Top 5 Best Kayak Helmets for Head Protection

You may be used to seeing helmets being common with riders or cyclists. Well, the paddlers also need this type of protection too. The kayak helmets will offer some amazing protection to the user in case you fall into the water. The worst can be when kayaking in rocky rivers.

If you love kayaking, consider the best kayak helmets. It is best to get the helmets from top brands to ensure better performance and durability. We will look at more features to consider in this guide and the best 5 models in the market.

Quick Picks: The Top-Rated Kayak Helmet

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Gath Gedi Helmet with Peak - White - 2XL
Best Pick
Tontron Adult Whitewater Kayaking Canoeing Watersports Helmet (Matte Deep Gray, Large)
Triple Eight Sweatsaver Halo Water Helmet for Wakeboarding and Waterskiing (2018 Model), Black Rubber, Small
NRS Chaos Side Cut Helmet Red XS
WRSI Current Kayak Helmet-Fjord-L/XL
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Gath Gedi Surf Helmet
Tontron Comfy Practical Kayaking Helmet
Triple Eight Water Halo Helmet
NRS Chaos Side Cut Helmet
WRSI Current Kayak Helmet
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Gath Gedi Helmet with Peak - White - 2XL
Title
Gath Gedi Surf Helmet
Best Pick
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Tontron Adult Whitewater Kayaking Canoeing Watersports Helmet (Matte Deep Gray, Large)
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Tontron Comfy Practical Kayaking Helmet
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Triple Eight Sweatsaver Halo Water Helmet for Wakeboarding and Waterskiing (2018 Model), Black Rubber, Small
Title
Triple Eight Water Halo Helmet
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NRS Chaos Side Cut Helmet Red XS
Title
NRS Chaos Side Cut Helmet
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WRSI Current Kayak Helmet-Fjord-L/XL
Title
WRSI Current Kayak Helmet

In a hurry? Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!

What is a Kayak Helmet?

A kayaking helmet is an essential gear when it comes to the safety of your head. You have to protect your head from dangerous impacts caused by rocks in the water. So, a helmet should be at the top of your gear list.

There are varieties of kayak helmets to choose from in the market. However, coming up with the best kayak helmet is a difficult task. In this guide, we will help you conclude on the best and be assured of the safety of your head.

Why Do You Need a Kayak Helmet?

If you find the right helmet, it is like you have found a suitable personal protection device. First, you will save your life by preventing some serious head injuries when kayaking.

It is advised that you wear a kayak helmet whether in dangerous waters or not. This is because the helmet is a life-saving device, especially when you fall over or the boat capsizes.

When you fall over, the force of the water will push you over, and sometimes you may hit against rocks. As such, the helmet is vital to protect your head from injuries. Some injuries can cause permanent brain damage. Thus it would be best to reduce the risk of such happening.

Also, a helmet can help you float when you fall over, or the boat capsizes. This is particularly important to those who struggle swimming.

Types of Kayak Helmets

The helmet type that you prefer depends on the type of kayaking that you want to go on. For the more dangerous adventures, you are likely to go for a more protective helmet. There are three known types of helmet including;

1. Half-cut Helmets

This is the most popular kayak helmet as it is the simplest. It offers minimum protection by covering the head but not the ears. They are mostly used in sea kayaking, kayak touring, and light whitewater.

2. Full-cut Helmets

It is designed to give more protection than a half-cut helmet by covering your head as well as the ears. Such a design will provide you with a secure fit version, plus you will have an added protection against impacts.

A full-cut helmet is suitable for whitewater paddling and also paddling in colder areas as it has more insulation. Note that covering your ears reduces the ability to hear around you. You should, therefore, not use this type of helmet when in a group of kayakers.

3. Full Face Helmets

The model is designed that gives maximum protection for extreme watersports. They cover the whole face, including the jaws and the ears.

They are essential when kayaking in dangerous places, such as where there are cataracts and rapids.

Remember to check if you can hear properly before heading into the waters to avoid accidents.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Kayak Helmet

There are factors to consider before choosing a helmet that will protect the most sensitive part of your body while kayaking. Let us take a look at them. Here are a few to always consider.

Fitting

Ideally, it is easy to find a helmet that fits your head as they are available in a variety of sizes to consider. You can test it by putting it on your head and adjusting the straps. If it fits without moving from side to side, then it is the right option. Make sure that it is not also very tight.

The right fit is important when it comes to unexpected moments. Each time your helmet moves while kayaking, it will be hard on the user to enjoy the kayaking experience.

If you purchase online, know the circumference of your head first to get the right helmet.

Drainage

This is a vital feature that should not be brushed off. Kayaking is a watersport; thus, you will need a helmet that fits with the surrounding conditions.
There are ventilation holes that let out water if you take a swim or fall in the water.

Also, the holes allow heat to escape and prevent overheating while kayaking for hours. Helmets that do not have such holes are not meant for water sports.

Price

You may not want to buy a high-prized kayak helmet, but sometimes the price determines the quality of the product. Therefore do not go for the cheapest of products as they may be low quality.

Retention system

The chin straps play a vital role when it comes to safety and comfort. They should be easily adjustable on both sides. The buckle should be secure with at least four anchor points, two on each side.

Weight

There is not much difference in the weights of the helmets. You should, however, be comfortable wearing your kayak helmet. A heavy helmet will have to be repositioned multiple times as it may move from side to side.

The Helmet Material

Most kayak helmets are made from composite materials like Kevlar or from molded thermoplastics to develop the shape of the helmet. The composite materials are lighter and stiffer, while the thermoplastics are heavier and more flexible.

