If you’re looking for the best freediving gear to take on your adventures, here’s a complete round up of everything you’ll need, plus specific product recommendations to help build out your freediving equipment arsenal.
As a beginner freediver, it can be overwhelming to make sure you have everything you need. Even advanced divers need to occasionally update their freediving gear to ensure it’s of the highest quality and will keep them safe underwater.
So no matter what experience level you are, or if you’re simply looking for inspiration, here’s everything you need to know about freediving gear from the mask right down to a wetsuit.
- 1 What is Freediving?
- 2 Freediving Gear: Everything You’ll Need
- 2.1 Freediving Mask
- 2.2 Freediving Snorkel
- 2.3 Freediving Fins
- 2.4 Freediving Wetsuit
- 2.5 Freediving Weight System
- 2.6 Freediving Computer
- 3 How to Learn Freediving
- 4 Tips for Freediving
What is Freediving?
Freediving is one of the best ways to experience underwater natural wonders. Rather than hooking up to an oxygen tank, freediving is the action of diving while holding your breath. You won’t have an external air supply or the weight that comes with it, giving you an immense feeling of freedom.
Freediving has lots of perks over scuba diving, as you’ll be able to explore underwater ecosystems with far less noise and without the hassle of tons of gear, which will save you pennies and pounds. With freediving, you’ll be able to enjoy the underwater world the same way as sea creatures do, without scaring away marine life as you approach.
In short, freediving is the most simple and natural way to explore the depths beneath the surface.
Freediving Gear: Everything You’ll Need
So you want to embark on a freediving journey… Though you won’t need as much equipment as you will for scuba diving, there are still some essentials that you must have before diving under the surface.
Here’s a complete round up of all the freediving gear you’ll need to ensure you’re safe and comfortable underwater.
While you’ll be able to use a scuba or snorkel mask for freediving, you may want to invest in one specifically designed for the sport.
What sets freediving masks apart is that they’re low profile or low volume. Most scuba masks sit relatively close to your face, but this is an extra important quality in a freediving mask.
With a low internal volume, there’s significantly less air inside your mask, so when it comes time to equalize, it takes much less breath than it does with a full size mask. Rather than wasting precious oxygen clearing tons of air, freediving masks have much less room, thus making it easier to reduce mask squeeze when the time comes.
Low volume masks are typically 100ml or less and can sometimes be called “micro masks” due to their size.
You’ll also want to ensure that your mask is comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time. Typically, silicon is a safe bet as the material will sit softly on your face while creating a watertight seal.
It’s also best to invest in a mask with tempered glass that won’t shatter with intense pressure or impact. This is essential to protect yourself while freediving!
Here a table comparing some top options, with more information about each mask below:
|AquaLung MicroMask||Double lenses, Cardanic Joint Buckles, high-grade silicon||$$$|
|Mares Star LiquidSkin||Double lenses, liquid skin technology w/ 2 kinds of silicon||$$|
|Cressi Nano||Dual Frame Technology, tear-drop lenses, anchored buckles||$$|
For an all-rounder best freediving mask that you can use for many years to come, check out the AquaLung MicroMask. This ultra low volume mask is nearly effortless to clear and has an extremely wide range of view to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.
It’s crafted from high grade silicon for a comfortable fit, and is suitable for beginners and advanced freedivers alike.
This mask is called LiquidSkin for a reason! It’s incredibly soft thanks to two kinds of silicon and won’t put immense pressure on your face like some other masks, making it a great option if comfort is at the top of your priorities. It also has a unique buckle system to get the perfect fit every time.
You can use this mask for scuba diving as well, but it does sport an extremely low volume design so you should have no problems equalising or seeing out of the large lenses.
Perhaps the best freediving mask for beginners, the Cressi Nano is a fool proof option. Not only does Cressi have plenty of brand recognition in the world of scuba and snorkeling, but they put out high quality products.
Like all good freediving masks, this pick has an extremely low internal volume and is super flexible thanks to the buckle system. With teardrop lenses, you’ll even be able to see what’s floating below you without moving your head too much.
Along with a mask, you’ll also need a freediving snorkel, mostly to improve your pre-diving experience.
Most freedivers will spend some time on the surface before taking the plunge to identify the exact spot they want to explore. When you have a snorkel, you’re able to keep your face in the water as you float around, and won’t miss any of the action the way you would if you needed to come up for air every few seconds (or minutes).
