8 Best Kayak Helmets 2022 – Top Picks For Whitewater

Kayaking is a sport that can be enjoyed at whatever pace you want. If you are looking for a thrilling and exhilarating experience then whitewater kayaking is all you are looking for. But whatever kind of paddling you choose, it is always best to stay safe. And the best way to accomplish that is by wearing a helmet on every trip.

If you want to be safe while enjoying your next whitewater adventure then you need to stay and read further; because I am about to share some of the best kayak helmets I have ever come across. You can go through the entire list and settle for the one with the best snug fit. Now, without wasting any more of your time, let us get down to business!

Best Kayak Helmets Comparison Table

WRSI Trident
WRSI Trident
  • Type: Full cut
  • Material: Carbon composite
  • Weight: 1.45 lbs
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Best Value For Money
NRS Havoc
NRS Havoc
  • Type: Half cut
  • Material: ABS plastic
  • Weight: 1 lbs
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Best Full Cut
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
NRS Chaos
  • Type: Full cut
  • Material: ABS plastic
  • Weight: 1.94 lbs
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Best Full Face Kayak Helmet
GoPro Hero 7
WRSI Moment
  • Type: Full Face
  • Material: ABS plastic with a polyurethane sub-shell
  • Weight: 2 lbs
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Multisports Helmet
Bern Watts Helmet
BERN Summer Watts
  • Type: Half cut
  • Material: ABS outer shell and an EPS foam lining
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
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Best For Extreme Conditions
Tontron Adult
Sweet Protection Rocker
  • Type: Full Face
  • Material: Thermoplastic laminated carbon fiber
  • Weight: 2.65 lbs
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Whitewater Helmet
Dagger Sweet Rocker
Dagger Sweet Rocker
  • Type: Full Cut
  • Material: ABS plastic and Carbon fiber
  • Weight: 1 kg
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Top 8 Best Kayak Helmets For Whitewater Reviews

1. WRSI Trident – Best Overall Kayak Helmet

WRSI Trident Helmet is one of the best kayak helmets that I have ever had the fortune to come across. It is simply the most perfect helmet with all the right features to go with it. It is super lightweight with a total weight of one pound and comes in various sizes. It has a Polyurethane subshell and a soft EVA lining on the inside.

The easily adjustable strap will allow you to fit this helmet perfectly on your head so that during kayaking, when your hands are already full, worrying about adjusting your helmet shall be the least of your concerns. It means that this helmet will not affect your efficiency or effectiveness in the sport at all.

Apart from that, this helmet is extremely comfortable and super lightweight. So, if you suffer from headaches due to all that extra burden of your helmet on your head then I suggest you consider buying this helmet and say goodbye to this impossible headache problem once and for all. Besides, it goes a long way in providing you ultimate protection from unfortunate and accidental injuries to your skull during sporting.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Superb build
  • Sublime quality


What We Didn’t Like

  • Some users faced sizing issues from the manufacturers

Bottom Line

So, if you are looking for the best kayak helmets, I suggest you try out the WRSI Trident Helmet. It is an excellent choice for all kayakers who don’t prefer a full-face helmet. It is lightweight and comes with an adjustable chin strap. However, you might want to try out the helmet at the shop to confirm it fits before you pay the money because a lot of people complain about the wrong sizing chart issued by the manufacturers.

Read: Standard Whitewater Kayaking Terms

2. NRS HAVOC – Best Value Budget Option

NRS HAVOC is one of the best kayaking helmets I have ever had the fortune to use. This specific helmet has a total weight of 1 pound and comes in four beautiful colors. The outer material of this helmet is made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. The dimensions of this complete package are around ‎12.2 x 9.6 x 8.4 inches in L x W x H.

The one thing I like the best about this helmet is that the straps are super adjustable which means that a single helmet can be worn by more than one person. This feature works especially well for those who can not afford to buy a separate helmet for each member.

Furthermore, the insides are lined with thick plush pads to provide you maximum protection against high-impact hits. It is super durable and extremely lightweight which means that you can keep wearing it for hours without feeling heavy in the head.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Super lightweight
  • Thick padded inlines


What We Didn’t Like

  • Improper fittings can result in discomfort

Bottom Line

So, if you are looking for the best kayak helmet, I suggest you try out the NRS HAVOC kayak helmet. However, just make sure that you get a proper size with or without strap adjustments, otherwise, you are bound to feel a little discomfort.

Also Check: Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayaks

3. NRS CHAOS – Best Full Cut Kayak Helmet

NRS CHAOS is yet another excellent option for all of you currently searching for the best whitewater kayak helmets. It has a total weight of 1.94 pounds and measures 12 x 10 x 9 inches in L x W x H. It is available in five different colors and various different sizes. The outer material is made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and inlines with thick protective pads.

