Nature can rejuvenate you from the inside and adventure sports can make you feel alive. Kayaking is the best adventure sport if you love the water and experiencing thrills. Playing with treacherous rapids would make anyone’s adrenaline go crazy!
However, no adventure sport is free of risk. It’s the risk and uncertainty that makes your heart pump faster and tests your nerves. That is why it’s of utmost importance that you take care of your safety before you start your kayaking journey.
Falling off a kayak is not uncommon and it can end up being particularly dangerous if your head is not protected. With a protective kayak helmet, the risk of injury significantly decreases while your chance of living to see another day increases. Hence, a kayak helmet and other protective gear are imperative if you plan to go kayaking, especially whitewater kayaking.
In this article, we talk about different types of kayak helmets and help you pick the best kayak helmet according to your needs.
Types of Kayak Helmets
There are three types of kayak helmets, each appropriate for different rapids and different purposes. They all provide different levels of protection, comfort, usability, and water drainage.
Half Cut Helmets
Half Cut Helmets rest above the ear and protect your skull while offering efficient drainage. They don’t protect every square inch of your head, but they can give sufficient protection in relatively calm waters.
Full Cut Helmets
Full Cut Helmets cover more of your head and offer better protection than half cut helmets. Their coverage includes more of the rear and the side of the skull, including the ears. They also offer thermal insulation to your ears for excellent protection from cold weather.
Full Face Helmets
Full face helmets offer the maximum level of protection for your head and skull, but they facilitate minimal water drainage. They cover your entire head and lower jaw and are appropriate for the most treacherous waters. This added protection often comes at the cost of comfort.
Criteria for Your Perfect Kayak Helmet
There are some criteria that you need to look into before you decide on a kayak helmet. An inappropriate helmet would mean compromising safety, comfort, or both. Keep in mind the following criteria:
Rapid Water Level
The type of helmet you need depends on what kind of water you plan to kayak in. If you’re going whitewater kayaking, especially over level 2, a full face helmet is a must. On the other hand, if you’re a tourist kayaking in relatively calm waters, a full cut or even a half cut helmet will do just fine.
The efficiency of a kayak helmet depends on how it fits you. An ideal kayak helmet should protect your head all the way from the back extending beyond your nose and covering your ears. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose and the lining should still touch your head at all points.
Two of the most used materials for kayak helmets are composite materials like Kevlar and thermoplastic. Composite materials are relatively stiffer, lighter, and are used in more advanced helmets. Low to mid-range helmets use thermoplastic, which is a bit more flexible and heavier. Unlike plastic, thermoplastic does not catch fire under heat.
The retention system acts as the support of your helmet. The straps should be padded and comfortable. The system should have a sufficient number of contact points, web structure, and some adjusters to make sure it fits your head properly.
The Vihir Adult Water Sports Helmet is appropriate both for kayaking and numerous other water sports. The helmet has a hard outer ABS shell with imported Chimei 709 material. It also has removable ear protection that will protect your ear from scratches without affecting your hearing. Its hybrid design uses cold-molded EVA lining on the inside, which ensures a comfortable wearing experience and more flexibility.
The helmets have a head size adjustment system. While there are three sizes for the helmets, the additional adjustment system ensures no additional pressure on your head and neck while it fits snugly around your head. A total of 11 vents are strategically placed so that fresh air can come in while moisture is being pulled out from the back. This ensures a comfortable wearing experience on hot summer days.
The rivet is made of 304 stainless steel, which does not rust or even fall off when exposed to water. The chin buckle has a thickened wavy structure for better movement resistance, so it will not move even when you are going through rapids.
Moreover, this helmet is multi-purpose. You can use it for surfing, boating, fishing, and even in snow. Additionally, you can clean it using some detergent and a damp cloth.
- Material: Chimei 709 with ABS shell
Small 19.7 – 21.3 Inches (50 cm – 54 cm)
Medium 21.3 – 23.2 Inches (54 cm – 59cm)
Large 23.2 – 24.9 Inches (59 cm – 63 cm)
- Colors: Black, Deep Black, Blue, White, Grey, Red
- Ear protection
- Waterproof lining
- Adjustable helmet size
- 304 stainless steel rivet
- Strong impact protection
- Outstanding ear protection
- One piece waterproof lining
- Adjustable head size for a better fit
- Superior ventilation system for moisture removal
- Size chart is a bit misleading
- Need to try a few helmets before you find the right fit
The Tontron Adult Kayaking Helmet has an ABS outer shell for superior impact protection and a quick-dry EVA absorption lining that meets the CE EN 1385 water sports safety standards. The ear protectors protect your ears and the side of your head. You can also detach them if you want. Moreover, there are 11 air ventilation holes to keep the inside of your helmet cool and moisture-free.
The rivets of Tontron kayak helmets are made of 304 stainless steel, which has been tested by salt spray to ensure it won’t rust or fall off when exposed to water for long periods. It also features an adjustable back of the head dial that assures you a perfect fit for maximum protection and comfort. The helmet edges are smoothed in order to give your neck protection in the case of a collision.
The retention strap system is tested by Whitewater 1385 Standard. Also, the maximum dynamic extension does not exceed 25 mm, which is more than enough protection even in whitewater kayaking.
