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How do snowmobile helmets differ from motorcycle helmets?

The Snowmobile or ski du was initially designed as a solution for those living in snowy places who could not use their feet on the ice because it would be challenging. 

The Snowmobile or ski du is a popular form of transportation for people living in remote areas in cold climates, where other forms of transportation may be difficult or impossible. But nowadays, it is also used by most people as a personal recreational vehicle, and they use it as a sports activity in different snow festivals

This snowmobile helmet vs motorcycle helmet comparison unveils a range of factors and explains in detail how do snowmobile helmets differ from motorcycle helmets.

Why do snowmobile helmets require to differ from motorcycle helmets?

Riding snowmobiles is more dangerous than riding motorcycles. The rider of the Snowmobile has to face ice storms, frozen lakes, trees, hidden rocks, and bushes covered with ice. The snowmobile riders have much more exposure to high-speed collisions with trees or other vehicles.

The snowmobile rider needs to keep their head and face warm. As the weather is cold and wet, the wind blows from all directions, and they can’t just be walking around with a casual motorcycle helmet on.

Here, you can read about some common causes of snowmobile accidents and safety measures.

Snowmobiling requires retaining the fogless environment inside the full face helmet chamber as the cold causes fog build up inside the helmet. Foggy helmets can result in a loss of vision, so keeping the inside of the snowmobile helmets dry is critical.

Geographically, Snowmobile is a vehicle used under challenging routes and icy weather conditions, requiring more featured best snowmobile helmets than a motorcycle or motocross helmets.

Can you use a motorcycle helmet for snowmobiling?

You can do it by choice, but it is not technically correct because they are not explicitly designed for this kind of riding.

The primary objective of a helmet is to protect the rider’s head. But there are other factors to consider when choosing the right helmet for snowmobiling. As stated before, an ordinary motocross helmet is not helpful for snowmobiling due to climatic conditions.

It would be best if you were careful when wearing a motorcycle helmet in such conditions. I was wondering if I could wear a motorcycle helmet while snowmobiling? It’s not possible. Snowmobiling requires more than just a helmet.

The standard motocross helmet can only protect the head of riders from the impact but not from the severe cold and UV exposure. Gears for snowmobiling

Therefore, you must wear full face snowmobile helmets with goggles to cover your eyes. You also need a jacket with a collar, gloves, pants, boots, and additionally a balaclava to provide a better protective shield. 

Can you use a Snowmobile helmet for motorcycle riding?

You can use snowmobile helmets for motorcycle riding, but exceptions exist. Snowmobiles are designed to ride on ice only found in extremely cold localities. It makes sense to manufacture such helmets for snowmobiling which offer protection against severe cold.

On the contrary, riding a bike is not necessarily associated with snow and severe cold. Instead, most motorcyclists need to eliminate the heat and sweat in the hot summer weather.

However, the best half motorcycle helmets or low profile full face motorcycle helmets can be worth thinking about if you are looking for an alternate option for motorcycling, in particular during the summer.

However, you can enjoy all the features of snowmobile helmets for motorcycling in the winter but cannot in the summer. In the summer, the extra protective layer of a snowmobile helmet against the cold can be unbearable for you.

What do a snowmobile helmet and a standard motorcycle helmet have in common?

Both are designed to protect the wearer from injury, and both are required by law to be DOT or Snell approved.

The first common denominator is the appearance and the types of helmets for both activities. The akin classes are designed for both activities, such as full face helmets, modular helmets, dual sport helmets, and open-face helmets, but that’s where the similarities end.

However, despite these similarities, there is a big difference between snowmobile helmets and motorcycle helmets, which we cover in detail below.

The Key Differences

In addition to safety considerations, cold and fog are the two factors that are the reason why snowmobile helmets are designed differently than motorcycle helmets. Below are the main differences that are not found in motorcycle helmets.Snowmobile helmet and motorcycle helmet

Breath Box

The availability of a breather box in snowmobile helmets is the main difference that motorcycle riders feel the need for in winter.

