Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by Afsar
Are you looking for the best whitewater kayaking helmets? If yes, then you have come to the right place. We are sharing the best helmets to use for whitewater kayaking. Whitewater kayaking is a very popular water sport. It’s a sport where you will be paddling a kayak on a whitewater river’s moving water. Nowadays, many people are doing whitewater kayaking.
Even though whitewater kayaking is fun, it requires you to take the proper security before you jump on it. Today we are going to share the best kayaking helmets for whitewater kayaking. These whitewater kayaking helmets have simple things: protect your head and enhance your kayaking experience in whitewater.
Table of Contents
Best Whitewater Kayaking Helmets 2023
WRSI’s full abbreviation is whitewater research and safety institute. This organization is founded to provide and develop whitewater safety awareness and technology. As a result, you can understand that they have good authority in making whitewater helmets.
Best Budget friendly kayak helmet.
This is a great kayaking helmet by WRSI. This kayak helmet comes with a three-layer of impact absorption with a carbon composite shell. Its shell material is ABS plastic with a polyurethane sub-shell. The current pro helmet comes with interconnecting retention system, which holds the helmet in an optimum place.
With the help of 9 custom-fit EVA custom fit kits, you will get great comfort and security. It’s lightweight, provides protection to your head and face, and performs well.
- 3 Layer impact absorption
- Eva Foam Liner
- Interconnect retention system to keep the helmet in optimum position
- Flow-through Visor will guard your eyes against sun and rain; it also protects your face
- Removable ear protection will protect your ears, provide warmth and reduce impact from waves
- Compatible with WRSI Pinch Face Protection
- stylish and effective design
- sun brim might be seen while paddling
Sweet Protection’s Rocker Fullface helmet is our best choice in case of safety and performance. From an excellent outlook to super performance, this is the best helmet for whitewater. If you are that ruthless kayaker who loves challenges, or regularly charges the waterfalls & rapids, then this is the best helmet you will find on the market.
Rocker Fullface Helmet is undoubtedly the best whitewater kayaking helmet available on the market. It is made with Sweet Protection’s Thermoplastic Laminated Carbon shell technology. This technology makes sure to provide maximum efficiency in exact accurate spots. For example, the shell is softer in the crown area and stiffer along the sides.
With the high impact and low weight EPP foam inside, this combination provides excellent versatile impact protection when needed. Sweet Protection’s Rocker Fullface helmet’s jaw guard is sturdy and protects your face and mouth. The drainage of this helmet is pretty cool; it drains very quickly.
If you love kayaking in the creeks, then this is an excellent choice for you. However, kayaking in the reek is a very dangerous sport for newbies. So, if you are not a pro, we highly suggest you gather some skills first.
If you are serious about whitewater kayaking, then you should get this kayaking helmet without any hesitation.
Best helmet for serious whitewater kayaking
- TLC: Thermoplastic laminated carbon fiber technology for best elasticity, rigidity, and strength to the helmet
- Sweet Protection’s CRP shell technology
- ABS THERMOPLASTIC SHELL is super impact resistant via its special rubber toughened construction
- OCCIGRIP no-roll tensioning system ensures no roll forward or side-to-side movement and impact
- EPP padding with EVA reinforcements
- Fit pads for a customized fit
- Composite Jaw guard to protect your face, chin, mouth
- Coolmax liner to keep you cool by allowing the user’s sweat to move rapidly away from the skin
- Coolmax liner dries quickly
- Adjustable visor to protect the user’s eye from spray and sunray
- available in several colors and sizes
Another masterpiece from Sweet protection for paddlers. This incredible helmet is designed to tackle the toughest rapids. A lot of us kayakers are very serious about safety, which is the right thing to do, and for them, this is one of the best kayak helmets. Unlike the other Sweet protection kayak helmets, this one is available at a reasonable price.
Sweet Protection Paddle helmet offers extreme protection. The elasticity of injection-molded thermoplastic with the strong carbon fiber offers outstanding impact resistance. The lower shell is made of injection molded ABS, and it is EN 1385 Class I-IV certified.
