Power Kite Forum

Helmet suitability

robinsonpr - 11-19-2014 at 01:59 PM

I'm learning to landboard at the moment, and I've also just got a buggy. I wear a helmet but it's an old (cheap and nasty) skate helmet. Or sometimes I'll wear my Specialized cycle helmet.

I'm going skiing to Norway in a few weeks and I was going to spend a few pennies and get myself a half decent mid-range alpine helmet, something like this:

Salomon Ranger

Thinking that if I get one with removable ear pads I can use it for boarding and buggying. However, the shop assistant, when I told him I was considering using it for kite sports practically refused to sell it to me as he said it was only rated for alpine use.

What's the deal here...is he just being cautious and covering himself, or should I really not consider using a ski helmet for land based kiting activities?

And if not is there a range of crossover lids that will be good for both skiing and landboarding?

PHREERIDER - 11-19-2014 at 02:12 PM

i have old protec skate helmet from the 1999..its tattered but still pulling session.

i also have a Bern vented with visor still fresh, with removable insulation and stuff.

Get the vents! and removable liner setup , cause if its hot (like here) you can't wear it.

good quality for the $ , some get pricey with bladders and custom junk / heaters/tunes and stuff.

if so incline to get out on the water , u might want that as a feature as well


BeamerBob - 11-19-2014 at 02:18 PM

I think we should wear helmets at least carrying enough certification to ride a bike with. Higher speeds/harder surfaces and step up to motorcycle specs. All Motorcycle helmets aren't necessarily certified for road use, so there is a step up you can choose to make or not.

I would've thought a ski helmet would be as good for us as a bike helmet. Catching the front edge of a snowboard could really test a helmet. Certainly hitting a tree should be on the list of protections an alpine helmet offers.

ssayre - 11-19-2014 at 02:29 PM

If it's not suitable for kiting than I wouldn't trust it for skiing either.

Cheddarhead - 11-19-2014 at 03:43 PM

My most used helmet is a 661 comp. Made specifically for mountain biking/BMX. It's not DOT approved but apparently good enough for rocks/trees and what ever else a mountain biker may encounter at speeds. Light as a feather, well vented for heat dissapation and has a very good range of vision. Also at a modest price point.
http://www.backcountry.com/six-six-one-comp-helmet?CMP_SKU=S...

My previous helmet was similar to the one you posted, but made by "Red". Had a hard fall on lake ice last year that resulted in a head impact. Walked away with nothing more than a headache. Would buy another one in a heart beat. After that I decided to go full face for a little added protection.

hiaguy - 11-19-2014 at 06:55 PM

^^^ +1 for the 661

Feyd - 11-19-2014 at 07:44 PM

The helmet standards over the pond are a bit more diverse, specific and stringent. We're a lot less strict about it here. For example when Been first came into the market they didn't meet certain standards and were termed "safety hats" essentially. We did not pick them up for distribution because of this. They are much better now.

One thing about expanded polystyrene helmets is they have a limited recommended service life of 5yrs. Beyond that manufacturers recommend replacement. Helmets, like Styrofoam cups, do eventually dry out and become more brittle.

The Salomon is a nice helmet. The price is good, they fit nice and they vent well. If you really want to step up your brain bucket quality, pony up to one with a MIPS system.

Anything though is better than nothing.

Futahaguro - 11-20-2014 at 01:07 PM

I have a Kali full face helmet that I bought for Boardercross after I got speared in the chin on a practice run. http://www.kaliprotectives.com/products/bike/downhill/ It has worked fine for me when I am snowkiting and helps to keep the chin warm. It will fog up the goggles if you are not moving because the vapor is trapped. I have my Drift HD camera mounted on top of it. In sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures I just need to wear a Balaclava underneath and I am plenty toasty, even sweaty.

Feyd - 11-20-2014 at 03:47 PM

2nd a full face. Most of us are in 661's of some flavor. I like mine because the chin guard is shorter than most others and doesn't intefere with my field of view this on landings. But youre right, the added wind protection is awesome and when its really cold the balaclava really makes it cozy. And if riding hard ice its save me more than once in a face slap.

BEC - 11-20-2014 at 04:19 PM

I've been using a GS downhill full face skiing helmet (BOERI) for years now...Summer and Winter....removable pads to make it OK in the blazing sun...Having grown up skiing at speedS close to 60+ I would hope that a helmet like that was designed for a bit of impact.

I don't really trust bike helmets at the speeds we are doing on a buggy but....(my opinion...my head)...

I will say that these helmets are very light compared to a reg. motorcycle helmet....I would also just throw out there that some of these helmets are only designed for 1 good impact..and although you can't see the damage it might be there in the foam under the plastic cladding.

