For people that love to snorkel, a snorkel vest is one of the essential equipment needed for snorkeling. They are a version of a life vest that is made for snorkeling. They are lightweight and can be deflated or inflated. Like a lot of personal flotation devices (PDF), a person will wear them on their chest area.
A snorkeling vest can be worn one of three ways: deflated, totally inflated, or semi-inflated. If it is worn at semi-inflated, a person will be able to float in the water better. While people are out enjoying the sun and snorkeling, a snorkel vest will help safeguard them from harm.
In this article, I am going to review ten snorkel vests to give you a taste of what is available for you to purchase on the market that I have personally tried out. Then I will write up a buying guide so you have the information that you need to know prior to you purchasing a snorkel vest.
QUICK ANSWER: Best Snorkel Vests
- Lesberg Inflatable Adult Snorkel Vest
- Rrtizan Adult Inflatable Snorkel Vest
- Phantom Aquatics Jacket Style Snorkel Vest
- Scuba Choice Purple Kids Snorkel Vest
- ScubaMax Adult Snorkel Vest
- Scubapro Cruiser Snorkel Vest
- Scubamax Adult Snorkeling Vest
- 101Snorkel Explorer Adult Snorkel Vest
- Scubamax Snorkeling Vest with mesh pockets
- 1101Snorkel Yellow/Blue Deluxe Adult Snorkeling Vest
Snorkeling Vest Reviews
The things that I love about it are:
- It is very buoyant.
- The neon colors make it very visible.
- It inflates and deflates fast.
- It is easy to take on and off.
- It is easy to store and it comes with a mesh bag.
The things that I did not like so much about this vest are:
- It has a distinct smell.
- The air valve has to be watched carefully to ensure that is not loose.
2. Rrtizan Adult Inflatable Snorkel Vest
This snorkel vest is called “the second generation of snorkel vest.” I can totally agree with this as it is more buoyant, comfortable, and has more adjustability than other snorkel vests that I have used.
Other great things that I found about this vest are:
- It is wear resistant.
- It is easy to carry and transport.
- It is not bulky like other vests.
- It helped me feel safe and secure in the water.
The bad things that I found about this vest are:
- It needs another strap to hold it in place.
- The strap that it needs makes it hard to swim.
This phenomenal Phantom vest made my snorkeling experience wonderful with the three reflective tape that makes it possible for me to be seen from far away. I also love that the pocket can be buckled shut and the vest itself has a zipper.
Additional great things about this vest include:
- The waist strap can be adjusted.
- The locking oral inflation valve is easy to reach.
- The neoprene back makes it more comfortable.
- It does not take up a lot of space.
- It helps keep people warm.
- It can be inflated to whatever level the user wants.
The problems I had with this vest are:
- It rode up around my neck.
- It is a bit bulky.
I got this vest for my child when we went snorkeling. One of the great things about it is that it fits children that weigh up to one-hundred pounds. It is also easy to inflate and deflate. The removable straps stop it from riding up when it is inflated.
My child and I also loved that:
- It kept them afloat and feeling safe.
- They do not leak.
- The vest stays in place.
The only bad thing about it is:
- Since it is made for children up to one-hundred pounds, it can be big on smaller children.
For those of us that love to spend hours in the water snorkeling, then this is the vest for us. What I loved, as I am sure you will, is that it is very buoyant, comfortable, and the full back safeguards us from the sun. I also love that the oral inflator makes it easy to inflate.
Other things that I loved about this vest are:
- The bright color made me very visible, which would have been essential in case of an emergency.
- When I folded it, it did not take up a lot of space. That is very important for us that take them on a trip because they will not take up a lot of room in a suitcase.
- It is a one-size-fits-all vest, so anyone can wear it.
The only issue I had with it is:
- It needs a strap to stop it from riding up.
While using this snorkel vest, I loved that I could have total control over the buoyancy.
I also loved that:
- The oral inflator and dump valve allowed for more flotation control.
- The pocket lets me store stuff that I needed to bring with me.
- The neoprene material provides comfort and warmth at the same time.
- It also protected my back from being burned by the sun.
The only issue you could have with this vest is:
- The size runs small, so it may not fit like an extra large vest.
I choose to take this snorkeling vest with me on vacation because it has a lot of lift weight and is very comfortable as well. I also love the locking oral inflation valve that is easy to reach and that the waist strap can be adjusted.
The other wonderful things about this vest are:
- It made me feel safe while I was in the water.
- It works well in deep water as well.
When you order this vest, you need to know:
- The sizes tend to run small.
- Some of them do not have a pocket.
The first thing that I loved about the 101snorkel is that it is made in America. I also love that it has a quality brass inflator.
What else I loved about this vest:
- It made me feel at ease in the ocean.
- It fits into a very small space.
What I did not like about this vest:
- It took a little while to figure out how to inflate it.
- It shifts a bit when I wearing it in the water.
This scubamax vest helps maximize the fun that people have while snorkeling. There is so much to love about this vest. I love that the mesh pocket holds what I need for my snorkeling trips.
Other great things about this vest are:
- The snorkel valve has a five-year warranty.
- It is made from bright yellow nylon to make it possible for people to be seen in the water.
- It does not take up a lot of space.
- It can be easily deflated and inflated.
The ways 101Snorkel can improve this vest are:
- The vest could stand to be a little longer in the front.
- The inflation vest is too close to the user’s face.
This blue and yellow design gives this vest its attractive look. It also has a brass internal valve that is very high in quality. It also has the much-needed crotch and waist straps with plastic d-rings that hold it in place. I also love that it is made in the United States.
