As you may know, there are different types of kayaking, including whitewater, flat water, sea kayaking and recreational. Investing in one of the best kayak helmets for your preferred style will protect your head while you're having fun on the water.
A few years ago all of them looked pretty much the same, but modern kayaking helmets come in a variety of styles, so there'll almost certainly be something to suit you and your budget.
A kayak helmet is as important a purchase as the kayak itself, which is why we've created this guide to help you track down the ideal one.
We have included helmets from the best kayaking brands out there, WRSI and Sweet Protection, as well as some beginner friendly options from the likes of Osprey and NP Surf Watersports.
How to find the best kayaking helmet for you
When buying a kayaking helmet, make sure it covers your head down to the base of your skull. It should also cover and protect the entirety of your forehead. You also need to ensure it protrudes enough to protect your nose in the event of a face-on impact.
The best kayak helmets marry ABS and Polypropylene in the outer shell with an EVA foam or coolmax inner. As such, the WRSI Current Watersports Helmet tops our list, as it combines a highly protective design and top-performing materials with a decent price.
But if you’re a grade four or five kayaker, check out Sweet Protection. These helmets can be more expensive, but, like those from WRSI, they're technically advanced and deliver supreme protection during more extreme forms of kayaking.
The best kayaking helmets to buy right now
If you’re looking for a kayak helmet that combines superior protection with a reasonable price, this one from WRSI (Whitewater Research and Safety Institute) is just the ticket.
The Current Watersports Helmet tops our best kayaking helmets buyer's guide because it delivers three-layer impact absorption, via a lightweight yet high-impact carbon composite shell. Married with an EVA foam liner, it's more than enough to protect your head when kayaking.
Interconnected straps work to hold the helmet securely in place when you're being punished by whitewater. The O-Brace harness is also a winner, helping you to position the helmet comfortably and safely.
We're also fans of the helmet's removable ear protection (tough plastic meets exterior EVA foam padding), which protects from rushing water and splash, and the flow-through visor that guards your eyes from harsh sun and rain.
Sweet Protection are one of the best kayaking helmets brands for whitewater adventures, and the Wanderer is a true classic, having first been released in 2008 to rave reviews. It has been updated several times since.
The Wanderer Helmet features a small beak that provides protection from harsh rain and sun, as well as an extra layer of safeguarding for your nose if you hit the water face-on.
A direct ventilation design ensures water drains quickly from the helmet, and amps breathability. A moisture wicking Coolmax Liner also keeps sweat and clamminess at bay during warm weather kayaking.
EPP Shock Absorption tech is another reason why the Wanderer sits near the top of our best kayaking helmets round-up. It'll keep your head safe from multiple low-energy blows in the water, with twin CRP reinforcements around the helmet's crown further increasing protection and rigidity.
If you’re taking your first few turbulent turns on the rapids, this ultra lightweight watersports helmet will keep your head safe. It's a great all-rounder, and not just for kayaking: it's suitable for kitesurfing, windsurfing and other high-velocity watersports.
CE approved, the NP Surf Watersports Helmet features an impact-resistant ABS shell for better protection. A non-water absorbing EVA inner enhances comfort and helps keep sweat and water at bay.
Air vents keep you cool during warm weather kayaking, and the adjustable chin straps and removable ear pads deliver a more custom fit.
Sweet Protection's Rocker Helmet is designed for really rough conditions, such as the grade 4 and 5 rivers that only hardcore kayakers dare to attempt.
The TLC shell comprises of injection-moulded thermoplastic with carbon fibre, creating a helmet that offers serious levels of protection for different areas of the head.
It also makes our best kayaking helmets buyer's guide because of the Occigrip construction, which delivers a firm fit so that the helmet doesn't slip or rotate on your head when you're in the rapids.
Osprey's affordable and colourful offering is ideal for those who prefer a leisurely kayak. Therefore we recommend this helmet for beginner's and anyone looking for easy-to-wear head protection during a gentle kayaking tour.
A multitude of air vents enable heat to escape, keeping you cool, and water to drain vertically should you get a face full of the stuff. A snug headlock and chin pad, plus an adjustable strap, works to keep the helmet in place.