The most important thing is to wear one...even if it is just a bike helmet...It's stronger then you head.

TEDWESLEY - 11-22-2014 at 09:23 AM

According to my doctor, the ski helmet I was wearing saved my life. It was destroyed, I was not. Helmets really are only good
for one serious whack. Consider the money well spent if you have to throw it away, it did its job !

yeti - 11-25-2014 at 08:32 PM

Only way to really know what you need for a helmet (if you are really concerned) is to look at the certifications. Salespeople have a habit of pretending they know more than they do.

For example, here's a comparison of some common north american helmet standards:
http://www.bhsi.org/stdcompsum.pdf


You'll notice that ski / bike helmets use pretty much the same test requirements. Many others are similar. The Snell standards tend to be a little more strict. The safest helmets (assuming they have the certification stickers) are the ones that tend to be made for "more dangerous" sports. Downhill mountain bike helmets are tested to a higher requirement than regular bike helmets, for example. You'd think alpine helmets would be more in the downhill bike category (and I thought so too until I looked this up).

I'm not sure if you can say which sport is actually more dangerous, but you get the idea. What's the safest helmet? The answer is probably something like a full-face Snell certified motorcycle or auto-racing helmet (both very similar). But how high up the scale do you go before it's overkill?

I tend to assume that since the speeds and stuff are similar, any decent helmet for a non-motorized sport is good for me or else I should already be wearing the better gear for those sports too.


yeti - 11-25-2014 at 08:36 PM

Oh and the neat thing about the Salomon helmet there is that I actually have owned two exactly identical Salomon Ranger (xl/xxl) helmets. One got ruined early this year due to a bit of a strange accident. I was able to order an identical replacement online. They're surprisingly difficult to destroy on purpose. Took quite a few angry bashes with the sledgehammer even though it was already cracked.

yeti - 11-25-2014 at 08:48 PM

And here I am quoting north american standards when the guy is over there having tea with the Queen. Oh well. Same sort of story, but you'll have to google the equivalent stuff. I am willing to bet Euro's have a similar set of standards and within those standards things are probably not far apart from each other (just as in North America) with the only differences between sports being things like the extra test requirements. Hockey helmets need to resist sharp edge impacts; Equestrian helments have to handle hoof impacts, etc.

BeamerBob - 11-26-2014 at 12:28 AM

I picked up a snowboard helmet this week and couldn't find any certification whatsoever. I guess it's better than nothing but I stand by my rec that normal buggying should at least warrant a bike level certified helmet. Harder surface and/or higher speeds go to Motocross/Street motorcycle helmets.

Cheddarhead - 11-26-2014 at 05:21 AM

When I first started kite skiing and didn't know any better, I bought a snowmobile helmet. Thought it was a good idea at the time, but soon found out that it was way too warm for the amount of physical activity I was doing. Had lots of problems with fogging and head sweating despite the venting it had. Not saying it didn't protect my noggin well, but I think snowmobile helmets are made for just sitting and riding versus a physical activity where you may do a little sweating. I just plain ole didn't know any better at the time. I've since made better choices.:thumbup:

robinsonpr - 11-26-2014 at 05:26 AM

Hey Yeti The Queen is doing fine!!

Thanks for all the input on this guys. I still haven't purchased but initially I'm probably going to get the Salomon helmet mainly for my skiing holiday.

I will be able to use it as a "better than nothing" option for landboarding. And my landboarding is never going to be extreme, I'm learning at the moment and taking baby steps. Definitely not using kites and wind that will dump me on my head.

If I ever find myself wanting to try speed in my (newly purchased!) buggy I've got a motorcyle helmet I could use :)

Cheers everyone!

English Paul


AudereEng - 7-25-2018 at 10:59 PM

MIPS helmets might be getting less expensive.
I purchased a Nutcase street bike helmet for $69 with a MIPS layer since I needed a new helmet to go with an off road unicycle which will be at a different location than my buggy.

More info on MIPS Labs technology
Some of their Vimeo videos show the off angle impact testing - shot in 360 (assumed as) a pun on their technology - so follow the person with your cursor around the room as he talks

jeffnyc - 7-26-2018 at 07:10 AM

Thanks for that AudereEng. Fantastic explanation on that Vimeo 360 vid https://vimeo.com/213971599

In the other recent thread about helmets I touched on the standards only testing impacts directly on the top of the helmet... the exact spot you never actually get hit. You can see the setup in the beginning of the video, before he switches to the 45. I really believe MIPS is going in the right direction.