Best Kayak Helmets In 2019 – Reviews

Last Updated on

We’ll be giving you a review of the best kayak helmets of 2018, whether it’s for whitewater, adventures or purely for recreational purposes, these helmets are made to protect your face and head from some of nature’s brutal forces. Let’s do a little detour, and talk a little about this sport (kayaking), before we jump into the main article about the best helmets suitable for your kayaking.

Kayaking are of different types, we have:

  1. The flat water kayaking
  2. The whitewater kayaking
  3. The sea kayaking, and
  4. The recreational kayaking.

While engaging in any one of those above-listed types of kayaking, it is advisable to ensure your safety ( as above anything else, that should come first), and you’ll do right by yourself, by investing wisely in one of the helmets for your preferred style of kayaking.

Not so long ago, these helmets looked exactly just the same, and there was no real need to seek out a specific helmet for a specific kind of kayaking, but today, things have changed, and what we had in the past is no more what is obtainable today, what we have today in modern day kayaking is the various styles in which these helmets come in, and also, there’s always something that your budget can accommodate.

Purchasing a kayak helmet is as important as when you’re making a purchase of the kayak itself, and this article is to help guide you through choosing the suitable one for you. A few known and trustworthy brands have been added to the list (Sweet Protection and WRSI), as well as those for beginners (NP Surf Watersports and Osprey).


Due to the fact that we have different head shapes and sizes, finding one that would perfectly snug your head can be challenging. Then you also put into consideration your use, would it be for the class 5 rapids multiple times a year, or would it be for that cool backwater a few times a year?

When purchasing an helmet, you should ensure that it covers from your head to the base of your skull. You also want to make sure it covers and protects the entirety of your forehead. You need to make sure it protrudes enough to protect your nose in case of any impact to the face.

Kayak helmets have ABS and Polypropylene in their outer shell with an EVA foam or Coolmax interior. That is why sitting atop our list of helmets of 2020 is the WRSI Watersports; why? Because it has a combination of a highly protective design and also, it comes with high performing materials and it comes at a cool price, too.

For the grades four and five kayakers, you’d need to be looking at Sweet Protection. Although their helmets can be dear, but just like the WRSI Watersports , they’re technically advanced, and they deliver supreme protection during extreme forms of kayaking.

9 Best Kayak Helmet Comparisons

ImageProduct NamePrimary MaterialWeightPrice
Rocker HC Helmet for KayakRocker HC HelmetCarbon Fiber2.4 pounds Check Latest Price
Gath GediGath Gedi HelmetCarbon Fiber2 pounds Check Latest Price
Sweet Protection HelmetSweet Protection StrutterThermoplastic1.8 pounds Check Latest Price
WRSI Trident Kayak HelmetWRSI Trident CompositeCarbon Composite4.67 pounds Check Latest Price
Rocker HC Helmet for KayakShred Ready Standard Full-FaceRugged ABS Shell2 pounds Check Latest Price
Shred Ready Standard FullfcutShred Ready Standard FullfcutABS Injection Shell2 pounds Check Latest Price
Protec Wake Protec Wake HelmetsABS Injection Shell2 pounds Check Latest Price
Tontron Water Helmet Tontron Water Helmet ABS Outer Shell2 pounds Check Latest Price
NRS Havoc Livery Helmet for KayakNRS Havoc LiveryABS plastic1 pounds Check Latest Price

Best Kayak Helmet in 2020 – Reviews

Now, let’s check out our list of kayaking helmets.


This is an all-rounder for a variety of kayaking pursuits.


  • Liner material: EVA foam
  • Shell material: ABS Plastic, Polyurethane
  • Sizes: S/M, M/L, L/XL. 

Reasons to buy this Kayak Helmet

  • Three-layer impact absorption
  • O-Brace harness for a compatible fit
  •   Flow-through visor to protect from harsh rain 

Reasons not to buy

  • Matt finishes and is prone to scratches. 


If you seek a helmet that comes at a superior quality and at a pocket-friendly price, the WRSI, which stands for Whitewater Research and Safety Institute, is the one for you.

The Current Watersports tops the list of helmets to buy in 2020 because of what it offers: a three-layer impact absorption through its lightweight yet high-impact carbon composite shell. With its EVA foam liner, it is sure to protect your head when kayaking.

Its interlinked straps do well to hold it securely in place when facing adversities by whitewater. The O-Brace harness helps you position it comfortably and safely on your head.

