Enjoy Freefall Full-Face Helmet Buyer’s Guide

A High-Quality Helmet Should Last For 5 – 10 Years

Buying your own skydiving equipment is costly in the beginning but will save you money over the long term. Before rushing through and buying your own helmet, make sure that you consider all important aspects such as safety, durability, and comfort. 

After researching different skydiving helmets for days and trying out all the different helmets of my friends, I finally decided to go for the Square 1 Kiss (link to check the price at Chutingstar) and I haven’t regretted my choice once. It combines the highest safety standards with cool looks, high comfort, and incredible ease of use.  

Besides this, my strongest advice to you is to not purchase any sub-$200 full-face skydiving helmet. The wearing comfort is just not what it should be and most of them do not have a wide view range. A friend of mine bought a cheap one and after two months he ended up buying a more expensive one because the cheap one was just not worth it. 

The Nine Features to Look for in a Full-Face Skydiving Helmet 

Before you buy a skydiving helmet, make sure that it meets the following criteria so that you do not end up buying a new one after two months. 

  1. Safety – Needless to say the primary objective of any helmet is to protect your head and face against any impact and avoid injuries. That being said, if you go for any helmet of the major brands such as Cookie, Square 1, or Tonfly you can be assured that they meet the highest safety standards possible.
  2. Wearing comfort – Secondly, any helmet should be comfortable for you to wear otherwise you will not enjoy skydiving as much. The most important part of wearing comfort is that the helmet fits your head properly. Therefore, you should make sure to read the size description carefully and measure your head before ordering a helmet.
    The padding is the most important factor that considers a good fit, however, if the helmet has some levers to adjust the fit to your head, it will help a lot. Having the levers often ensures that the skydiving helmet does not vibrate during freefall or in strong winds.
    Besides, watch out that the helmet has ventilation as well – otherwise you will get super hot inside, you will sweat and your helmet will start stinking after a while. 
  3. Panoramic vision – Thirdly make sure that the helmet offers a panoramic vision. Nothing is worse than not being able to see properly in the air. Not only will your skydive be less enjoyable but you will also not be able to observe your environment as much. Specifically, a broad vision is key if you want to perform formation jumps. This also includes that the full-face helmet must have anti-fog protection for its visor.
  4. Visibility – This is very closely related to your own vision. I recommend that the mouth should be visible for other skydiving. This does not only help with the communication inside the plane but also during formation jumps. If other skydivers can see your face and specifically your mouth, it will be much easier to communicate with them.
    I would also look for a helmet that allows you to open the visor with one hand because you can easily open it during the canopy ride – which is a must when jumping in the summer.
  5. Camera mounting options – Yes, having mounting options available is only number five on this list. Everyone wants to create cool videos of his skydive but it is not worth sacrificing safety for it. On top, all major brands offer mounting options or work together with third-party manufacturers to provide the necessary mounting option. 
  6. Looks – Some people argue that looks are not important for skydiving. In my opinion, this is nonsense. If you spend a couple of hundred bucks on a skydiving helmet it has to look cool. You probably also want to customize the helmet by choosing a different color and by putting some cool stickers on the helmet.
    Closely related to the looks is the volume. Helmet manufacturers always try to make skydiving helmets smaller and smaller without sacrificing safety. Smaller helmets do not only look leaner and better (my personal opinion), they are less bulky and lighter as well.
  7. Ease of use – If you buy a skydiving helmet, you will still need to work on it and maintain it. You probably will want to install audibles and replace the visor after some time. If you purchase a good helmet, this will go very quickly and without any problems. 
  8. Durability – A typical skydiving helmet should last at least five years and more than 10 years if you take good care of it. Needless to say, if you have a major impact you should replace your helmet as it won’t give your head the same level of protection anymore. 
  9. Price – My strongest advice here is to not buy any sub-200$ full-face helmet. While you cannot make too many mistakes when buying the more pricey helmets of the known brand, chances are too high that you will regret buying a cheap helmet afterward. They often look cheap as well and they simply do not offer the comfort and vision that you want to have during your skydives. If you want to know more about why skydiving helmets are so expensive in general, I have explained the underlying economics in a separate article. 

