Deciding to just rent snorkeling gear versus bringing your own gear on a snorkeling safari can have its benefits, such as keeping your luggage weight/cost down. However, it can also have its disadvantages as not all snorkel and dive centers will have the exact sizes you may need. Packing your own snorkeling gear can add to your overall luggage weight, but it can also make life easier and more comfortable when you arrive as you have the added assurance that every piece of equipment fits here. Here’s a little pros and cons list—as well as our opinion—for those of you having a difficult time deciding on whether you should pack your own snorkeling gear or rent.
Pro: Traveling light
Con: No guarantee the rental equipment will fit perfectly.
Pro: No need to wash or maintain equipment on tour.
Con: Rental equipment may be quite used and not in the best shape.
Pro: No need for pre-trip shopping.
Con: Who used this wetsuit last and why does it smell a bit funky?
Bringing Your Own Gear
Pro: No need to need to worry about trying on gear at each location.
Con: Your luggage might be a bit heavier or bulkier.
Pro: If you’ve spent time sizing your equipment correctly, you know it will fit.
Con: You’ll have to spend the time researching equipment and sizing it correctly.
Pro: You know who had that snorkel in their mouth last…you!
Con: You’ll have to pack and maintain/wash/dry your equipment at each location.
As you can see there are a lot of valid arguments to be made for each case, however, after years of running snorkeling safaris with guests both bringing their own gear and guests renting, we can honestly say that bringing your own is the preferred choice of our guests. Nearly all the guests who do rent usually end up saying at some point in the trip, “next time I’m bringing my own gear.” The big reason being, the rental gear just doesn’t fit the same as your own gear. For those worries about bulky luggage, a mask & snorkel, a pair of fins, and a wetsuit really don’t weigh that much and as long as you aren’t packing excessively you should always be within the luggage limits for most flights. I personally travel with a big pair of free-diving fins, a full 5.5mm wetsuit, clothing, and a ton of camera gear and I’ve never exceeded the 50lb limit for flights.