Can You Use A Rock Climbing Helmet For Kayaking?

Kayaking is a fun sport that could become dangerous, which requires participants to pay constant attention to safety. Using safety equipment when kayaking is crucial, just as it is when rock climbing. If you are a fan of both these outdoor activities, you may have one question: Can a rock climbing helmet be used for kayaking?

Rock climbing and kayaking helmets protect you from knocks if you fall or move through tight spaces. These hats have some visual similarities but wearing a climbing helmet while kayaking is not advised and should be used carefully, as they may not offer enough protection or support.

When you decide to use your climbing helmet for your next kayaking adventure, it may be good to keep some things in mind. Continue reading with us as we go through the differences between these two helmets and how you may make your climbing helmet work for kayaking!

Rock Climbing Helmet Vs. Kayaking Helmet

When it comes to rock climbing helmets, most of them have a very tough polycarbonate shell with a foam inner. The foam is either made of expanded polystyrene or expanded polypropylene. Rock climbing helmets are very durable and meant to last. 

They have multiple purposes and can be used for various activities, such as hiking, cycling, and even surfing! 

You can throw them in your backpack without being worried about them breaking, as rock climbing helmets are designed in such a durable way that they can take several minor knocks, scrapes, and bumps. 

However, suppose a rock climbing helmet experiences a more significant impact that cracks the inner foam. In that case, they are due for a replacement.

On the other hand, a kayak helmet comes with different degrees that will offer you different coverage, ranging from only your head and forehead to your ears or even full face coverage for the protection of your mouth and jaw. 

The type of kayak paddle you choose will depend on the conditions you prefer to kayak in, as well as how experienced you are and your personal safety preference level. 

The most basic kayak helmet is necessary when there is a chance of your head meeting or bumping into a solid object, especially rocks. 

Knowing that any type of kayaking will require a helmet, such as kayak surfing, whitewater kayaking, and kayaking around or in caves, is essential.

When Can A Rock Climbing Helmet Double As A Kayak Helmet?

There are a few situations where it becomes perfectly suitable to use a rock climbing helmet for kayaking. Still, it needs to be practiced with extreme caution. 

If you’re thinking of using your rock climbing helmet as a kayaking helmet, take a look at the safety precautions you should follow to keep yourself safe:

Don’t Jump Or Dive From A Kayak With A Rock Climbing Helmet

Hard plastic rock climbing helmets can only take and absorb a few poundings before they crack. Their inner foam padding is not designed to handle such high speeds. 

It might also be good to note that the foam found in rock climbing helmets is most often made with Styrofoam, which is not waterproof. 

For this reason, you might only want to take your rock climbing helmet with you if you know you will be kayaking in open waters, where you are not prone to tipping or falling over, as your helmet will be soaked and left almost useless.

Don’t Kayak In The Ocean When Wearing A Climbing Helmet

A rock climbing helmet is not designed for kayaking paddle activities. As a result, it will only make it more challenging for you to swim if you fall. 

In general, a rock climbing helmet will only offer you limited protection should you have an accident in the ocean. 

For this reason, it would be in your best interest to stay away from the whitewater cold water rivers unless you understand the risks.

Make Sure Your Climbing Helmet Is The Correct Size

Suppose a climbing helmet is too big for you. In that case, it could cause the helmet to move around due to rough waves or tight spaces, which could result in you not getting enough protection and putting your safety on the line. 

On the other hand, if your helmet fits too tightly, it could cause pressure on your head, compromising your whole kayaking experience.

Wear A Flotation Device When Wearing A Rock Climbing Helmet

When you’re out kayaking with your rock climbing helmet, you need to remember that this type of helmet is not designed for these activities and will make it harder to swim if you fall. 

A rock climbing helmet will only offer you limited protection in an accident, so always have a backup plan, such as a life jacket.

Wear Your Rock Climbing Helmet On Your Head’s Back

Because the front of a rock climbing helmet will absorb too much water and won’t protect against capsizing or entrapment, it would be better to wear it backward, as it will be less likely to come into contact with water.

Remove Your Helmet While In Rapid Water

When paddling in rapid or rough waters, it is not necessary to wear your climbing helmet. However, because a climbing helmet’s foam is designed to absorb shocks, it won’t protect you if you come into an accident and won’t allow you to breathe as you need to. 

If this is the case, it may be safer for you not to wear a helmet.

Final Word

Deciding to wear a rock climbing helmet while going on a kayaking adventure will require some precautions, but it’s not entirely prohibited or discouraged. 

A rock climbing helmet can be used for kayaking, as long as you don’t get into contact with rough waters and avoid diving into the water, as it will get heavy with the foam absorbing water!

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