Per many requests from readers we will begin writing reviews on the latest equipment in the game. Kicking off the first review is resident author, Michael Britt. Easton supplied him with their new Raptor helmet. Below is his honest analysis.
First thing you notice is the incredible weight. Closest thing to it would be my old UVA Gait helmet from ’06 (the hybrid box/field helmet with an affinity for concussions). The Raptor is so lightweight that the next reaction is to figure out how sturdy it is by grabbing the sides and pushing and pulling at it… it’s a rock. Right off the bat, the Raptor was able to address one of the biggest concerns I had heard from friends – that it was not as durable or established as the Pro7s, TI, II’s, etc.
Once you put on the helmet, you notice right away that the fit is top of the line. The helmet comes in three shell sizes and is further customized by a click wheel (like the CPX-R). The shell size, click wheel, and the most comfortable chinstrap I have ever worn made for a helmet that sits firmly in place with the perfect amount of tilt (top bar, por favor).
The Raptor facemask was the only initial concern I had. The placement of the bars, especially in tilt mode was perfect and vision was unaffected. However, the mask is noticeably further from your face than other lacrosse helmets (it failed the “lick test” which is a good or bad thing depending on your individual preference). I am not sure if it is a structural requirement for the mask to be constructed the way it is, but ideally, I would like to see the mask maybe .5” closer for a more streamlined appearance and a cleaner side vertical bars. Outside of that, I loved the chin piece and loved the fact that it offered complete coverage to the concussion hot spot that is the jaw line. The scalloped visor was also noticeable while strapped up and definitely increased vision.
I absolutely loved playing in this helmet. The weight and fit of the helmet is fantastic. Gone are the days of helmet jitter that you get from ill-fitting helmets. The Raptor was able to handle the physicality of an indoor lacrosse game with ease (multiple slashes, helmet to helmet ‘bumps’, and some board action).
It is my opinion that–right now–the Raptor is the best combination of safety, weight, and technology of the helmets available. I would also like to see tests between the Pro7 and Raptor for side impact/jaw lines (the concussion hotspots) to see which is safer. However, because of the Easton-Bell heritage (and because they manufacture Riddell football and lax helmets) I would assume that the Raptor is safer.
Comparison to CPX-R and Pro7
Subjective and on a scale of 1-5, 1 being awful and 5 being laxtastic.
A big reason I think High Schools, Youth Clubs, etc. will consider the Raptor is the product supportability factor. The majority of schools send their helmets out after each season to be reconditioned and repaired to meet safety standards. Currently, programs are shipping their Cascades, Warriors, etc. with their schools football Riddell’s to a Riddell-certified reconditioner for repairs for logistical and cost-effectiveness reasons. The problem with that is that you get lacrosse helmets back that have been reassembled wrong (e.g. CPX-R parts in a Pro7). My assumption here would be that since both Riddell and Easton have the same parent company, the reconditioners will leverage product familiarity and the result will be helmets that remain safer longer and limit the amount of “Franken-helmets” on team storage shelves.
Lastly, I recommend any lacrosse player in the market for new gear this year to go down to Dick’s, LaxWorld, etc. to check out the Easton line. Try on their products side by side with other manufacturers. The great thing about Easton is their guys are incredibly accessible, if you do not like an aspect of their product, go on their Facebook Page and tell them.
Thanks again for the guys over at Easton Lacrosse for giving me the opportunity to review the Raptor. I appreciate what they are trying to achieve and look forward to the technology they will bring to the lacrosse community. Head to Eastonlacrosse.com for more info.
I’m Brick Tamland. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks. Years later, a doctor will tell me that I have an I.Q. of 48. I spend my free time playing for Los Banditos in the Metro Area Box Lacrosse League.