Using the right ATV helmet is no joke. According to the National Institutes of Health, wearing a quad helmet reduces your risk of fatality by 42 percent. Not all helmets are one-size-fits-all. They vary in durability, size, design and comfort. You also need more protection from the elements when riding off-road on unpaved roads. So, how do you know if your ATV riding gear can handle the trail? Learn how to choose the best ATV helmet for your next ride.  

  1. Helmet Type 

We’ve seen folks hitting the trail wearing all types of helmets—from loose-fitting skull caps that barely cover the forehead to helmets with baseball hats sticking out underneath—but nothing works better than a full-face helmet. They’re aerodynamically designed to improve your speed, and sleek visors block the glare and debris. Dual-sport helmets are versatile enough to handle various off-road activities.  

You can get by with a half-face helmet on leisurely rides, but use goggles if there’s a lot of dirt and sand flying around.  

If you’re a serious racer who’s not afraid of a mess, upgrade to a full-face helmet to maximize protection and visibility. It keeps bugs and dirt out of your mouth and will shield your chin and face in an accident. There’s nothing like whipping off your mud-soaked helmet at the end of a race to reveal your winning smile. 

  1. Solid Construction 

Check the material used to make the outer shell. Choose a make/model with an exterior made of Kevlar®, carbon fiber or fiberglass. Some models have dampeners that better absorb the impact of hard falls.  

Instead of interlocking parts that could slide out of place, it should have a unified construction that won’t crack under pressure. To get repairs or a new helmet quickly, find a common name brand with a good safety reputation and fast shipping times, like Fox Racing, Thor or Bell.   

Avoid helmets with glued-on pads. Perspiration wears down the adhesive until the inserts fall off.  

Ensure the helmet has been tested to leave nothing to chance. It should have the stamp of approval from the Department of Transportation (DOT) if made in the U.S. or the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) if made abroad. The best helmets also have a perfect SNELL  rating, a standard created to prevent fatal head injuries in honor of race car driver Pete Snell.  

Source: HeyPhoto/Shutterstock.com 

  1. Size and Fit 

The width of your skull determines the size. Measure around your head, tracing a line across your forehead. Use tailor’s tape to calculate the exact circumference. Children ages 14 and up should use adult sizes. 

For children under 14: 

  • S: 17.5 – 19 in.  
  • M: 19 – 20 in.  
  • L: 20 – 21 in. 
  • XL: 21 – 22 in.  

For adults and teens ages 14 and up: 

  • S: 21 – 22 in. 
  • M: 22 – 23 in. 
  • L: 23 – 24 in. 
  • XL: 24 – 25 in. 
  • XXL: 25 – 26 in. 
  • XXXL: 26 – 27 in. 
  • XXXXL: 27 – 28 in. 

Use the finger test to make sure you have the correct size. You shouldn’t be able to squeeze your forefinger between the helmet and your head or between the chin strap and your chin. The helmet shouldn’t move while it’s on your head, even when bending over. Practice turning your head and leaning forward and back to see if it stays in place. If the fit is uncomfortable or the helmet is pressing against your skull, go up a size. 

  1. Compatibility 

Try your helmet on while wearing all the required quad riding gear. It shouldn’t rub against your gear or chafe against your jacket or coverall. It’s best to go into the shop wearing your ensemble like you’re preparing for a race.  

If you want to use Bluetooth to talk hands-free on the trail, mount your off-road communication to the helmet to ensure it doesn’t affect the fit. The device should attach seamlessly to your model without blocking your view.  

  1. Breathability  

ATVing gives your entire body a workout. On a hot day, you can work up a sweat in minutes. Some helmets limit airflow, trapping your head in what feels like an oven. Use a full-face helmet with vents to let air pass over your skin and reduce perspiration. Some also have replaceable air filters to block the spread of dirt and mud. Your airflow shouldn’t feel constricted, even when the rest of you is covered in mud.  

Source: Bilanol/Shutterstock.com 

Most helmets last up to five years. Clean yours after every ride to keep it in good condition. Excess moisture and dirt can reduce air quality and spread mold. 

You can never be too careful when choosing a helmet. It will be your first line of defense when things go south. Do some research and a complete fit test to find a durable helmet that will serve you well for many miles to come.  

Apart from that, if you are interested to know about Railroads then visit our How to category.