When choosing the perfect mask, the most important thing to look out for is fit and comfort over appearance. Since faces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, mask manufacturers have to account for these variations. So this is why you’ll never find a one-size-fits-all mask. This means that a mask that fits you well may not fit your buddy well. The best way to choose a mask is to try on as many as possible!
How to check for proper fitting?
Once you find a mask you fancy you need to ensure it fits properly. To do this, pull the mask strap over the front of the mask so you can put the mask on your face with no obstructions. Next you’ll want to bring the mask to your face and press it it to your face. Ensure that there is no hair trapped underneath the mask. Even a single strand could prevent a perfect seal.
You’ll then want to inhale through your nose and remove your hands from the mask. If the there is a good seal with your face, the mask should stay in place even if you wiggle your head about.
Now that you’ve checked the mask for a proper fit, lets move on to comfort:
Pull the mask strap over the back of your head and position it in the centre of your head ie. the crown. Tighten the straps a couple of notches until it feels too tight, then using the mask strap release mechanisms, release the tension of the mask. Where ever the mask straps relax to, this will be the proper tightness. Remember that once you hit the water, the surrounding water pressure will keep the mask pressed against your face.
At this point you’ll need to take notice of all the points the mask touches your face. Such as above your upper lip, the bridge of your nose, and right above your eyebrows. These will become pressure points once you start to experience pressurization. A mild annoyance now could mean a painful mistake later on.
There is one last thing you need to check… whether or you can comfortably pinch your
nose through the nose pocket. You’ll need to be able to do this to equalize as you descend in scuba diving.
That’s all you’ll need to know in order to check for proper fitting and comfort of a mask. Check in next week, when we’ll go over some of the more advanced features of a mask (: