I bought a hockey helmet that has a steelcage lower and a clear plexi-glass visor. It fits much better than my kevlar Lidds. The thing I really like about it is that I don't get my eyes rolled back everytime I catch a face full of cold water.
i'm not sure why more people dont' wear them, but i don't think it's a big deal either way. it's basically just personal preference. a good tuck will do the same thing as the mask. i just recently bought one and like the idea of the added protection.
the best helmets to attach a facemask are helmets with full ear coverage.
The first time that you split your eye open underwater you'll wish that you had that facemask. But this goes without saying. It is not at all often that I have been truly thankful for my fullface but the point is that sh*t happens on the river.
I use my fullface only on low volume creeks where I want a helmet with more coverage anyway, so the extra weight of the mask is nominal.
e.g. if I was gonna run Bailey @ 500+ I probably wouldn't bother with the fullface.
I personally believe that the purchase and use of a fullface helmet is not only prudent but a must. But clearly I'm in the minority.
The down side of face masks helmets is the potential for cervical spine injuries. Although there are probably more instances where a cage would be protective, there is the chance, especially with very open cages like those on the Cascade (I think that is the right brand) that could potentialy snare rocks, debris, etc and result in a potentialy dangerous situation. Just something to consider...a hockey helmet would most definitely be a safer option as the cage is a tighter pattern.
I've heard lots and lots of folks talk about the facemask-getting-snagged thing, but in over two decades of boating, I have never heard a firsthand report that it actually happens. Not to say it couldn't, because I have no doubt it can, but personally I think that's not a reason to not get a facemask.
I briefly used one and didn't like it at all. I suppose I could make myself get used to it, but without it, I am quite motivated (a) not to flip, and (b) to tuck for all I'm worth when I do. Since I very rarely flip unless playboating (knock on wood), I find it's not a problem. And while I may think a facemask looks dorky, I won't put it down because I'll look a LOT dorkier if I ever do take a serious hit in the face. I've just evaluated the options and I choose not to wear one.
...and what Mike didn't tell you is that his hockey helmet's facemask is hinged. The flip-up/flip-down factor adds to the "Lord Dark Helmet" effect, since the mask is quite large...
And oh yeah - none of what I said applies if you put a facemask on a Pro-Tec helmet. Then you ARE a dork. I should know, there's one collecting dust in my basement...
It appeared to me that Caspain was making a joke at his own expense.
I have thought people were dorks for wearing face masks on Deckers. Easy run, blah, blah but after opening my eye up on wallslammer this summer I realize that I may be the dork. Hell there are rocks everywhere in Deckers and if you go over you will probably hit one. So like everything else it comes down to personal choice but I would never wear my hockey helmet on the river. I just dont think it is sturdy enough but then again thats my opinion.
I know a few people that do wear a simple mask with just two bars when running in low water or gore. In my case i wear glasses, and i have to have a face mask, last summer i lost my glasses and broke them on rocks and stuff, so in this case and for anyone else who is unlucky in having good eyes, a full mask like a hocky mask is the way to go.
I rarely flip, and am good about tucking when I do...... nevertheless, last year my kevlar "cool-looking" helmet finally started starting cracking after 8 years of abuse, and I opted for the cheaper and dorkier cascade with face mask. Honestly, I love it. After a little extra foam-gluing, it is the best fitting helmet I've ever had, and the face mask just gives me a little added security. Actually, other than storing my chapstick, I can't say that my life vest has done me any bit of good in the last few years, but I ain't going without it either.
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