Reviews of the 5 Best Kayak Helmets

This helmet was initially made for surfing. Nowadays, it is used worldwide by kayakers, professional water athletes, and water rescue personnel.

It offers high protection against impact with an Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) shell. The shell is designed to flex when subjected to impact. It absorbs the force in the same manner a crumple zone in a car does. There is also added protection at the front for your forehead.

For comfort, there is an inner foam liner that provides a soft pad for your head. The headband can be adjusted to get the right and most comfortable fit. The chin strap has a layer of foam to prevent inflammation when it becomes too tight.

There are removable ear protectors that allow you to change between full-cut and half-cut designs. Also, each earpiece features adjustable audio vents.

A storage bag and spare comfort strips also accompany the helmet to improve its usability.

Pros

  • Impact-resisting shell
  • It has adjustable ear protectors
  • There is an inner foam liner
  • It comes with a storage bag

Cons

  • Lacks venting at the top

The model’s outer shell is made of ABS material for impact absorption. As for the inner liner, it is a quick-dry soft EVA material. This will provide the much-needed protection for your head against head injuries.

Finding the right fit is aided by the dialing system located at the back. There are different sizes on the manual that you can set according to the size of your head. It also allows fitting of the helmet with one hand while kayaking.

The vents around the shell are outstanding features. They allow for ventilation and prevent overheating by allowing fresh air in, and the sweat is pushed out through the back vents. They also let out excess water in case of an unexpected plunge.

Tontron kayaking helmet has ear protectors that protect the ears from scratches. They do not affect your hearing as they have removable pads.

Pros

  • Proper water and air vents
  • It has a hard high-impact outer shell
  • It has a dial fitting system that allows one-hand use
  • It is comfortable

Cons

  • Sometimes it can affect your hearing ability

This model is a half-cut design that can be used in different watersports and kayaking. It is rated for water use with outstanding features.

The inner side features a super comfy sweat saver liner. It is made with three form layers that are wrapped in plush fabric. This reduces the risk of injuries and increases the safety of your head. It is also easily removable thus washing it becomes easier.

Its outer shell is made of high-density ABS material. There is also a dual-density closed-cell EVA foam headliner and a top crown. Such a construction absorbs impacts intended for your head.

There are ventilation holes on the top, back, and front of the kayak helmet. The arrangement of the holes allows for fast drainage when water enters the helmet. Holes also act as a ventilation system by allowing sweat to be cooled. It prevents overheating.

Various sizes and colors are also available for your desired choice. Bright colors are advised to be easily recognized when in water by other kayakers or by larger water vessels.

Pros

  • It is comfortable
  • It has a high-density outer shell
  • There are ventilation holes
  • Available in different colors

Cons

  • Lacks protection for the ears

This helmet design features a tough outer shell made from ABS material with a dual-density EVA foam liner. The liner provides added comfort as it is soft as well as providing impact protection and shock absorption.

Eight ventilation holes available in the helmet allow water to drain when it gets into the helmet. This can happen when you capsize, or water is splashed against you. They also provide breathability during the hotter months as they allow the cooling of the sweat.

It features adjustable chin straps that are held in place by a buckle. You could still customize it to fit your head by using the dial system at the back of your helmet. This would be suitable for paddleboarding or whitewater kayaking.

Pros

  • The helmet is comfortable
  • Features holes for ventilation
  • It has a tough outer shell
  • Adjustable chin strap

Cons

  • Lacks protection for your ears

This best kayak helmet features a tough ABS plastic outer shell, polyurethane subshell, and EVA foam liner that are for dispersing impacts. They reduce the risk of head injuries.

The Interconnect Retention System is an interesting feature. It automatically adjusts the helmet to firmly stay on your head despite water pressure trying to push it off your head. It makes it suitable if you plan to kayak in rapids and cataracts.

For a more secure fit, an O-Brace system can be adjusted at the back of your head. It means you can adjust your helmet while on your head, even with one hand.

Drainage holes cannot miss on this helmet. They allow for water to be drained out quickly to prevent drowning when you capsize or fall over. The holes also allow for ventilation and prevent overheating.

The helmet comes in a variety of colors and sizes. You can always opt for a color you prefer but note that you should go for brighter colors.

Pros

  • O-Brace system for secure fitting
  • It has drainage holes
  • Features an Interconnected Retention System
  • The outer shell is tough

Cons

  • It does not protect the whole face

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know that I purchased the right size of the kayak helmet?

An unfitting kayak helmet takes off your focus from paddling into making sure your helmet stays in position. You should therefore buy a fitting helmet. If it is the right size, you should comfortably put it on your head, and it will remain in one position.
You can shake your head just to make sure it does not fall off due to pressure.

How do I clean my helmet?

You can refer to the manufacturer’s guide to get the best cleaning way. This is because the helmets are made from different materials. If the information is not available, you can use water and mild soap.

How do you measure for a kayak helmet?

Use a soft tape measure to obtain the circumference around your head at the forehead level. Once you have the circumference, compare it with the helmet size chart and choose the right size.

Reference;

21.6 to 22.4 inches- small size

22.4 to 23.2 inches- medium size

23.2 to 24 inches- large size

Conclusion

Kayaking has to be the most fun water activity. However, it cannot be fun if you constantly worry about the safety of your head. Hopefully, the above guide will help get the kayak helmet. Remember to pay attention to the factors above. Look for something that fits your adventures and paddling style.

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