It also has a removable ear protection (which is made of tough plastic and an exterior EVA foam padding) feature, that serves to protect you from rushing water and splashes, and the flow-through visor that guards your eyes from harsh sun and rain. Cool, right?

Click Here to Check The Price Of WRSI 10 on Amazon



This helmet is good for whitewater adventures.

Specifications For This Kayaking Helmets

  • Liner material: Coolmax
  • Shell material: ABS Plastic, Polpropylene
  • Sizes: S/M, M/L, L/XL 

Reasons to buy

  • Neck hugging back
  • Coolmax foam inner keeps your head cool 

Reasons not to buy

  •  None 


Sweet Protection helmets are one of the most sought-after brands for whitewater adventures, and the wanderer is a classic. Since its first release in the year 2008 to wild positive acclaim. It has been severally updated ever since its release.

The Wanderer features provide you with some protection from the harshness of the sun and rain, as well as an extra layer of safeguarding for your nose if you get to hit the water face-on.

Its direct ventilation design ensures water quickly drains from it and increases breathability. A moisture-wicking Coolmax Liner also keeps sweat and clamminess far from you in a warm weather kayaking.

EPP Shock Absorption technology is another good reason why the Wanderer is one of our top choices in 2020. It’ll keep your head safe from multiple low-energy blows in the water, with twin CRP reinforcements around the crown of the helmet, increasing protection and rigidity. This gear comes with a 2-year warranty and a customer service backing.

Click Here to Check The Price Of SWEET PROTECTION Kayak Helmets on Amazon



A beginner and pocket-friendly helmet for flatwater kayaking.


  • Liner material: EVA foam
  • Shell material: ABS Plastic
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L 


Reasons to buy

  • CE approved
  • EVA absorption technology 

Reasons not to buy

  • Long loop on straps 


If you plan on taking your first few tumultuous turns on the rapids, this ultra light-weight watersports helmet will keep your head safe. It’s a great all-rounder and it is not only for kayaking, but it can also be used for other water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, and other high-velocity watersports.

It is CE approved and features an impact-resistant ABS shell for a better protection. A non-water absorbing EVA inner enhances comfort and also helps keep sweat and water at bay.

Its air vent feature keeps you cool during warm weather kayaking, and its adjustable chin straps and removable ear pads deliver a custom fit.


Click Here to Check The Price Of NP SURF Kayaking HELMET on Amazon



This is one of the most advisable kayaking helmet for whitewater runs.


  • Liner material: Coolmax
  • Shell material: ABS Plastic, TLC, Polypropylene
  • Sizes: M/L, L/XL

Reasons to buy

  • High-performance for rough conditions
  • Shatter-resistant visor
  • EPP shock absorption technology 

Reasons not to buy

  • Expensive 


The Sweet Protection’s Rocker is designed for really rough conditions, conditions such as the grades 4 and 5 rivers that only hardcore kayakers dare to explore.

The TLC shell is made up of an injection-molded thermoplastic with a carbon fiber that offers protection (on a high level) for the different areas of the head.

It also makes this list of helmets to buy in 2020 because of its Occigrip make-up, which delivers a firm fit so that the helmet doesn’t fall off or rotate on your head when you’re in motion.


Click Here to Check The Price Of Sweet Protection Helmets on Amazon



This helmet is ideal for recreational kayaking and also for leisurely touring holidays.



  • Liner material: EVA and EPS   S
  • hell material: ABS
  • Sizes: S, M, L 


Reasons to buy

  • Its ventilated design keeps you cool
  • Adjustable fitting design 

Reasons not to buy

  • Not suitable for whitewater 


Osprey’s affordable and colorful offering is ideal for those who partake in kayaking majorly for leisurely purposes. This helmet is recommended for beginners and anyone looking for an easy-to-wear head protection during a gentle kayaking tour.

A huge amount of air vents allow heat to escape, as this keeps you cool and also, water is drained vertically if at any time you get in the water. Its snug headlock and chin pad, plus an adorable strap do well to keep the helmet in place at all times.

Click Here to Check The Price Of OSPREY on Amazon


  1. Gath Gedi Helmet

Made by an Australian company, saw its first release in the year 1989 when wearing a helmet in the waves was quite new. But surfers trying to push the boundaries of kayaking on heavier waves and with tow-in surfing, the benefits of this gear became manifest. Today, Gath helmets are the choice for professional water sportsmen, marine rescue personnel, and heavy water enthusiasts world around.

