I prefer to carry my own snorkeling gear rather than rely on ratty rental stuff that someone else recently slobbered into for an hour or two. This Scubapro outfit is lock for tropical travels: The Flip Snorkel ($42) folds neatly in half for easy packing and quick-clips to the Fino Mask ($68), a low-profile mask whose twin lenses can accommodate a corrective prescription. Add the Twin Jet Full Foot fins ($159)the split-fin design works like a propeller for easy propulsion. Surf's up! Or is it? Where are those tide tables? Oh, yeah: on my wrist. The Rip Curl Aerial watch with Automatic Tide System ($220) has dials that graphically show the moon phase, tide height, and tide range for any area, on an elegant analog face (dig the metallic red) that's waterproof to a deeper-than-you'll-ever-go 1,000 feet. Record your undersea excursions at less body-crushing depths like 33 feet with the Minolta Vectis Weathermatic ($473), an Advanced Photo System (APS) camera with a sure grip, built-in flash, and short zoom. I've dumb-lucked my way to Norbert Wu-quality shots. Well, almost.
Whatever needs to stay dry stays dry in the Ortlieb Big Zip ($150), which combines the absolute waterproofness of a drybag with the convenience of an 8,500-cubic-inch duffel by way of a waterproof zipper. For a hands-free goat-path commute down to and back from your secret snorkeling venue, secure your stuff in Patagonia's flipper-size Wet/Dry Divider ($58). Wet stuff stays in the outer mesh pouch, your change of clothes in a waterproof slot, and your precious items in two smaller pouches. Stash your most precious possession (cell phone, of course) in a Voyageur Waterproof Phone/GPS Case ($22), a mini drybag for electronics, with a clear vinyl face. As for your second-most precious possession, toilet paper, the new Ortlieb T-Pack ($40) keeps a roll of TP just the way you like it: bone dry. Paper included.