When it comes to wearing a helmet while base jumping, or skydiving for that matter, there are a few things to take into account. First, and this should be pretty obvious, no helmet is going to save you in the event of a free fall impact. Nope, ain’t going to happen.
So where does a helmet come into play when base jumping? Mostly upon landing. Not all landing areas are flat, obstacle free, and surrounded with soft cushy things. In fact, most aren’t. Even is you have the perfect place in mind, there is always to the possibility that you can get off course and not make it to that ideal landing spot.
You come down hard and a slight misstep on landing can cause a fall, which opens the possibility of hitting your head. So it is best to be safe and protect your head.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options when it comes to base jumping helmets. I guess there just isn’t much of a market for them yet. Part of that, I assume, is because of the nature of the sport and those that participate. There are sky diving helmets out there, but they are not designed for protecting your head against impact resulting from a fall. They are more for protecting you against mid-air collisions with others and from hitting your head when leaving the plane. They may look nice, but they are inadequate.
So the other options out there are helmets from other sports, like biking, skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing, motocross/motorcycle riding, etc.
What to Look For in Base Jumping Helmets
Here are the things to consider when looking for a helmet:
Vision – You need to be able to see all around you. Keep your periphery open to sight. This can be hampered by helmets that cover your whole head, including your face (full-face helmets).
Weight – You want something fairly light, both for the hike up and the flight down. Gear gets heavy and if you are hiking mountains to get to drop spots, every pound in your pack matters. On the way down, extra weight on your head when deploying your chute can lead to neck injuries, both acute and chronic.
Fit – It got to be comfortable and fit well. A poor fitting helmet that rubs or squeezes your head wrong can be a big distraction.
Aerodynamics – A helmet can add drag, the more aerodynamic the better, especially with wingsuit flying.
Camera Mount – If you search on Amazon for base jumping helmets, the results return a bunch of tactical helmets that have “Base Jumping” in their titles. These helmets are great for attaching accessories like cameras, lights, and night-vision goggles. Unfortunately, they are not adequate for protecting your head from serious impact. GoPro cameras don’t need a specific mount. They come with an adhesive mount that is easily attached to a helmet, as long as there is a space for it. So don’t worry about special mounts for cameras.
Sound – When base jumping, it can get pretty loud and having something that covers the ears can reduce the noise impact.
What are the Options
Taking all the above factors in mind, the best options out there right now are skiing/snowboarding helmets. They are lightweight, cover the ears, are comfortable, and don’t restrict your peripheral vision.
There is a company out of Germany that makes a great helmets for base jumping called Plusmax (www.plusmax.de). Unfortunately, they are only available in select cities in the US and around the world. They are not available for purchase through their website or on Amazon.
These are the best helmets that I could find that are actually designed for base jumping, skydiving, paragliding, and other sports that involve flying through the air (see the picture above). I just wish they were more available to the consumer.
Base Jumping Helmets on Amazon
For helmets that are available on Amazon here are the ones that I like the best for base jumping. They cover all the factors mentioned above.
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