Moreover, this kayak helmet has eight ventilation vents perfectly positioned to enable maximum air ventilation to keep the head temperature close to normal. This particular feature helps reduce sweating and heat accumulation during hot summers.

Furthermore, it has an adjustable chin strap that helps you get a perfect fit so that while riding, your helmet will be the least of your concerns. Thus, it increases efficiency. On the other hand, it is super lightweight and the thick pads provide maximum protection in case you hit your head directly.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Good breathability
  • Ingenuously positioned vents


What We Didn’t Like

  • A little overpriced

Bottom Line

So, if you are looking for the best kayak helmet I would highly recommend you to check out the NRS CHAOS Kayak helmet. It might be a little more expensive than most kayak helmets but the results are totally worth every dime you pay for it. Although I have used NRS Havoc as well, I’d always prefer NRS Chaos over it.

4. WRSI MOMENT – Best Full Face Kayak Helmet

WRSI MOMENT is the best full-face kayak helmet you will ever come across. It has a total weight of 2 pounds and comes in three different colors. Apart from that, it is available in two different sizes and has an adjustable chin strap.

Furthermore, the most distinguishing feature of this particular helmet is that it provides full face protection including the cheeks and the chin. So, in case you ever get into an accident, you can rest assured that your jaw will stay intact.

To allow for air ventilation, this helmet has two air vents positioned near the ear on each side of the helmet. This will help get the heat out of the helmet and fresh cool air in, thus reducing the chances of increased head temperature during a hot summer day.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Provides full face protection
  • Excellent ventilation


What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

So, the WRSI MOMENT kayak helmet will turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened in your life. At first, you may feel like you are paying too much for just a helmet but, trust me, every single penny you spend on it will be absolutely worth it.

5. Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet

Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet is yet another alternative for all of you looking for the best kayak helmets. It has a total weight of 0.5 kilograms and measures 8.7 x 7.3 x 6.9 inches in L x W x H. The outer material of this helmet is a combination of ‎Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Carbon Fiber. Besides, it is available in various different colors and sizes.

The hard and tough outer material coupled with EVA foam inlines acts as a shell to protect your skull from the high-impact blow, thus giving you the ultimate protection you need. Plus, the protection pads are removable which means that you can remove them for washing purposes as well as for size adjustments.

Apart from all that, this particular kayak helmet has eleven air vents, ingenuously positioned at points to provide the most efficient air circulation on a hot summer day. It helps keep your head temperature cool and normal which ultimately increases your efficiency.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Excellent protection against high impact blows
  • Good air ventilation


What We Didn’t Like

  • May feel uncomfortable if not properly sized

Bottom Line

So, if you are still searching for the perfect kayak helmet I suggest you consider the Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet. It is an extremely reliable choice and will benefit you in the long run. However, make sure that you get a properly sized one because otherwise, you might struggle with uncomfortable fittings.

6. BERN Summer Watts EPS Helmet

BERN, Summer Watts EPS Helmet is yet another wonderful option that measures ‎11.14 x 9.37 x 6.93 inches in L x W x H and has a total weight of 1.4 pounds. The outer shell is made up of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and the inlines are composed of expanded polystyrene. It comes in five different colors and various different sizes.

Speaking about the positions and locations of air vents, they are ingeniously placed at the front and the back of the helmet. Fresh air enters the helmet through the front vents and the stale air leaves through the back vents.

Moreover, the chin strap is easily adjustable, thus giving you a perfect fit so that the helmet won’t come loose while you are in the middle of kayaking. Furthermore, the hard outer shell combined with the soft inner lining will provide you with all the protection you can possibly need.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Excellent quality
  • Reliable protection


What We Didn’t Like

  • Sizing issue

Bottom Line

Based on my own personal experience with this helmet, I would recommend you carefully pick the size because an improperly sized helmet will prove to be a true nightmare. Otherwise, the BERN, Summer Watts EPS Helmet is perfect in all respects.

7. Sweet Protection Rocker Full Face Helmet

Sweet Protection Rocker Helmet is one of the best full-face protection kayak helmets I have ever come across. It is one of the best alternatives for the WRSI Moment full-face helmet. It has a total weight of 2.65 pounds and measures ‎17 x 11 x 10 inches in L x W x H. The outer material is made of ABS+CF/GF-EPP and the inline is composed of expanded polystyrene. It is available in various sizes.

The most distinguishing feature of this helmet is its very own design. It has an all-face protection design that effectively covers the entire face and head including the ears, cheeks, and chin. The beautiful design is guaranteed to fetch you a great many compliments!

Apart from that, the wonderful air ventilation system is worth the praise. It has various vents on the entire surface of the helmet to provide the most efficient air circulation. Surprisingly, this helmet also has an air vent on the chin, which lets fresh air inside the helmet more quickly and conveniently.