Gath Gedi helmet

The Gath Gedi is a CE approved whitewater helmet. Its shell is constructed from a UV-stable, high-impact ABS that is designed to flex on impact, making it absorb force the same way plastic bumpers and crumple zones in cars do. Its neutral buoyancy and good immersion characteristics reduce the chance of head injuries.

The Gath Gedi is fitted with an extra layer of impact protection for the forehead. Its removable ear pockets allow the user change from skull cap style to full coverage when they want to, these ear pockets also have adjustable audio vents. It gives comfort, with a closed-cell foam liner and headband that give a snug, cushiony fit.

Click Here to Check The Price Of Gath Gedi Whitewater Kayaking Helmets on Amazon


The chain strap webbing also comes with foam to prevent chafing. The Gath Gedi can be paired with a range of accessories like camera mounts, full face protectors, and visors. The helmet comes at the high price rang, and with a 3-year guarantee and a 20-year safety record. It is worth the buy!


Reasons to buy Gath Gedi

  •   very light and comfortable
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • A leading brand in performance 

Reasons not to buy

  • Sizing runs very small 

The Strutter helmet by Sweet Protection is a favorite among whitewater boaters and has been for the past two decades. It is a lightweight, low-volume helmet that captures the classic baseball cap design and also comes with a computerized 3D shape.


It is certified for protection in water for up to class 4. This helmet features a long fiber thermoplastic shell that takes a combination of polyamide with long fiberglass strands to produce an exceptional impact resistance at a low volume. Extra protection comes from the carbon fiber reinforced polymer insert on the interior of the shell.

The EVA liner absorbs shock and has high-memory fit characteristics, allowing it to form to the user’s shape of head for better comfort. It also has a low temperature cracking resistant feature.

Although a full-coverage protection is preferred, many boaters opt for Strutter for its classic profile and super lightweight. The baseball cap design itself naturally removes potential pressure and pinch points, and the helmet is very easy to put on and take off.

It is fitted with comfort pads, and its Occigrip adjustment system enables you to snug the helmet so it does not shake or roll.

It is a very high-quality helmet and its price tag shows it.


Click Here to Check The Price Of SWEET PROTECTION on Amazon



This top-shelf model helmet by the Shred Ready ABS helmet line gives the highest level of protection available. It is strong, light, comfortable, and it is also one of the most affordable full-face helmets out there.

The EPP liner material fused with the closed-cell foam custom fit pads gives this helmet a snug, cushioned fit. Just like the ABS shell, the liner is also made to handle multiple impacts, making it a durable helmet. Shred easy

The Shred Ready Standard full-face helmet has the Shred Ready’s HOG dial adjustment rear retention strap system that allows for a precise fit with the different head shapes, but this isn’t necessary since the custom fit pads have been adjusted to match the individual unique head shapes. The details and comfort of this helmet are excellent, as with other Shred Ready’s helmets.

This helmet gives the full protection needed for creeking and paddling shallow, rocky rivers. It also is a cool design. Although, as with all full-face helmets, fitting is crucial, and since the helmet encloses the head’s entirety, there is a greater possibility of having pressure points and discomforts. Restricted vision poses another problem.

With this full-face model (and other full-face helmet models available), you’d need to make certain that the helmet fits your specific head shape, and is comfortable for long wears. If the helmet sits perfectly on your head, the Shred Ready Full face is a good option for you.


Reason to buy

  • American made
  • Stylish protection and at low price
  • Has a 1-year warranty 


Reason not to buy

  • None 
Click Here to Check The Price Of SHRED READY on Amazon




The shred Ready FullCut helmet has the same design as another popular helmet, the standard HalfCut, although, the Shred Ready FullCut helmet comes with some added extensions that drop down to provide some ear protection.

The FullCut model is built around an injection-molded ABS shell that gives great protection and durability at an affordable price. It is light on the head, and also, it is secure, having a snug, comfortable fit that is provided by EPP (expanded polypropylene) line and closed-cell foam fitting pads. The liner was designed to retain its protective qualities even after multiple impacts.

The liner is covered by soft, plush materials that add comfort to the head of the wearer; and the fitting pads hook to the liner for easy custom fit adjustments.

There’s also a micro-adjustable retention strap system that runs across the back of the head just below the trim of the helmet, this allows the helmet fit to be dialed in for different users, and it prevents the helmet from being easily knocked off.

Just like all Shred Ready Whitewater helmets, the Fullcut was designed with hard use in mind. It has excellent detailing, the rivets and metal fittings made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The straps, made form nylon webbing, are soft, and the buckles and fasteners are hewed from strong Duraplex plastic. The drain and vent holes are well-positioned, and ventilation in the ear-guard areas of the helmet enables you to hear what’s going on.

