Kayaking in whitewater can be dangerous and fatal, and drowning is not the main issue. Although drowning can be one of the causes, there is another reason why many of the whitewater kayaking accidents lead to drowning and death. After all, kayakers must know how to swim before they engage themselves in this dangerous sport.
According to the University of Colorado, 87 percent of these injuries occurred while the kayakers are still aboard. One possible cause of these injuries is when kayakers bump their heads on rocks or any solid matter. Because they are in a rough-water condition, their control over their kayak is minimal.
If you want to engage in this sport, you need to own even just one of the best kayak helmets on the market. It is a small price to pay when your life is at stake.
Top 8 Best Kayak Helmets Reviewed
- Sweet Protection Rocker Full Face Paddle Helmet
- Sweet Protection Rocker Helmet
- NRS WRSI Current Pro Hemet
- NRS WRSI Current Helmet
- Pro-Tec Ace Water Helmet
- Vihir Adult Watersports Helmet
- Predator Shiznit Kayak Helmet
- NRS Havoc Livery Helmet
- Weight (pounds): 1.87
- Head circumference (inches): 20.85 to 24
- Construction material: ABS Thermoplastic
If you are willing to invest for a kayak helmet with almost perfect features, you should consider the Sweet Protection Rocker Full Face Paddle Helmet. This article considers this helmet almost perfect because of the coverage of protection and other extra features that the users can get. That is why even if this model is expensive, you can say that the price is reasonable enough for what it can give.
First, its shell has an ABS Thermoplastic construction. This material is resistant to impact because of the toughened rubber.
The helmet’s design provides the best performance to protect the kayakers’ head and provide comfort.
In addition to its construction material, it also has an ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) liner that serves as a shock absorber. This liner is rigid, providing the helmet its crack-resistant feature.
Second, it offers full-face coverage. It protects not only your skull but also your pretty face.
Third, it comes with an Occigrip Turn Dial. It allows you to adjust the helmet’s fitting to your head, so you do not have to worry about it rolling on different positions while your hands are busy paddling against the rough waves.
Fourth, it comes with a CoolMax Liner and fit pads. The CoolMax liner gets rid of the sweat that makes you feel uncomfortable, while fit pads ensure that your helmet provides the best fitting to you.
There is a lot more to say about this helmet, which only proves that its high price is worth its value.
|Makes the user feel fresh because of the Coolmax liner that also dries quickly||Expensive|
|The shell material is durable, strong, elastic, and rigid|
|Customizable fit because of the fit pads|
|Protects the overall parts of the head|
- Weight (pounds): 2.15
- Head circumference (inches): 20.85 to 24
- Construction material: Thermoplastic Laminated Carbon Fiber
If you do not like the full-head coverage of the Sweet Protection Rocker Full Face Paddle Helmet, you can go for its simpler version, the Sweet Protection Rocker Helmet. Like the other one, this model also allows you to ride the challenging rapids without worrying about getting a fatal injury when you bump your head to a rock.
This helmet also has a durable construction because of its Thermoplastic Laminated Carbon Fiber (TLC) structure, which combines both the elasticity and rigidity of thermoplastic and carbon fiber. Aside from this material, this Rocker Helmet also uses EPS liner and polycarbonate shells to lessen the bump impact and provide a lightweight feel.
Aside from its durability, this helmet also offers comfort. Like the full-face model, this helmet has an Occigrip feature that allows you to adjust your gear into a comfortable fitting. If you think that the Occigrip is not enough, this model comes with Comfort Pads for more fitting customization. Also, it comes with a helmet bag.
Although it is not as expensive as the full-face model, the Sweet Protection Rocker is still higher. However, considering the features and the coverage of protection it gives, it is worth it.
|Ensures excellent fit because of the Occigrip feature||Expensive|
|Made from durable high-end materials|
|Specifically made for paddlers|
|Removable ear protection|
- Weight (pounds): 1.75
- Head circumference (inches): 20.9 to 24.4
- Construction material: ABS plastic with polyurethane subshell
The WRSI means Whitewater Research and Safety Institute. This group was the proponent that looked to enhance whitewater safety.
For this reason, you can say that this helmet is reliable for protection.
The NRS WRSI Current Pro Helmet is a step upgrade to the Current Helmet model. That is why if you are a user of that version, you will love the pro model even more because of the added features and protection.
This model uses multi-layers of protection that eliminate the bump impact. It uses ABS plastic with a polyurethane subshell and an EVA liner for this feature.
