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sundevil777

Full face helmet considerations

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In 30 years of jumping, I've never used a full face, but am now considering it as I'm waiting for my new set of nylon to arrive. Haven't jumped for a couple years, and won't be to the DZ for a month (enough time to get a new helmet if I could only decide which). Unfortunately, I've never even put on a fullface helmet.

I've read reviews and searched the forum, but still have some specific issues for which I hope you'll offer your perspective.

1) Visibility downward toward chest. I'm particularly concerned about this related to handle visibility and because I want to put a digital altimeter on the mudflap area so I can see it while tracking away.

It seems like the Oxygen A-3 has a thicker lower "jaw" area of the helmet than the original Oxygen. Is the result worse lower visibility?

2) Are some of the older designs (Factory Diver, original Oxygen, Z1) lacking in some of the really nice comfort or whatever features that I should care about? It really is hard to make sense of the differences from reading the descriptions from the mfgs. Do some old desings have fixed screens?

3) I don't want a helmet that has nothing but a shell and felt padding. I want it to have something of a shock absorbing layer beyond felt. Which are the worst ones in this respect.

4) I have a 24 inch head circumference, about a 7 5/8 to 7 3/4 hat size (definitely XXL), but not unusual in terms of forehead/chin/nose. Are there some helmet that are not so good at fitting the larger heads?

5) My left ear works better than my right, so I'd rather be able to put my audible on the left side. It isn't at all clear from some of the mfgs if they can accommodate an audible one either side.

6) The quality of the visor mechanism always seems to be a contentious issue, so it is hard to tell which helmets are to be excluded, if any, for having a lousy design. Can the less than fantastic designs be easily enhanced by the owner?

As I said, I've tried to read up on all this stuff, but haven't been able to confirm these questions overall.

Thanks in advance for your help. I feel that even if I try some on at my DZ, I'll still want a wide group of opinions as I can get here. Sure would like to be able to get one before putting my knees back in the breeze.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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I have a Factory Diver and love it. Audible pocket is for the left ear. Visibility in the downward direction is minimally impaired, and does not obstruct the view of your handles. In terms of seeing an altimeter that is mounted on your mudflap, that I'm not sure about.

I jumped a Z1 last year a little bit and did not like it as much. The closing system on it was no where near as easy as the Factory Diver/Oxygn system.
This shit, right here, is OK

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4) I have a 24 inch head circumference, about a 7 5/8 to 7 3/4 hat size (definitely XXL), but not unusual in terms of forehead/chin/nose. Are there some helmet that are not so good at fitting the larger heads?



Speaking from personal experience, that's going to limit your options. There may be more out there, but I've found that the Bonehead Mamba, Paractec FreeZR2 and the Cookie Gas are the ones that best fit the members of the Freakishly-Large Head Club. I haven't tried the Gas personally, but others in the FLHC swear by its fit. The Bonehead Havok is another consideration - its design is very different, but I've heard from people that it can accommodate atypical head shapes because of that design.

I had a Mamba (XXL) and sold it - I personally didn't like the way it fit (felt too close to the face) and I don't like the visor mechanism. Nothing against the helmet - others love it. I bought the FreeZR2 (XL) and love it - I like the visor mechanism and the field of vision feels very wide.

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5) My left ear works better than my right, so I'd rather be able to put my audible on the left side. It isn't at all clear from some of the mfgs if they can accommodate an audible one either side.



FreeZR2 has pockets on both sides - I have audibles in each. I think the Mamba does as well, don't know about others.

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6) The quality of the visor mechanism always seems to be a contentious issue, so it is hard to tell which helmets are to be excluded, if any, for having a lousy design. Can the less than fantastic designs be easily enhanced by the owner?



The FreeZR2 when I bought it was shipping with pretty short pegs which could cause the visor to flip up. Thanks to a suggestion by billvon on here, I hacked it with a couple of washers to make the pegs stick out farther. I believe I heard that FreeZR is using longer pegs standard now, but I'm not positive about that.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I have a Factory Diver and love it. Audible pocket is for the left ear. Visibility in the downward direction is minimally impaired, and does not obstruct the view of your handles. In terms of seeing an altimeter that is mounted on your mudflap, that I'm not sure about.

I jumped a Z1 last year a little bit and did not like it as much. The closing system on it was no where near as easy as the Factory Diver/Oxygn system.



Thanks, I saw a post recently where a bit of webbing with a snap on the jaw area of the helmet was added to the front tip of the visor. It seemed like an easy and reasonable solution for a less than perfect mechanism.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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I wear my altimeter on my chest strap (which is very close to the mudflap) and have no problems seeing it with either the Oxygn or the Freezr. The Freezr had the better field of view; unfortunately, it walked away, and I got a coupon for an Oxygn so that's what I replaced it with.

The Freezr also definitely had better padding.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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If you've never wore one, see if you can borrow one and jump it. I bought a used Z1, had it re-painted (didn't like the big sunny-side-up + blowfly design on it) THEN jumped it, 3 times. Got quite claustrophobic in it and it limited my visibility a bit too so I sold it after 3 jumps. B| YMMV.

ciel bleu,
Saskia

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The GAS has two pockets for audibles and D3o padding which will provide some useful impact protection. The D3o material doesn't cover the whole head though. The GAS is not flip up but Cookie have been threatening to bring out a flip up for a while now. A friend of mine tried one on at Skydive Expo. I doubt the flip up will be available by the time you want it though.

