New snowmobile helmets offer a range of convenience and communication functions. (Unsplash /)
Snowmobile helmets protect us in the worst of cases that can arise when we cut lines through powder or speed down a path. They also tend to keep us warm as 30 miles per hour winds pass our faces. You might not go on a 555 mile snowmobile adventure, but a helmet is just as important for the casual rider as it is for the serious sled driver. But what should you look for in a snowmobile helmet?
The best snowmobile helmets offer more than just the protective outer shell and soft inner padding. Would you like to talk to other snowmobilers about a communication system? Are you going to go snocross races or go sledding with friends? Is it usually very cold when you’re out and about, or are you more of a fair-weather snowmobiler?
This guide covers the differences between a modular helmet and an open helmet, a full face helmet and a tactical helmet. And it includes some helmets with features that you may not know existed. Scroll through our guide to find the best snowmobile helmet for you.
BEST MODULAR HELMET: Ski-doo Modular 3 Snowmobile Helmet-Black
BEST MODULAR HELMET WITH ELECTRIC SHIELD: FXR Maverick Modular Team Helmet
BEST MODULAR HELMET WITH BLUETOOTH: Modular Bluetooth snow helmet with famous electric shield
BEST OPEN FACE HELMET: Core Helmets Hunter Safety Deluxe helmet with open face
BEST TACTICAL HELMET: 509 Tactical Helmet
Everything You Need To Know Before Buying Snowmobile Helmets
There are hundreds of brands of snowmobile helmets. When assembled properly, all of them provide some protection on the trail, but many are better for some scenarios than others. Before you go shopping, think about how you will use the helmet. How long will you have it Do you quit often? Do you have problems with fogging or frosting? Do you want to communicate with others in your group while you are riding? Here’s how to find the best for you.
Related: Helmet Cam Footage of Snowmobilers Rescued from Avalanche
Will you stop talking, drinking and eating often?
If you ride in really cold environments, a full face helmet is probably the one for you. But for those of us who ride in places where it might be sunny and warmer on some of those epic powder days or when we want to stop and talk to friends to plan and coordinate the next ride, consider a modular helmet consider.
Modular helmets give you the best of both worlds, the protection of a full face helmet while driving, but the freedom to lift your jaw or chin bar, talk to people or when you just need a break. With a modular helmet, not only can you lift the chin bar to talk, but you also don’t have to take off the entire helmet to have a drink or a snack.
Best modular helmet: Ski-doo Modular 3 Snowmobile Helmet-Black
If you want options and don’t want anything fancy this helmet is a great choice. (Ski-Doo /)
According to the company, this Ski-Doo helmet is being advertised as the latest generation of the first snowmobile helmet, which was “developed from a clean sheet of paper for cold weather problems”. It has a large eye opening for optimal peripheral vision and a retractable sunshade that can be raised and lowered at the push of a button. It meets all safety standards and has a practical jaw that can be lifted to make life with the snowmobile a lot easier.
Is your face shield fogging up or is the frost over?
Sometimes companies solve problems for us that seem so basic, but are more of a nuisance to us than we ever thought. A fogged face shield is one of them. Unless you’re using an open-faced helmet, most of us likely have a problem with our helmets fogging up. We can not change it. We breathe, this breath is damp, and before we know it we try to look out of small sections of glass that are still clear. Then inevitably we have to stop, wipe the shield and try again. Frost can also be another problem with face protection.
Helmets with electrical face shields solve fogging and frosting problems by adding heat. They also help with icing issues – and of course, can add a little more warmth to your face in case you tend to run cold.
Best Snowmobile Helmet with Electric Shield: FXR Maverick Modular Team Helmet
The electric face shield prevents fogging and frosting. (FXR /)
This snowmobile helmet from FXR features a lightweight, advanced polymer alloy shell with a reinforced, removable tip that reduces lifting and pulling at high speeds. The real feature here, however, is the integrated fold-down sun protection and the user-friendly face protection. It is electrically heated and is fog free, scratch resistant, UV filter, distortion free and includes a power cord. It also has adjustable ventilation and a removable (and most importantly, washable) breathing box and chin skirt.
