Follow Up: Maltese Sports GPS Mask Padding Kit
I have had a weekend of skating in on my helmet gel kit now . It does actually “break in” and become more comfortable after a couple of skates similar to OEM foams in helmets but not as extreme as what I experienced with the foams in the Sportmask which were rock hard on the first skate and then substantially loosened up after a few games. The main reason I would suggest the kit is you with a little time and effort can get the exact fit you want out of your helmet. Start by taping in the gel pieces where you think they will work and try on your mask to make adjustments here and there. Take your time. Also remember you do not have to use all the pieces and in fact the fewer you use (as long as you have a correct fit) the lighter your helmet will be. Really this is a huge benefit for the player who has purchased a helmet and found it a little to big or to small on their head or found a helmet where the cage sits incorrectly for your sight lines. By using the different gel pieces in key contact points a helmet that sat to high or too far forward can easily sit properly.
Another major benefit again plays into how you arrange the gel pieces. Looking at OEM foam placement on most helmets its noticeable that the foams take up 98-99% of the “real estate” of the helmet interior. Only Small holes are cut or left in the foam for the vent holes on the helmet shell itself. This traps a fair amount of heat in and around the head causing perspiration and in some instances a feeling of over heating. Much of the bodies heat is lost through the head which is why we have hair. It also if held in around the head can greatly affect a players ability to focus, track the puck and perform optimally during a fast paced game. Above you can see how much space is opened up around the helmets vent holes and the head in general, while still providing better protection than foam and lasting longer than foam.
The GPS helmet kit also converts to a chin sling set up which is much more comfortable and again allows for movement of the face closer to the front of the helmet without sacrificing protection. The Chin sling is generally the only part of the kit that needs to be trimmed to fit your specific helmet. I would strongly suggest using a very sharp pair of scissors or a razor blade in a non pulling motion. I am pretty picky about how my equipment looks shape wise and dull scissors or a pulling cutting motion can cause the gel to tear or chunk a little which looks awful. I have been a huge fan of Chin slings for a very long time now and the gel sling steps things up but being more comfortable against the skin and not acting like a giant sponge for sweat and saliva.
Some people have experienced adhesion issues with the gel pieces in certain helmets. Tips to help this are:
1. make sure you wipe out the interior with rubbing alcohol and let it dry properly
2. use an extra adhesive with the adhesive on the gel pieces
3. place your blue pieces and make sure they are fully adhered to the shell before adding grey pieces
4. if you have a piece or two that might be pulling a little because of the shape of the shell strap the helmet closed and inflate a balloon inside and let sit over night. The Cheeks on my Sportmask dip in and were causing the edges of my cheek inserts to pull up so i did this an it took care of the pulling by giving the glue and adhesive time to cure over night
I have taken a slap shot from inside the hash marks to the cage already, bending my cage in 1/4″ of an inch. I experienced no ringing or headache after the incident and continued skating. The biggest thing is simply the shock of what just happened. The gel performs perfectly to impact and as long as you have dispersed the pieces in a correct way in the shell of the helmet bringing your nose as close to the cage as possible without it touching and making sure there is contact in the forehead, chin, sides, top and back of the head you will find a helmet with gel inserts to fit so securely that you no longer feel it as a separate piece of equipment from your head.