Freediving snorkels are slightly special pieces of gear as they’re much more flexible than traditional, rigid snorkels. They also have a smaller mouthpiece for more comfort and an open top, as purge valves or dry tops will add drag in the water (the last thing a freediver wants).
Check out these snorkels if you’re building up your freediving gear:
|Cressi Corsica||Large diameter snorkel tube, soft & bendable, hypoallergenic silicon||$|
|Mares Pure Instinct Dual||Designed for prolonged use, "D" shaped barrel, designed for stealth||$$|
|Aqua Lung Impulse||Upper valve & pure valve, little drag, Comfo-bite mouthpiece||$$$|
One of the best freediving snorkels out there has to be the Cressi Corsica, with an ultra large tube for easy breathing, and a flexible, lightweight design for stress-free transport. It comes in a variety of colors to help camouflage you to your surroundings and the silicon mouthpiece ensures you’ll be comfortable for a long period of time.
This snorkel was actually designed for prolonged use, so it makes for a top option in the world of freediving. It’s actually made of two different materials which allows you to be even more stealthy in the water, and even decreases vibrations from movement. The “D” shaped barrel allows for easy breathing and also for easy clearing, should you get water in the tube.
Most freedivers will forgo snorkels with valves, but if you’d like a mechanism to help keep your airway clear, the Aqua Lung Impulse should do the trick. It has a one way valve to direct water away from the bore and if anything does seep in, you’ll be able to drain it with the lower purge valve. It was also designed to reduce drag in the water and the mouthpiece is made especially for mitigating jaw fatigue.
Freedivers will certainly want a trusty pair of fins in their arsenal of gear when it comes time to hit the water.
What sets freediving fins apart from traditional snorkel or dive fins is that they tend to be much longer and paddle shaped to allow you to glide through the water with ultimate ease. Though they may take some getting used to, freediving fins are a must-have as they’ll propel you through the water at a fast pace towards your target without wasting air or energy.
Many freediving fins even have interchangeable blades to allow you to swap out materials and styles to suit your activity best. You may find that carbon fiber blades work best for covering long distances and conserving energy, while fiberglass or polymer will suit you better in rocky terrain.
After gaining some experience with freediving, you’ll easily be able to see why it’s such a huge perk to be able to change out your fin blades.
However, as a beginner, you should be fine with a pair of long, sturdy, plastic fins before shelling out tons of cash for a high quality pair. Since these types of fins are less rigid, they’ll be easier to get a feel for and probably be more comfortable in the water as a novice freediver.
Here are some options for the best freediving fins to show you what we’re working with:
|Rob Allen Scorpia||Polymer blades, side rails, foot pocket prevents over flexing||$$|
|Mares Razor Pro||Interchangeable technopolymer blades, extremely lightweight, side ribs||$$$|
|Leaderfins Carbon Fiber||Epoxy resin, carbon fiber & fiberglass blades, multiple stiffnesses||$$$$|
When you’re first starting out, there’s really no need to shell out a huge chunk of change for a pair of freediving fins. So if you’re a beginner looking for something to get you in the water, these polymer fins should do the trick.
They’re made for powerful kicks since the moulded foot pocket is designed to keep you from over flexing, while still being plenty resistant should you graze anything. Though the blades aren’t interchangeable, these really are a top pick for freediving fins for beginners thanks to their durability and ease of use.
These long blade fins are a premium choice for intermediate divers looking for something more versatile to wear in the water. Crafted from technopolymer, they’re a step up from your average plastic fins but still a pretty decent price, especially as they feature interchangeable blades.
You should have no problem putting power behind your kick as the blade channels and side rives are designed to increase thrust without consuming too much energy. That being said, they’re meant to be worn with a neoprene sock, so be sure to add that to your cart as well!
If you’re a more advanced freediver after a pair of carbon fiber fins, this paid from Laderfins should do the trick. With fins made from a mix of epoxy resin, carbon fiber and fiberglass, you’ll have all the best when it comes to maneuverability, power, and comfort.
You’ll be able to choose from different blade stiffnesses and they come in a variety of sizes, making this one of the most versatile choices on the market.
It’s pretty easy to overlook a wetsuit, especially if you’re used to swimming in the ocean, but when it comes to freediving, this is one piece of gear you don’t want to skimp on.
Wetsuits certainly don’t come cheap, but the best ones will be worth every penny. Not only do they keep you warm and comfortable in the water, but they also protect you from harmful elements you may run into, whether it’s a jagged rock, stinging sea creature, or simply the sun’s strong rays.
