Winter has arrived! And we’re excited to hit the slopes. But if you’re like most snowmobilers, you probably haven’t yet given much thought to what you should wear under your helmet.
Look, a lot of attention is given to what you wear on your upper body to stay warm and safe when snowmobiling. For example, the clothing worn on the upper body will keep you warm. The clothing worn on the lower body, meanwhile, will provide you with protection.
And your snowmobile helmet, as we all know, is the last step in keeping you safe and it’s a crucial part of your snowmobiling gear for safeguarding your head.
But what should you wear under your helmet?
Well, while snowmobile helmets have vents that help you stay warm, there’re some protective layers you should add to your outfit; as the ride can be chilly and rough, making it hard to keep warm and cozy, especially for those who like hitting the slopes for long periods of time.
After all, the last thing you want to think about when riding your snowmobile is whether you are wearing the right gear. Even if you are, you may not be wearing it in the correct order.
So, here is an article on what gear to wear under your snowmobile helmet, how to layer, and how to maintain your snowmobile suits. We’ll also take a look at various aspects of winter riding i.e. what you should wear and what you should avoid for maximum comfort and safety.
What to Wear Under Your Snowmobile Helmet
First of all, it goes without saying that you should completely avoid anything made of cotton. Ever hear the phrase, “cotton kills”? Well, when wet, cotton is incredibly absorbent and can hold 27 times its weight in water. This means that in addition to taking longer to dry, your clothing will actively lower your body temperature, which could result in hypothermia.
Otherwise, whizzing around through winter’s chilly air while wearing wet slow-drying clothing is a recipe for tragedy.
Having said that, let’s now dive into what you should wear underneath your helmet.
Headgear, Eye Protection, and Face Shield
When riding a snowmobile, it’s always crucial to have a reliable helmet as part of your headgear. The helmet doesn’t just keep you warm, it will also shield your head against serious injuries in case of accidents or crashes.
To ensure full protection while riding, always check that your helmet has a tight fit and that the chin strap is securely fastened.
Note that a helmet’s capacity to absorb impacts will degrade with time, so be sure to have it replaced after being engaged in a large impact or after wearing it for a significant period of time.
Snowmobilers often come in four basic styles: full-face helmets, open-face helmets, modular helmets, and motor-cycle style helmets.
The full-face options are considered the warmest as they basically enclose the face entirely, they have a chin guard, and a full visor to protect your face from the cold weather and wind.
Open-face options offer a similar level of protection as the full-face helmets, it’s only that they lack a chin guard for extra face protection. Instead, they have a full helmet visor that may be flipped down to cover the eyes, but this allows wind to seep through from underneath.
That said, modular helmets are the most recent style of helmets around; they combine open-face and full-face features to provide riders with the best cold protection, increased visibility, and versatility to match various snowboarding situations.
Motorcycle-style helmets, meanwhile, offer greater airflow and ventilation under severe riding conditions while still protecting the head from serious injuries. However, they must be worn with goggles because they often lack an integrated visor to protect the eyes.
What Makes a Good Snowmobile Helmet
Although in some places you might not be required to have your snowmobile helmet on while riding, helmets are an essential part of safety gear. You don’t want to jeopardize your life.
Look, you can avoid impact-related injuries by simply wearing a helmet. And that explains it all; a suitable helmet should always be worn when operating a snowmobile.
Some of the best snowmobile helmets incorporate a sun shield to guard your eyes against glaring sun rays and snow reflections.
So check that the product is well-designed to keep your head warm while allowing for good air circulation- look for “DOT” approval before using the helmet. If you see the “DOT” clearance, then it means the product is reliable.
Also, always keep the straps and your helmet tightly fastened. And Remember you can pick between full-face and open-face snowmobiling helmets from a variety of styles depending on your tastes. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s safe and offers you decent visibility.
Facemasks will come in handy to help prevent frostbite and wind chill during those really cold days. In fact, a facemask is a must-have if your helmet is not a full-face one.
You may not always have it on you while riding, but it’s always smart to keep a facemask in your pocket just in case it gets excessively cold out there. You don’t want to leave your face exposed to the cold breeze as this will only leave you feeling incredibly uneasy for the ride.
