dry snorkels more comfortable for snorkeling.
How To Choose Your Dry Snorkel?
Below are factors to consider when choosing a dry snorkel:
While dry snorkels are available in different sizes and shapes, the dimension you should be most concerned about is the inner diameter of the snorkel tube. It’s more difficult to work with smaller snorkels because the small tube diameter means there will be less air in the tube and this affects your ability to breathe underwater.
Larger snorkels, on the other hand, make breathing underwater easier as they have large tubes that let in more air. However, they are bulky. As a beginner, you should start out with snorkels with your large tubes and then work your way up to using snorkels with small tubes.
Mouthpiece – Comfortable And Removable
The mouthpiece of your snorkel can make or ruin your experience in the water. And this is why you should always go for snorkels with comfortable mouthpieces that stay comfortably in your mouth without having to bite them down.
It’s also beneficial if the mouthpiece is removable as you will be able to replace the mouthpiece when it wears out instead of replacing the entire snorkel.
Snorkels generally have attachment mechanisms that allow you to attach them to your diving or snorkeling masks. The attachment mechanism varies from brand to brand but it’s now common to see snorkels with clips to attach to masks.
Research about the clip to find out if it’s easy to attach to and remove from your mask. I considered this factor when compiling this list and only selected dry snorkels with easy-to-use attachment clips.
Your dry snorkel can’t completely keep water out of the tube as some water will still get in. However, this amount of water should be very minimal if the dry snorkel is of high quality.
Any water in the tube will collect at the purge valve near the mouthpiece of the snorkel and a little puff of air is all you need to expel the water.