The breath box of snowmobile helmets collects the exhaled air by the rider and exhausts it out of the helmet through the vent slots to prevent fogging.

Breath boxes or breath guards generally consist of a plastic mask connected to the ventilation system. Breath boxes are mounted on the chin bar of the helmet with an adjustable knob provided externally on the outer shell to conform the mask to the rider’s mouth and nose.

Usually, Breath boxes are not provided in the motorcycle helmets and they only rely on the ventilation system of motorcycle helmets.Snowmobile helmet infographic

Face Shield

The face shields of motorcycle helmets protect the driver from wind and debris during his ride on the road.

However, the face shields of helmets tend to fog up during winter rides because motorcycle helmets come with a single pane shield instead of a dual pane shield.

In this case, the motorcycle riders have to remove the helmet repeatedly and wipe off the face shield to get clear visibility. This is cumbersome and time-consuming.

Therefore, there is a need for a snowmobile helmet to use in both summer and winter that can reduce the face shield’s fogging during rides.

The snowmobile helmet uses a double pane shield that brings many benefits. A double pane shield is very similar to the dual-pane glass windows installed in homes and offices. Both pans are fixed in individual frames and sealed firmly.Double Pane Window and its description

An air gap between the two face shields helps prevent the external temperature from affecting the inner temperature. The air gap prevents heat from passing through the glass pan.

The clear face shield offers a clear view of the routes and passages for snowmobile riding, and the tinted face shield provides UV protection from the sun.

Electric Heated Visors

If you’ve been battling ice fog on your helmet face shield, a heated visor might be just what you need. Modern snowmobile helmets are equipped with electrically heated visors. 

While riding a snowmobile, fogged face shields can make driving dangerous, making it hard for you to see clearly and comfortably. You have to select the best snowmobile helmets with antifog and eyewear friendly features.

Heated visors work by heating the face shield to prevent fog from forming.

Have you thought about how heated visors work? 

The visor is plugged into the battery, and the device heats the shield quickly to prevent moisture from forming on your helmet, decreasing the likelihood of fog. When temperatures drop, the heated visor quickly warms the shield to dissipate the fog, allowing you to see the road ahead clearly.

Heated visors are a modern marvel, making riding a snowmobile in cold weather much more effortless. The concept is simple: you apply heat to a small conductive pad that sticks to the outside of your visor, and fog disappears.

Extra Foam Padding

Snowmobile helmets have more padding inside the foam liner than motorcycle helmets, and this extra insulating layer is meant to keep the warm rider while also protecting them from injury in crash.

However, extra insulation makes the helmet heavier and harder to fit on your head. In this case, you’ll need to be sure that you have a helmet that fits your head correctly. 

Conclusion: Snowmobile Helmet VS Motorcycle Helmet

Snowmobiles are an increasingly popular outdoor activity. Thousands of snowmobile riders head to the trails for the winter season.

The cold, deep powder and high speeds make this fun sport much more exciting than walking or hiking in the snow. 

While riders love the thrill of riding, many aren’t aware of how crucial protective equipment is for both motorcycle riders and snowmobile riders. The best way to protect yourself—and keep you from getting injured in accidents—is to wear a snowmobile-specific helmet. 

There are obvious similarities between a snowmobile and motocross helmets, but there are also differences.

In conclusion, snowmobile helmets and motorcycle helmets share many of the same features. Still, there are differences in their composition that make them more applicable for one situation than the other.


Is a snowmobile helmet DOT approved?

The answer is yes, but there are different requirements for a snowmobile helmet. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, all motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles, must have approved DOT standards helmets. DOT is the Department of Transportation, part of the U.S. Federal Government.

What type of helmet is best for snowmobiling?

Every snowmobiler has reasons for wanting a specific helmet. Still, full face snowmobile or modular snowmobile helmets with a visor covering your whole head is considered the best based on their protective and cold shielding properties.

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