Snowboarding is perhaps one of the most widely known winter extreme sports. The joy it brings comes with a certain risk, though. That is why we need to equip ourselves with the best possible gear in order to keep harm away. As the head is the most important part of our bodies, its protection should come first, and what protects a head better than a helmet? Here we will go through some of the basics you need to take into consideration when buying a helmet and compare some of the best snowboard helmets for this winter season.
In order to know what to look for, we first need to get to know snowboard helmets better.
The Anatomy Of A Helmet
Snowboarding helmets are in fact quite complex at their core. Not only they need protective capabilities but they have to be comfortable on our heads and keep them warm. They have specific features like moisture-wicking liners, earmuffs and many more. The helmet itself consists of two parts:
- Shell. This is the outside layer of the helmet. It is made out of high-impact plastic which protects your head against knocks, sharp objects, and other harmful factors.
- Inner Liner. This part is made out of synthetic materials such as EPS foam. It has impact absorbing qualities as well as thermal ones. Remember that it gets irreversibly damaged after a heavy fall, so you have to change your helmet if something major happens to it.
Now, depending on whether the shell and the shock-absorbing foam are attached to each other we got two types of helmet constructions:
- In-mold helmets
- Injection-molded helmets
The in-mold ones are much lighter than the injection-molded ones and are far sleeker. The injection ones, though, offer higher durability against common knocks and falls.
Furthermore, modern snowboard helmets have liners for adjustable warmth and ear pads (earmuffs) which can be either detachable or static.
The snowboard helmet should fit comfortably on your head and sit there correctly. Only then will it be able to provide its best protection against impact.
Pro Tip: If you are going to a store, bring your goggles with you to check if they fit with the helmet. You can read more on snowboard goggles on our dedicated article on the topic.
In order to determine the circumference of your head (with a tape measure) you need to wrap it around the widest part of your head, which is right above the ears. Then check out a size chart and see where you fit on it.
A well-fit helmet shouldn’t feel too tight, nor too loose. You can even do the “shake test” to see whether it’s all good. Just shake your head, move it around and see if the helmet stays at its place. If it doesn’t, try adjusting any of the straps. When you put your goggles, there should be no gap between them and the helmet. That being said, your helmet needs to be low enough to cover almost your entire forehead (not higher than 1 inch above your eyebrows).
Lastly, check your chinstrap. It should be below your chin, against your throat. Tighten it so that it isn’t loose but at the same time you can swallow food and water. Always check its tightness before going for a ride.
Different helmets have different features and accessories, so it’s best if you know some of them, in order to know better what you will be looking for. Here are some of the main ones:
- Camera Mounts. If you want to shoot your ride down the slopes with a GoPro, for example, you need to see if the helmet includes a camera mount.
- Vents. It seems pretty obvious, but not all helmets have those. Vents are needed to evacuate the warm, sweaty air out of the space in the helmet. Look for helmets that have adjustable air vents. That way you will be able to tune the airflow without having to stop.
- Built-in Speakers. Some helmets have built-in speakers which can be connected to your music device or cell phone. Not having this isn’t a deal-breaker though, as most helmets provide enough space for you to place your regular headphones.
- Liners. Most helmets have earmuffs which can be detached if you want to wash them or you are feeling way too farm with the helmet on.
Some other additions to your helmet can be a hard case to carry your helmet around without scratching it and different types of compatibility for goggles.
Helmets come in all size, shapes, and colors, but in order to look good when going down the slopes, you’d probably want your outfit to somewhat match itself stylistically. The helmet is perhaps the most visible part of your gear apart from your jacket. Both of these need to be carefully selected in terms of convenience and looks. Feel free to check out our guide on snowboard jackets where you can find tons of advice and read about some of the best jackets on the market.
Snowboard Helmets Comparison Table And Review
|ABS Plastic||6 Vents||S/M/L||***||$$|
|Hybrid||8 Adjustable Vents||S/M/L||*****||$$$$$|
Lucky Bums Powder Series
This might be the perfect helmet for any beginner. Even the more advanced snowboarders can benefit from its low price and good overall quality. It packs a durable outer shell due to its mold construction and an EPS liner which is fused to the shell. That will keep your head safe from most impacts.
