Buying a good kayak helmet should be on top of the list when buying gear for your kayaking adventures. It can literally save your head if accident happens. No matter if you’re an adrenaline junkie and go whitewater kayaking, or enjoy slow and relaxing paddling, a kayak helmet has its purpose.
There are many different types of helmets available, with features that guarantee safety for your head in all sorts of conditions. But how do you choose the best kayak helmet? Check out our kayak helmet reviews as well as the buying guide below to learn more about particular features so you can decide which one to buy.
Let’s get started.
How To Choose A Kayak Helmet – Buying Guide
There are certain things you should look for when buying a kayak helmet. The type you choose depends on your activity, but every helmet should have a strong shell, durability and comfort. It should sit tight on your head in every situation, and be the appropriate size. Let’s have a closer look at some of these features.
You should choose the size of your new helmet carefully. Not everyone’s head is the same size, and for that reason there are different sizes available – ranging from extra-small to extra-large kayak helmets for big heads. When you put the helmet on you should adjust the straps, so it isn’t able to move around. At the same time, you should feel comfortable having it on, it can’t be too tight. The point of finding a perfect fit is to avoid unexpected movement while you’re on water and need protection.
The straps on your kayak helmet play a very significant role. They should be easily adjustable on both sides. The buckle should be secure, and the best kayak helmet strap should have at least four anchor points, two on each side. This way you can position the straps any way you want for best tight fit around your chin. Then you can be certain your head is properly protected.
As we already mentioned, all kayakers should use helmets. However, some people take part in more extreme activities such as whitewater kayaking. This is why there are different types of helmets available. For your basic kayaking there is a half-cut helmet. It usually sits above the ears and provides good protection to the skull.
Next, there is a full-cut helmet, which is similar, but slightly larger. It covers the ears, giving your head extra protection and added insulation. Finally, there is a full-face helmet which looks a little like a motorcycle helmet. This type extends around the lower portion of your face giving you maximum protection.
Besides protection, the helmet is also designed for different conditions. For colder weather you should choose a helmet that extends over the ears, while for warmer temperatures the best kayak helmet should have many ventilation openings to allow breathability. These openings also serve as drainage, which is important when a lot of water splashes on you.
You want your new piece of kayaking gear to last a long time. Helmets are usually made from hard plastic, composites or carbon fibers. The material used should be able to endure abuse while you are on water. Not just if you happen to bump your head on something, but also if your kayaking partner hits you on the head with their paddle. The best helmet for kayak should be able to do this on many occasions, so take some time to read the specs and experiences of people who tried it to find out if it can.
While you don’t have to go out and get the most expensive product there is, the price can sometimes be an indicator to the quality of the product. Don’t opt for the cheapest product because it might fail when you need it most. All kayak helmets we reviewed are very good, so you have a large choice. Or you can use these products to compare to others and see if they are worth your money.
You should always check if the kayak helmet you are buying has a safety certificate. For example, WRSI gives their certificate to a helmet as proof it has gone through serious testing. There are also different standards to which helmets are tested which indicate how much damage it can endure. Most top manufacturers test their helmets and then inform you, so you are advised to take a closer look at this. Of course, helmets without certificates can be good too, but you can’t be certain on the amount of abuse it can take before it cracks.
Q: How snug should kayak helmet be?
A: Like we mentioned when talking about fit, the helmet should be the right size for your head. The helmet shouldn’t press on your head or make you feel uncomfortable, but it also shouldn’t be too loose. This means it should be snug enough to remain in place while you’re active. An easy test you can perform to check this is to put it on, adjust the straps and then shake your head in different directions. If it moves around it’s too loose and you need to readjust or go with a smaller size.
Q: How to clean kayak helmet?
A: Maintenance of your helmet is not difficult. You should use clean water and mild detergent only. After cleaning, leave to dry naturally. On some models, the inner lining can be removed. Depending on the manufacturer, some linings can be washed in a machine on a gentle cycle.
Q: How to measure for kayak helmet?
A: The best way of measuring for a kayak helmet is using a soft measuring tape. You need to record the circumference of your head at forehead level. Then you can see where you place on the helmet size chart and choose the size accordingly. The head circumference for standard sizes is as follows – 55-57cm is small, 57-59cm is medium and 59-61cm is large. Of course there are extra-small and extra-large models available too.
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We hope you learned something useful about kayak helmets and know what to look for when buying. If you are uncertain, feel comfortable to choose any of the products featured in our kayak helmet reviews. Just remember to be responsible to yourself and always protect your head when you go on paddling adventures.
Have you tried a kayak helmet that made it onto our list? Are you satisfied with the protection it gives you? Let us know in the comment section below.
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