The general aesthetics of the Shred Ready Fullcut is sleek, chic, and modern, with the built-up ridges on the shell over foreseeable impact areas. It’s an American brand that comes with a 1-year warranty on both materials and workmanship. An economical helmet that is worth the bucks.

Click Here to Check The Price Of SHRED READY FullCut on Amazon



Reason to buy

  •  High-quality build details
  • Stylish yet strong and comfortable
  • Economically modest 

Reasons to buy

  •   Its cable rear fit adjustment system looks poor. 
Click Here to Check The Price Of SHRED READY FullCut Kayak Helmets on Amazon



This helmet shares a class with the ABS shell helmet with an EVA foam liner. Its rear dial-strap size adjustment system allows you to tune the fit snugly to accommodate different head shapes, and its removable ear protection pads allow the wearer to adapt the helmet to different conditions and temperature ranges.

The helmet is well drained and vented, with 11 large openings spread across the top and the back of the shell. Its quick ability to drain water makes it suitable for other water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, and of course, kayaking.

tontron water helmet

The helmet is very comfortable and is moderately lightweight for an ABS helmet. But what makes it more interesting is its other peculiar features. It is fitted with an integrated GoPro mount on the front. Rail mounts are placed on each side of the helmet, just above the earpiece, which allows for mounting LED lights.

When everything is fully mounted, the helmet comes looking like a caving or mountaineering helmet, but without all the extra accessories, it looks reasonably sleek. Its hard plastic mounts on the outside of the shell serve as additional impact bumpers. This helmet is the most prolific of all the listed helmets and considering its price, it is one you should invest in.

Click Here to Check The Price Of Tontron Water Kayak Helmet on Amazon


Reason to buy

  • Comfortable full-wrap liner
  • Great price
  • Camera and light mounting features
  • Removable ear-guards 


Reason not to buy

  •   No fitting pads. 

This product by Northwest River Supply is a simple, lightweight ABS helmet with a closed-cell EVA liner. Its design gives an excellent impact protection, with 6 large vent ports that give a good flow and quick drainage.

This is a regular, low priced helmet that meets the standards for whitewater safety set by CE. With its fitted comfort pads and a ratchet-adjust dial system that allows just about any adult use the same helmet, the Havoc helmet is basically a one-size-fits-all product.

NRS kayak helmet

It is called livery because it is the choice of many whitewater guide outfitters and kayak rental companies.

Its hardware and strap systems are simple and sturdy as you’d expect from a helmet that is designed to be worn by many people who go on hundreds of river runs every season.

And while this helmet does not offer the kind of protection needed by extreme creek boaters and river runners, its affordable price and versatility makes it a good option for users who need multiple helmets – example, when you need enough helmets to go round when you’re taking friends down the mellow backwater, or for a family adventurous moments.

Click Here to Check The Price Of NRS LIVERY Helmets on Amazon

Reason to buy

  •  Economical
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Great quality. 


Reasons not to buy

  • Narrow chin strap in need of more padding
  • Provides minimal protection or warmth. 



Although the ProTec Ace Wake Helmet is considered a wakeboard helmet, it is worth taking a look at because of its reputation as one of the pioneering skateboard and water sports helmet manufacturer.

This helmet is popular among kitesurfers, paddlers, and wakeboarders for its ultra-fast draining feature provided by 15 large vent holes.

The design of this ABS helmet did not disappoint, rather, it showed the refinement that comes from decades in the water sports business. Removable ear guards provide you with a fully protected feeling, and they also come with water channels that keep things clear around the ears.

It has a dual-density liner system that gives extra padding where it is necessary, and it is very comfortable, offering a snug fit that can be locked in with the Headlock fit system.

Click Here to Check The Price Of Protec Ace on Amazon

This system functions quite well without appearing too conspicuous or seemingly laden with accessories. Its chin strap is simple and can be easily adjusted. The foam padding keeps it from biting and chafing.

The highly-colorful Ace models like the red, orange and blue come with a built-in accessory mount strap on the rear . The ProTec helmet is a solid one from a trusted manufacturer.


Reasons to buy

  • Solid and has a good padded feel
  • Fast draining
  • Well-designed ear guards 


Reason not to buy

  • Rear adjustment strap edge dig into the back of the neck. 



