Helmet Fit/Safety

I know that many helmet warranties can be voided if hair is worn up in the helmet as they are supposed to be fit directly to the head. I’ve tried searching other threads to no avail.

What I’m hoping is that someone might be able to direct me to legitimate research regarding the fact that wearing hair up in the helmet can actually affect the fit (and thereby the safety) of the helmet in event of contact. Is there a publication (from a university, equine governing body, etc.) that addresses this?

Interesting question. The Snell Foundation 2016 STANDARD FOR PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR (link below) gives specific details of safety tests applied to helmets. The manufacturers size their helmets according to head circumference. Snell tests a series of helmets of different circumference for properties including stability and peripheral vision, which are affected by both design and fit. A head circumference is an objective measure that is applicable to all hats and all heads. Hair, however, is highly variable in volume from person to person and even from day to day for an individual. It is not possible to apply a consistent standard to such a random variable.

So, basically, wearing your hair stuffed into the hat might be ‘safe’ but it can not be tested in any systematic way so it is not part of any safety standard, hence voiding a helmet warranty if you wear it so. it is unlikely that anyone would be doing work on ‘hair in hat safety’ as it is not a useful topic to research, given the difficulty of improving helmet safety as a whole.

Thank you for the insight and link, Willesdon. It’s much appreciated.

My interest stemmed from a conversation regarding the safety of helmets worn stuffed with hair. Admittedly, I ride with my hair up, but I know that it is not ideal and can void warranties. The person I was speaking with felt it was a “to each his own” kind of thing- which I agree with to a certain point- beyond that though I figured there must be a definitive answer on safety. Of course, I did not want to pursue the debate further without something quantifiable to solidify my argument as factual.

I think that your last point was probably quite accurate, I’m sure that it is not much of a worthy avenue from that perspective. Though I do think it might go a little ways in helping people improve their safety versus simply going off the notion that it ought to be safer without your hair up.

I know that many helmet warranties can be voided if hair is worn up in the helmet[/QUOTE]

How do you “know” this? It sounds entirely made up.

Wearing lots of hair up in a helmet is a bad idea. If you have enough that it can crush significantly, it’s going to risk the helmet moving or coming off at exactly the moment you need it.

It’s not a question of “warranty.” It’s a question of physics.

My experience is less in equestrian helmets than the flight helmet I wore for sixteen years as a Naval Aviator. Our helmets were fitted so that if they got a whack (from an ejection, a violent aircraft maneuver, hitting a rock or tree during a parachute landing, etc.) that the helmet would take the brunt of the impact and transmit as little force as possible to skull. By keeping the helmet close to the head you allow the padding to do it’s job of absorbing whatever force the shell can’t blunt. If the helmet is not properly snug the padding can’t do that job and may even permit enough movement within the shell to induce counter coup injuries. We all had short hair (by Regulation and custom :slight_smile: ). Fit was carefully done to ensure that movement was at a minimum but blood flow was not compromised.

I have had the experience of getting thrown and suffering a concussion. The helmet was properly fitted and I recovered without residual effect. So from my dual perspective properly fitting helmets are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of the either the Naval Aviator or the horseman/woman! :slight_smile: