Product – Happy-2b Aegis helmet, Full cut model with total ear protection.
Size – Large
RRP – €170 direct from happy-2b.com
Nearest rival: Sweet Rocker
I’ve owned only a light freestyle lid for the last while, and an impending trip to the French Alps meant I had to invest in a good strong full coverage creeking helmet. I certainly got one in the Happy 2b Aegis.
First impressions: I ordered on a friday from the website (http://www.happy-2b.com/new/pages/helmets.htm ), I got it the following wednesday, Holland to Ireland. Nice and quick. Bonus points already. If I wanted a custom paint job, no problem, anything I wanted but it’d take a bit longer, and time was short, so I went with a basic white, which I intend to paint up myself. The embossed flames look great, and would look even better with a cool paint job on them. I had a few questions, and the email was replied to by the boss himself, so it’s always nice to know that you’re not dealing with a Customer services rep in Calcutta or Bangladesh or something.
The first thing I noticed about the helmet was the weight. I’m mainly a playboater, used to cut down light composite lids offering the bare minimum in protection, and the step up to a big creeking lid was very noticeable. Since then, I’ve paddled a lot with it, tried other river helmets, and gotten used to the added weight on my neck. It does take a bit of getting used to, but it’s not a ton weight, and compares favourably with some of the other models on sale. But on the plus side of a little extra weight, is the added confidence in it, you really feel that it can take a Mack truck falling on it, and on the river I really did feel safe with it on.
As with most modern helmets these days, the Aegis does come with a peak at the front. it’s not big enough to catch on any rocks during a capsize, but still big enough to be effective at shielding the sun from my eyes. I’ve always been wary about big peaks, which look a bit cosmetic, and likely to do damage, but this one was great.
The straps are nice and soft, and didn’t give me a rash at all, and can be adjusted in two places, which results in a very secure fit, and it was nice and comfortable, although I wonder if it didn’t move as it was tight enough already on my head.
One concern I did have was the level of coverage of my ears. With boaters, it’s always a tradeoff, do I want a big panel keeping my ears nice and safe, or do I want them free and clear to be able to hear any and all communications on the water? I think happy 2-b have come some way to sorting this problem, as the ear panels do provide maximum protection, but flair out a little towards to the front, to let water out, and sound in, yet not enough to be able to get a knock. Sorted!
To get a helmet that fitted comfortably was always a lot of hassle, as I’ve a fairly large head. I ordered the large model, but I could have used an XL if it was for sale. Two dual locking adjustable occipital and head bands come as standard, but I couldn’t use them, as to have them tightened at all meant my head didn’t fit in! But I can leave them loose, no problem, they didn’t obstruct my field of vision, or hang down too low. Also, My ears took a fair bit of squashing to get in to the helmet. I had a fair bit of pain in my ears for the first couple of days on the river, until I took a knife and shaved a few millimetres of room from the ear guards. Problem solved, but I’d rather not compromise on safety just to get my ears in. But, if it’s a little too big for you, no worries, you get a full panel of minicell foam with which to pad out the helmet, or indeed, your boat. Very handy.
On the river, the helmet was just fantastic. It didn’t my affect my field of vision, it wasn’t noticeably heavy, and man oh man did it make me feel safe. I took a few heavy knocks on it, and came away without even a scratch on it. I really loved it, and it’s well worth the money. It also got a good few comments from other boaters, who liked the coverage it provided. It didn’t move at all when getting a few thrashings I gave intentionally, just to see how it’d do.
A fantastic helmet, and a perfect addition to your WW collection.