Bern Watts is a great watersports gear if you’re looking for something fun to do on the water in the summertime. Matte black, matte navy blue, satin white and several other colors it is available in. It’s also available in different sizes. The Bern brought asteroid and meteoroid fit in this spectacularly new product.

The two-hole mount situated in the rear of the shell makes it cooler. This baseball cap inspired offers features that are relevant to kayakers.

bern kayak element 2019

There are tons of things to talk about on this product, apart from the fact that it has a visor that was baseball inspired. It is made of a tried and tested thin shell ABS/EPS hard foam construction that comes with a team fit system and watts fits. It is comfortable to wear.

The watts thin shell passes the skate and snow safety certifications to make it a multi-purpose helmet.

Reason to buy

  • Supports multiple activities
  • Stylishly designed
  • Reasonably priced
  • Available in several colors
  • Two-hole mount on the rear of the shell
  • Thin shell provides the balance of hard ABS with interior EPS foam thickness
  • Tried and tested technology
  • Baseball cap inspired. 


Click Here to Check The Price Of Berns Summer Helmet on Amazon

Choosing the Best

To reiterate on how to choose the perfect helmets.

Paddling your kayak or your canoe on a whitewater or surf is truly a great experience. Although, it has many potentially fatal unforeseen accidents that could happen. It is not uncommon to find the boat heading down the wrong path, down a rocky river.

It is also not uncommon to get hit by paddles on the head when with a group of people paddling. What you need is a high-quality helmet that would serve to protect you from these potentially harmful situations.

Now, how do you choose one?

Check the retention system:

A good fitting helmet should have a comfortable retention strap. These straps should be easy to adjust so that you can balance them without needing to change the position on your head. It should also contain webs and have at least four anchor points. Each side should have two anchor points. The straps should be designed in a way that they can hold it firmly in place on your head without moving.

The fit of the helmet

There are several helmets out there, and this you can tell by the number listed above (and these are just a few of the many sold in the market), but unfortunately, not all of these will give you the protection you need. A good one should be able to fit on your head perfectly. It should cover your head down to the base of your skull. It must extend past your ears, cover your forehead, and stretch past your nose.


Helmets generally come in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. A small one has a circumference ranging from 53 to 55 centimeters, while a medium-sized ranges from 56 to 58 centimeters. A large and extra-large ones size between 59 and 61 centimeters.

Put into consideration the type of paddling you’ll be doing:

Your paddling type will determine what bonus feature you’d want to look out for when buying a helmet. If you love doing tricks and rolls, you may need something that has holes in it, for an ultra-fast draining, so that water will not gain entry into the head. If you are in a group paddling, you might need one that is able to contain hard hits from the sticks. The ones with ear flaps that are adjustable is a good option if you are paddling in freezing cold conditions. Ear flaps also provide insulation.

The helmet’s durability

A good helmet should be able to withstand any type of force that it might come in contact with. You want a one that will not crack with a single hit from a paddling stick. It should have a strong shell that can resist any impact and be able to take hits and crashes over a long period of time. Never buy a second-hand helmet!

Cost of the helmet

This is one thing you should also consider during your purchase (not above the helmet’s safety, though). You could be tricked into paying for low-quality ones at a cheap price. The most advisable thing to do is have a list of five from different makers and check their individual prices, and then compare them. Stay away from those that have low prices than the others on your list. Take into consideration the features of each and your preferences before you make any decision.

Picking a helmet for your next kayaking adventure is really vital. Protecting your head should be a major concern for you, and you need to buy wisely, particularly when buying for kids. Choose based on the protection they give and not on their aesthetics, money, and size. Be safe and buy wisely!


A complete helmet should come fitted with:

  • An outer shell
  • Straps
  • Adjusters and,
  • Inner lining 

The outer shell of the helmet takes the impacts. A quality helmet should have a hard shell to effectively diffuse the force of an impact. The inner lining should be made up of foam. The layer near the shell should be able to absorb most of the impact and disperse it before it reaches the head. The second layer of the inner lining provides you with comfort.


The straps should be able to keep the helmet firmly in place on your head at all times. The adjusters on the helmet should provide extra support and security to the head. Most water sports injuries are mostly caused by head injuries, this is why it is vital that you wear a helmet (not just any helmet) at all time (when kayaking, or during any other water sporting event) to be protected in case of an accident.

Hello, I am John. A certified kayak trainer in the U.S. This blog was put together to document the kayaks and other product I use or come about when Kayaking, skiing, hiking, camping and engaging in other outdoor activities. I live in Colorado with my wife an two children.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply