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Old 04-29-2006   #1
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 198
Helmet facemask vs chin bar

I'm thinking it's time to invest in a helmet that has face protection, and wondered if anyone can offer advice on merits or problems with wire facemasks, protection bars, and/or chin bars. Seems like face masks would offer more protection, but chin bars wouldn't be in your field of vision and the bars might be stronger in the event of a hard hit. I wear glasses and need to have ready access to them because they fog. I'm leaning toward the Cascade full helmet with their chin bar because it comes in sizes (I also have a small head) and looks to be well constructed - any comments?? I was hoping that WRSI would release their full-coverage helmet, but it seems this might be some time away.


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Old 04-29-2006   #2
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 33
Are you a place kicker or a linebacker?

No Seriously, Cascade makes a full helmet with moter cycle look to it... then you dont have to look through the mask or look like you are about to kick a field goal. I Think thats the way to go with face protection.

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Old 04-29-2006   #3
zbaird's Avatar
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 884
FNA has a pretty sweet chin bar/face . confluence had one the other day.
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Old 04-29-2006   #4
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 19
I have the FNA and love it. It fits well, doesn't hinder vision and sparkles. On the other hand, it is really hard for people to hear me when I talk and you can't spit very well. The wire mask corrects those problems but you loss some syle points.
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Old 04-29-2006   #5
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
style is key...

and I can attest that the FNA takes hits pretty well, the chin bar does its job. I am not totally sold on the kevlar/glass and minicell combo of the FNA though because I have gotten a pretty good goosegg from a hit with the helmet on, where there didn't seem to be a tremendous amount of dispersion of the impact.

Some serious creekers have gone with a hybrid approach and added a liquidlogic metal grab bar to the FNA (fits perfectly from chin bar to forehead) so that you have one veritical bar covering the opening. Without that, you can still take a paddle shaft to the nose on big drops.
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Old 04-29-2006   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 109
I have used a cage style hockey mask for years and its great. Its white so it just dissapears when the background is whitewater. I got used to it after about 15 min. of paddleing and it has saved my face many times.

I saw Alex H. wearing a really cool looking helmet on Escalante last week. It was a fiberglass helmet with a molded in chin guard. There is also a metal bar connecting the chin bar to the top of the face hole. It's right up the middle. It looked like a great helmet. Maybe Alex will post the info on it.
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Old 04-29-2006   #7
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I wear the Cascade with the wide chin bar for creeking. I like it, but the "bar" is more like a full face motorcycle helmet and it is very wide. It has 2 disadvantages: 1) when you spit loogies about half of them splat on the chin bar no matter how hard you concentrate, 2) when you are breathing really hard the bar blocks the fresh air and you end up rebreathing stale air. I don't mind the loogies but breathing the stale air bugs me enough that I'm going with a face mask on my next creeking helmet.
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Old 04-29-2006   #8
ski_kayak365's Avatar
Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
I wear the normal facemask with the main bar down the center and then across. You get used to the bar in the middle. I always use it no matter where I am (playpark, westwater, gore, esclante) to keep my glasses from being broken if I take a rock or concrete block to the face. You also get used to your friends giving you shit for wearing it on flatwater. Loogies are always the only problem. The full face / motorcycle helmet is good too, expensive though. It really depends on what kind of boater you are.
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Old 05-08-2006   #9
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 3
WRSI face coverage helmet

I contacted WRSI and was told that the helmet with face coverage will be out late this spring, maybe not so far off at all.
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Old 05-08-2006   #10
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 141
Speaking of the any Front Range shops have them?

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