Freediving,  Gear Review

Decathlon’s 2020 Low Volume Freediving Mask: A Review

Decathlon Philippines recently released their new low volume freediving mask. See, I have been using Subea freediving gear for more than a year now. I’ve proven and tested how perfect their freediving mask was with me. So, when I heard that they got a new release, I went to the nearest store branch and got one for product testing. After using it in few dives, here’s my honest take on their new product.

The Newest Low Volume Freediving Mask

For mask reviews, I often consider the size, fit, style, color, lens and its field of view, ease of equalization, skirts, straps and its overall value for money.

To begin with, the mask does not come with a mask storage case unlike the previous ones. It is stored in a box made of recycled cardboard. Consequently, you have to buy a separate case for it for safekeeping.

Size, Style and Color

There is only one size available in all the Decathlon Philippines branches. I was hesitant to get one at first as I have a really small facial frame but I’m glad that it perfectly fits. It seems a little bigger and wider than the old low volume mask. However, there were no leaks nor it didn’t slipped off when I used it.

Decathlon's low volume freediving mask
Decathlon’s low volume freediving masks; (left) the newest release, (right) the old mask

The brand name is engraved into a small harder plastic material compared to the previous one that is just printed. The latter fades overtime. Also, the new design is pretty manly for me compared to the old one. As for the color, there is only one available in the market, the storm grey. However, it doesn’t appear to be plain as it has three shades of it that gave the lens an emphasis.

Ease of Equalization

Compared to the old one, the silicone of the new low volume freediving mask is softer and the bridge area is closer to the nose. Thus, it is easy to equalize through the valsalva technique. The old mask has dotted part on the sides of the nose area which perhaps helps the freediver in getting a good grip when pinching. The new one, apparently, doesn’t have any. It doesn’t need one anymore though as I could equalize well without it.

Decathlon's low volume masks side view
The sides compared

Lens and Field of View

The new mask has double lens that are made of scratch-resistant tempered glass. Hence, it’s safe to burn the film off the lens prior to its use especially for the first time. With a few drops of anti-fogging liquids, you can dive for hours without having any fogging issues. Subea made a good improvement on bettering its upward field of vision. This somehow prevents hyperextension of the neck during ascents. The new ergonomic design of the lens made it possible. The old freediving mask has a low flat curve frame above the lens while the new one has a partly upward curve and angle above the eyebrows. The silicone around the lens, however, poses a little problem on the lens’ efficiency.

Looking for a spot to dive and explore
Photo by Christian Cee of There Cee Goes

Skirts and Straps

The silicone around the lens of the new mask are somehow softer and even wider than the old one especially on the lower part of it. Hence, it fits the face comfortably. The soft, translucent silicone looks perfectly fine not until it is actually used in the waters. As abovementioned, this poses a problem with its lenses’ efficiency. Since it is translucent, the light would pass through it and would reflect to the lens. Thus, I could see a distracting reflection of the waters especially in the upper part of the lens (both sides). This happens when the source of light is coming from behind your head. Also, the sides are bright due to the light which is also a little distracting since I could see it when I move my eyes around.

Decathlon's low volume freediving mask

The straps are thicker than the old one but is surprisingly as soft as it is. It is also made of silicone and has micrometric buckles on each side that makes the adjustment easier and safe. These buckles also keep the straps from slipping and adjusting on its own.

The Freediving Mask’s Value for Money

For me, its value for money depends on how will the freediver use the mask. If you’ll use it for a recreational skin diving, it’s a 3.5 out of 5. On the other hand, if you’ll use it for depth trainings, it is a 4 out of 5. The improvements such as the reduced volume, easier equalization and the quality of the silicone are the take aways that make it good for trainings. The translucent silicone, however, causes distraction and may seem as an obstruction in some directions due to the light that it allows to enter.

The Newest Low Volume Freediving Mask, In a Nutshell

Fun diving with Decathlon’s newest low volume freediving mask
Photo by Christian Cee of There Cee Goes

Decathlon’s newest low volume freediving mask may be an improvement of the old one. However, there are still some areas that it may improve more on.

How about you? Have you tried their all new freediving mask? Tell us about it!

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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