Kayak Helmet | A Life Savior on Extreme Wave Kayaking

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Updated on

Kayaking is a risky activity that demands safety attention at all times. Wearing an helmet is one way to protect yourself in case of accidents while paddling. It’s said your health often is your wealth, believe it! Don’t wait for the experience. Just like PFD (Personal Flotation Device), the helmet is another necessary kayak gear you should have.  It doesn’t matter whether you are after whitewater kayaking, adrenaline, touring or enjoying slow and relaxing paddling, the helmet is essential. It’s a life-saving piece of equipment if worn properly, especially if you fall overboard, capsize, or got hit by your fellow kayakers.

There are many different helmets out there, coming in numerous colors to suit every activity and head shape. You should get the right one that fits properly in your head following the purpose. Go for a color that can be seen easily, and this helps a lot if there is an accident. Rescuers will be able to locate you quickly for assistance. Remember to base your decision on protection needed rather than money matters, style, or personal preference and be keen with sizing and fits.

Read on to get more information on kayak helmets.

Which type of helmet is more suitable?

There are half-cut, full-cut and full-face types of helmets and the suitable one depend on the kayaking activity you are planning to do. The more risk or potentially dangerous the paddling is, the more safety the gear needed. Meaning the suitable type will be the one that fits the level of protection you need depending on a certain purpose or activity. 

Here are the types explained:

Half-cut Helmets

These helmets sit above the ears to provide head protection, i.e., the skull and to allow efficient drainage. They are suitable for a range of watersport including, kayak touring, light whitewater and sea kayaking.

Full-cut helmets

They are designed to offer more protection than half-cut helmets since it covers your whole head and ears also giving secure fitting. The only challenging thing about this type is your ability to hear people around you as your ears are covered. Meaning it’s not suitable for a large group of kayakers who want to tour our nature while conversing. Normally, used for whitewater paddling or if you want to paddle in cold temperatures.

Full-face helmets

They offer maximum protection, especially in extreme watersport, just like whitewater kayaking. Your entire face is protected while also not forgetting jaw and ear protection. These types are best if you are planning to kayak in the risky and dangerous conditions where there is a high possibility of injuring your head and face on rocks. Be on the look to check if you still safely hear what is going on around you and your friends.

Can you use a bike helmet for kayaking?

Well, nowadays we have multipurpose helmets that one can use for different occasions though you might have to spend a lot more than usual. Kayak helmets are designed for higher impact according to the estimated risk one might face while kayaking compared to cyclist helmets, which are considered to be less risky.

We advocate that you wear a helmet meant for its purpose, so if you are a kayaker, go for kayak helmets and the same for the cyclists. 

Just remember a helmet is meant for your head protection, but as we said earlier, they come in different styles and forms to suit certain purposes. A great helmet should ensure you have an equal blend of comfort, protection, and air circulation. So, it doesn’t matter whether you are going for water kayaking or cycling, one should have them on all the time just ensure it fits well and is meant for the activity.

Can I use a climbing helmet for kayaking? 

Both climbing and kayak ones are designed for higher impacts! Since the manufacturers are trying to protect your head from rocks injuries, which are mainly found in mountains and river beds. Yes! If you don’t have any other option at the moment, use you’re climbing Helmet.

But in the future, go for the multipurpose helmets or invest in a specific helmet to suit the purpose. Prioritize your health; you have one head to protect. After all, if something happens, it’s a done deal! One hundred per cent recovery is not guaranteed in this kind of situation.

Can I use a snowboard helmet for biking?

From the manufacturer’s point of view, you should go for the helmets based on its intended use to get maximum head protection. Look for the biker gears as the snowboarder’s ones might not be comfortable for you since the manufacturers put their efforts and skill-based on the ski consideration and risks.

With the right gears always, you will have memorable and enjoyable activities in your life that you will be looking forward to going every time there is a chance. But if you don’t have the right gear, it will be your worst nightmare.

Are ski helmets different from bike helmets?

If you look closely, they are very different from one another as the manufactures based their techniques on the intended use and its risks.

Difference between Ski Helmets and Bike Helmets

Their distinctions are not so obvious, but the major thing is that; Ski helmets are designed for high impact in regards to possible ski risks compared to a cyclist one. This is based on a snowboarder’s speed, which is twice that of a biker.

Their gears are more padded with insulation materials for the snowboarder warmth, but this is not common to bike ones.

Lastly, ski Helmets are made to extend by the sides to cover the ears from cold, which is again different from the bike ones, which doesn’t cover their ears. So any time you want to go skiing or cycling, put all this under consideration. 

What is the MIPS helmet?

Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) is a form of slip-plane technology that was developed at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Sweden by a biomechanical specialist. These kinds of helmets are constructed from two layers that rotate against each other, mimicking the brain rotation on cerebrospinal fluids, which is our natural body defence against oblique impacts.

Its outer layer is made of the same impact-absorbing EPS materials as CPSC ones. The connection is via the elastomeric attachment system to a deep inner friction layer, and that’s what rests the rider head. In case there is an accident, the outer shell of the MIPS helmets absorbs the liner impact while the inner layer rotates as usual up to 5mm hence absorbing the rotational impact. This reduces the force on the brain, which eventually decreases the possibility of concussion and brain injuries. For an extra degree of safety, go for this kind of helmets. It will not disappoint you.

Which color helmet is best?

The best color of helmets should be the one that is easily visible by people around in case of anything. These things are also based on your personal preference, but you can always consider the white, silver, yellow, red, orange, or any combination.

Do black helmets get hotter?

Many kayakers say the black one absorbs more heat while others rebuke the same sentiments saying all of them are the same. We urge you to try different colors and find out if there is any difference between them all.

Some Helmets Dos and Don’ts include

  • DO check for the safety sticker while purchasing your gear inside the helmet.
  • DO make sure your gear doesn’t have any cracks or dents.
  • DO make sure your helmet fits your head properly, i.e., not tight or snugging.
  • DO make sure your model is intended for the use in regards to your planned activities.
  • DON’T  wear a high ponytail under your helmets as this might affect your fitting
  • DON’T add or make any decoration on your gear with paint or stickers that can cause cracks
  • DON’T wear a hat or other things underneath your model, unless for the liner or the thin shell
  • DON’T go for second-hand helmets if possible invest in a good gear that suits your intended purpose. 

Is there one singular multipurpose, multi-sport helmet out there?

One might want to participate in different outdoor sports like kayaking, biking, snowboarding, and maybe climbing and think buying four helmets might be a waste at the same time costly; thus the consideration for the multipurpose gears.  As much as four gears cost much, it is worth due to the intended use and the protection each activity needs.

It’s true under certain circumstances you can use the same helmet for different activities. Still, it should be close or similar to the other like a white water kayaking helmet that can be used for sea or lake touring and site seeing kayaking. The cyclist and the motorist can use similar gears as the activity is less the same.

Climbing and ski models are meant for higher impact and designed to provide warmth to an individual throughout the activity, so if you don’t have the other option, you can swap the two.

Other helmets cannot be used for certain activities as the intended activity risks are not closely related. So the best option is to use the helmet intended for the purpose, which should be your habit throughout your outdoor activity journey.

Final Word

Remember, every kayak helmet should have a strong shell, comfortable, durable, and suits the type of activity you are planning to do. It should also fit properly on your head, and you should check the safety certificate when purchasing them. Be careful while paddling to avoid any unnecessary accidents, even if you have your helmet.

Don’t ever go kayaking without putting on your helmet; in fact, some white water kayaker’s water sports companies don’t allow people without such gears. Make it a habit, and somehow, your protection is guaranteed to a bigger percentage.

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