However, when it comes to freediving, you’ll have to keep in mind that since wetsuits provide buoyancy, you’ll have to counteract this with weights. The thicker the wetsuit, the more buoyant you can expect to be.
You’ll find freediving wetsuits in a huge range of thicknesses, from .5mm to 5/3mm, which is pretty standard for mild conditions.
Check out these options if you’re on the hunt for the best freediving wetsuit:
|SEAC Body-Fit||1.5mm, pre-angled arms & legs, smooth skin wrists & ankle seals, knee protection||$$|
|Cressi Morea||3mm, anatomically designed, rubberized chest||$$|
|Scubapro Everflex||5/4mm, multi-thickness panels, less seams, high quality reinforcements||$$$$|
This 1.5mm neoprene wetsuit is everything you need when it comes to freediving. Since it’s a bit thinner, it’s best for warm or variable waters, and the one piece construction ensures that you’ll be comfortable for the duration of your day on the water.
The arms and legs are pre-angled, so this wetsuit is practically broken in by the time you receive it. It also comes with smooth skin wrist and ankle seals to keep water out and body heat in.
For a suit that can handle a variety of conditions, this 3mm number from Cressi will serve you perfectly. It’s best in warmer conditions, but should you hit a cold pocket or the weather changes, you’ll still be alright for a little while.
This innovative design features knee and shin pads to reduce wear and tear in high impact areas, and even a pull tab to get the full back zip up with ease. The seams are reinforced not once, but twice, to make sure that you won’t have any ripping or tearing while wearing it, and the competitive price point makes it accessible, even if you’re on a budget.
A choice wetsuit for colder conditions, this Scubapro freediving suit is one of the best on the market. It’s made from durable neoprene with multi-thickness panels to combine comfort and movement in the most practical way. And since it’s 5/4mm, you’ll have optimal warmth on your chest while your arms have their full range of motion.
This wetsuit is certainly built to last thanks to the diagonal zipper up the back to prevent wear and tear, and due to its high quality construction. You’ll be treated to finished cuffs on the wrists and ankles, along with super stretch material to get into it with ease.
Freediving Weight System
A weight system is a freediver’s best friend. It’s typically made up of a weight belt and weights which are used in conjunction with one another to make your dive below the surface easier.
While freediving weights won’t completely sink you, they’ll make it easier to counteract natural buoyancy and help you get to your desired depth with less effort.
That being said, weights are a tricky game as you have to find the right balance. You want something heavy enough to assist with your descent, but light enough so that you don’t have to struggle to resurface or float pre-dive.
A good rule of thumb is to use less weights than you think you need and continue to add more as required until you reach the optimal balance.
Freediving weight belts are made of a variety of materials, but it’s best to purchase one made of flexible rubber (rather than cheap nylon) that will stretch and compress the same way your wetsuit will.
And if you’re feeling nervous about being weighed down, rest assured that all weight belts should have a system that allows you to drop them quickly in case of emergency.
Here are some weight belts that make for the best freediving companions:
|Riffe Rubber Weight Belt with Buckle||20 lbs weight capacity, Cam-lock buckle, adjustable||$|
|Cressi Quick-Release Elastic Belt||High stretch rubber, quick-release stainless steel buckle||$|
|XS Scuba Eight Pocket Weight Belt||4, 6, or 8 weight pockets, each pocket holds 5 lbs, Velcro closure||$$|
This simple but sleek weight belt has a capacity of 20 pounds and is made from high quality rubber that can be cut to size and then adjusted with the buckle.
A stretchy choice made from rubber and elastic, this Cressi weight belt for freediving is a high quality choice thanks to the quick-release stainless steel buckle. If you’re just beginning to use weights while freediving, this belt will give you some peace of mind as it’s extremely easy to take off in case of emergency.
If you’re looking for a weight belt that is fully adjustable and fits a huge range of sizes, this one from XS Scuba is among your best bets. It can fit anyone from someone tiny to XL, and will be just as comfortable. You can choose how many pockets you want (4, 6 or 8) and each pocket can hold up to 5 pounds. While the pockets don’t have zippers, they close with Velcro, which will do in a pinch.
More advanced freedivers will benefit greatly from a freediving computer or gauge, which tracks different elements and makes the experience that much better (and safer).
A freediving computer should be able to tell you your max depth, along with a whole range of metrics like how long you’ve been in the water and when you’ll need to resurface. It can also prevent Shallow Water Blackouts by monitoring your surface intervals and tracking your diving buddy’s metrics as well.
