Helmet preferences?

Does anyone have any recomendations for a good, inexpensive helmet that fits well? Oh yeah- It’d be great if it looked good too. Is it too much to ask?

how big is your head?
if S or XL, this might fit your requirement for “cute”


I just bought a
PRO-TEC Ace water helmet for $45. I think my brain is worth that much.

Different helmets for different heads
I find different brand helmets fit differently. I owned a Pro-Tec but couldn’t get comfortable wearing it. I’ve been using a Cascade for a few years and am quite happy with it. My wife has a WRSI which is very popular with the ww crowd.

I would suggest getting to a shop that is strong in ww gear and experience and trying different helmets.

What are you using it for?

– Last Updated: Apr-14-09 3:06 PM EST –

For anything involving rocks, like surfing or WW, you want a helmet that'll provide decent cover down the back of your head where the spinal column comes into the skull, around the temple and forehead and at least in the vicinity of your ears. And depending on your use you may need to wear the thing all day, like if you are traveling out to do some rocks work and the helmet doesn't fit thru your day hatch or isn't easily retrieved by a fellow paddler from one of the other hatches.

Add to that use in varying water temps, and it may have to accommodate a hood as well as no hood and still be able to be tightened up well.

Personally, the only helmets I've found that can do all of that and still not give me a blinding headache by noon are the ones that come as a shell with layers that you add in to customize the fit. The ProTec helmets are good helmets, and we have a nice assortment of them in the basement, but I haven't found one of them in any size that I can wear comfortably all day and safely serves the purpose.

Also, it's your head. You might as well spend the bucks to be safe and comfortable. The least expensive along this line is probably the WRSI helmets, or you can go to the other end and look at something like Gath. But too many days of headaches later, I can tell you it's worth the money to get one of these.

is a very good helmet for the money…

It’s about as cheap as I’d go to protect your cranium…

My buddy just bought this helmet from campmor. It looked like a good deal and well built.


Sierra Trading Post also has a bunch of multi-sport helmets in various levels.

Intended use?
For surf I prefer my Gath helmet - Gedi model … not cheap but my favorite.

NRS helmets are fine for surfing and class III whitewater. Cost about $40.

Shred Ready Helmets
are worn by a number of dedicated ww paddlers I know.

Gath… the helmet of BCU Alphas :wink:

– Last Updated: Apr-14-09 6:41 PM EST –

A few of the best and most highly certified sea coaches I know wear Gath helmets. However, as noted above, they are good for sea kayaking/surfing/etc... but not necessarily so for whitewater. None of the ww coaches I know wear Gath.

When I was thinking of getting a Gath, Danny Mongno advised me against it saying he didn't think it appropriate for my whitewater paddling. (I use the same helmet for ww, surf, and rock gardening.)

The one that’s comfortable.
For me it was hard to find a helmet that fit. I don’t know if my head is more oval shaped (front to back) than most, or whether most helmet manufacturers just use a bowling ball for fit tests, and call that close enough. The pro-tec helmets don’t even come close to approximating the shape of my head, and I know others who have them, and always end up with a big red welt on their forehead after about an hour. And a headache too.

For what I wanted a helmet for, I needed it to be comfortable, or else I wouldn’t wear it. I do some moderate rock gardening whenever I have the chance, and also often incorporate tidal overfalls into my trips when possible. If my helmet isn’t comfortable I am less likely to be wearing it when I find myself in the fun stuff.

After trying on a bunch of helmets, I settled on the only one that really fit me - Gath Gedi. Definitely on the pricey side (about $110), but great custom fit with the different thickness foam strips you get with the helmet, and at least for me, it’s so comfortable that I wear it all day without ever thinking about it. Removable ear protectors, adjustable sun visor, warm for cold weather, and has removable pads to open vents for warmer weather. It’s also lower profile than many of the more basic ones, and fits in a 9" valley day hatch (size large does anyways).

try this site on ww helmet reviews.

Gath Gedi
Figured if this was going to be a (hopefully) once in a lifetime purchase, that I would get the best fitting, most comfortable, highly rated helmet for sea kayaking under $100. The removable ear covers are especially useful for me as I already have a hard time hearing on the water. I opted out on the visor as I am already having a hard time adjusting to wearing glasses while paddling. At least I’m not taking Viagra yet.

WW Rafting
I will be using it for WW rafting. I will need to wear it possibly all day- so I am absolutely interested in the “no-headache” version. I previously saw the Pro-Tec ones and they didn’t fit me very well. I’ll look into the other brands too. Any idea where I can try them on? I am in the Seattle area.

Check here
Northwest Outdoor Center, in Seattle


A decent array of decidedly serious helmets.

I also got Seattle Raft and Kayak Center on a Google. They seem to have very limited retail stuff available to order online, but you may find they have more if you visit the shop. Address of the Seattle store is Located in Shoreline (North Seattle), 15th Ave NE & 177th.

ProTec Ace
solid,serviceable not exciting. Drool over Shred Ready (looks).

Shred Ready $50

I’m a Shred Ready guy myself…
I prefer the composite helmets myself (I use a Sherlock) but for the ABS ones like that Super Scrappy are okay if you’re sea kayaking or running whitewater with less head impact potential.

Shred Ready Full Mental Jacket

Not too big and not too small
Problem with WRSI helmets is sizing. With two sizes now it’s a little better but the largest head they’ll fit is a 7 1/2 which is still not big enough for me. I love the concept and the function is definitely there, but I can’t wear them.