If the Sweet Protection has the Occigrip feature for secure fitting, the NRS uses the O-Brace Harness that allows you to adjust your helmet snugly to your head. You also do not have to worry about it mispositioning while you are paddling through rapids. This model features the Interconnect Retention System that keeps your helmet secured under the challenging water condition to ensure that this helmet will not fall from your head.
Aside from these features, this model comes with removable earpads, which can provide you warmth during the cold weather.
It also has a visor that protects your eyes from the sun and rain.
|Comes with a visor that protects the eyes and face from the sun and rain||Visor can be distracting|
|WRSI Pinch Face Protection compatible|
|Multi-layers of impact shock absorbers|
|Comes with removable earpads|
- Weight (pounds): 1.45
- Head circumference (inches): 20.9 to 24.4
- Construction material: ABS plastic with polyurethane subshell
The NRS WRSI Current Helmet is your next option if you look for a downgrade and cheaper than the NRS WRSI Current Pro. The Current Helmet almost has the useful features of the Pro version.
Like the Pro, this model has multi-layers of protection that includes the ABS shell, polyurethane subshell, and the EVA liner. It also has an Interconnect Retention System that secures your helmet in place even when you are active.
It also has an O-Brace Harness that provides extra support to your head to keep it in place. It also has three drain holes.
What it does not have that the Pro version has are the visor and removable earpads.
|Multi-layers of impact protection||Does not have a visor and removable earpads|
- Weight (pounds): 1.1
- Head circumference (inches): 21.3 to 25.2
- Construction material: ABS Plastic
The Pro-Tec Ace Water Helmet is your best choice if you are into various water sport activities. You can use it when you are surfing, wakeboarding, kite surfing, and kayaking.
What makes Ace Water Helmet unique from most helmet models is its 15 holes that allow water drainage and ventilation, especially during the cold season.
Despite having many holes, the Ace Water Helmet is durable because of its ABS shell construction, and it comes with an EVA foam liner that softens the impact when your head bumps into rocks.
This model comes in different sizes and has webbed nylon straps to ensure the right fitting.
If you are looking for proof of security, this model has CE EN 1385 Water Sports Safety Standard Certification.
|Comes with an adjustable head dial||Some users complain about its fitting|
|Comes with ear protectors|
- Weight (pounds): 0.93
- Head circumference (inches): 19.69 to 24.8
- Construction material: ABS Shell
Vihir Adult Watersports Helmet is your next option if you are looking for a helmet to use for different water sport activities, even if you are a triathlete. This gear has a durable construction because of its ABS shell and EVA lining that makes bumping into solid matter less painful and dangerous.
It comes in different sizes that can accommodate adults with large head circumference or kids with a small one.
Compared to other models in this article, the Vihir Watersports helmet is lighter. That is why there will be no pressure on your neck, and you can maintain a proper posture.
Aside from these features, this helmet comes with 11 vents that provide an excellent drainage system and ventilation during hot weather.
If you still feel unconvinced about the safety that you can get from this helmet. You should know that it can show you a certification that proves that it passed the EN 1385 safety standards and CPSC test. The brand is confident in its product. That is why it also comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
|Comes with waterproof ear protections||Limited color selections|
|Comes with two-way adjustable straps|
- Weight (pounds): 1.1
- Head circumference (inches): 22 to 24
- Construction material: Ralvek Thermoplastic
If you are one of the kayakers who complain about the NRS Current Pro Helmet’s large visor but still want your helmet to have a medium-sized one, you can go for the Predator Shiznit model. It is what makes this model unique. Instead of having a large visor, it only has a medium-sized one that does not distract you from your paddling but can still protect your eyes and face from the sun.
Another feature that makes this helmet unique is its Ralvek Thermoplastic construction instead of ABS. According to Predator, it is a high-impact material that enhances protection and the gear’s stiffness. In addition to Ralvek, it also uses EVA liner to serve as the helmet’s shock absorber.
The Shiznit also features a Croc-Lok adjustor on the back, buckles, and webbing, to ensure head support and keep the helmet in place.
|Multi-layer of impact protection||A few kayakers complain that it tends to fly off when you ride the rough rapids|
|Comes with PD1 dial adjuster|
- Weight (pounds):
- Head circumference (inches): 10.86 to 24.4
- Construction material:
If you are looking for an affordable whitewater helmet that is good enough not to sacrifice your safety, you should consider the NRS Havoc Livery Helmet. It is unlike the other whitewater kayaking helmets that cost more than a hundred dollars. Most retailers sell this model for less than 50 USD.