This helmet is specifically made for the paddlers in mind. The shock-absorbing EPP foam liner used in ideal for kayak helmet. The double duty vents used will drain the water and offer amazing ventilation to keep it comfortable for the users. Also, a moisture-wicking Coolmax liner will help you feel relax at different temperatures.
Fitting is always an issue for kayak helmets, but not this one. A low volume 2-way adjustable Occigrip mechanism is used to have a personalized fit. Also, it comes with fitpad, so that you can even have better comfort.
- Designed for paddlers/kayakers
- Offers incredible protection
- Made of high-quality materials
- Available in four different colors
- Double duty vents will drain the water and deliver amazing ventilation for you to feel comfortable
- Excellent fit by the 2-way adjustable Occigrip mechanism
- Adjustable shatter-resistant visor
- Ear protection can be removed
- Slightly expensive
Tontron Adult Whitewater Kayaking Helmet
Tontron’s multi-sports helmet can be used for whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and other water sports. Tontron is a great supplier when it comes to outdoor sports products. This multi-sport helmet is available in different vibrant colors and sizes. ABS outer shell of the helmet provides impact protection, and the quick-dry EVA absorption liner makes the experience even better. The helmet goes through an impact energy attenuation test to ensure better impact protection.
It also has good buoyancy, so after water immersion, the helmet will float to the surface. There are 11 Air-vents systems for better breathing. These eleven vents are necessary to allow sufficient ventilation. You can remove the ear protection pads, and adjust the back of head dial to fit the helmet properly. The retention strap system has been tested by the method described in 7.7 (whitewater 1385 standard). The helmet meets the CE EN 1385 water sports safety standard.
- Available in vibrant colors
- Available in several sizes
- ABS outer shell for impact resistance
- Quick-dry soft EVA absorption liner
- Removable ear protection pads
- Retention strap system and adjuster: Adjustable back of the head dial
- 11 vents for ventilation
- Unisex design
- Weighs 413 grams
- Standard CE 1385 whitewater helmet
- Snug fit
This is the best cheap whitewater kayaking helmet. Usually, whitewater kayaking helmets are costly, but not this one. This helmet can protect almost all adults. This helmet comes with several colors to choose from. With the help of a knob, you can use the DialFit system to custom fit it.
It’s lightweight shell makes it easy for you to move without any hassle. One of the great features of this helmet is that almost any adult can use it. Its EVA protection liner provides great impact protection. In a nutshell, this is the best cheap whitewater kayaking helmet. However, if you are kayaking in risky whitewater environment, you should get Sweet Protection’s rocker or wanderer kayaking helmet.
Best cheap helmet for kayaking, rafting and boating
- Very cheap price
- Adjustable chin strap
- The same helmet can be used by almost any person
- Eva foam liner for great impact protection
- Extra comfort fit pads
- DialFit system allows custom fit with just a simple twist of a knob
- No sun brim
NRS Chaos Full-Cut Helmet
We couldn’t make this list without including NRS Chaos, one of the cheapest full-cut kayak helmets in existence. With a variety of sizes and vivid colors, it is hard not to be able to choose the kayak helmet that meets your style. NRS Chaos is an ergonomic helmet that is designed to be used for lite whitewater fun, be it kayaking or rafting.
NRS uses a durable ABS plastic shell that encases EVA foam for a light but sturdy design. NRS Chaos full-cut helmet comes with a ventilated lower cut that covers the ears without interfering with hearing. You will find 8 top ventilation ports with three ventilation ports over the ear on each side. I know you are thinking about what you would do with all these ventilation ports, but trust me, it makes it easy to paddle on a sunny day with the helmet on. You get to have airflow while securing your head from any accidental damages.
