What is the quality of the snorkeling equipment rented out by tour/excursion groups? I wonder if it would be worth buying my own equipment if it is comparable...perhaps something that sells at Wal-mart for $15-20... Any suggestions?
Most of the excursions include the equipment in the price if is a snorkel specific tour. Some tours offer with/without snorkel. And some places do rent it out.
The quality is pretty good for the snorkel tours. And is better than Wal*Mart. I do bring my own when not included in my tour, and when included I still bring my own mask and snorkel. I don't trust their sanitization..no germ jokes please from the peanut gallery
U.S. Divers is the minumum brand to get in my opinion. I did get a better quality mask, and I bought a vest last year. If you are going to cruise at least once a year I would say get your own.
IslandCruz is right, if you're going to snorkel more than once (which I'll bet you will), it's worth the money. Not only do you want decent equipment, you want equipment that is fit to you. You don't want a tube that is too wide or uncomfortable, you don't want a mask that leaks because it doesn't fit correctly. Check with your local dive shop, they do run specials all the time. Best wishes!
snorkel gear is based on the quality of the silicone rubber used in the mask...the higher quality masks will have a surgical grade silicone that is noticable more pliable, comfortable, and a must if you want it to last a long time without cracking, the type and fit of masks is a primary consideration...also look for a "dry snorkel" it has a valve that wont allow water in when you submerge or get hit by a stray wave, they usually have a better grade silicone mouthpiece too. If you wear glasses like me, a dive shop can get you a mask with optical lenses so you can see the bottom clearly. all our gear, except for my mask, is usdivers...they sell split fins which i think are better than standard fins and sets with bag, mask, split fins, and dry snorkel for reasonable prices at wal-mart, sporting goods stores, or bass pro shops. they use surgical grade silicone in most of thier sets.