This item comes in different bright, catchy colors that can be useful in dangerous situations.
It also has ABS plastic and EVA foam liner for construction and protection like the other helmets. It has CE EN 1385 certification to prove its safety.
This model is lightweight that does not feel painful to the head and shoulders and allows you to maintain your posture.
Despite its price, it does not lack when it comes to useful features. It has a DialFit dial and a chin strap that allow you to adjust your helmet’s fitting to keep it in its position. It also comes with fit pads for extra comfort and to ensure fitting.
|Complete with essential features||Lacks extra features, such as ear protection and visor|
|CE EN 1385 certified|
Our Favorite Kayak Helmets
Helmets help ensure that you can still go home and without any injuries from your whitewater exploration. It is one of the kayaking gear that is worth investing for unless you are suicidal.
This article has helped you narrow down the options to the bests on the market. These helmets are among the few that most kayakers love. What this article considers as the best is the Sweet Protection Rocker Full Face Paddle Helmet.
As mentioned, this helmet has an almost perfect feature except for its price that is worth it.
This helmet model has a full-head coverage that protects not only your skull but also your face. It has tons of features to make it rest comfortably on your head, without you needing to position it right from time to time. It also has a feature that gets rid of moisture, which is useful when you are sweating.
Its construction material is also durable. That is why it will not shatter when you bump into a rock or any solid matter. It also has a liner that serves as a shock absorber that eliminates more impact.
Even though it is an expensive model, it is worth it.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Kayak Helmet
Although all helmets have the same goal of offering head protection, it does not mean that you can just buy anything on the market. Your utmost priority is to avoid cheaply made helmets that will only crack along with your head when you bump into a rock. That is why, in this section, you will know the features to look for when buying a kayak helmet.
The price is always a consideration no matter what kind of product, unless you have the money to splurge, and overspending does not matter to you.
However, if you have a limited budget, your goal is to maximize the benefits that you can get from your helmet at a low price. The cliche that you should prioritize quality more than the cost of your helmet applies here.
You should not sacrifice the quality of the helmet or possibly your life for a cheaply-made helmet.
You can think of this gear as an investment because a high-quality helmet can last long term, and your life is priceless.
To cut the cost, you can know the different features you need for a helmet. Learn these features from the construction to the straps. From there, find the items that have these features and compare the prices and reviews.
Look for the certification that proves the safety of using it, such as WRIS certification. The helmet may also be functional even without it, but you will never know unless a certificate proves it.
Additionally, do not buy a helmet with the features you do not need if you do not want to overspend.
Although the helmet that you are eyeing for can be the best one in the universe, if it does not fit right on your head, you need to move on to search for another product. After all, the phrase that you do not want people to read on your epitaph is a mispositioned helmet as a cause of death.
Although it can be an exaggeration, it only means that the helmet’s right fitting can significantly affect your paddling performance and safety. You do not want to lose control over paddling to position your helmet right to your head. You also do not want to lose your vision to your path because your helmet turns sideways because of the bump impact.
To choose the helmet that fits well into your head, make sure to know the measurement of your head’s circumference. Manufacturers commonly have charts that you can refer to where you can select the helmet’s right fit based on your head’s size.
It is advisable to try it out by wearing it as you will wear your helmet when you go kayaking. After that, shake your head to see if it will go out of position.
It is advisable to choose a helmet that comes with an adjustable retention strap that allows you to adjust the helmet to the right position without touching the helmet itself. This strap should have anchor points to ensure that your helmet will stay in place, especially when you are active.
You might be wondering what the relationship of your paddling style with your helmet purchasing decision is. It is because some helmets do not have the features that are useful for specific paddling style.
For example, you need a helmet with draining holes if you are into performing tricks. You need an extra durable helmet if you are into paddling class IV whitewater.
As you can see, paddling style is a crucial consideration too.
Even though helmets seem to be all the same at first glance, they are different when it comes to features, durability, and types. It is helpful to know what kind of helmet will work the best with you based on your paddling style, water condition, and preference. Here are the different types that you might encounter when you shop.
Bowl is another term for this kind of helmet. From the name itself, you can already tell that it protects just your skull. Although it offers a limited area of protection, it has the best drainage.
If you are into mild whitewater kayaking and touring, this helmet is the best for you.
Full-face offers the best protection. That is why it is the best option when you are into paddling the dangerous class of whitewater.