NRS Chaos comes with a quick-adjust harness that allows you to customize the fit for greater security. Also, the NRS Chaos half-cut comes with CE 1385 certification.
|Head Circ. (in)
- ABS plastic shell
- EVA foam is light
- Comes with a ventilated lower cut design that does not interfere with hearing
- 8 top ventilation ports
- 3 ventilation ports over the ear on each side
- Great airflow
- Available in different sizes and vibrant colors
- DialFit system allows you to have an optimal fit
- CE 1385 certifications
Ipoob Kayaking/Canoe Helmet with Camera Clamp Mount Plate
If you are a fancy kayaker who loves crushing whitewater, you should check ipoob’s kayaking helmet with a camera clamp mount plate. Ipoob integrated NVG mount place that can install universal housing case. This kayak helmet uses a high-impact ABS outer shell, soft EVA impact absorption liner and meets CE EN 1385 certification. The soft and waterproof EVA liner provides a comfy experience to the wearer.
If you ever wanted to make some great videos of yourself kayaking, you should check this helmet. There is a huge possibility of adding different types of cameras like GoPro, smartphones, and other action cameras. Please check the adjustability before buying the helmet to see if it actually fits your camera or not. The manufacturer suggests installing a universal camera housing case to be able to add all types of cameras.
The air-vent system of the helmet ensures an airflow system that helps improve breathing. The rivets of the helmet are black stainless steel that has been tested by salt spray. So you are rest assured that it will not rust if it gets exposed to water. You will be able to buy this fancy kayaking helmet in three different colors: matte yellow, matte black, and matte white.
- Install universal housing case into the integrated NVG mount plate
- High-impact ABS outer shell
- Soft EVA impact absorption liner
- The rivets of helmets are made of black stainless steel
- Air-vent system promotes air-flow and increases the breathability
- Adjustable back of head closure
Bern’s Unlimited Watts is a great kayaking helmet if you looking for having fun on the water this summer. Matte black, matte navy blue, satin white– you call it and it’s there in several sizes. Bern brought asteroid and meteoroid fit in this new helmet. The two-hole mount situated in the rear of the shell makes it even cooler. This baseball inspired helmet comes with features which are very relevant to the kayakers.
Besides the baseball-hat-inspired hard visor and classic style of Bern, there are tons of things to discuss this incredible kayak helmet. It is made of a tried and true thin-shell ABS/EPS hard foam construction which comes with team fit system and watts fits. It’s comfortable and provides comfort.
The watts thin-shell passes the skate and snow safety certifications to make it a multi-purpose helmet. So, if you are interested to do something else in the winter, this is a great helmet to buy.
- Baseball-hat-inspired hard visor
- Tried-and-true technology
- ThinShell provides balance of hard ABS with interior EPS foam thickness
- Two-hole mount on the rear of the shell
- Available in several cool colors
- Stylish design
- Incredibly reasonable price
- Multi-activities supported
- Visor is small
NRS WRSI Trident Composite Helmet
WRSI Trident Composite helmet is another excellent helmet for kayakers. The best part of this kayak helmet is its stylish and rugged design. Trident features a sleek design to make you feel comfortable. It is made of a rugged carbon composite shell that combines with an EVA foam liner and polyurethane sub-shell. This is to effectively disperse the impacts. Trident comes with 9 pads with different thicknesses to easily make a custom fit using a hook-and-loop attachment system. Thus, it can be used by different-sized people. Besides these, the WRSI Trident helmet uses an “interconnect Retention System adjustable harness” to provide a better safe and secure fit.
- Sleek and stylish design
- Carbon composite shell
- EVA inner line
- 9 adjustable fit pads
- Visor/Sun brim
- Interconnect retention system adjustment for a safe & secure fit
- No ear protection
Want a good whitewater helmet but don’t want to spend crazy like the rocker helmet? Then you should get this Sweet wanderer helmet. It comes way less than the rocker yet possesses superb protection. This helmet’s carbon fiber reinforcement will keep your head safe on the water without added weight to it.
It has high durability also, thanks to high-impact ABS shell. Unlike the Strutter helmet, this one provides direct ventilation which will keep air flow on your head. Sweet protection’s Occigrip fit system will keep the helmet in an optimum position to provide protection to your head.
