You might think you don’t need a hood for a snorkeling safari as the tropical waters are similar in temperature to bathwater. However, we would argue that you really do need a hood, and more than that, one that fits snugly on your head. It doesn’t matter if you have a nest of thick locks, or sport the more hydrodynamic look that so many men do right around their retirement, the three to four hours we spend each day face down in the water for weeks at a time is far more than enough time to absolutely deep-fry your ears, neck, and that little swirling cowlick everyone has right in the back of their head.
Uncomfortable Hood & Cover-Up Options
Yes, you can cover your exposed areas with sunscreen, however, lathering up the back of your sweaty neck, around your ears, and on top of the head with a thick dollop of sunscreen is put it mildly, annoying. Also, it just doesn’t work that well. On top of that, even the most modest application of sun cream will very likely cause your mask to fog up routinely on your snorkeling sessions as the inside of the lens will soon have a thin layer of it after your sun-creamy hands and face make contact with it.
Buffs are also an option, we love them for on the boats and treks as they do cover the top of the head and ears, or the neck and ears, but not head, neck, and ears all at the same time, at least not conveniently. The issue with buffs is that when you put one on your head and then go to put your mask on, the buff will—nine times out of ten—slip back as the mask strap pulls it back, completely exposing the majority of your scalp.
Most Convenient Options
The most convenient options, in our experience, are any type of snug-fitting hood that does not only cover the top of your head and ears but also your neck. There are a number of great options, from hooded thermal vests from Fourth Element, neoprene wetsuits with hoods, and lycra rashguards with hoods.
The first two options are the best, as these types of materials are a little bit sturdier and won’t move around on your head when you need to put your mask on or do any mask adjustments while in the water. The lycra hoods tend to fit a lot more loosely and will have a tendency to slip around as you put your mask on or make any adjustments.