Is it the ultimate expression of commitment?

Not the Snorkel Paired With Fins and Goggles

4WD Snorkels: evocative of Camel trophies, epic river crossings and desert convoys. You’ve probably seen one – that giant black proboscis protruding above the roofline of a lifted 4Runner, Jeep, or Land Rover. It speaks of adventure – the road less travelled.

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”

Snorkels are good for water crossings. | img: Phil Hansford

Those who install them are the type of folks who also carry fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and tire plug kits. Just in case. They don’t go out looking to cross the Ganges, but if an emergency happens, their vehicle’s fresh air source is one thing they won’t have to worry about.

A snorkel’s main benefit, for those in the know, is not in the wet, but in the dry: Dust. It gets everywhere, and on a dusty track, mid-pack, it can quickly overwhelm your air filter, since most intakes are just above tire level, in the fender or behind the headlight. A snorkel moves this intake a few feet skyward, up where the air is clean. In severe conditions, you can even turn the head around, to face rearward.

Just thinking about the benefits almost makes you want to run out and get one, right?

Right up until the point when…

You have to cut a GIANT hole in your fender. Actually, you likely have to cut 4 or more others as well. Then there’s the A-pillar. Most kits come with pop rivets for that bracket, but I prefer nut-serts for this job. Either way. MORE HOLES.

That’s MR. Powerfist to you, pal. | img: AJ Vega

There’s no going back once you’ve spooled up the hole saw, so be sure you’re ready for a lifetime of adventure – just you and your snorkel.

Friends with Benefits?

Some say a snorkel increases the “ram effect” and therefore adds horsepower. The reality is that there is likely a zero sum gain. Often the new air path has you removing noise diffusers from your intake, so that’s a gain, but this new path is now longer in order to reach the airbox. You win some – you lose some. You may perceive a louder “whooshing” sound since your air intake is now closer to ear level, especially if the snorkel is on the driver’s side. So your power gains are akin to new decals, or a new intake. Seat of the pants power is important, if only to your ego.

If you like it then you shoulda put a ring SNORKEL on it…

Even conservative Toyota allows the new Tacoma TRD Pro to ship with optional factory snorkel, so there really are genuine gains to be had from a roofline air source. But make no mistake – If you didn’t actually stand there holding the spinning hole saw, with cold feet, contemplating your future and your shiny paint, wondering if you’re about to make a big mistake, then you may not be in it for the right reasons.

For Better or For Worse

The Prado is a long term commitment. | img: Phil Hansford

A snorkel is a lifetime commitment. If you’re lucky enough to find the right truck and are ready to put a snorkel on that fender, cast aside your doubts, and plunge in. (Your new snorkel will keep you safe!)

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