You can even put the self-adhesive fit pads in the shock-absorbing line and the stitched liner to get the perfect fit protection for you. It has a certification for class I-IV (whitewater).
- Very comfortable
- great value for the price
- Occigrip fit system keeps the helmet in an optimum position
- CRP technology used to provide better strength to weight ratio
- The added pad can provide a perfect fit
- direct Ventilation system to flow air on the head
- small sun brim
- shock-absorbing EVA foam liner
- not for extreme whitewater kayaking
Sweet Protection’s Strutter helmet is a very popular helmet for whitewater kayakers. The Strutter helmet comes with a baseball cap style design. Made of LFT (long fiber thermoplastic composite) & CRP (carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer) with EVA this helmet is great for whitewater kayaking. It has been certified for Class I-IV whitewater usage. It’s OcciGrip fit system is excellent. Because of the OcciGrip, the fitting is very comfortable, and the helmet won’t roll forward or side to side. I would recommend it for whitewater kayaking in a less risky environment. For advanced white water kayaking helmet, you can check the: Sweet Protection Wanderer Helmet (above review)
- Sturdy and durable
- made of LFT, CRP, and EVA
- Eva foam liner is shock absorbing
- CRP technology used to provide better strength to weight ratio
- Occigrip fit system ensures a comfortable fit
- Pad thickness added for easy fitting
- integrated sun brim
- baseball cap design
- Not suitable for creek
- While paddling, you may see the sun brim
- No adjustable vent
How to Choose the Best Kayaking Helmets
Paddling your kayak or canoe on white water or surf is a great experience. However, it has some potentially fatal accidents that can happen unexpectedly. It is common to find the boat the wrong way heading down a rocky river. It is also common to get hit by paddles on the head when paddling in a group. You need a high-quality helmet to protect you from these potentially dangerous accidents. Here is a complete guide on how to choose the best kayaking helmets.
The Fit of the Helmet
There are numerous kayaking helmets out there. However, not all of them will give you the protection you need. A suitable helmet should be able to fit in your head accurately. It should cover your head down to the base of the skull. It must extend out past your ears, cover the forehead and come out to the front past the nose. The helmet must also have sufficient lining to touch the whole head firmly.
You will have to measure the helmet whenever you go shopping to determine whether it can properly fit in your head. Use a flexible tape and wrap it around your head to get its circumference. Note down the measurement where you can easily access it. Refer to the size of each helmet you test to your head’s measurements. Choose the one whose size is close to your measurements.
Helmets usually come as small, medium, large and extra-large. A small helmet has a circumference ranging from 53 to 55 centimeters. A medium-sized one ranges from 56 to 58 centimeters while the large and extra-large variants are between 59 and 61 centimeters.
Check the Retention System of the Helmet
A good fitting helmet should have a comfortable retention strap. The straps should be easily adjustable so that you can equalize them without having to change the position of the helmet in your head. They should also contain webs and have at least four anchor points. Each side of the helmet should have two anchor points.
Since you are going to spend most of your time in the river, make sure the rivets are able to withstand the wet conditions. The straps must be designed in such a way that they can hold the helmet in place without moving.
Consider the Type of Paddling You Will Do
The type of activity you will do will also determine what additional features to look for in a helmet. If you are a person who loves doing a lot of tricks and rolls, you may need something that has holes in it to drain the water that might gain entry into the head. If you are paddling in a group, you might need a helmet that is able to contain hard hits from the sticks. A helmet with adjustable ear flaps is a good option if you are paddling in freezing cold conditions. Also, earflaps provide extra insulation.
The durability of the Helmet
A good helmet should be able to withstand almost any type of force it may encounter. You do not want a helmet that will crack with a single hit from a paddling stick. The helmet should have a strong shell that can resist any impact and be able to take abuses for a long period of time. Avoid a second-hand helmet. You don’t know the number of hits it has taken and whether it will crack with the next one.
