Wearing a properly fitted helmet is the most important thing you can do on the river to help prevent a serious injury. If you are kayaking, you should always have your helmet on and adjusted correctly. If the helmet is too large or too small, it will not provide you with the adequate protection you need. You want a helmet that provides a lot of protection for your head, and you want to wear it correctly.
Why should you wear a helmet?
Just like a life jacket, it just makes sense to wear it if you don't know the potential hazards. If you don't know all the possibilities of what can happen, you should wear a helmet.
It's very similar to riding a bike these days. When I was a kid, no one rode helmets, but now no one doesn't ride a bike without a helmet, even though you're just on smooth surfaces, not doing mountain biking.
The head is the most valuable part of our body. It just makes sense to protect it. If you don't have the experience to make an informed judgment about the risks of even class 1 water, wear a helmet. If you have the experience to make that judgment on the conservative side, if in doubt, wear your safety gear. Suppose, like anything in white water in doubt scout, you know, in moving water. In that case, there's not a lot of room for error when things go wrong and why in moving water, things have the potential of going very wrong, so having a conservative attitude and approach to all your safety gear and all your decisions is just the prudent thing to do well.
How to measure your head?
There are two ways to achieve this.
- The first way
If you wear hats or you know your hat size, you could take the size to the sizing chart and convert it into the proper helmet size.
- The second way
You'll need a shoelace or a soft measuring tape, preferably a cloth one, so it's flexible. Now wrap it around the widest part of your head, the part that sticks out the most, which is typically one to two centimetres or half an inch above your eyebrows and your ears. Don't pull it too tight. You want it to fit snug. When you pinch this, you'll get the correct full size. If you're using the shoelace, take it to a measuring tape, and then you have it right here.
If you have creases in a tape, it's too loose. Once you feel you've found the widest part of your head and wrap the tape around it, remove it and check your size. It's always a good idea to double-check your work and take several measurements until you find the largest one.
Different manufacturers have different guidelines, so ensure you're looking at the correct helmet you're interested in to get the right size. It is best to round up to a larger one if you're in between sizes.
Whitewater kayak helmet fit tips
It's time actually to try the helmet. If a helmet is too large, it'll flip and flop around on your head. If a helmet is too small, it will not sit down across the top of your head, giving you the protection you need.
- You first want to put it on your head and ensure it's a snug fit.
- if your helmet has a dial or an adjustable fit, give it a quick little turn.
- Chin strap is designed to keep the helmet on your head in the event of a violent crash. Keep that as buckles nice and securely fastened underneath your chin. The strap should be buckled up with about a two-finger gap. The chinstrap will do no good to you if it's just left undone, so make sure we do it up.
- Our ears should sit nice and neatly between the v's of the helmet. And the helmet sits no more than two fingers above our eyebrows, so it can provide us with adequate protection in case we hit a rock. Please shake it quickly to ensure the helmet fits securely on your head.
- Wear your helmet at all times, even if you are sitting on the side of the river or scrambling over rocks, just in case you fall or hit your head. You want to have that protection that you need.
- All helmets are single impact protection helmets, which means they are designed to withstand the impact of one major impact to wear. If you've taken a fall and the helmet is damaged or cracked either on the exterior shell or interior liner, it is time for a new helmet. That helmet will not safely protect you.
How tight should your helmet be?
Once you receive your helmet, verify that you selected the right size. If the helmet is too small, it will likely apply a lot of pressure on your head and make you feel uncomfortable. It may also sit too high on your head. If the helmet is too big, you will likely be able to move it around your head, and there may be a space between your forehead or cheeks and the padding. If you shake your head left to right, the helmet will move and not protect your head when you take a fall. If a helmet fit is just right, it will be snug and cannot be easily displaced by your hands. If this is the case, you're good to go.
The other thing you need to make sure of is that you have your clip tightened just enough so it's not uncomfortable, but it keeps the helmet on your head because even if the helmet fits tight, if you take a fall, the helmet pops off, it doesn't do any good.
Seasonally speaking, If you want to wear a hat underneath your helmet, you'll need to change the fit a couple of times a year and make seasonal changes to the helmet. It's the cycle of the year.
The helmet looks like it fits slightly big, the straps lose, and it looks a bit weird. That's because the hat adds a little size to the head and face. In general, you can wear a hat underneath the helmet, but please understand that will compromise the fit and the amount of protection offered.
If you guys have more questions on how to fit or size your helmet, feel free to call or email us.