Choosing Snowmobiling Helmets
As you already know, a helmet is one of the protective essentials for snowmobiling. They provide serval benefits, including total head protection and warmth retention. Plus, snowmobile helmets—or shells as they're sometimes called—come in tons of awesome designs and colorways. Maybe you've recently purchased a snowmobile or decided to upgrade your current helmet after years of use. In any case, a new helmet is in order. There are four main styles of snowmobile helmets: open face, full face, modular, and dual-sport style. How do you know which type is right for you? Let's break down each type to determine which style is the right fit for you and your riding style.
A full-face helmet will provide the best protection in crashes with good wind deflection as well. Because of this, it's the most commonly used style of riders of all skills. Thanks to its aerodynamic design, there aren't many moving parts on these, so you won't get much rattling from the wind. Full-face helmets are typically made of materials like polycarbonate, an incredibly durable and lightweight material. It can withstand impact without crumbling into bits, which is what you need in a reliable helmet.
The downfalls of a full-face snowmobile shell are that, because of its design, it's a bit clunky. To speak to others in your riding group, you'll have to take the entire helmet off or flip up the shield (if applicable). Often times, these disadvantages don't sway many, as they remain the top choice for everyday snowmobilers.
Like full-face helmets, modular snowmobile helmets offer great crash protection and help deflect the chill of cold winds. The main difference is the ability to lift the chin bar to access the face. So, if you were riding in a group and came to a stop, you could simply lift the chin bar to speak or get a breath of fresh air. Many of these modular helmets are designed with a ventilation shaft on the front of the mouthpiece. This helps release sweat accumulation and heat built up inside the helmet, keeping the rider's view unobstructed from condensation.
The movable faceplate does decrease the effectiveness of absolute protection, however. The difference isn't much, though, so if you want a helmet with the protection of a full face with additional style points, choose a modular.
Open Face (AKA Snocross)
Consider yourself a more active, competitive snowmobiler? An open face helmet is likely the right choice for you. These prioritize lightweight design and superior protection over warmth preservation for high-speed riding. These helmets don't have face shields, but instead an open area where riders wear separate goggles. The benefit here is a greater field of vision and ventilation. They're also built with a rigid mouthpiece area. If you'd like, a breath guard can be added to the helmet to increase warmth.
The drawback of open face shells is that the open area innately adds more wind buffeting. This is something that snocross riders get used to, as the protective features paired with undeniable style outweigh the sound of rushing wind.
Dual Sport Style
This is a hybrid style of helmet, melding the benefits of an open face snocross helmet with a full face shield. If you're an active, high-speed rider and want the protection of a face shield, consider a dual-sport style. The shield is easier to use and maintain while riding than goggles. You'll still get a good field of vision without the loudness of the wind in the helmet. Dual sport style shells are perfect for riders wanting the coolness of snocross helmets, but the structural integrity of full-face shields.
Note that without goggles, you won't get the same field of vision or light filtration with a shield.
Keep your head protected from every angle in the event of collisions with a high quality, DOT or SNELL rated snowmobile helmet. While SNELL is what high-speed riders need to look for, DOT is a solid general approval for snowmobilers. You might see cheaper styles like half or three-quarter helmets, but they're a complete waste of money for snowmobilers and won't provide the head protection necessary like the above four will. Whichever style you choose, it must fit snugly on your head, but not too tight. After 5 or so years, helmets can become brittle, so they'll need to be replaced. One good thing about shells like these is that they can often be upgraded. Some of these include dual pane shields for added protection, heated shields, chin curtains, air vents, helmet-mounted cameras, and more. You can make your new snowmobile helmet as customized as you'd like! Now, you should have a better idea of which style of shell is right for your comfort needs and riding style. You can get your search started right away when you check out our wide selection of Polaris helmets and accessories.