Ideally, you should go for the thin polyester, silk, or other synthetic fabric facemasks and not those knit-tight facemasks. The mask should be thin and comfortable enough to wear under the helmet.
Wear Protective Sunglasses/Goggles
Proper eye protection is crucial when riding. These may include goggles, sunglasses, and a helmet visor. They protect your face/eyes from flying debris, tree limbs, and snow/ice being kicked up by other snowmobilers while keeping you from wind- and cold-related wetness.
Look, you can’t stop snow and other debris from gliding around. But by wearing goggles, you can stop them from getting in your eyes. So keep that in mind when picking your goggles.
Go for dark lenses if the day is particularly bright. This will help protect you from excessively bright light and intense sun rays. On cloudy days, go for colors such as rose, blue, or amber.
Note that you won’t need goggles if you’re using a full-face helmet that has a face shield. However, if you’re riding with an open-face helmet, or no helmet at all (which is highly discouraged) then you’ll definitely need goggles to ensure clear visibility in the snow.
It’s good to mention that snowmobile goggles and skiing or snowboarding goggles are very pretty much similar. Either should work just fine for snowmobiling, just in case you already have a pair lying around that you use for other winter sports.
Again to prevent snow blindness, it is recommended to use sunglasses, goggles, or helmet visors with colored lenses on bright days. When it’s cloudy, or late in the day, colored lenses can be quite helpful since they can make risky slopes in the snow more visible.
Clear lenses are great for whizzing after dark, though.
Snowmobile Suits and Under Layers
Your snowmobile riding experience will be greatly influenced by the kind of clothing you choose to wear. Proper apparel is imperative if you want to feel comfortable and stay warm snowmobiling. Here’s a quick tip on how to choose the right snowmobile gear:
When it comes to snowboarding, the best clothing is one that retains heat and absorbs moisture. Preferably, you should wear snowmobiling gear with moisture-wicking materials.
A reliable snowmobiling costume should consist of waterproof outer layers, well-insulated underlayers, a helmet, eye protection, boots, and other safety equipment.
These suits are usually made up of a jacket worn over a pair of thermal bibs or ski pants, and their main role is to provide adequate protection against cold, wind, and frostbite-related issues.
The clothing should also have a windproof and waterproof outer layer/shell. The most common fabrics used in snowmobile clothing are acrylic, gore-tex, or other synthetic materials. So, avoid cotton materials.
You’ll realize that many snowmobile jackets are windproof and waterproof, which is great because wearing such top-notch snowmobile gear ensures complete protection from the wind, the rain, and the snow.
That said, there’re a few things to keep in mind when buying your snowboarding suit. Some might sound obvious but can actually have a huge impact on your overall comfort level. So read on to learn more about these and other crucial aspects of snowmobile equipment.
To stay safe and feel comfortable, it’s crucial to dress in layers underneath your snowmobiling suit. These layers act as a barrier against the cold, wind chill, and frostbite during chilly days.
Note that you can always take off some layers during your ride if you have too many on, but you can’t put more on if you didn’t carry some when you were leaving.
The first layer should consist of long underwear bottom and top made of polyester or a synthetic blend that allows your body to breathe. This layer shouldn’t be heavy or constricting. In fact, you’ll achieve better protection with a couple of light layers than with one grave layer.
Any clothing made of cotton should never be used as the first layer (or any other layer). Such clothes dry slowly and don’t have moisture-wicking materials to get the sweat off your body.
Instead, it’s recommended to wear silk, polyester blends, or other synthetic blends since they wick moisture away from the skin and dry quite faster.
The best options are tops and bottoms made of fleece, wool, or polyester; cotton t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, long underwear, and even socks should never be considered.
You’ll need a good snowmobile jacket to keep you warm and ready while on the trails. Just make sure it is the right size for you; it shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. You want to enjoy a complete range of motion but not excess material flopping around.
The jacket needs to be waterproof for maximum protection and sometimes you might want to have a hood so you can layer up as the temperature drops. Choose an insulated option if you’d like to feel a bit warmer, although a shell can still be enough.
