Kayaking helmets are a must-have safety feature to protect the head in difficult waters like whitewater paddling.
A preferred helmet is strong, yet comfortable and won’t move while paddling.
Kayak helmets have seen a noticeable improvement in relation to the aesthetics in recent years, with common choices including:
- Conventional, solid color
- Modern, stylish beanie style
Type of helmet
The preferred style of kayaking helmet will relate directly to the paddling activity involved in. It is possible to combine aesthetics and practical function to get the perfect match. Avoid second-hand helmets because it can be difficult to tell if it has been involved in a prior accident which might have resulted in damage or cracks. A kayaking helmet with prior damage will be less effective at protecting the head in the future.
Kayaking safety helmets are advised for water conditions that progress past flat, shallow, or calm waters. But, a kayaking helmet can be worn in ALL conditions to minimize the risks of a head injury while paddling.
Certain kayaking activities like whitewater make wearing a helmet essential because of the greater exposure to head injury. Without proper head protection there is a high risk of hitting rocks. A preferred material for whitewater kayaking helmets is Kevlar or composite carbon for the high strength and durability.
Kayak helmets can vary quite significantly and several points need careful consideration in the process of deciding on the most practical choice. While the most fundamental issue relates to the degree of protection provided, the next point of concern relates to the level of comfort.
A dedicated kayaking that spends several hours on the waters at a time should test several different types of helmets to make sure the right fit and comfort is provided. A preferred kayaking helmet is designed with adjustable straps and a soft inner layer. Plus, certain models are designed with built-in ventilation holes to make it easier to stay cool after a long spell of paddling.
A high-cost helmet comes in materials like carbon Kevlar composites which are appreciated for its ability to give high strength while still light in weight.
Use the services of a proper kayaking store to help with sizing the helmet to increase the chance of having a correct fitting piece of equipment that gives the desired protection to match the activity.
A purpose-made kayaking helmet should be stored in the correct manner when not in use. Avoid leaving the helmet in a hot place such as inside a vehicle on a hot day. Left in high temperatures, the helmet is likely to notice a shrunk or melted shell, softness to the glue, or un-repairable damage to the EPS foam. Any of these issues can lead to a reduction in shock absorption and a greater chance of the helmet warping.
If a kayaking helmet suffers a hard knock against rocks or similar it is recommended to replace with a new model. Most helmets are less effective once the initial impact has taken place and been absorbed (foam crushes).