- Material: Carbon Fibre with ABS shell
Small 20.1 – 22.0 Inches (51 cm – 56 cm)
Medium 20.9 – 23.2 Inches (53 cm – 59 cm)
Large 21.7 – 24.0 Inches (55 cm – 61 cm)
- Available in 13 colors
- Soft EVA absorption lining
- Ear protectors
- Removable ear protection pads
- 11 breathing vents
- Adjustable back of the head dial
- Hard outer shell with soft liner
- Quick-dry absorption liner
- Removable ear protectors that won’t affect hearing
- 11 vents to ensure better breathing
- Rustproof stainless steel rivet
- Won’t fit people with bigger ears
The NRS Chaos Side-Cut Kayak Helmet will protect your skull whether you’re rafting, kayaking, or river surfing. Its outer shell is made of solid and durable ABS plastic for better flexibility and durability. At the same time, the inner side is covered by EVA impact foam, which is soft and water resistant, thus enhancing your comfort. The helmets are CE EN 1385 certified, which is a testament to the product’s effectiveness.
If you’re someone who wants a secure fit, you’ll be delighted with this helmet’s easily adjustable BOA ratchet system. You also get 8 vents on the top of the helmet to help keep your head cool in hot and humid weather.
- Material: ABS Plastic
- Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Colors: Black, Blue, Red, White, Yellow
- EVA impact foam
- Adjustable chin strap
- Durable ABS plastic allows for more flexibility
- Size options offer a better fit
- High-quality impact foam
- Adjustable chin strap allows for a better fit
- Doesn’t fit comfortably on the back upper corners
The ProTec Ace Wake Helmet is the most stylish of them all. The bright colors really pop out and will even make the coast guard take notice! Having a colorful helmet is definitely a bonus to water enthusiasts as well as professionals. The helmet’s outer shell is made of the most durable high-impact ABS shell. The inside is covered with a dual density EVA liner that’s both soft and water resistant.
It has 15 open vents, allowing moisture inside to be replaced by fresh air coming in. This helmet will fit your head perfectly with its “Head Lock” rear fit system while providing sufficient protection. Also, there are removable cupping ear guards equipped with water channels to ensure proper water drainage.
You can choose from 6 different sizes to find your perfect fit. Additionally, every ProTec Ace water helmet is tested to meet the EN 1385 standard and certification. You can be sure that these helmets offer maximum safety while you’re in the water.
- Material: Injection molded ABS shell
- Sizes: X-Small, Small, Large
- Colors: Gloss Red, Hot Magma Orange, Matte Black, Satin White
- Dual density waterproof EVA liner
- Multi-use rear mount strap
- 15 ventilation and drainage vents
- Removal cupping ear guards
- Headlock adjustable rear fit
- Bright, attractive colors
- Rear mount strap for goggles, headlight, or a camera
- High-density ABS shell for better protection
- Ear guards have water channels for better drainage
- Full surround interior protection with headlock system
- Misleading size chart
The Dagger Sweet Rocker Kayaking Helmet is a high-performance kayaking helmet made to protect against the roughest whitewater rapids. It’s made of high-tech carbon fiber material for extra protection while kayaking and rafting. The helmet is also fitted with a sweat protection system to make sure you stay comfortable.
The thermoplastic laminated carbon fiber shell has both the elasticity of injection-molded thermoplastic and the rigidity and strength of carbon fiber. This makes the helmet feel light and comfortable on your head while providing adequate protection.
It has two black in-molded MIPS layers that aids movement in any direction. This adds comfort and flexibility. The Occigrip turn dial is fitted so that the helmet can be adjusted with a low volume mechanism. The Occigrip construction fits comfortably and prevents the helmet from moving on your head. This is the best bet for people with allergies because the anti-allergenic Coolmax liner not only keeps allergens at bay, but pushes out moisture for greater comfort.
To clean this helmet, simply use water, with a maximum temperature of 30°C, and mild soap. Then, let it dry naturally without any external heat.
- Material: ABS thermoplastic shell
- Sizes: Medium – Large, Large – X-Large
- Color: Black with red highlights
- Occigrip turn dial adjustment
- Anti-allergenic, moisture-wicking Coolmax liner
- Shatter-resistant removable visor
- Occigrip turn dial adjustment for better reach
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Fitpads for a more personalized fit
- Moisture-wicking lining material
- Removable visor
- Helmet designed for advanced whitewater kayaking
- Only available in two sizes
- Only available in one color
These are the top 5 best kayak helmets based on our extensive research! While each helmet certainly provides excellent protection, they all serve different purposes. Some are full cut, some are made for calmer waters, and some are more equipped for whitewater rapids. Try to remember the following when you’re choosing your helmet.
- Choose the first helmet if you want something for kayaking, skateboarding,or boating.
- If you’re planning on doing lower grade whitewater rafting, go with the second helmet.
- Pick the third helmet if you want more ventilation.
- Choose the fourth helmet if you want the most advanced fitting system.
- Pick the fifth one if you’re going high grade whitewater kayaking.
We hope this detailed review and guide has helped you decide the best kayak helmet for your needs. Never compromise your safety! Pick the helmet that is best suited for your purposes only! For more product reviews and information on kayaking, keep scrolling on KayakFlow.com.