If you’re onto a fishing kayak then you don’t need a helmet for that. But if you’re into whitewater kayaking, then a kayaking helmet should be your very first priority. Spending some bucks on a quality helmet can literally save your life. And nothing is more important than life, isn’t it?
There are many different types of helmets available, with features that guarantee safety for your head in all sorts of conditions. And that just makes the task a bit daunting. So, But how do you choose the best kayak helmet? We sorted out everything you need to know for buying the best kayak helmet and also tested and reviewed some of the best helmets in the market right now.
So without further introduction, let’s get started. Here are the best 6 helmets at a glance.
Best Pick: Best kayak helmet
Quick answer: best kayaking helmets?
- Predator Lee Kayak Helmet
- BERN – Watts Helmet
- Tontron Adult Whitewater helmet
- Sweet Protection Wanderer Paddle Helmet
- NRS WRSI Current Pro Helmet
- NRS Chaos Side-Cut Kayak Helmet
1. Predator Lee Kayak Helmet
Description: Though it looks similar to a baseball cap, predator lee is actually a robust helmet you can use for kayaking. For an activity like kayaking, Predator Lee offers 3 models and the predator lee is the basic model. It comes with different sizes like small/medium and large/ extra-large.
In a shiny place, predator lee works great. It has this extended beam which protects your eyes from sunlight. The color is also a reason why you wanna buy this. You might wonder how come color can be a strong issue but trust me, folks, it is! If you need help in any certain situation, a bright color can be visible from a long distance. Now that makes some sense, right?
For increase the stiffness of the helmet, the shell is made of high impact Ralvek thermoplastic which ensures better protection. It offers EVA foam which gives enough comfort. The helmet has no holes which might be a downside of this one. Other than that, it’s an excellent multipurpose helmet.
2. BERN – Watts Helmet
Description: One of my all-time favorite helmets is this Bern – Watts helmet. The best fact of this helmet is it can be used for multi-purpose that can be used in a range of conditions, and sports including the snow. But it’s so lightweight and breathable enough that it can be used in hot summer or warm weather paddling.
It’s basically a half-cut helmet but also there are full-cut options available. Sure provides much comfort in winter sports. Also, you will find a wide range of colors available, we recommend to pick the red one for better visibility from far away.
Now let’s come to the most important topic, how strong the helmet it! Well, It’s constructed with a Thin shell ABS outer shell and an EPS foam lining to provide durability, impact distribution and shock absorption.
3. Tontron Adult Whitewater
Description: The Tontron Comfy Practical is a fairly standard ABS helmet with a comfortable and secure EVA lining. Closure and adjustment are achieved through a dial system on the back of the helmet. This system allows the paddler to adjust the fit of their helmet with one hand, meaning they don’t have to stow their paddle away to do it. The Comfy Practical’s most remarkable feature is the 11 vents that cover its shell, allowing for both ventilation and the shedding of excess water.
This large number of vents makes the Comfy Practical an ideal choice for kayaks, or any paddlesports enthusiasts, who are expecting to kick up a lot of sprays, such as playboaters.
4. Sweet Protection Wanderer Paddle Helmet
Description: Sweet protection is so far the best brand of making helmets for paddlers. Their quality is truly unbeatable and over the years they proved themselves as a reliable brand.
It’s the Sweet Protection Wanderer we are talking about, a true gem in a mid-end budget. Weighing only 1.21 lbs. Sweet protection wanderer feels so light. With the combined touch of ABS thermoplastic and rigid carbon fiber, the Sweet Protection Wanderer is a classic full-cut design for everyday using.
No chance of heating issue with this one cause there are four vents which help passing air inside the wear keeping it cool. It offers molded Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) liner which is so durable and has high ability to absorb shock.
There’s another model almost similar to this called Sweet Protection Rocker that has the same retention system like this one, fitted with the Occigrip retention system which provides a firm and comfortable fit. Doesn’t feels shaky at all if you pick the right size.
5. NRS WRSI Current Pro Helmet
Description:If you want all the Brightside of a premium helmet in a much affordable price tag, NRS WRSI Current Pro is the helmet you’re looking for. Typically the kayak helmets are 3 types; the full-face, half- cut and full-cut. But with this one, you’ll get the taste of two. It does this by using removable earpieces and a shatterproof brim. Using a snap-lock system, the earpieces and visor can be easily added or removed on the fly.
The NRS WRSI is constructed with durable and lightweight ABS plastic with an EVA foam liner and a polyurethane sub-shell which increases the effectiveness of dissipating impacts. The interconnected retention system works with adjustable O-brace harness to cover your head comfortably and actively react to hydraulic forces to keep the helmet secure.
6. NRS Chaos Side-Cut Kayak Helmet
Description: If you want a robust, comfortable and stylish helmet in a much affordable price, there won’t be a better option than the NRS Chaos Side-cut Kayak helmet. This helmet might look similar to it’s another model called NRS Havoc which is a great universal fit helmet. You definitely can try that too.
Wanna know what makes this helmet stand out? The thicker EVA foam for improved safety made this much reliable. Also, the eight ventilation holes certainly made this a unique one, you can kayak as long as you want. Another facility you will get from this low-end helmet is, it Drains water fast.
Folks I’m not a big fan of cheap. But in this price range, this will be the best. Give it a try!