From the term, you know already that it provides full protection on the head because it covers not just the skull, but everything up to your jaw. The only problem with this type of helmet is that there is no way to go out once water gets into it.
The full-cut has more areas of your head protected because it now includes your ears and the posterior and lateral parts of your skull. Because it covers your ears too, it provides extra protection during the cold weather.
As you read the article, you probably have encountered the terms, such as ABS and EVA, without any idea. In this section, you will know the differences and functions of each. You will also learn the other materials used in most helmets to see what you will get from your purchase.
ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. It is a type of thermoplastic that turns into a liquid at extreme temperatures. Unlike most plastics, it does not ignite at intense heat. That is why you can count that it is safe and durable to use when you are out in the waters.
EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate. It is a flexible closed-cell foam with rubber-like properties when it comes to elasticity and softness, although it does not have any rubber.
Helmets usually use the EVA as a lining material to serve as a shock absorber to eliminate the impact when you bump into rocks. Aside from being an excellent shock-absorber, it prevents the helmet from cracking. It is also resistant to UV and has a shiny appearance and outstanding floatation characteristics.
EPP stands for expanded polypropylene. It is a closed-cell foam with several positive characteristics: impact resistance, flotation, chemical resistance, thermal insulation, etc. It is also environment-friendly because it is recyclable.
Many kayakers consider having a reliable, heavy-duty helmet is enough. However, some kayakers would like to add some extras attached to their helmets. It includes headlamps or cameras. If you are one of these kayakers, you know that you might also want to find a kayak helmet that allows you to attach an accessory.
Another secondary feature that you might also want to consider is a visor. It does not matter if a helmet has it or not, because it is not essential for protecting your head from bumps and impact. However, it may add some protection if you are out paddling under the sun. A visor can protect your eyes and face from the sun. It functions like a hat’s brim.
If you sweat a lot or feel distracted when you sweat, you might also want to consider a helmet that has a Coolmax feature. It wicks moisture away and dries fast. That is why it helps keeps you feeling dry and cool.
Hopefully, this article has helped you find the best kayak helmet to wear on your next adventure. You have learned the best kayak helmets on the market and learned more about what this article considered the best, the Sweet Protection Rocker Full Face Paddle Helmet.
These helmets can be useful in various watersports too. You only need to look for the required features that fit your paddling style.
Even though none of these helmets suit your style and taste, hopefully, it has helped you figure out how to select the best one that will not put your life at risk.
Remember not to ignore the factors to consider when buying one. Helmets come in different construction, durability, and features based on their advisable application. That is why it is essential to consider these factors because it is your life at stake.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: How to Know If I Bought the Right Size of a Helmet?
A: The last thing that you want to be the cause of your whitewater injury is a helmet with an uncomfortable fitting. You do not want to take off your focus on paddling just to keep your helmet in position, and you do not want it to be the cause of the accident. That is why buying a helmet that fits is a crucial consideration. To know if you have purchased the right size is that the helmet should be comfortably snug and remains in place while you are active. To test it, wear the helmet properly and shake your head.
Q: How to Buy the Right Size of a Helmet?
A: Many manufacturers come up with charts that will serve as a reference when you want to buy one of their products. What you need to know before going to the store is the size of your head circumference. You only need a tape measure to know it. Wrap it around your head, in which the front side should at the same level on the back. The result will be the size of your head circumference. Use this measurement to refer to the manufacturer’s chart to select the helmet that fits the best for you.
Q: How to Clean My Helmet?
A: To learn the best way to clean your helmet is to refer to the manufacturer’s advice about cleaning your helmet. Helmet models have different construction materials. That is why the only one who knows the best way to clean your helmet is its manufacturer. If the manufacturer has not provided this information, the safest way to clean your helmet is by using mild soap or water. Do not use cleaning fluids, unless indicated. After washing, allow it to dry naturally without exposing it to extreme heat. Refer to the manufacturer’s advice when it comes to cleaning the linings.
Q: What Are the Crucial Parts to Look for a Helmet?
A: When shopping for a helmet, the helmet must have these parts. You should also investigate the quality and features of each. These parts are the inner lining, adjusters, straps, and outer shell. The inner lining commonly has two foam layers that serve as the helmet’s shock absorber to lessen your head’s bump impact. The adjusters provide support to the head. The straps ensure that the helmet stays in place, and it also allows you to adjust the helmet easily. The outer shell takes most of the impact because it is the helmet’s hard covering.