Other super things about this snorkel vest are:
- It packs easily in a suitcase.
- It is very easy to use and it fits well.
- It is made very well.
The downfalls of this vest are:
- It does not hold air very well.
Snorkel Vest Buying Guide
The Types of Snorkel Vests
Basically, there are two kinds of snorkel vests. The first one and the one people like the most have a horse collar design. The wearer just slips it over their head and keeps it in place around their torso by using buckles or clips.
The other design is more new than the one with the horse collar design. It is more a jacket than a vest as it basically covers the back and front of the person that wears it. Some people think it is more comfortable because of the way it is designed.These vests do cost more due to the fact that they have neoprene in them to make them more comfortable.
These vests also come in different sizes. They accommodate different heights and weights of people. The sizes tend to differ a lot. The sizes that these come in are small, medium, large, and extra large.
Snorkel vests also have different types of features. The majority of them have straps that secure the vest to the people that are wearing them. Some of them use zippers to keep them secured instead. The straps on the vest have buckles and clips to ensure that they do not move.
The majority of these features are made out of plastic, but some of them are made out of metal. Plastic is often the best choice because they do not corrode or rust.
Snorkeling vests have inflator tubes. They are all orally inflated with an oral inflator tube. These tubes are typically a semi-rigid stem that comes out of the front of the vest and it has a locking ring on it.
There are two locking rings and the second one may be made out of metal or plastic. Metal is more durable though. The inflator mechanism is made out of brass in the more high-quality snorkel vests.
Convenience Options and Appearance
Many years ago, these were only available in one color and one style. With more and more people loving participating in the sport of snorkeling, snorkel vest makers have addressed things that people have been asking them to do for many years.
They now have a lot of convenient extras like pockets, extra d-rings, safety whistles, neoprene, and even more streamlined designs. They also come in more colors like pink, bright yellow, orange, etc. Fashionable printed designs are also available for the fashionista.
How to Select The Best Snorkel Vest
What most snorkelers look for in a snorkel vest is that it is able to help them stay afloat in water. No matter whether a person is a very good swimmer or a beginning swimmer, their snorkel vest needs to keep them afloat at all times.
For this reason, they need to be very well made. This will ensure that the much-needed air in it will never leak out. The better materials vests are made out of, the less likely that leakage will happen.
They are inflated by the oral inflator. Metal locking rings and brass inflator mechanisms are better options because they are of better quality and are more durable as well. It is also a good idea to get a snorkel vest that has crotch and waist straps to help the vest stay in place better.
How to Use a Snorkel Vest
It is essential for snorkelers to know how to use and wear a snorkel vest. It is important to know how to inflate a vest. The oral inflator is the part of the vest that inflates.it. The locking ring helps secure the vest in place.
To inflate the vest, the locking vest needs to be turned clockwise until it cannot be turned anymore. Then the user will put their mouth on the top part of the nipple. The next step is for them to use their teeth or fingers to push it down. Then they will blow in the tube to inflate the vest and put the nipple back to where it goes before they remove their mouth or fingers off of it.
Putting the nipple back into place will ensure that air will not come out of the vest. Turning the locking ring in an anticlockwise fashion will secure the inflator. To deflate the vest, the locking ring needs to be unlocked. Then the nipple needs to pressed down on. Squeezing the vest will make this process happen faster. For people that have not swum a lot, it is a good idea for them to deflate their vest while they are still in the water.
Who Should Use a Snorkel Vest?
People that cannot swim very well should definitely use snorkel vest. Even in a person will be in shallow water, the additional buoyancy will help them feel more secure about being in the water. Everyone from children to adults that go snorkeling needs to wear a snorkeling vest.
When to Use a Snorkeling Vest
Wearing snorkeling vests is a good idea for any snorkeler, especially if they are inexperienced snorkelers going into deep water. Using a snorkeling vest in shallow water will make the excursion more buoyant and less stressful. Snorkeling vests should also be worn for people that are snorkeling in large groups. They will help them find each other.
How Snorkel Vests Are Different From Life Vests
Some people wonder why they cannot use a life vest when they go snorkeling. First of all, their designs are very different. The functions are different as well. Life vests are made out of dense flotation foam and are designed to keep a person’s head above water.
For that reason, life vests have the majority of their foam on the front of the chest with a small foam strip to support the head. Life vests are designed to keep a person’s head out of the water while they are waiting to be rescued from a drowning situation.
When a person goes snorkeling, keeping their head out of the water is not the goal. Wearing a traditional life vest when snorkeling is very difficult. The majority of people will not be able to put their body in a prone position if they are wearing a life vest. That is good because the life vest is doing what it is supposed to do, but it is not helpful to people that are snorkeling.
It is also difficult to swim forward if a person is wearing a life vest. The large pieces of foam that are on a person’s chest will make them drag. The drag will make snorkeling a very tiring process. Dragging along the water also makes snorkeling very hard to enjoy.
When a person puts a snorkel vest on, they will notice the bib on their chest and the loop around their neck. A person can inflate the vest with as much as they need. Since it has air in it and not foam, the air moves around the vest easily which makes it easy for a person to get into a prone position. They also will not drag, because they can deflate the vest as needed.
Snorkel vests are one of the essential tools that are needed for snorkeling. Like I have found out, they keep you afloat and help make a snorkeling trip more enjoyable. While people are enjoying the sights in the water, they do not want to have to worry about their safety in the water. Snorkel vests provide security and take away that worry so people can enjoy all the wonders of the water.