Fun in the ocean can complete a vacation. For some, the perfect holiday is a change of scenery, glorious food and weather, and zero responsibilities. For others, a perfect vacation involves activities you just can’t do back home.
Snorkeling is a popular choice for ocean-goers. It’s a huge mood booster. Gliding around beautiful reefs in calm water with a mermaid’s grace and speed is an idyllic way to de-stress and exhilarate yourself all at the same time.
However, snorkeling is not a minimalist activity. You need to carry a lot of stuff around to get the best out of your time in the water. The last thing you want, when you’ve emerged from the warm, underwater nirvana, is to dissolve that great big rush of serotonin by having a fight to the death with your own kit bag.
Unless your personal items are well organised, it’s far too easy for them to get bashed around or even flung into the sand by accident while you’re reaching for your changing gear.
The good news is that there is a lot of choice in the market provided by a huge number of reputable brands. We’ve looked into the most popular options, the hidden gems, and trawled the review sections and snorkelers’ message boards to narrow down the best snorkel gear bags out there.
There is also a buyer’s guide to help you decide which bag of the selection is going to be the best option for your upcoming aquatic adventure.
Top 5 Best Snorkel Gear Bags
OUR TOP PICK
It’s not particularly surprising that a product from one of the world’s leading aquatics brands has made it into the list of top five snorkel gear bags, and this one is hugely popular. Part of that popularity is down to its very reasonable price, but also because of its durability and convenient alternative uses as a beach or laundry bag.
As mesh bags go, the design couldn’t be much simpler. It’s tall enough to take a medium size fin (up to 27 inches), made of 100% polyester both in the exterior mesh and lining, and the string straps have a one-foot shoulder drop.
The exterior pocket is just large enough for the more compact essentials such as pair of glasses, smartphone and keys. Some reviewers have managed to fit goggles in there.
Previous purchasers have been stunned by how much gear this simple bag can fit. Probably four basketballs, some reckon, while others use a slightly more helpful visual guide of two sets of snorkeling gear, reef shoes, towels, and cases for the masks.
The shoulder strings’ limited drop depth ensure that the bag does not continually pummel the backs of your thighs as you walk, which will be a relief to anyone who has to trek up to a mile from the vacation residence to the beach every day.
While you walk home, the ventilation will start to dry your kit out, and a decent amount of the sand or grit will be gently rubbed away from the outside surfaces by the texture of the mesh.
This is one of the more basic bags for snorkel gear, but its low impact on the wallet make it a great choice for someone who is renting kit by the day or week rather than investing in a longer-term hobby.
- Exceptionally lightweight
- Inexpensive and multipurpose
- Five bright colors (other than black) make it stand out
- The bag’s drawstring of all eternity has been uniformly described as unnecessarily long
- There is no interior dry bag section to protect clothes from getting soggy or gritty
- You won’t be able to close the drawstring completely around the tops of the tallest (30”) fins
The Mares Cruise Elite was designed specifically with snorkelers in mind. This bag is the most expensive of the five options, but it features several functions beyond that provided by the Speedo.
For example, the interior dry bag will protect your clothing change and other vital goods from sogginess while leaving plenty of room in the mesh for your snorkeling gear and perhaps your partner’s, too. It’s tall enough to take the largest 30” flippers. It also features excellent ventilation both throughout the height of the bag and beneath it, too.
The two adjustable shoulder straps make it a comfortable backpack, which is just as well because the interior is incredibly spacious. Reviewers have gleefully reported being able to fit in towels, clothes, a 7mm wetsuit, booties, and two sets of snorkeling kits.
When empty, the entire bag can be washed out, dried quickly, and folded inside its own external pocket. The pocket itself is generous enough in size to take a dual or single lens mask in its protective case, which is ideal if you’ve invested in a polarized coating or prescription lenses.
- It’s roomy enough for two sets of kit
- The mesh is tough and durable
- There is generous space for dry and electronic items
- It can take tall fins
- It weighs almost nothing when empty and packs away neatly
- The price reflects an investment for serious hobby snorkelers
- Because the internal capacity is so generous, there is a danger that it is easily overloaded
Skog Å Kust claim to place top priority on customer service. If their polite, enthusiastic participation in the question and answer section is anything to go by, they definitely walk the talk.
This 2-in-1 cinch bag is unique because the waterproof inner dry section, made of 70-denier nylon and featuring welded seams, almost fills the mesh. Cleaning it is no hassle at all—it can be machine washed on the gentlest cycle. The super-bright colours and reflective logo and trim make this bag stand out against the almost default black of many competitors’ designs.
The reinforced drawstring top of the mesh bag will tug neatly around the tops of the largest fins and will take two sets along with twin snorkels and masks in protective cases, even when the internal dry bag has been filled.
Skog Å Kust recommend filling the internal dry bag first (clothes and soft items at the bottom) and then loading up the mesh. As a bonus feature, because the two bags separate entirely, you can share carrying kit-carrying duty with a friend or partner.
- Strong and durable
- Very lightweight—ten ounces (for both bags together) when empty
- Folds down neatly
- Made of vegan-friendly material
- Ideal for clothing comfort and post-snorkel convenience
- The strap is rather narrow given the weight that this bag is designed to take
The Promate bag is a compact and tidy solution to transporting your snorkeling gear from A to B, and could double up neatly as carry-on luggage for a flight. Designed to be worn as a backpack, the adjustable shoulders are padded, making it one of the more comfortable designs to wear.
