Rocker VS Wanderer (What is the difference?)
A question we get asked a lot is what is the difference between the Sweet Rocker and the Sweet Wanderer? On the face of it they both look to do similar jobs and offer similar technologies. Both use a combination of carbon fibre and plastic, expanded polypropylene inner and a Coolmax liner. Both are intended for use on white water although it is generally understood that the Rocker is for “harder” white water -  although in our experience rocks are just as hard on grade 5 as they are on grade 2!
Both helmets use the same technology for their outer shells. This is a rubber toughened ABS thermoplastic shell, which gives great impact resistance as well as having a durable and aesthetic finish. The difference is the technology used in the inner shells’ constructions. Whilst it is true that both utilise carbon, the way they do it is quite different.
The Wanderer uses a Carbon Reinforced Polymer Shell around the crown of the helmet, as this is the area most likely to receive an impact in white water kayaking. This provides excellent impact protection as well as being nice and light. The Rocker uses a new technology called Thermoplastic Laminated Carbon Fibre that combines the elasticity of injection moulded thermoplastic with the rigidity and strength of carbon fibre. The use of carbon represents more than half of the total area of the top shell. The bonus of this technology is that it allows engineers to fine tune the properties of specific parts of the helmet in order to provide optimum performance. For instance the Rocker is designed so that the crown is softer and more elastic than the sides of the helmet, which offer more rigidity… Clever eh?
So which should you buy? Well there is always the simple argument with helmets that you only have one head, it’s probably fairly important to you and subsequently it deserves the best you can possibly afford. Also, as I said earlier, rocks on grade 2 are just as hard as rocks on grade 5 - so obviously if funds allow you should buy the Rocker... Whilst there is some truth in these statements it is important to remember that with both of these helmets we are talking about very high quality pieces of equipment. Both will do an excellent job of protecting your head.
I would suggest that if you are consistently pushing yourself on hard white water where the chance of capsizing on something steep is substantial then the extra performance of the Rockerwill be worth it. If however you paddle well within your comfort zone and don’t like spending much time upside down not breathing, the Wanderer will be a fine choice that will give you the peace of mind that when you need it to do its job, it will! More important than any of this is that the helmet fits properly, so be prepared to buy a Wanderer if the Rocker's fit doesn't suit your head shape, and Vice Versa!

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