The Cost of the Helmet
The cost should be the last thing to consider when buying a helmet. It could be that the seller is using a very cheap price to compensate for the low quality of the helmet. The best approach here is to develop a list of at least five helmets from different manufacturers and compare their prices. Avoid helmets that have remarkably lower or higher prices than the rest of your list. You should also take into consideration the features of each helmet and your preferences before you make the final decision.
Check for the Safety Certificate
There are kayaking helmets out there that are not certified by the WRIS. What usually happens before a helmet is certified is that it is subjected to a series of tests to determine whether it can offer the best protection. The tests are designed to push the helmet to its absolute limits. A WRIS certification means that the helmet has passed all the tests and is fully recommended for use. A helmet without a certificate may also perform fine, but you don’t know how much unfavorable conditions it can contain. A wise person will not only look for a helmet to wear, but he will also check whether it is safety certified.
Types of Kayaking Helmets
There are three main types of helmets available for kayaking enthusiasts. They include half-cut, full-cut and full-face helmets.
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to kayaking, and that’s why a full-cut helmet is an essential piece of gear for any serious kayaker. These helmets offer complete coverage for the head, and they also feature a visor that helps protect the face from harmful UV rays and the splash of water.
One of the key benefits of a full-cut helmet is the level of protection it provides. These helmets are designed to withstand the impacts that can occur while kayaking, whether from a collision with rocks or a fall into the water. They’re constructed with durable materials that can take a beating and keep your head safe.
Another important feature of a full-cut helmet is the ventilation system. Kayaking can be a strenuous activity, and keeping the head cool and comfortable is important. These helmets typically have vents that allow air to flow through, keeping the head cool and dry, even on hot summer days.
When it comes to fit, full-cut helmets are designed to be snug and secure. They typically feature adjustable straps and a chin strap that can be tightened to ensure a perfect fit. This is important for both safety and comfort, as a poorly fitting helmet can be dangerous and uncomfortable to wear.
In short, a full-cut kayaking helmet is a must-have gear for any serious kayaker. It offers complete protection for the head, a visor to protect the face, a ventilation system to keep the head cool and dry, and a secure fit to ensure safety and comfort while on the water.
Half-cut helmets do not extend low over the ears. They usually sit above the ears and provide effective protection to the skull. They also allow for efficient drainage.
Full-face helmets extend up to the jaws and the lower portion of the face. They provide effective protection to the whole face. However, they don’t have an efficient drainage mechanism and can be uncomfortable on the ears in rough conditions. Full-face helmets are suitable for those who have a lot of experience in paddling.
Key Features of a Helmet
A complete helmet should have an outer shell, inner lining, straps, and adjusters. The outer shell is the hardcover that takes all the hits. A good helmet should have a hard shell to effectively disperse the force from an impact.
The inner lining consists of two layers of foam. The layer near the shell absorbs most of the impact and disperses it before it reaches the head. The second layer, which sits on the head, mainly provides comfort.
The straps keep the helmet firmly secured to the head. The adjusters provide additional support and security to the head.
Most deaths occurring in water sports are due to head injuries. It is thus important you wear one of the best kayaking helmets all the time to protect yourself in case an accident occurs. The tips discussed above will help you choose a safe, durable, and effective helmet.
I hope you have already found the perfect kayak helmet for your next epic journey. You can use these kayak helmets for rafting and creeking also. Safety is a crucial issue, and it is highly advised to use a proper kayak helmet for the appropriate situation. Grab a suitable helmet and thrive in the water. If you loved any kayak helmets, please comment with your favorite kayaking helmets and share the joy of kayaking with us.
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Afsar is an avid kayak blogger born near the coast. He has a passion for kayaking and started as a child. He has paddled in various conditions and locations and promotes responsible kayaking. Afsar’s blog is widely read, and they are a respected voice in the kayaking community, offering valuable content on kayaking trips, gear, tips, and tricks. Afsar collaborates with other bloggers and brands and continues to inspire others through their writing and social media.