K2 Helmets Review

12 Feb

K-2 imageProduct Description:

Honestly, I had never heard of K-2 the company before.  I had only known it as the second highest peak in the world.  It turns out K-2 Sports has a very long history making gear for skiing and snowboarding, and a lot of that history takes place in the US.

Their 15 different helmets are priced in a fairly narrow range, from $60 to $160, so most of their helmets are pretty affordable.  The majority of their helmets are either of the “hardshell” style or the “in mold” style.  A “hardshell” helmet is made by injection molding the outer hard cover of the helmet separately from the inner foam lining.  A post gluing process is used to bond the shell and lining together. An “in mold” helmet is made by forming the outer shell and inner lining together in one process.  K-2 customer support confirms that all their helmets use polycarbonate for their outershell.

American Alternative Review:

K-2’s story starts on Vashon Island, Washington, in 1961.  Up until then, most skis were made either of metal or wood.  K-2 pioneered the use of composites in snow sports, using fiberglass to make skis lighter.  In 2007, K-2 was acquired by Jarden Corporation for a cool $1.2 billion.  Between 1961 and 2006, K-2 had many owners and partners.  They even owned the Jansport brand for a while.  Throughout these 45 years, they stayed on Vashon Island.  Most impressive is that K-2 maintained manufacturing on Vashon Island until 2001 when it was no longer financially viable.  They moved manufacturing to China, and then the moved their headquarters to Seattle in 2006.

Jarden is a New York-based publicly company that is traded on the NYSE.  Other than K-2, they own a long list of household brand names such as Marmot, Oster, and Kerr.

All of K-2’s helmets are designed and tested in the US, but all manufacturing is done in China.  The company has a lot of history in this country, but like most other helmet makers, manufacturing and sourcing occurs overseas.

1.5/5 stars

A selection of some of K-2’s helmets are available for purchase from Amazon here, here, and here.

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