Finally, I would recommend you not buy a second-hand helmet. Every impact that a helmet incurs will deteriorate its structural integrity and thereby reduce its protection. If you buy second-hand you never know how many times the helmet was dropped to the floor or how often its wearer bumped against the airplane and other skydivers. Not having any scratches on the surface doesn’t mean that the helmet did not incur any impact. (Besides, you will put your head in some helmet where someone else sweated in.)

Why I Bought The Square 1 Kiss Helmet 

When I bought my new helmet it really came down to either the Square 1 Kiss or the Cookie G3. After borrowing both for a day, I finally decided to go for the Square 1 Kiss. To be clear, I think that the G3 is also an excellent helmet and choice for every skydiver. However, I found the Kiss much more comfortable and its visor is a little bit larger than that of the G3. Finally, the Kiss helmet is around $130 cheaper than the G4 (click here to check the current price on Chutingstar). So why spend more money on a helmet that I enjoy less? 

After using the Kiss helmet for a year, I can say that it was the right choice. It offers great peripheral vision such that I can check my left and right dead zones much easier. In general, you can only see the helmet if you look up or down (and even then you will only see a tiny part of it). On top, my fellow skydivers can see my lip when we jump which makes nonverbal communication much easier. 

So far, the anti-fogging and ventilation work great – I haven’t had any problems with fog yet. There is also enough space between your face and the visor to wear sunglasses without touching the visor (so I guess prescription glasses would be fine as well). 

Another thing that I particularly enjoy about this helmet is that it’s very easy to use. I haven’t had to replace my visor yet but I could change it without any equipment by just pushing two buttons. It is also very easy to install the audibles in the helmet which is equipped with metal brackets to prevent your altimeter from falling out. 

In the beginning, I struggled with the latches specifically when wearing gloves. It does take some practice to operate them, but once you get used to it, it becomes effortless to get the helmet on and off. And it is nice not having any chin straps.

A slightly negative aspect is that the helmet does not have any cutaway system so if you attach a camera system make sure that it has a cutaway system. 

If you wondered about the volume of the helmet, Square 1 uses a one-sized shell for their helmets and modifies the thickness in padding to create different sizes. That being said, the helmet looks super lean and is very light. 

Top Five Skydiving Helmet Brands to Consider 

  • Cookie Composites was established in 2001. Since then, it has been known for producing high-quality skydiving helmets, camera mounts, and accessories. Broadly speaking, if you buy a product from them, you will not make a mistake. However, they can be pricey. 
  • Square 1 is one of the oldest skydiving equipment manufacturers. Having been established in 1984 they build a strong brand that is known for its quality and good prices. Their president Tony Domenico is also a well-known skydiver who participated in several World Record jumps (most of them formation jumps). 
  • Bonehead Composite was established in 1996 and is known for its “dark” design. They not only produce high-quality skydiving helmets but also helmets for aviation and the military. Prices for their full-face helmets usually start at around $420. 
  • Tonfly is an Italian manufacturer of skydiving helmets and jumpsuits. They are relatively new but also offer good quality. They also offer customization if you want to have a really special helmet. Their full-face helmets often cost around $500. 
  • RAWA is a Brazilian manufacturer of skydiving equipment including full-face skydiving helmets. Their helmets are sometimes a little bit cheaper because they are produced in Brazil. 

When shopping for skydiving gear keep in mind that higher prices do not mean better quality. Because skydiving is still a niche market, some companies were able to achieve a cost advantage over their competition which means that they can produce high-quality products at reasonable prices. 

That being said, if you are not sure whether to buy a full-face or open-face helmet, check out this guide. 

Enjoy your freefall and your new helmet!