Decent, cheap whitewater helmet

Can anyone suggest a decent helmet?

Real cheap protec about $30
it’s servicable.

Do you want really good and reasonably priced and not stylish? The cascade full coverage.

I use the cascade occasionally available at discount to $40 to 45.

Used is good if you can find it.

I used to use a Protec until a rock got me over my eye. If you have a large head the “one size fits all” Protec requires you to remove most of the padding.

I like my Cascade much better.

In the old days lots of guys used hockey helmets.

In a pinch a bike or skateboard helmet works pretty well. Just keep in mind that those are designed to be replaced after one hit. If you are like me you might find it cheaper to spring for a decent lid.

decent, cheap whitewater helmet ???
i think, after watching WW movies, that i’d only go that route if i had a decent, cheap neurosurgeon available !!

Protec Water Sports Helmets
are actually fairly decent and are made to take multiple impacts, mine has taken quite a few and is just fine. The styrofoam liner types are the ones to avoid. If you are planning on very extreme conditions go for a better helmet but I don’t think you have to spend a fortune. In fact some of the more expensive helmets don’t really offer better protection, just appearance and comfort features.

I agree with every post so far
Must be some kind of miracle! Think I’ll have a beer with the wife now.

So, how do you explain my 30 years of
experience? I’ve always used Protec or cheap hockey helmets. I get my head banged now and then, but have never been knocked unconscious, nor even seriously stunned. I’ve never had my nose broken, or my chin gashed.

If I get hit hard enough to require a neurosurgeon, I will probably fail to roll and drown. Unfortunately, the fancy helmets (Rock Hedz, Sweet) are very well made, but are not designed to keep me conscious. In fact, for larger heads like mine, the helmet liners are thinner. The “serious” WW helmet manufacturers act as if they were building for motorcyclists (of which I am one).

I will not defend ProTec, but until I find a WW helmet with a liner designed to keep me conscious, I’m not going to spend big bucks.

I paddle, and I watch WW movies, and seeing people hit their heads HARD is a rare experience. Maybe you’re imagining something which hardly ever happens?

I wear Pro-tec …
So do my whitewater paddling buddies. No problems so far, and we’ve all taken quite a few whacks! I added a Salamander Beak Visor to mine. Redesigned in 2004. Retails about $40.00. I don’t kayak,I don’t try to roll my canoe; so I’m not spending any more time than necessary upside down. My major concern is keeping it upright.

If I were going to buy a new one, I’d seriously consider a Shred Ready Super Scrappy. Supposedly made to keep helmet from sliding & exposing forehead; hard ABS shell, with impact absorbing inner liner. About $79.00 retail.

Make sure you try on several models, ask questions of paddling buddies, and sales staff you trust. Fancy glitter finishes don’t make em any safer, but sure jack up the cost!


I get that message loud and clear…: )

Energy absorbtion?

– Last Updated: Jan-22-05 11:22 PM EST –

No comparison between cascade and protec.

Again protec sets my minimum standard, (I would never advise anyone to buy less that a protec). Cascade is what I use. The combination of rubber and styrofoam in the liner absorbs a lot of energy compared to a bit of cushy foam.

I have sold helmets for a living. sold and fitted one or two hundred of them in a bike shop or two. Back in the days when folks paid retail prices and expected ten minutes of competent service.

Things move ahead at protec

– Last Updated: Jan-22-05 11:23 PM EST –

Their watersports helmets now come in four sizes. Though I agree with you, I do want to acknowledge that they have moved on since the early days.

Agree about protec
But if you want to see some heads getting hit…

Scroll down to the Teton Gravity/ Valhalla video of Extreme Kayaking in Norway and Iceland … these guys are NUTS…

STRONGLY recommend WRSI helmet
The Whitewater Research and Safety Institute was started by the father of a kayaker who was killed when the son’s helmet (Protec) got pushed back on his head and did not protect him from a hit that claimed his life. The father commissioned a grant for MIT students to design the safest whitewater helmet at the $50 price point. (They also started a petition asking Protec to recall their helmets.) The result of all of this was the development of the WRSI helmet which has won “Safety Product of the Year” awards at various paddling shows. The whitewater community definitely is hoping that this becomes the new standard for an entry level helmet. The helmet is sold at cost so it is only $50. Check them out at

In regards to higher end helmets, they DO provide better protection than crappy Protec helmets (which are downright dangerous). A composite helmet (carbon, kevlar, etc.) is much better at distributing the force of a concentrated impact (hard rock hit) than plastic. Your head may still hurt a little after the hit, but you will not have serious trauma like you would experience had the hit been on a plastic helmet. The liner is just as important. EPP foam is probably the best stuff out there for helmets in terms of safety. It is less comfortable than other materials but if you pad it out with some neoprene or minicell, it can be safe and comfortable. Shred Ready uses this type of foam as their liner as did Lidds (out of business). I upgraded to a Lidds composite helmet this year, and maybe next year I’ll pick up a Shred Ready Sherlock or something. My head is one of the few things I like to take care of.

Cheapest Helment…
my son’s pink skateboard helmet which I took out the styrofoam and replaced with minicell foam…

I have a Lidds composite, A Shred polycarbon and a Protect plastic helmet but the helmet I used most…

If you plan to wear a hood or a hat under your helmet, make sure you take that into account when testing/buying a helmet. The helmet that will protect you will be the one that is comfortable and worn.


Saw a promising blurb

– Last Updated: Jan-23-05 8:07 AM EST –

One of this gentlemans sons died in a Whitewater accident. His Helmet exposed his forehead apparently.

The other son is still paddling "out there".

These helmets are currently sold for no profit if you believe the press.

Click on the diagram in the upper left corner of the photo.

This looks like on of the best helmets I have ever seen. Outer hard shell. layer of foam, inner semi hard shell, another layer of foam.

Rear strap system lke the new protec and every cascade I have ever seen.

More Info
What protec helmet was the son wearing, this was seven years ago? Was he wearing a skateboarding/hockey helmet?

Very Small Chance…
certainly much smaller than dying from an inadvertant pin or recirculating in a hydraulic…

Most folks when flipping in white water will almost instinctively tuck. When you do this your forehead is pretty much protected. The back of the back and top of the helmet take the beating (that’s where the “scars” are on my helmet). Back deck rolls are criticized for “exposing” the face to possible collisons but Whiting and others argue, not so, or minimally so. In a backdeck roll set up, the hands and the paddle shaft is in front of the face, offering some protection.

Of course, we can all go down a river in fully padded barrel. Then we’re fully covered. :wink:


Did I say anything about the son wearing
a protec helmet? I just read a blurb in paddler and went to the website I cited. The rest is for those who want to do it.

I have the helmet I like. I trust my head to it as a last line of defense.

actually I mentioned protec
in my post which referenced the same helmet (WRSI). I was incorrect in stating that it was MIT. Rather it was Johns Hopkins that had students design the helmet. Here are a couple articles that discuss this topic.

Oh and on the WRSI site, here is the request for a recall from Pro-tec.