Do you need to communicate with other drivers?
Some of us enjoy snowmobiling because we enjoy the hum of our machines, the gust of wind against our helmets, and the turns we can carve on mountain slopes. And while the isolation is great – it’s often a reason we’re out there – it’s also nice to be able to talk to each other while driving. Sometimes it can take an hour or more to get to the powder-filled valleys by a relatively uninteresting trail. Sometimes it’s just nice to be in touch.
If you’re one of those people who ride in groups or like to listen to music while sitting on your sled, consider adding a helmet that is bluetooth compatible with your snowmobile equipment. You can’t beat the ability to talk to other drivers, make a call when needed, or just listen to music while driving. And hey, if you don’t want to be disturbed, you can always just turn it off.
Best modular snowmobile helmet with bluetooth: modular bluetooth snow helmet with famous electric shield
You can communicate with other drivers or listen to music on the sled. (HJC helmets /)
This may look like a regular black snowmobile helmet – one that will keep you safe and warm in all conditions – but it has bluetooth connectivity as well as cutouts for an optional Chatterbox XBi2-H intercom and speakers. The helmet also has an advanced injection molded polycarbonate shell.
Would you like an open snowmobile helmet?
Open-faced helmets carry risks: the chin is not covered. So when you fly off your snowmobile and land on your chest, as is so often the case, your chin and the lower part of your face will be exposed. It’s also open to the elements, which may make it colder depending on your speed.
However, after we educate you about potential safety issues, let’s talk about why you might want an open-faced helmet. If you’re snowmobiling in the spring, when the days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and you like to feel a breeze on your face, this might be a good fit. They’re also a great choice if you’re not that fast driving. Let’s say you plan to take your children or grandchildren out on a manicured trail on a lazy afternoon. You don’t need anything as aggressive as a tactical helmet and you can enjoy having more of your face free to experience even more of nature.
Best helmet for snowmobiling: Core Helmets Hunter Safety Deluxe helmet for open face
It looks classic and has been painted with car paint to prevent scratches. (Core helmets /)
Travel back in time in style but not safely with this vintage helmet. The look says retro cool and works on a snowmobile or motorcycle. It’s made from a thermoplastic injection-molded alloy coated with an automotive paint that makes it scratch-resistant, and has a soft, breathable nylon interior. It also meets the standards of the Department of Transportation. You won’t want to register for a race, but it will keep you safe on those lazy rides.
Are you going to take part in snocross?
Snocross riders and racers can reach speeds of up to 100 km / h and jump up to 30 feet in the air, starting riders up to 30 m from their machines. In the simplest case, it is a combination of snowmobiling and motocross, in which snowmobilers drive either on natural or artificial paths. While it’s a sport popular enough to become an official part of the X Games in the late 1990s, it’s still a fun way for adrenaline seekers to compete with friends in their backyards.
Snowmobile equipment for snocross varies from equipment for casual tobogganing. To keep up, you often need leather boots, shin guards, elbow pads, neck supports, and upper body protection. Hearing protection may also be required. Helmets vary as well, but often contain features that are generally only found on snocross-specific helmets.
Best tactical helmet for snocross: 509 tactical helmet
The helmet is available in different colors and has a removable inner lining. (509 /)
Also known as a tactical helmet, this snocross helmet has an aggressive look and a secure, durable polycarbonate outer shell. Expect it to go well with EPS head foam and a removable premium liner. The opening of the eye opening ensures a perfect fit with all 509 goggles and offers maximum peripheral vision with minimally exposed skin. The helmet meets all the necessary safety standards so that you feel safe when you press the throttle.
Safety tip: when to replace your snowmobile helmet
According to almost all major safety certification bodies, including the Department of Transportation, you should replace your snowmobile helmet every three to five years. However, if you have had an accident or see signs of wear and tear such as cracks or dents, you should replace the helmet immediately.
One final word on shopping for snowmobile helmets
There are many snowmobile helmets out there, and all of the big brands like Ski-Doo, HJC Helmet, and 509 Helmet have options that will protect your head. From there, think about which function is most important to you – and make sure that you replace the helmet on time.