Rid­ing-Hel­met Se­lec­tion Tips

Trail Rider - - HOT ON THE TRAIL -

The most im­por­tant part of your rid­ing en­sem­ble is your rid­ing hel­met, which helps to pro­tect your head in the event of a fall. Here’s how to se­lect the right hel­met and how to fit it for op­ti­mal func­tion.

Start with Se­lec­tion

Start with se­lect­ing the hel­met that’s right for your needs. Here are hel­met­s­e­lec­tion tips, for func­tion and aes­thet­ics. Look for the ASTM/SEI la­bel. Hel­mets that are ASTM-ap­proved and SEI-cer­ti­fied have been man­u­fac­tured to meet cer­tain safety stan­dards tai­lored for the horse­back rider. Find a hel­met you’ll wear. Some hel­mets fea­ture a rugged look, while oth­ers have a sleek, aero­dy­namic de­sign. If you like the way your hel­met looks, you’ll be more likely to wear it on ev­ery ride. Choose the ma­te­rial. Some hel­mets fea­ture a shiny plas­tic fin­ish, while oth­ers have leather or felt cov­ers. The ma­te­rial you choose is a mat­ter of aes­thet­ics. Pick the one that best suits your rid­ing style. Leather cov­ers typ­i­cally have a Western look, while plas­tic is sportier. English rid­ers of­ten choose hel­mets with felt cov­ers. Choose the vent­ing. Pas­sive vent­ing al­lows warm air to es­cape from in­side the hel­met, even when you’re sta­tion­ary. Ac­tive vent­ing re­quires move­ment to push air through the hel­met. A hel­met usu­ally has pas­sive vent­ing if there are holes cut in the top. Most hel­mets with ac­tive vent­ing have holes in the sides and in the back. Se­lect a color. Get a color that you like, keep­ing in mind that lighter col­ors can be cooler than dark col­ors in hot weather. If you of­ten ride alone, con­sider a brighter color so you’ll be vis­i­ble, in case of a mishap.

Fo­cus on Fit

Get the right fit by fol­low­ing th­ese guide­lines. Mea­sure your head. Mea­sure your head with a cloth mea­sur­ing tape to de­ter­mine your hat size. Then look on the hel­met pack­ag­ing to see which size you need, based on your mea­sure­ments. Do your hair. Be­fore you try on hel­mets for fit, wear your hair the way you will when you’re rid­ing. Your hair­style will af­fect how the hel­met sits on your head. Find the right shape. Look for a hel­met whose ba­sic de­sign fits your par­tic­u­lar head shape. This hel­met will be more likely to stay put on your head in the event of a fall. Make sure the hel­met feels snug with­out too much pres­sure. Shake your head. Give your head a shake while you’re wear­ing the hel­met. You don’t want it to move. Walk around. Walk around the store while wear­ing the hel­met to see whether it’s com­fort­able as you move.

A rugged, leather-cov­ered hel­met with a sun vi­sor of­fers both func­tion and aes­thet­ics. Shown is a Troxel hel­met de­signed for trail rid­ing.

HEIDI MELOCCO PHOTO Ad­just the strap so it’s snug, yet com­fort­able, un­der your chin.

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