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Another thing to consider is the ability to raise the visor. I tried a cookie gas and it was a wonderful helmet but I could not raise the visor to clear my ears under canopy and during this time of year my allergies act up and If I don't equalize my ears they will be blocked for weeks.

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If you've never wore one, see if you can borrow one and jump it. I bought a used Z1, had it re-painted (didn't like the big sunny-side-up + blowfly design on it) THEN jumped it, 3 times. Got quite in it and it limited my visibility a bit too so I sold it after 3 jumps. B| YMMV.



Great advise...I borrowed one and hated the claustrophobic feeling it gave me. Too much old school open face time I guess. :ph34r:










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I think the Z1 has a particularly close face-plate. I can't wear it; while my head isn't all that big, I'm very long from the back of my head to the tip of my chinny-chin-chin. It jams my jaw back, and I feel like my nose and eyes are about 6 mm from the face plate. None of the other helmets gave me that feeling.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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As others have said, you have to try each, to get the one that is going to be right for you. I love my Z-1 and would most likely replace it with the same if something happened to it.

I wear my altimeter on my left mud flap (Look Ma holder) and have not had a problem in seeing it, especially when tracking. It's easy to replace the visor, if you know the tricks and I feel like I have great side to side vision. I ride a motorcycle and have a full face helmet that I wish was a light as the Z-1 and had as good side to side vision.
Dano

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No matter which helmet you go with it will most likely take a few tens of jumps to get used to it. I didn't jump a full face until I had 1500 jumps an it took a good 20 jumps before I stopped feeling clausterphoic. But I love it now and wonder why I waited so long. Much quieter and allows me to concentrate more.

I have a Mamba, went with it over most other designs since the visor seems most secure and yet easy to release. Just got to practice a few times.;)

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To those that were claustrophobic in them, did that feeling make itself obvious when you wore it on the ground, or was it not apparent until you jumped it?

I will be looking at a lightly used Z1 tonight. Anything to look out for, besides the close to the visor feeling? I don't need to buy used, but I suppose it might be good since I'll be more likely to be able to sell it again without losing a lot.

Thanks for your replies!
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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Much quieter and allows me to concentrate more.

No need for earplugs with a fullface, correct? I now wear earplugs with my 30 year old protec, can actually hear the audible better, but is it actually so quiet that there is no longer a need at all for earplugs?


People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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I wear earplugs in my fullface, and much prefer it. I'd never say that a full-face was quiet enough not to wear hearing protection. It's absolutely no problem hearing the audible in there.

For me, the feeling of claustrophobia in the Z-1 was immediate -- it spent about 30 seconds on my head.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Much quieter and allows me to concentrate more.

No need for earplugs with a fullface, correct? I now wear earplugs with my 30 year old protec, can actually hear the audible better, but is it actually so quiet that there is no longer a need at all for earplugs?



I wouldn't be one to answer that since I always have "earplugs" in, lol. I wear hearing aids which electronically muffle sound levels above a certain decibel. I do know a lot of people still wear ear plugs with full face helmets though.

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after 30 years why you need full face helmet now, are you going to do big way ?, I had Factory Diver I never jump it I put it on at home and never use it sold it for 70$ less than I pay for because is felt so claustrophobic, I did 6 way wingsuite jump and I was suposte to jump after 2 count but I forgot and with my bone head open face helmet on, got a boots right in the face, if your dume you need to be tuff as they say, no big deal. I never use a ear plug never had a problem with noise (what did you say)
"A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones ..."

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I like to do some serious weekend warrior RW. I haven't yet been kicked in the face, but know it is likely to happen.

Anyway, I bought a used Z1 in really good condition from a local guy. It doesn't feel claustrophobic, and if it turns out not to be for me, I can likely sell it for about what I paid.

Thanks for the help.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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To those that were claustrophobic in them, did that feeling make itself obvious when you wore it on the ground, or was it not apparent until you jumped it?

I will be looking at a lightly used Z1 tonight. Anything to look out for, besides the close to the visor feeling? I don't need to buy used, but I suppose it might be good since I'll be more likely to be able to sell it again without losing a lot.

Thanks for your replies!



For me it was later on, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it... [:/]

ciel bleu,
Saskia

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No need for earplugs with a fullface, correct?



I'm finding them helpful lately, full-face or no. But I've been jumping out of a PAC with a door that sounds like an angry chainsaw on takeoff.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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Best bet is to try some and see if you even like it. I started jumping a full face when I had 100 jumps. So it is normal for me.

I personally don't like flip ups. They just cause more issues than I have had with regular visors, and when I had a flip up, I never flipped it up anyway.

With anything new, it will take a few jumps to get used to it. One option might be to wear the helmet without the visor at first, and then add the visor later.

Which brand is the best.... Well that is so subjective that I will not give my opinion.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I think the Z1 has a particularly close face-plate. I can't wear it; while my head isn't all that big, I'm very long from the back of my head to the tip of my chinny-chin-chin. It jams my jaw back, and I feel like my nose and eyes are about 6 mm from the face plate. None of the other helmets gave me that feeling.

Wendy P.




My head's so fat I had to sand off my ears to get one ON!










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Has anyone tried polishing their visors? I would like to not have to replace the whole thing due to shallow scratches. Back in the 80's I would get scratches out of my motorcycle helmet visors by using toothpaste as an abrasive/polisher, perhaps there are better products.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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