Thursday, February 6, 2014

The New Helmet Search

(Note:  I wrote this post a while ago and need to publish it before I forget about it.)

I've spent the past 10 years riding in a skateboard helmet with no visor and a high or tall profile equestrian helmet that makes me look like I'm wearing a giant green olive on my head.  There is even this little ball on top like a pom pom on top of a beanie.  The equestrian helmet was fitted to me by a professional at one of those vendor booths at a horse expo, and they only had one in my size, so I had no choice of color.  Now it is dented up.  Plus, I read that you should replace helmets at least every 5 years.

I researched helmets and reviews on the Internet, and then went to a local feed store to try on a few brands and get a sense of sizing, comfort and quality.  I've always been interested in those leather covered western helmets, but they were up high on the wall and only one display of each was available.  I went to the register and told the gal that I wanted to try on some helmets, thinking perhaps she'd have ones we can try on in the back or could maybe get a ladder or stick to reach the displays.  She said, "Go ahead," and proceeded to help the man behind me.

I was like, "Huh?"

I thought maybe she was telling me to go ahead over to the helmet section and she'd be over in a minute to help me, so I went back there.  It was then that I saw a bunch of helmets lower down on another aisle that were within reach.  Of course, none of them were the models or styles I was interested in, but I thought I'd better try them on anyway to educate myself.  Surprisingly, the Troxel Intrepid fit perfectly in a size medium and was extremely comfortable.  And they had it in indigo -- my favorite color.

However, the visor nearly broke off in my hand, which made me question the quality.  I also didn't read the reviews for it and don't have a smart phone to read them while in the store.  Once all the customers cleared out of the store, I heard the woman behind the counter tell another employee that she wanted to check on someone.  I thought that someone was me and I was waiting for her to come around the corner to help, but she didn't.  I was on the fence about buying the helmet without reading the reviews and knowing what others were charging for it.  I think if the lady had helped me, I would have bought one, because then she could have taken down the ones that were too high on the wall for me to reach and I would have had my curiosity about them quenched and perhaps received enough information about the Intrepid to help me decide between them.

Instead, I went home empty-handed and looked up the reviews.  I kept coming back to the Tipperary Sportage helmet, which was extended down the base of the skull.  I've always wondered why equestrian helmets only come down to the middle of the back of the head.  I guessed it was probably to make room for ponytails and buns.  However, I'm more concerned about getting good coverage to protect my skull and brain.  Every site I checked had excellent reviews from satisfied customers while the Intrepid had mixed reviews.  I decided that perhaps the longer profile of the Tipperary will weigh it down in back so that the GoPro Hero camera above my visor won't push the helmet down over my eyes as easily.  So, I ordered one in navy.

I decided against the leather covered western style helmets, because people complained about them bubbling and falling apart.

When the Tipperary Sportage arrived, it fit perfectly front to back, but I had to add padding on the sides to get a snug, non-slip fit, which was no problem because they supply you with extra pads.  I followed the sizing chart when ordering, and while I am between a small and medium in most helmets, I am a large in the Tipperary.  The visor is built into the helmet, shorter and smaller than other visors, and I was right about it not being able to get pushed down over my eyes by my helmet cam.  Though the helmet has more mass, it is lighter weight than others I've worn and tried, and it has generous netted vent slats, which will be highly appreciated in the summer months.


K.K. said...

I got the Tipperay Sportage last spring and I love it! It's light weight, has a lot of vents for circulation, and it covers the back of my head. However the chin strap takes some getting used to! I suppose I could have taken the Velcro thing off...but I just learned to deal with it.

appydoesdressage said...

The feed store employee could have misinterpreted your request, when I read it I would have had the same reaction, "Go ahead, you are welcome to try them on". Perhaps she didn't realize you were asking because you needed help?
Anyway I have the Tipperary Sportage and really like mine too. I have had it 2 years and it has held up extremely well. I will be getting another one in the spring for showing, I think you will be pleased with it!

Katharine Swan said...

I have the Tipperary Sportage as well -- that same blue color you pictured, actually! I love it. Very comfortable helmet. I also am a large in this make, whereas I was a medium in Troxel -- the medium Tipperary barely fit me, and I decided it was TOO tight to wear for long periods of time. I would rather insert a couple of pads and know it's not going to give me a headache.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

K.K. - Yeah, the strap took some adjusting. It's at an odd angle.

appy... - I forgot to mention that I was pointing up high at the helmets that were near the ceiling when I made the request, but I think you are right that she assumed I was referring to the helmets within reach. I was going to complete my sentence by saying that I'd like to try on some helmets that are high on the wall, but she cut me off and started helping the man behind me.

Katharine - It is odd that they seem to be made for such small heads. I guess they cater to children more than adults, because I suspect the smaller sizes would only fit children.

fernvalley01 said...

The store employee sounds a little off, even if she misunderstood the initial question, it wouldn't have hurt her to check and see if you needed additional assistance. Glad you got one that works for you. Hangs head in shame I have still not gotten one

aurora said...

I've been watching for a sale on this helmet for a while now. Can't seem to find it less then $60 plus shipping. I need an XL to cover my oversized head and most only carry up to Large. Guess any savings won't do me much good if my brains are splattered all over the ground.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - I've noticed it's more difficult to get help here in the winter, and then in the summer I can't get bored employees to stop offering to help me. They're jumping out of every aisle saying, "Can I help you?" That's the difference in the population.

aurora - I got mine at Smart Pak Equine ( and they did an awesome job of packing everything to prevent shipping damage. Shipping is free on orders over $75 and I needed wormer anyway. I suspect they may only drop the price when they come out with a new model, so I'd look for a free shipping arrangement instead.

aurora said...

Thanks for the tip! I get their catalog but I've never bought from them. Didn't realize they carried anything besides supplements. Guess I should look at things before I recycle!

Sam said...

I liked your description of the olive - I look like a lollipop. LOL!

achieve1dream said...

I like that helmet! I need to replace mine too because it's so old so I will look into this one. Thanks for sharing!