Another important part of snowmobile gear is a pair of pants. When riding, make sure that your lower body stays warm and dry. Therefore, your pants should be waterproof and strong enough to last a long time.
There are several styles of snowmobile pants available but the most common ones are regular pants and bibs. With regular pants, the waist will be visible. Bibs, on the other hand, will have shoulder straps that fit like suspenders on your body. It all depends on individual preferences.
Layers include socks as well, so make sure you have a decent pair of socks to keep your toes and feet warm while riding. You need to wear snowmobiling gear and socks are crucial.
What kind of socks you wear for snowmobiling is not really important, though. In fact, snowmobiling can be done just fine with the socks you normally wear in your winter boots.
However, some of the best fabrics for socks include wool, fleece, silk, and many other synthetic materials. Never wear cotton socks for snowmobiling!
Tip: AVOID wearing cotton socks! Thin nylon, silk, wool, fleece, polypropylene, or synthetic mixes are all ideal materials for socks. Unlike cotton, these materials will help wick moisture away from your skin, and work best for maintaining a nice insulating layer on your feet.
Always keep an extra pair of socks on hand so you may switch them out when necessary because you should change your socks when you notice that your feet are getting cold.
Boots are yet another essential part of snowmobile gear; they help to keep your feet warm and safe against impacts. Snowmobiling boots therefore should be made of a combination of rubber and other waterproof materials for the best performance.
Technically, you could ride in any kind of shoes, but if you’re planning to ride regularly, you’ll be wise to consider getting yourself a solid pair of snowmobile boots. You want to have a firm grip on the machine’s rails while simultaneously keeping your feet toasty and comfortable.
Most snowmobile boots feature breathable lining to prevent sweating. But overall, the point is to choose a pair of highly-quality boots as your feet will be actively involved in the activity.
Wear Warm Gripping Gloves
Since you’ll be actively using your hands when snowmobiling, it makes sense to make sure they stay warm. Before you start your ride, get a decent pair of gloves and put them on.
In addition to keeping your hands warm, gloves will improve your grip on the snowmobile’s handle, making it a crucial component of your riding equipment. The gloves should be wind- and water-resistant for better results. The best brands will even offer wool glove liners.
Also, when purchasing, make sure the gloves are of the correct fit so you can comfortably steer. It’s best to wear snowmobiling gloves purposely made for the job because regular gloves meant for other activities are unlikely to be waterproof and windproof.
On a very chilly day, hand warmers can help provide that extra warmth for your hands. Hand warmers are available in various forms, just like any other riding gear- but the most common ones are Supersaturated solution, air-activated, and battery-powered hand warmers.
A typical battery-operated hand warmer can serve for around 6 hours before calling for a recharge. The best part is you can control the amount of heat you’d like to feel on your hand.
Air-activated hand warmers, meanwhile, produce heat through a chemical process that is sparked by air. These options usually offer a ten-hour continuous heat cycle but will need to be thrown away after the initial use. However, they’re great enough to keep your hands warm.
Similar to air-activated hand warmers, supersaturated solution hand warmers operate on just about a similar basis. They do, however, offer one advantage over hand warmers with air activation; i.e you can reuse them a couple of times before throwing them away for good.
The Bottom Line
Well, it goes without saying that the right clothing under your snowmobile helmet can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and safety. Ultimately, the type of gear you wear is entirely up to you. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and warm.
Some people like a tight-fitting helmet that hugs their head and others enjoy a looser helmet that allows them to wear a hat underneath. The same goes for the type of clothing that you wear underneath your snowmobile outfit. The final decision falls on the rider because they know how they like their gear to fit. Just make sure you’re comfortable with what you wear.
If you like to wear a hooded sweatshirt under your snowmobile suit, then by all means do it. If you are more comfortable in a t-shirt, you can wear that too. The same goes for pants, shorts, and whatever else you wish to wear underneath your snowmobile suit.
Hopefully, this article has helped you learn about undergarments and other items that can keep you safe from cold and crashes during your snowmobile ride!