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Excellent quality
  • Breathtakingly beautiful design


What We Didn’t Like

  • Not very budget-friendly

Bottom Line

So, for a person who doesn’t have much of a problem paying a high price for a kayak helmet then this is the one for you. However, if you are running on a budget then I suggest you look for another alternative on this list. All in all, you will not regret the money you spend on it.

8. Dagger Sweet Rocker Kayaking Helmet

Dagger Sweet Rocker Kayaking Helmet is the last item on my list. It has a total weight of 1.02 Kilograms and measures ‎11 x 7.5 x 8 inches in L x W x H. The outer shell is made up of a combination of ABS plastic and Carbon fiber. It comes in various sizes and is suitable for both men and women.

Moreover, this particular kayak helmet is super comfortable and lightweight which means that it will not overburden your head with all that unnecessary weight typical of most kayak helmets. Besides, the fact that this helmet comes in various sizes and that the chin strap is easily adjustable ensures a perfect fit.

However, apart from all these amazing qualities, this helmet is specifically different from most helmets. The Coolmax liner of this helmet is made up of an anti-allergenic and moisture-wicking material that will effectively keep your skin cool, fresh, and rash-free all day long, good news for people suffering from different skin allergies

What We Liked

  • Highly durable
  • Beautiful design
  • Moisture-wicking quality


What We Didn’t Like

  • A bit expensive

Bottom Line

The Dagger Sweet Rocker Kayaking Helmet is no doubt one of the best kayak helmets available in the market even though it is a little overpriced. So, if you can afford to pay the price then I suggest you get your hands on this beauty as soon as possible because you will not regret your purchase decision one bit.

Why Should You Wear A Kayaking Helmet?

We are all well aware of the fact that kayaking comes with a myriad of its own safety risks which can prove to be life-threatening in extreme cases. Whether it is a hobby or a necessity, it is always a good idea to be careful and take all the precautions advised by the experts. One of these safety precautions includes wearing a helmet at all times while kayaking.

Kayaking involves paddling a small boat across deep as well as shallow waters at high speed. High tides or top speed over shallow waters may result in mishaps including capsizing of your boat in which case you run at a terrible risk of hitting your head and getting deep internal injuries which may cause immediate unconsciousness and ultimate death right there and then. However, wearing a good helmet will protect your skull from all such sudden high-impact blows and keep you very much alive.

Pertaining to all the risks and uncertainties associated with deep water bodies, you should wear a kayaking helmet even if you intend to ride slow. To reduce your discomfiture, try to find yourself a lightweight and perfectly fitted helmet with a hard outer shell and soft inner lining. Plus, it must have at least two air vents to provide you with efficient air ventilation otherwise, you are bound to suffer from excessive sweating and heat accumulation within the helmet which will only add to your discomfort.

How To Wear A Kayaking Helmet

If you are wondering how to wear a kayaking helmet you need to know which one to buy first. If you are running on a tight budget, your first attempt would be to use any other helmet you possess for kayaking as well, which might also work for a while. However, the safest option is to save up enough money to buy yourself a good quality kayak helmet even if it’s not included in my list of the best kayak helmets. To help you find the best helmet within your tight budget constraints, the following are a few pointers on this topic that might help you immensely.

  • When you wear your helmet on your head, there should be a two-finger gap between your eyebrows and the rim of your helmet and not an inch more or less.
  • Tighten your chin strap enough that you can comfortably fit two fingers through it. If it is too tight, you might feel uncomfortable and unnecessarily overburdened. However, if it is too loose, the helmet may come off loose during kayaking, which might mess with your efficiency.
  • You must ensure that you get a perfectly sized and fitted helmet so that it covers all the vulnerable parts of your skull and face including the back of your head, temples, and forehead.
  • You must try on different sizes and designs of helmets to understand what works and feels the best to you. Your helmet should feel uncomfortable at all, so be very selective while making the ultimate decision.

Types of Kayaking Helmets

Kayaking helmets are divided and then subdivided into different categories based on design, the materials they are made of, and much more. However, the three broad categories are Full Cut Kayak Helmets, Low Cut Kayak Helmets, and Full Face Helmets.

Full Cut Kayak Helmets

The full-cut kayak helmets are designed to provide maximum protection to the users. They extend lower towards the back of your head and cover your ears. However, full-cut kayak helmets are known to cause a little discomfort to the users due to tight-fitting and are known to be a little heavier than low-cut kayaking helmets. Whitewater kayakers are advised to wear full-cut kayak helmets owing to the increased protection and higher risks associated with whitewater kayaking.

Half Cut Kayaking Helmets

Unlike a full-cut kayaking helmet, a half-cut kayaking helmet does not provide full head protection to the user. Instead, they just cover the head above the ears. The main reason why they are preferred over a full-cut kayak helmet is that they are a lot lighter and looser than them, and most kayakers feel a lot more comfortable in them. However, white water kayakers are never advised to wear a low-cut kayaking helmet.

