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Freediving 101: What Freediving Gear Do I Need?

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Congratulations on your decision to become a freediver! While you might be lucky enough to begin your freediving journey in tropical waters with excellent visibility, many freedivers I know are starting out with more challenging diving conditions. My goal is to help you be prepared so you can have a positive and comfortable experience in your first freediving course. Read on if you want to learn more about what to include in your freediving gear bag.

Income disclosure: The operation of this blog is reader supported. We earn affiliate commissions when you buy via links found here, but it it is only of gear that we actively see freedivers using. If you find something you like, you click to the retailer, you buy the product, we get a commission of the sale. This is how we pay ourselves. It does not make the product pricier for you.

Long Fins

Freediving fins are an essential piece of equipment that will allow you to conserve your oxygen and get to depth more efficiently. While there are a wide range of options for fin softness and material composition, it is important to get a fin that allows you efficient propulsion, yet is durable and resistant to nicks, dents, and other damage that you may inflict on them while you are learning how to freedive. Here are a few options for starter fins that won't break your budget. They all come in a variety of colors for those who want to color coordinate their freediving gear.

Consider ordering one size up if you are freediving in cold water (Temperatures ranging from 50 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit). You'll want to make sure that your fins will fit over 3 - 5 mm neoprene socks. Read on below for more info.

Low Volume Mask

While you will learn about the differences between low volume and high volume masks in a freediving course, some important attributes to consider are the flexibility of the skirt (can the material compress comfortably to your face the deeper you go), the material of the lens (plastic lenses are less likely to fog up but can scratch easily), and whether or not it fits to your face correctly. While I highly recommend you go to your local dive shop as they can help you choose a well-fitting mask (and supporting small businesses is awesome), here are a few masks that you can see if they have in stock or could order for you:

Soft Snorkel

A snorkel is an essential part of your gear when just starting out as it will allow you to perform a relaxed breathe up while your face is submerged in the water prior to a dive. Read on for a few examples:

Weight Belt and Weights

Weights are useful for helping you to counteract the buoyancy of your wetsuit at the beginning of your dive, and a flexible rubber weight belt worn correctly will ensure that you can take a full breath prior to your dive. Please note that diving overweighted is a HUGE safety issue. Make sure that you pay attention to this part of your freediving course. The knowledge could save your life.


Some of the main reasons I've seen beginning freedivers not pass their freediving course on the first try are 1) equalization issues and 2) getting cold and having to cut their training time short. (This is especially true in places with cold water diving). While this may be the most expensive purchase to round out your freediving gear bag, keep in mind that you will be in the water for several hours at a time during your first freediving course. A good wetsuit will allow you the flexibility to move during your dive while maintaining your warmth so you can stay relaxed and in the water for longer. Mako, Waihana, and Elios are a few brands that I recommend that are appropriate starter wetsuits for diving conditions in Las Vegas and Washington. Definitely talk to your instructor or other experienced freediver to determine the thickness of wetsuit appropriate for the diving conditions near you.

Neoprene Socks & Gloves

Neoprene socks and gloves are a must when diving in cold water as you lose a significant amount of heat through your hands and feet. When diving in Washington during the summer, I can get away with 3 mm socks and gloves, but I often use 5 mm socks and gloves in the winter. Two points to consider are 1) 5 mm gloves can reduce your dexterity, so you might prefer to purchase 3 mm gloves if you're not going to be in the water for more than an hour or two. 2) As mentioned above, if you are going to be freediving in any place that requires the use of neoprene socks, consider ordering one size up on the foot pocket of your freediving fins to ensure that they fit.

Dive Computer

While a dive computer is not essential for your first freediving course, some freedivers prefer to purchase this piece of equipment right away. Dive computers are useful for helping you track how long it takes you to dive to particular depths, are useful for gathering information about novel dive sites, and tracking the dive time of your buddy when you are safetying them. Definitely consider getting a dive computer as soon as it's practical for you.

Freediving Lanyard

A freediving lanyard is a useful piece of safety equipment when diving along a line and essential if you are training at deeper depths or in places with poor visibility. It allows you to remain attached to a dive line, and by holding onto the dive line, your safety will be able to gather useful information about where you are in your dive. A freediving lanyard is not an essential purchase for your first freediving course as your instructor will have one for you if needed. There are different types of freediving lanyards that are designed specifically for what type of freediving discipline you want to focus on. Consider purchasing this piece of equipment as soon as it's practical for you.

I hope you've found this information useful and informative. There are many types of freediving gear options and considerations, but my goal with this article was to give you a primer on gear to purchase for your first foray into freediving. If you are taking a course with me and have more specific questions about freediving gear, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

DISCLAIMER: For anyone who may have found this article through an online search, I HIGHLY recommend that you take a freediving course and get your Level 1 freediving certification rather than being a DIY freediver. This is not only because I'm an instructor, but this is to protect you as well. I cannot stress how quickly I've seen freedivers go from being perfectly fine to having a loss of motor control or shallow water blackout. Freediving is a very safe sport, but only if you know the risks and how to minimize them. Feel free to reach out, and I'd happily recommend an instructor near you. Happy diving, and I hope to see you in the water sometime!


Rachel Novak is a freediving instructor, an avid freediver, and underwater performance artist. She was a commentator at Vertical Blue 2021 and is the reigning Miss Mermaid Nevada. She runs a freediving and travel vlog called The Sailing Siren on YouTube. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, want to hire a professional mermaid for your next event, or want to schedule a freediving course.

Rachel Novak - freediving instructor, mermaid instructor, underwater mermaid, Miss Mermaid Nevada, stunt performer

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