Dive computers have more functionality like depth alarms, water temperatures, stop watches, dive counters, and even the time so that you’re able to keep track of your day. They’re certainly a piece of freediving gear that’s worth investing in if you’re experienced in the sport or hope to take your dives to the next level.
When it comes to picking out the perfect freediving computer, you’ll want to choose one that’s easy to read and that you won’t have to fiddle around with. A backlight is also highly recommended so you can read it no matter the conditions.
If you’re interested in purchasing a dive computer, or just want to see what they can do, here are our top 3 options:
|Garmin Descent MK1||Extremely advanced & high-tech, multisport features, wrist-based heart rate, dive planner||$$$$|
|Oceanic F-10 V3||Very basic interface, Freedive Mode, extra durable||$|
|Suunto D5 Wrist Dive Computer||Interchangeable straps, app to convert to Smart Watch, vibration alarms||$$$|
For a sleek, watch style freedive computer, this Garmin model is top of the line. It has multiple built-in sensors to gather data and supports a wide range of dives, which you can plan and track directly on the computer.
It’s automatically activated when you jump in the water and will show you metrics like: current depth, water temperature, dive time, ascent/descent rate, and more. It also has navigation sensors and a compass feature, along with a wrist-based heart rate tracker. Finally, connect it to your smartphone and it will have all of the functionality of a smart watch.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a full fledged dive computer (beginners, I’m looking at you!), you may benefit from this ultra durable watch with useful metrics and a simple design.
It takes a little tinkering with to figure out, but the Oceanic F-10 has a designated Freedive Mode which displays your depth and elapsed dive time, along with a plethora of timers and alarms for surface recovery, depth intervals, and maximum depth.
Another high end option that can double as an everyday watch is this dive computer from Suunto. It’s quite intuitive to use with different menus to navigate, and has everything you need to stay safe underwater like tracking dive time, surface time, different stops and even your ascent time. If you’re ascending too fast, the computer will vibrate as an alert… How handy is that?
You can sync up this dive computer to a designated app to relive your freediving adventures and the strap is interchangeable so you can customize it to your individual style.
How to Learn Freediving
Freediving is certainly a whole lot of fun but can come with serious hazards if you don’t know what you’re doing.
That’s why it’s super important to not only learn the basics of freediving but to take a course and get certified. By completing a certification, you’ll not only have the skills needed for freediving, but the confidence to go at it and the training in case of emergency.
You can find freediving courses all over the world… Here are just a couple destinations to get the gears turning:
Freediving is more than just taking a deep breath and tucking under the surface. There are specific techniques that will result in a safe dive and a more enjoyable experience overall, which is why it’s absolutely recommended to take a course or get certified.
Once you learn these techniques, you can practice by diving as deep as possible or holding your breath for as long as you can. However, remember, freediving isn’t a race or competition, but simply a new way to explore the underwater realm.
Tips for Freediving
To get you started, here are some tips for freediving:
- Always take a buddy: This is a must, regardless of skill level. Never attempt to freedive alone and always let people know your plans before hitting the water.
- Make a dive plan: Even if you’re diving with a buddy, it’s best to make a solid plan and stick to it.
- Check conditions prior to diving: Conditions can change at a split second so it’s of the utmost importance that you check them before heading out onto the water. Besides the weather, you’ll want to double check the water conditions as well, including waves, currents, and visibility.
- Be mindful of where you breathe: Never exhale completely under water, as this will result in losing your buoyancy and makes it much harder to resurface. You should also be sure to practice recovery breathing when you hit the surface to prevent trauma to the lungs or blackouts.
- Maintain your surface rest interval: While you may be eager to hop right back in the water after a dive, it’s super important to ensure that you take the proper rest time so your body can recover. By respecting your surface rest interval, you’re giving your body the chance to rebalance the gases inside after being under for so long. The deeper the dive, the longer your surface rest interval should be.
- Never force it: Freediving takes a lot of coordination and control of your body and lungs. While it may be tempting to push your limits, never force it when it comes to freediving. This applies to reaching new depths or holding your breath. Do what you’re comfortable with and expand from there. Practice truly makes perfect!
As you can see, freediving gear is quite similar to scuba diving, but has a few key differences to keep you safe without an oxygen tank or other bulky scuba gear. So long as you practice plenty and stick with a buddy, you’ll be able to put this gear to good use in no time!
Looking for more diving content? Check out these articles:
- Liveaboard Diving: The Ultimate Guide on Planning a Diving Holiday
- Best Diving Destinations in the World
- Best Snorkeling Gear: Ultimate Comparison Guide