Heavy helmets offer a great deal of protection but also make your neck muscles hurt after a long day on the slopes. This isn’t the case here. The Lucky Bum helmet is light and agile and doesn’t make any compromises in terms of protection when cutting all the extra weight.
This helmet also does a great job at providing riding comfort to your head with its 14 vents. It is also ideal for other sports which require headgear such as skiing or skateboarding.
- Extremely light and fairly durable
- Ideal for all weather conditions
- Comes in large range of sizes (S, M, L, XL)
- CE certified
- Quality is assured through replacement policy
- Doesn’t stand the test of time well
- Dull design
- Not a lot of color options/customizations
Final Words On Lucky Bums Powder Series
This is the perfect helmet if you aren’t looking for something too fancy and are on the budget. It will provide a decent amount of comfort to your ride as well as good protection combined with less weight compared to its competition. It has no extra features, such as adjustable vents or camera mount, but it gets the job done which is all that matters in this price range.
Giro Surface Snowboard Helmet
This is a truly versatile helmet. It packs a lightweight construction which offers great protection to your head while at the same time provides comfort and warmth. It’s a great all-rounder which is in a price range of its own, as the other helmets with that price simply can’t be compared.
The interior pads are adjustable which means that the helmet can easily accommodate any type of goggle straps. It also has internal height adjustment options which helps it fit many head shapes and sizes. Apart from that, it comes in S, M, and L sizes.
- On par with all the safety standards
- Durable materials both in the shell and the liner
- Well-padded to ensure ultimate comfort
- Can be used in other sports and/or in warmer weather
- Size varieties are more men-oriented
- Not a lot of vents (six of them)
- Vents aren’t adjustable
- Isn’t as good looking as some other helmets in this price range
- Some of the aeration holes make whistling sounds
- No extra features such as a camera mount or a case
Final Words On The Giro Surface
Ultimately, this helmet by Giro is a good bang for the buck but still doesn’t appeal to the more advanced snowboarders. That being said, if you are just now walking in the snowboard world, we’d recommend this one. It will give you the much-needed protection and good comfort.
Oakley Mod 5
This hybrid in-mold construction helmet is designed for the snowboarders with highest demands. It is amazing performance-wise mainly due to the fact that the guys over at Oakley managed to increase protection and comfort while at the same time reducing weight.
There are 8 vents on this helmet which are adjustable, unlike the other two helmets we reviewed. This allows you to change the airflow while riding without having to stop. The inner liner is cushioned well which adds to the overall premium feel of the helmet. The liner itself is removable (as well as the earmuffs). There is a magnetic chinstrap system as well and a Boa dial at the back. Due to the cutouts in the earpads, this isn’t the warmest helmet out there, but this might very well be its only downside.
All this comes at a price, of course, placing this helmet at the very top of the price specter.
- Super comfortable
- Sleek design
- Comes with a nice helmet bag
- Build quality is stellar
- Adjustable ventilation
- Really expensive
- Not a lot of sizes offered
- The earmuffs aren’t the most comfortable ones when using headphones
- Not as warm as some other helmets in this price range
Final Words On The Oakley Mod 5
We would recommend this helmet to any experienced snowboarder but restrain from offering it to beginners. If you don’t have a set budget and are willing to pay anything any amount you like, then this is a solid option as it will last a good amount of time. If that is not the case, though, there are plenty of other cheaper alternatives which will get the job done just fine.
Snowboarding helmets are perhaps the most important part of a snowboarder’s gear. You will see many people neglecting this advice but as the saying goes – “better safe than sorry”. Luckily for anybody on the lookout for a helmet, there are tons of choices on the market. What we tried doing in our review is select the best snowboard helmets of the three most common price ranges, and showcase their features, advantages, and disadvantages. The rest is up to you!