Full Face Kayaking Helmets

A full-face kayak helmet provides the greatest protection among the three as it covers the entire head, including the chin and the cheeks. They do not feel very comfortable and are a lot heavier than the other two which is why full-face kayak helmets are worn only when the risk of injury is far greater to ignore.

Buying Guide

Considering all the alternatives available in the market these days, you are bound to feel a little confused and slightly disoriented with regards to making the best possible decision. However, the rules for buying the best kayak helmet are simple. You just need a few tiny details before settling on one. To make things easier for you, I have combined a list of some of the properties the best kayak helmets possess. Go through them one by one and thank me later.

1. Choose An Appropriate Type

You must know that there are three types of kayaking helmets i.e., a full face kayaking helmet, a low cut kayaking helmet, and a low cut kayaking helmet. Each one has its own merits. You must consider your need and personal preference before settling for one. For further clarification on each type of kayaking helmet, I refer to the paragraph ‘Types Of Kayaking Helmets’ as covered above. Try to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of helmet and then select the most appropriate one.

2. Consider The Conditions

The kind of helmet you need to buy also depends upon the conditions under which you intend to wear it. For whitewater kayaking, you are recommended to wear a full-face kayaking helmet because the risk of you hitting your head is far greater. However, if you intend to wear it while using waveski or playboat and doing tricks, then I suggest you buy a helmet that has lots of vents that will drain out the water as soon as it falls on your head.

3. Make Sure It Fits Properly

A kayaking helmet worth a thousand dollars won’t do you any good if it does not fit you properly and comfortably. You need to be extra careful with the sizing and fittings before you buy yourself a new helmet. So, to ensure a good fit, I suggest you try out different helmets to find out what works best for you and what feels most comfortable. Otherwise, you may end up buying a helmet that is either too big or too small for your size.

4. Consider The Construction Materials

You must also consider the construction materials very thoroughly before you settle on a single kayak helmet because it also defines what you can expect to get out of them. These helmets are either made of composite materials or thermoplastics. Composite materials are used typically in high-end kayaking helmets and are usually stiffer and more lightweight than the others. On the other hand, mid to lower-end helmets are made of thermoplastic material but are heavier and more flexible.

5. Check The Retention System

Your helmet must be and feel secure which is why it is very important to check the retention system before you buy it; it must be highly comfortable. A kayaking helmet must have sufficient padding, especially on the straps, to provide you maximum protection and comfort. The best kayak helmet has a greater number of points of contact, two or more adjusters, and webbing supports to ensure a perfect, secure, and comfortable fit.

6. Air And Water Vents

The best kayak helmet is the one that has lots of vents to enable efficient air circulation on a hot summer day. This will reduce the risk of your head temperature getting dangerously high. Moreover, if you plan on using waveski or playboats for going tricks, then large amounts of water will fall on your heat. This water will drain out of your helmet quickly if it has lots of vents. So, if you ever feel confused between two kayak helmets and can’t seem to decide which one to buy, I suggest you get the one with the highest number of vents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I wear a Kayak helmet at all times?

Yes, you must wear a kayak helmet at all times because it gives you the protection that you desperately need in the waters. Kayaking is no doubt an excellent sport, however, it can prove to be fatal if you don’t take all the precautions, one of which is wearing a good quality properly fitted helmet.

What type of kayak helmet should I choose for whitewater kayaking?

You must choose a full-cut kayak helmet for whitewater kayaking. It will give you overall protection including the back of the head and temples. Thus reducing the chances of you getting hurt. However, a low-cut kayak helmet would be a terrible choice for whitewater kayaking because it doesn’t provide sufficient protection.

Can I use a bicycle helmet for kayaking?

If you are at the initial stages of kayaking and can not afford to buy a kayak helmet, then you can go with a bicycle helmet, but only for a short period of time. You must invest some money in a proper kayak helmet for maximum protection.

My Final Verdict On Best Helmets For Kayaking

Considering all these wonderful options that I have spread before you, you are bound to feel a little perplexed as to which one to buy because all these options look good enough to you right now. So, I have decided to make things easier for you by presenting a list of some of my favorite kayak helmets that I mostly use. You may completely disregard this selection if it doesn’t contain what you are really looking for.

  • WRSI Trident Helmet is the best in all respects. It provides maximum protection and support. It is highly durable and super lightweight. Moreover, the levels of comfort you are guaranteed to get from it are priceless.
  • Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet is my second favorite kayak helmet. It has a beautiful design and a great build. Besides, it has a lot of air vents to let out the water than may befall upon your head during whitewater kayaking.
  • Sweet Protection Rocker FF Helmet is the final item on my list of top favorites. It is highly durable and reliable. Plus, the beautiful structure and vivid coloring of this specific helmet are guaranteed to fetch you many compliments.