Best Kayak Helmets [Top 5] – Whitewater Helmet

Best kayak helmets

The best kayak helmets available must be worn if you take kayaking seriously if you want to keep your head protected. A helmet is a crucial piece of safety equipment, but choosing the appropriate one may be challenging given the wide variety of brands and designs available.

Finding a helmet that will protect your head from harm is just part of the challenge; you also need to consider comfort and style. The legwork has been done for you; here is a list of the top kayaking helmets. There is something for everyone in our assessment of helmets, which covers both budget-friendly and luxurious models.

Best Kayak Helmets – Quick Comparison

Product imageProduct nameEditor's ratingPrice
Vihir4.9See pricing details
Tontron4.8See pricing details
Northern4.8See pricing details
NRS4.7See pricing details
Pro-Tec4.7See pricing details

Top 5 Best Kayak Helmets Review

1. Vihir Adult Water Sports Helmet with Ears

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The Vihir Adult Water Sports Helmet With Ears is the next item on my list; I’ll agree that it’s a mouthful, but the price will undoubtedly make some people’s jaws drop. It is without a doubt one of the most affordable full-cut helmets available right now. But it doesn’t mean the building was subpar.

Nothing particularly unusual about the Vihir helmet’s combination of a conventional ABS shell and a cold-molded EVA foam inner. Even on a hot summer day, it is dry and breathable thanks to its 11 drainage holes. Except for the place where the ear pads scrape into the sides of your skull, the fit is customizable and light on the head.

Even though the helmet is outstanding for the price, its lifespan or durability falls short of several other models I examined. It doesn’t seem to last more than a season or two. You get more than enough use out of Vihir’s helmet. It drains effectively, is quite inexpensive, and is available in a variety of colors. For this price point, that’s more than enough!


  • For a variety of purposes
  • When necessary, the ear cushions may be taken off.
  • Lightweight yet robust construction
  • Includes 11 drainage/ventilation points altogether.
  • True to size.
  • Includes a fit adjustment


  • Enduring yet with limitations longevity-wise
  • Look elsewhere if you’re searching for style in your stuff.
  • There is a mild discomfort with the earpads.
  • A little too malleable for safety


2. Tontron Adult Kayaking Whitewater Helmet

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A very conventional ABS helmet with a cozy and safe EVA inside is the Tontron Comfy Practical. On the rear of the helmet, a dial mechanism allows for closure and adjustability. With this technology, the paddler may alter the helmet’s fit with only one hand, saving them from having to put their paddle aside.

The 11 vents that cover the Comfy Practical’s shell, which allow for both ventilation and the shedding of extra water, are its most notable feature. The Comfy Practical is a great option for playboaters, kayakers, or other paddlesports enthusiasts who anticipate kicking up a lot of spray. This is due to the vast number of vents.

For paddlesports fans searching for a helmet that will enable them to participate in a variety of intense watersports without becoming soaked or unduly sweaty, the Tontron Comfy Practical is a great option. No matter how hard you need to paddle, the 11 vents spread over its shell drain extra water and keep your scalp aired. Surf kayakers will benefit from the one-handed adjuster since it makes it possible to quickly alter the helmet’s fit without having to locate a place to store your paddle.


  • 11 outlets for air and water
  • Impact-resistant ABS shell
  • Single-handed fitting modification


  • No movable cushions
  • Not lined with Coolmax


3. Northern River Supply Havoc Livery Helmet

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Any kayaker looking for a stylish helmet with an adjustable fit should go with the Havoc Livery. It has DialFit technology, allowing you to adjust your harness until it is perfectly snug and comfortable. This product, which has been thoroughly tested by the European safety standards organization CE EN 1385, comprises both ABS plastic & EVA foam to protect users while they are out on the river.


  • Unisex style with simple chin strap adjustments
  • Lightweight


  • No ear protection is provided


4. NRS Chaos Side-Cut Kayak Helmet

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I’d want to move on from my first choice, the WRSI Current, which had issues with airflow, and present you to the NRS Chaos, which is the whole opposite. One of the helmet’s most important characteristics is its excellent ventilation, which has eight drainage holes in total.

Its purpose is to enable airflow in the summer and water to drain away in the case of a capsize. Oh, and it’s also a more affordable choice. The outside shell of this full-cut helmet is made of durable ABS plastic, while the inside lining is made of dual-density EVA foam. The CE EN 1385 certification provides evidence that it is impact resistant.

Six different sizes are available for the helmet, and if that weren’t amazing enough, it also boasts an easily adjustable BOA ratchet system to further alter the fit. I think the NRS Chaos is the best option for paddlers with some experience. So, if you fall into that category, you’ll discover that Chaos isn’t really all that horrible.


  • The certification CE EN 1385
  • There are several sizes available.
  • Ratchet system with adjustable BOA for a personalized fit
  • Has eight holes for drainage and ventilation
  • The ear cushions are detachable.
  • Chin strap with four attachment points


  • The size of the helmet looks to be a little odd.
  • Some people may find it unsettling (depending on head shape)


5. Pro-Tec Ace Water Helmet

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A robust, cozy, and adaptable kayak helmet, the Pro-Tec Ace offers excellent protection for a whitewater or all-day usage. This product includes 15 vents in its design, which let water escape from the headwear and keep it cool in warm weather. Additionally, the helmet has a rear attachment strap that users may use to install goggles, cameras, or lights.


  • Made of dual-density EVA foam and injection-molded ABS plastic.
  • Its head lock adjustable technology, ensures a secure fit on any head.
  • Useful for further water sports


  • Few color choices


How To Choose The Best Kayak Helmets?

Verify That Your Helmet Is Fitted Properly

The effectiveness of a kayaking helmet totally hinges on how well it fits. Your helmet won’t provide the amount of protection you need if it is not properly fitted. A properly fitting kayaking helmet should completely enclose the head, all the way down to the skull. The peak or brim of the helmet should, ideally, extend past the nose, and it should cover the ears.

The liner of the helmet should always be in touch with the wearer’s head and should fit securely but not too tightly. To achieve the best fit, you must measure your head and compare it to the helmet’s brim size before deciding which helmet to purchase. Take a flexible tape measure and wrap it around the area of your forehead to determine the size of your head. Consider this dimension while choosing a helmet.

Helmet Restrictions

Your requirement for a kayaking helmet depends on the kind of kayaking you’re most likely to conduct. A full-face helmet will provide more protection if whitewater kayaking is something you’re thinking about. It would be best to have a helmet with lots of vents to drain away the water if you want to do stunts on a waveski or toy boat since you’ll be kicking up a lot of sprays. A helmet with a thick liner may protect your head from the odd blow from an errant paddle if you’re kayak touring with a group.

System of Retention

The retention mechanism of a kayaking helmet, which must be both cozy and safe, is among its most crucial components. Ensure that the strap of the helmet you choose has enough padding so that you can remain comfortable while paddling. To ensure the fit is as precise as possible, look for retention systems with four or more points of contact, webbing supports, and two or more adjusters.

Helmet Construction Materials

Similar to kayak hulls, kayaking helmets are often composed of injection-molded thermoplastics or composite materials like kevlar. Higher-end kayak helmet often employs composite materials since they are stiffer, lighter, and more durable. Thermoplastics are heavier and provide a similar amount of protection, but they are more flexible, hence they are often found on mid- to low-end helmets.

Ventilation and Drainage

The absence of a drainage system is one of the key reasons why a “normal” helmet wouldn’t be suitable for paddling. These holes let the extra water flow out rather than becoming trapped within the helmet if you wind up in the water, which is likely to happen at some time. Additionally, they function as ventilation holes to keep you from overheating.

Any sort of helmet needs adequate ventilation, and kayak helmets are no different. However, kayaking-specific noggin guards must also take into account water drainage in case you were to fall into the water while using your paddles.