Kayak Helmet Buying Guide
Breaking some related terms: Whether you call it jargon busters or terms, it often creates confusion when we decide to buy a new product. Avoiding that, let’s know about all the terms or jargon busters related with a kayak helmet.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): You will find this several times when while looking for a kayak helmet. This is one of the most popular materials for making a kayak helmet. ABS is basically a thermoplastic, which means, at high temperatures, it liquifies rather than igniting and burning. This ABS can be injection molded and makes a kayaking helmet both flexible and durable.
Expanded Polypropylene (EPP): You’ll often hear that the liner of the helmet is EPP means Expanded Polypropylene. This is nothing but foam which is given inside of a helmet for protecting your head and provide comfort.
EPP has a low density and it has a high elasticity; it has low compressibility and a high deformation recovery rate. Why they are used in helmets? Cause they provide outstanding energy absorption, multiple impact resistance, thermal insulation, buoyancy, chemical resistance, and can be recycled with very high efficiency with minimal performance degradation.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS): Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough closed-cell foam. Another word you will find while buying a helmet. It’s also used as a liner of a helmet.
Ethylene-vinyl Acetate (EVA): Another type of foaming you will find inside a kayak helmet. These EVA foams are used in a fishing rod handle to ensure comfort. The waterproof property of this EVA made this a perfect material for water sports.
Ethylene-vinyl acetate is an elasticized closed-cell foam with rubber-like softness and flexibility. They have a glossy appearance but most importantly the resistant to UV radiation and cracking made them a good choice for a helmet liner. It’s also well-known for its shock-absorbing qualities and buoyancy.
Types of Kayak Helmet
Knowing the types is very crucial to determine which one you need for a certain situation. Each type serves a purpose and to find the best kayak helmet for you, let’s know the types.
Half-Cut Helmets: These helmets cover our ears and sit above the ears to protect our skulls from any blow. Half-cut helmets are mostly used in kayak touring, sea kayaking, and light whitewater kayaking. If you need to hear the sounds of your surroundings or communicate with your buddies while kayaking, this is the helmet you are looking for.
Full-Cut Helmets: Since the full-cut helmets cover the ears along with the head, it provides better protection than the half-cut helmet. Some helmet gives you both facility by simply unmount the ear protection part and turning it into a half-cut helmet.
The full-cut helmet comes real handy in freezing cold weather. We always recommend a full-cut helmet if it’s not too warm.
Full-Face Helmets: These are more like motorcycle helmets covering the entire head and lower jaw, a full-face helmet provides the best possible protection a kayak helmet could give. A full-face helmet is a must where there is a high possibility of an impact on the head.
Whitewater kayak is counted as an extreme sport and a full-face helmet is a must. Cause you only got one skull and one life!
Things to consider before buying a kayak helmet
Does it fit your head? : When you are going to buy a helmet, the fitting should be your very first consideration. The main purpose of a helmet is to provide you comfort and protect your head. If it’s poorly fitted, then it won’t give you the protection you want from it. Here’s a little checklist to do-
- The helmet should cover your whole head right down to the base of your skull
- The helmet should extend out over the ears and the brim or peak should ideally extend beyond the nose to protect your eyes from sunlight
- The helmet should fit comfortably, not too tight
- The lining should have proper contact with the head
What’s the material of the helmet? : A material determines how reliable a helmet can be. Don’t forget to check the material of the helmet when you’re owning a helmet. Kayaks are normally made of either composite materials such as kevlar, or injection-molded thermoplastics. Composite materials are much stiffer and lighter and they can even stop a bullet. These materials are used in high-end helmets.
In the mid to low-end budget, you’ll get a helmet made of injection-molded thermoplastics. They provide pretty much the same level of protection but they are heavier and much flexible. It’s okay if you use an ABS helmet, it will do the job done.
Retention system: When it comes to kayak, one of the most important things to consider is the retention system it offers. It needs to be both comfortable and attached perfectly. When buying a helmet, make sure the strap has enough padding so it will be comfortable during your paddling.
Must Look for retention systems that have four or more points of contact, webbing supports, and two or more adjusters to make sure the fit is as close as possible.
Check the Safety certificate
Price: The price kind of dictates the quality of the helmet. An expensive helmet will always outperform an inexpensive one. And it’s always a wise decision to spend a little bit more money on the helmet. Cause while you’re into whitewater kayaking, a little blow in your head can end your life.
- Sweet protection
- GATH GEDI
Ans: helmet needs to be cleaned at least once in a month. The cleaning of a helmet is super easy. Just use clean water and mild detergent to clean it and then keep it in the sun. some model offers a removable liner which is super convenient to use. Just remove the liner and wash it properly and dry naturally. That will kill all the bacteria, fungicide and completely remove odor.
Ans: as we said earlier, fitting is so important in terms of kayak helmet. The best way to measure the size of your head is by using a measuring tape. You need to record the circumference of your head at forehead level. Then choose the helmet accordingly. The head circumference for standard sizes is as follows – 55-57cm is small, 57-59cm is considered as medium and 59-61cm is large. You’ll find extra-small and extra-large models available too.
Ans. obviously, the full-face helmets ensure the best protection from any kind of rough blow. But a full-face helmet is not always required, it can be used only in an extreme environment. In hot weather, a half-cut helmet is the best option if the whitewater is not speedy. In cold weather, the full-cut helmet provides extra comfort and protection.
Ans. kayak helmets are typically made of composite material such as carbon fibers and other premium materials and make a hybrid called kevlar. These are the high-end helmets which provide better stiffness in a lightweight package.
Another type is the injection-molded thermoplastic called ABS which provides almost the same amount of rigidity in a heavy and flexible package. These helmets are many wallets friendly and anyone can afford.