Carrying helmets on boats

This is a sea kayak question—how do you guys carry your helmet on your boat after you’ve done one of those horrendous surf launchings and are paddling to the next landing where you need to get the helmet back on again? This is with a fully loaded boat- meaning there is no room to stick the helmet inside. So far I’ve strapped the helmet to my explorer near the stern hatch by snapping the chin strap around the bungis, but it flops about alot and I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost it at some point. Also, I generally need another paddler to put it back there and remove it when I need it again–alot of times I paddle solo and can’t do this. Looking for a method of carrying the helmet that I feel confident about and can access solo. Cheers----------Kevin

On top of the head
has always worked for me.

Day hatch or on head

Forward of your feet

– Last Updated: Oct-11-08 9:02 PM EST –

In the cockpit in front of your foot pegs. But if you anticipate a possible problem, why not just wear it? What do you lose? Not much. What do you gain? Potentially a lot. Does it really matter to you that others will think you are silly? Come on.

This may sound very unknowlagable …
… because I don’t kayak , but isn’t it possible to secure it with in arms reach just up in front of you , but far enough not to get in the way of your hands and paddle , when paddling ??

What are all those thin bungees and little deck fittings for ??

Maybe cut the top off a styro foam head display just enough to make sure it has a good flat surface contact with the deck (eleminate movement) , and stuff it inside the helmet when secured down ??

Day Hatch
I make sure there’s room left for it.

now for something completely different
i’ve made a net of sorts which snugly envelopes my bucket, and allows me to pull it out and stuff it in, albeit with some challenge, as needed. i got some old fishing net from a local junk store. weave shockcord around a ring big enough to cradle the helmet. knot the cord and trim the net. i tied small loops of cord around the fittings just behind me to which i attach the knoted ends of the shockcord with clips. this keeps it on tight and i’ve offset the knots so it sits opposite of the day hatch. best solution i’ve seen so far.

I just let it roll around between my legs.

Clip chin strap to your calf.

back deck
I put it on my back deck. I do loop the strap under the bungee back there, but mostly as a safety. The helmet it on its side and the bungee goes over the ear area to hold it down.

cockpit… never a problem

Head my only option
It won’t fit thru the day hatch, the other hatches are occassionally available but require another paddler to get into them, and strap-to-deck seems to complicate other things and risk loss. At 5’4" there is nothing that I paddle which fits me the way I’d prefer in conditions and has room left to get a helmet into the cockpit without compromising re-entry - in-cockpit storage generally works much better for average sized guys and up. I can’t even guarantee getting a pump in there. I can think of maybe one boat that I have paddled where I might be able to get away with that and is sized so that I have useful contact, and I wouldn’t bet my last buck on that either.

I finally spent a bit more money to get a helmet that has adjustable fittings so it’ll adapt to hood or no hood temperatures and still be mostly comfy to wear all day. Even with that I find having a couple of acetominophen tablets ready for consumption in a PFD pocket is a good idea by mid-afternoon, but it’s the best alternative I’ve found yet.

I don’t know if you paddle an average sized or a much lower volume boat - if the latter your options are more limited.

If you get a helmet that is comfortable
enough for you to wear it in the stink then why not get the helmet that is also comfortable enough to wear the whole time???

rockgardens/tide play/surf i wear mine the whole time…no reason not to…

SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY! and get a nice one…kevlar is light on the head…if you spring for one of the really cool ones like a Sweet Strutter then you also get a great brim (baseball hat style) for sun…and they do not weigh very much at all…take the time to pad it out right and you will wear it all the time (mebbe even in the car like Joon)…

Unless you’re a Tsunami Ranger,
or launch and land in very rocky, uneven, turbulent conditions, you may be able to scrounge around until you find a helmet that is relatively shallow, able to be lashed down to your deck so it doesn’t flop. Back in my motorcycling days, I wore a full coverage helmet, but the extra helmet I carried for my wife was “half coverage” and strapped down to the back of the seat without flopping.

I think Kevin is talking about long trip
where you paddle all day for several days. I am guessing a gnarly launch, 4 hours (at least) to lunch, gnarly landing, lunch, gnarly launch, 4 hours (at least), gnarly landing, and then camp - repeat for 1-2 weeks as needed.

So this is what I have used before - A big deck bag (mesh) for the helmet, in the cockpit rolling around loose, or a large under deck bag.

My preference was the mesh deck bag.

reconfigure the back deck attachment
I don’t see another way. Configure something for one handed operation. If you can clip the chin strap to one side configure a bungie with a clip that can stretch from the other side to pull it centered.

Variations on a theme:

imagine there’s two parallel bungies on either side of the aft deck, like the paddle float bungies. One side has one of those clips that the side bungie can go through leaving the clip perpendicular.

You reach behind you and clip the helmet through the strap to one side, of course it’ll flop into the water, flop it on deck and reach from the other side and pull it onto the clip. I’m totally making this up. But the idea is that it’s centered until you need it then it goes to one side for easier release on the helmet clip.

On my Express I had some variation on a centered bungie and I was flexible enough to reach around one handed and loop the helmet strap through it twice and it held on.

The method of holding things down by stretching the middle of a parallel bungie to another with aclip works. You just have to fiddle around and find a clip configuration that doable with one hand and doesn’t complicate back of deck self-rescues(getting hooked), if that’s an issue.

No, wouldn’t work
The perimeter lines are for rescue, not securing gear. The bungies are for securing gear that won’t get in the way if the boat has to be emptied of water in the case of an assisted rescue - a helmet would. (and likely either block the view of the chart case or the compass)

perimeter lines can be used for storing
gear - if you want to. AND, a helmet (or anything else) stored on the deck won’t necessarily be in the way of an assisted rescue - depending on how you perform the rescue.

For me…

– Last Updated: Oct-13-08 8:13 AM EST –

Maybe for you this would work. For me, I can't see having to avoid a helmet on the front deck at the point that the boat has to be flipped over my own deck to empty out water, either the other boat's or mine. I see no way with my arm length and torso height to literally get around that, and I am strong enough but I'm still an average sized female. I can't fully lift a boat full of water without risking injury - need to be able to slide it - and an injured rescuer isn't helpful.

As to hooking stuff onto perimeter lines, unless you are talking about something very flat and very light like a chart case closer to the cockpit I respectfully completely disagree. I've had moments where a guy with gloves was flustered and didn't have the easiest time getting his hands under my rigging for support in a rescue, and that's with the rigging fully redone with plastic balls for some elevation and a tension that has passed muster with plenty of coaches. If you have crap that sticks up on the front deck that could block access to a stretch of perimeter line, or contributes to a tighter tension, it'd complicate things more. I don't even like a strap-on compass up there these days for that reason - would rather use the handheld if the boat lacks a mounted compass.

I haven't met any coaches of any association who recommend other than the cleanest possible decks, front and back. I've heard some edited cursing when they had to do a rescue with stuff on the front deck that could have been placed elsewhere.

get creative
I went back and read some of your previous posts. One recurring thread is that you ‘blame’ the inability to do things in a kayak on the ‘limitations’ of your body. Use your mind to come up with solutions…

Check this out, you don’t have to flip a kayak all the way over to drain water out. But, if you insist on flipping it over, you can flip it over BEFORE the hypothetical helmet gets in your way. The kayak will also be narrower at this point so it should be easier for you to reach across a kayak. Unless you are physically stunted in height this works. Surprisingly, you can even flip a kayak and drain the water hold just the bow!!

No one should lift a boat full of water, and you do slide it!! But have you ever tried sliding it hull down and THEN flipping it??? Try that sometime.