The bag is made from 600-denier nylon/PVC and reviewers confirm that it can take a lot of punishment. The external, separate compartments include a water bottle pouch, two side pockets, and a lower front padded pocket for masks. Unlike the other bags on offer in this article, Promate’s design features mesh panels rather than a mesh exterior construction.
This makes the storage of your precious items more discreet, which is half the battle of protecting yourself from the threat of opportunistic theft. The bag is rated well for ventilation, despite the lesser prevalence of mesh in the overall design, and there is a drain hole at the base of the main compartment to aid drying.
It is not one of the larger bags. It’s slender even at the widest point and takes a maximum fin length of 27”. However, it does have quite Tardis-like qualities on the inside and the inclusion of an external elastic cradle for towels saves more room still.
- There is structural separation for wet and dry items
- The padded shoulder straps make it a strong traveling or trekking choice
- The several compartments make organization of personal effects easier for couples or families
- Great as a travel bag as well as a means of carrying your snorkeling gear
- The pocket intended for masks is not robust enough to protect the lens without the mask’s protective case, and yet too small to accommodate many case designs
- While there is separation of wet and dry items internally, the compartment fabric isn’t actually waterproof.
As bags go, the Kraken is a beast, just like its namesake. The mesh cylinder bag can take up to 35lb of snorkeling luggage. Those of you who don’t relish the prospect of handles digging everlasting grooves into your fingers will be pleased to hear that it also comes with a shoulder strap.
Though huge, it’s incredibly lightweight and folds down to the size of a giant frisbee. It comes in two sizes. The mere ‘large’ Kraken is 30” long and 13” wide in diameter.
The XL version adds another half foot to the length and 3” to the width. The capacity inside the large mesh bag can accommodate three people’s kit, mask cases included.
There is a robust external side pocket and a discreet internal pocket for your personal items. Having put all your precious items to one side for absolute safety, you can rinse your snorkeling kit while it’s zipped up inside the bag, and allow it to dry on the way back to your car, coach or apartment.
A word of caution: thanks to the very cool branding and the outstanding carrying capacity of either Kraken model, you might find yourself volunteered to be the group pack horse.
- The mesh is exceptionally durable and tear-resistant
- It becomes compact while folded into itself
- It’s an inexpensive option for the carrying capacity
- Excellent ventilation across the entire surface area of the bag
- Comfortably takes even the largest fins with ease
- Adjustable shoulder strap
- The shoulder strap hook is not said to be as robust as it should be for the weight it can carry
- No inbuilt dry bag
Best Snorkel Gear Bags Buying Guide
Before you splash any cash, there are a few things to think about. The following questions are pretty broad, but they might jog your memory about your upcoming plans before your finger heads for the buy button.
What else are you going to be doing?
Fair enough, not many people write up their itinerary weeks ahead, but it’s worth thinking about the double-up opportunities for your chosen bag. The Promate bag, for example, is great for hiking. Not many backpacks are tall enough to accommodate a folded walking stick.
Will you be mostly shopping or lying on the beach, or beside the pool? If snorkeling is only going to play a small part in your vacation, then the simpler, spacious mesh designs might be the best choice. Snorkeling veterans suggest lining the more transparent bags with no inner dry sack with a t-shirt so that your shopping purchases aren’t clear for all to see.
Are you traveling with kids?
If it’s a beach family holiday with little kids, your focus might be on carrying capacity more than ventilation or the need for separated dry/wet compartments. You’ll need numerous towels and probably a frisbee, bat-and-ball set, or beach ball. Perhaps they have a bucket and spade kit which would make an architect proud. You’ll also need space for what goes home with you.
Children under seven are stunningly diligent collectors and curators of random items. If you’re going home with fewer than ten pet rocks, then you’re doing well.
With a young family, you might want to look more closely at storage for personal items for each family member so you can lay your hands on things quickly and easily. Pockets and compartments are your friend.
Ventilation of wet gear is still important, sure, but you can put towels and extra sun-protection layers in a plastic bag within a wet compartment if necessary. Little ones are often happy to stay in their swim costumes from dawn till dusk on vacation, which may save you a little ‘dry’ space for all the equipment that you’ll have to haul around.
Will you be renting equipment, or taking your own?
If you’re hiring snorkeling gear and you won’t be traveling far with it each day, then you may want to look at the least expensive, least complicated gear bag options.
How will you know what kind of fin you’ll be using?
As a rule of thumb, snorkelers are advised to use long, flexible fins for smooth, slow propulsion close to the water’s surface. Allow for 25-30” fin length, partly dependent upon the size of your feet, and pay close attention to the product specifications for the dimensions of the bag.
What else will you need to take with you?
To help you to judge capacity, here’s some ideas of what else might be going into your bag other than your mask, your snorkel, and your fins:
- Booties or reef shoes
- A 2mm-5mm wetsuit or spring suit
- Rash guards
- Microfiber towel
- Small pot of balm or Vaseline (great for getting fins off and on, and also to rehydrate lips after prolonged exposure to salt water)
- Underwater camera
- Waterproof smartphone case
- Glasses, wallet, keys, etc.
- Bottle of water (it’s easy to forget how much you sweat when swimming)
- Lunch container