Throw Bags, Accessories and WorkShops "Gear For Life"

WHITEWATER HELMET REVIEW

Work in Progress. Because it has been more than two years since we last conducted a helmet review, we'll be completing a current one soon. Below, are descriptions of the criteria we used. Check back in the future.

-- Jim Simmons

WHITEWATER HELMET REVIEW (completed in '09/'10)

Several ACA instructors and other whitewater paddlers used a rating form to evaluate the helmets they wear when

boating. A few of the helmets in the table had only one reviewer; others had two reviewers; and two helmets had

three reviews. The various categories on which each helmet was reviewed are listed in the left column on the

table. These factors include sizing, fit, strap adjustment, suspension system, protection of critical areas of the head,

appearance and style, and an overall rating. These reviews will provide helpful feedback to other paddlers when

choosing a whitewater helmet.

A trusty helmet is a paddler's best friend. It not only protects against impacts from rock hits and other obstacles but

provides warmth. Key areas the helmet should protect are around the ears/temple, back of the head and

especially at the forehead. River accidents have happened when a helmet flopped on the head, thus exposing

the forehead to blows when a paddler was underwater. The suspension system should be adjustable keeping the

helmet in position. Many of the current helmets on the market have 'retainer' systems that prevent the helmet

from flopping on the forehead; however many helmets still lack protection in some of the other areas mentioned

above. More brands are including additional ear protection, an extremely vulnerable area of the head.

Other factors important to paddlers are price and attractive appearance and style of the helmet.

Rating Scale Used in our Previous Review:

5--Excellent fit and function; no negative factors to the helmet

4--Good fit and function; minimum improvement needed

3--Acceptable fit and function; some improvement needed

2--Poor performance; lacking in necessary function and/or fit

1--Some negative factors; questionable recommendation of this helmet

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