Weight and Bulk

Whitewater paddler often wears kayak helmet these days, and with good reason—they provide crucial protection from river dangers. But things weren’t always like this. Paddlers have not always liked wearing helmets since they might feel heavy and cumbersome on your head, similar to how skiers, cyclists, and other sports have felt.

Of course, the weight and mass of kayak helmets don’t take away from their importance on the water, and it’s always best practice to wear one when the circumstances call for it. However, investing in a low-volume, reasonably lightweight helmet may make a world of difference in how comfortable you feel.

Helmet Durability

The durability of the helmet should be the last important consideration when buying a kayak helmet. It should not be surprising that kayak helmets are inherently tough pieces of equipment given that they are designed to shield you from severe hits. But some models are created with tougher materials than others. After years of continuous usage, ABS plastic kayak helmet in particular tend to be the most durable.

Even though ABS plastic is thick and heavy, it resists nicks and scratches better than more expensive materials like carbon composite. Any kayak helmet you purchase that is approved for use in whitewater will, in the end, be built to resist high-impact forces. However, if you choose a model made of a material other than ABS plastic, you must be ready to take special care of it outside of the water to ensure that it lasts as long as possible in excellent functioning order.

Helmet Visor

It’s not necessary to have a little built-in visor. The fact that it shields your eyes from the sun and may, depending on the model, give an additional layer of protection to your forehead and nose makes it a much-welcome addition to any helmet.

Optional Accessories

Some paddlers just worry about protection; they don’t care about extra gear. Others will value having accessories like a light or a GoPro camera that can be mounted to the top of their helmet.

Further, selecting an appropriate kayak helmet is a crucial step towards ensuring protection and ease during your aquatic adventures, but don’t overlook the importance of effective communication. If you often find yourself in the company of fellow kayakers or venturing into demanding waters, consider complementing your gear with best waterproof walkie talkies.

Such devices can elevate your kayaking experience, offering dependable communication with your group. Imagine gliding through calm waters or braving the wild rapids, all the while knowing that you’re only a call away from assistance or camaraderie. The right walkie talkies not only add a layer of safety but also enrich your time on the water.

Paddling Documents

Industry-standard certification for protective headgear may be included as evidence of evaluating the helmet’s structure and demonstrating how much harm it can withstand. Although kayak helmet without safety certification still functions, if at all feasible, use those that have undergone testing.

Fit and Comfort

Simply said, a poorly fitted kayak helmet is essentially worthless on the water. As a result, while shopping, your main priorities should be the fit and comfort of your helmet. That’s because a helmet that doesn’t fit properly may be hazardous, particularly if it obstructs your eyesight as you paddle or falls off while you’re underwater.

So, before purchasing a helmet, measure your head and refer to a manufacturer’s size guide if in doubt. After that, try your helmet out at home to ensure that you get a type that fits you comfortably. You’ll have to swap it for a different size if it doesn’t. Otherwise, you can unintentionally be raising your chance of being hurt while out on the water.


It may be crucial that you choose a helmet that has been specially made for whitewater if you want to undertake any whitewater paddling, for instance. Then, these helmets need to provide you with the protection you want and be strong enough to withstand rough sea conditions. You may sometimes discover that certain paddling helmet is made for a range of activities or for particular ones, like bicycling.

Only if they are also made for the water will they be appropriate for kayaking. Water-resistant materials, such as stainless steel rivets that won’t corrode after submersion, are often used in the construction of a paddling helmet that is intended for use in the water. Additionally, you could discover that a paddling helmet is more buoyant than those made for another discipline, like skateboarding or mountain biking, or for multipurpose use.

Brims and Sunscreen

Many kayak helmets now have integrated brims (also known as visors) for sun protection throughout your trips in addition to impact protection. If you reside someplace that receives a lot of sunlight, these brims might provide priceless protection from the sun as you go downstream.

However, if they begin to interact with the stream while you are underwater, particularly lengthy brims may hinder your ability to do a roll. However, they are important for sun protection and should be taken into account while buying a kayaking helmet.

You could be better off choosing a style with a shorter, less problematic brim if you’re worried about the brim getting in the way of your paddling. You should also be aware that kayaking helmets with brims that have holes built into them to let water pass through them are less likely to give you problems when you’re on the water.

Type of Kayaking Helmets

Even a general-purpose helmet is still much superior to wearing none at all. But there’s a logical reason why various activities, like bicycling, rock climbing, or whitewater paddling, call for a particular paddling helmet. They have qualities that are effective for that specific activity and the hazards you’re most likely to face, and they are suited for various circumstances. Any helmet would, in theory, protect your head from water-related risks, but one with a suitable drainage system and retention straps is more suited for activities like kayaking.

Half-Cut Kayak Helmets

A half-cut, or bowl, the helmet is worn over the ears to protect the skull and allow for effective drainage. The most popular applications for a half-cut paddling helmet are kayak touring, sea kayaking, and mild whitewater kayaking. Half-cut helmets have a very simple design that simply covers the top of your head, leaving your ears and face uncovered.

They are often ideal for leisurely paddling and modest whitewater rapids, nothing too intense since they provide basic levels of protection. One thing to bear in mind is that, although being lightweight, a half-cut kayak helmet often has the poorest fit since, other than the strap system, they just rest on top of your head. However, these are what the majority of people picture when they hear the term “kayaking helmet.”

Full-Cut Kayak Helmets

A full-cut helmet extends over the ears while yet offering the same level of protection as a half-cut. It has all the advantages of a half-cut helmet but covers more of the back and sides of the head. If you are kayaking in a cold region, it also has the advantage of providing additional ear protection. These are an improvement over half-cut helmets, covering your head and ears, and is sometimes referred to as open-face kayak helmet.

The modest redesign offers a more secure fit in addition to an overall superior safety record. Remember that using earplugs may make it harder for you to hear what’s going on around you, which might be problematic if you often paddle in a group. The impact is negligible, and in moderate whitewater conditions, I think the extra piece of protection is worthwhile.

Full-Faces Kayak Helmets

The most safety and coverage are offered by full-face kayaking helmets, which cover the whole head and lower jaw. They are most often utilized in situations when head contact is very likely, like in Class III and higher whitewater. The full-face paddling best helmet is best worn in circumstances when extra protection is necessary since they often sacrifice comfort and drainage for protection.

The maximum level of protection is provided by this particular kind of helmet. It will cover your complete head, face, and even your lower jaw, anything over your shoulders. This is the best helmet you want if you like severe water activities or the kind of kayaking where direct head impacts are possible (think Class III and above whitewater rapids). They seem similar to motorcycle best helmets, therefore I’d say they have a cool element as well.

Full-face helmets may interfere with your ability to hear and be heard, in addition to being the heaviest of the lot. Finally, it’s important to note that full-face helmets are more costly than other kinds of kayaking helmets. Given the complexity of the materials and the intricate design required to create them, it is not unusual to hear them referred to as “high-end helmets” or “whitewater helmets.”

Whitewater Kayaking Helmets Jargon Buster

Expansion Polypropylene (EPP)

Exceptional energy absorption, multiple impact resistance, thermal insulation, buoyancy, water and chemical resistance, unusually high strength to weight ratio, and 100% recyclable make up this highly adaptable closed-cell foam.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Because ABS is a thermoplastic, it liquefies at high temperatures as opposed to igniting and burning. Since it can be injection-molded and is both flexible and sturdy, it is often used in kayaking helmets.


Because of its lightweight and capacity to distribute moisture over a sizable area, enabling body heat to evaporate it and keeping the user dry, this brand name high-wicking fabric is generally utilized in sports apparel.

Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)

An elasticized closed-cell foam with rubber-like softness and flexibility is called ethylene-vinyl acetate. EVA is resistant to UV rays and breaking and has a glossy look. Also, it is waterproof. Although the substance doesn’t really include any rubber, it is sometimes referred to as foam rubber or expanded rubber. It is renowned for its buoyancy and ability to absorb trauma.

FAQs Related To Kayak Helmets

What Should The Fit Of A Kayak Helmet Be?

The fit determines the helmet’s performance nearly completely. It won’t adequately protect your head if it doesn’t fit you that well. When it comes to the fit, there are two things you should strive for. The good news is that there are a variety of sizes for a kayak helmet. Additionally, several versions feature extra adjustments to guarantee a tight fit. It’s best to gauge your forehead’s circumference and make a decision based on that measurement.

The helmet shouldn’t be too loose and slide about on your head, but it also shouldn’t be too tight either. The lining should ideally come into touch with your head at each place. The helmet should have a brim that extends beyond the nose and should completely enclose your head, including the forehead, the ears, and the base of the skull.

How Do I Know If I Bought a Kayak Helmet in the Correct Size?

The last thing you want is the best helmet with a poor fit to be the reason for your whitewater accident. You don’t want to be distracted from your paddling in order to keep your helmet in place, nor do you want it to be the accident’s contributing factor.

Because of this, finding a helmet that fits properly is essential. The helmet should be snugly comfortable and stay in place when you are moving about, which is how you can tell whether you bought the correct size. Shake your head while wearing the helmet as directed to test it.

Kayakers: Do They Wear Helmets?

Yes, helmets are used by kayakers. Kayaking is a fantastic activity, but if you’re not cautious, it might also be dangerous. It is advised that you use a kayak helmet when kayaking in order to prevent head injuries brought on by falls overboard.

It is essential to have one of these top kayaking helmets since it will shield you from several mishaps and keep your head secure in potentially hazardous circumstances like when there are waves or river rapids.

What Else Should You Look for in a Kayak Helmet?

These components must be present in the helmet you purchase. Investigate each’s attributes and qualities as well. These components include the exterior shell, straps, adjusters, and inner lining. Two foam layers are often included in the inside lining of the helmet, acting as a shock absorber to minimize the force of any bumps to your head. The head is supported by the adjusters. The straps make sure the helmet is secured in place and make it simple to modify. Because it is the helmet’s sturdy covering, the outer shell absorbs the majority of the impact.

How to Purchase a Helmet in the Correct Size?

When you wish to purchase one of their items, several manufacturers provide charts you may use as a guide. The size of your head circumference is something you should be aware of before visiting the business. To find out, all you need is a tape measure. Wrap it around your head so that the front and rear are equal in height. Your head circumference will be the end outcome. Choose the helmet that suits you the best using this measurement and the manufacturer’s guide.

Can I Kayak While Wearing A Climbing Helmet?

Yes, a climbing helmet may be worn when kayaking. Some kayakers choose to use a helmet designed for skiing or cycling. They do not, however, provide as much protection against neck injuries as full-face whitewater helmet and are not as durable.

So, should a climbing helmet be worn when kayaking? Depending on how committed you are to the game. You generally don’t need to worry about it if you’re just starting off. A climbing helmet is a wise purchase if you want to perform severe kayaking.

How Should I Care for My Kayak Helmet?

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your helmet for the best cleaning methods. The materials used in various helmet types vary. Because of this, only the helmet’s maker may advise you on how to properly clean your helmet.

The safest method for cleaning your helmet is with mild soap or water if the manufacturer hasn’t said otherwise. Unless otherwise specified, avoid using cleaning agents. After washing, let it air dry naturally without using a heat source that is too intense. To clean the linings, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


We hope that this guide has assisted you in selecting the best kayak helmets for your next expedition. You now know which kayak helmets are the best on the market and know more about the products this author thought were the best. The kayak helmet may also be helpful for a variety of aquatic sports. Only the characteristics necessary for your paddling style need to be found.

Even if none of the kayak helmet are to your liking or style, maybe this guide has shown you how to choose the best one that won’t endanger your life. Don’t forget to take into account the factors before making a purchase. Based on the recommended use, helmets have various construction, durability, and features. Given that your life is on the line, it is imperative that you take these issues into account.

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