Mountain biking is a rigorous activity that is guaranteed to make you sweat. That’s expected, considering that it’s basically a form of exercise. When it comes to biking, you might have a sweaty head due to the need for wearing a safety helmet. That’s where helmet liners come into play.
What are bike helmet liners and what is their purpose?
According to Dictionary.com, a helmet liner is “a soft or padded lining for a helmet” or a “stiff, plastic head covering designed to be worn alone or under a steel helmet for protection.” Essentially, a helmet liner is designed to be worn under your helmet. It is there to soak up sweat and keep it away from your face.
Most helmet liners function like radiators. The unique cooling feature is that sweat and moisture gets absorbed, then circulated within the fabric to be evaporated. The evaporation is prolonged as well, which helps with keeping it cool longer. For that effect to happen, you have to first rinse it under a faucet or soak it in a tub of water. After that, wring out the water before snapping off the excess water.
What to look out for when picking a helmet liner?
Here are a few things you would want to pay attention to when shopping for a helmet liner. First, the material used – how well it can absorb sweat. Next is comfort – how well it fits. Most liners are stretchable so size wouldn’t be too big an issue, but fitting may still vary if you have a particularly large or small head. Look for one that’s not too tight. Obviously, the liner would loosen up through use, so you’ll have to consider a replacement once that happens.
Top Bike Helmet Liners
Mission Enduracool Cooling Helmet Liner
The Enduracool is made with a kind of material designed to enhance its cooling effect. The mesh on top increases airflow, which also helps to keep your head cooler.
This liner is on the slightly smaller side so it might be a bit too tight for people with larger heads. For more average head sizes, there’s also a possibility that it may feel a bit too snug if you have a thick head of hair. It is also one of the pricier options available, something you might want to keep in mind.
Its cooling effect is able to last for about 2 hours – long enough for a short marathon or biking exercises. For longer sessions, you’ll have to keep some extra water around or find a rest area to rinse it off to ‘renew’ the cooling effect.
Cooling Skull Cap by Tough Headware
Relatively thin, this helmet liner can be worn comfortably under many kinds of headwear, such as hard hats and bike helmets. In terms of size fitting, the Cooling Skull Cap is not only highly stretchable but also quite large. Thus, it’s able to accommodate a wider range of head sizes. Its cooling effect’s duration is rated to be able to last for up to 5 hours at a temperature of 85-100 F (30-40 degrees Celsius), which makes it great if you have to be out and about under the hot sun for a long time.
As for design choices, this option has a lot of them. There are over 10 designs available, including blue, black and striking yellow, and more elaborate ones styled like the U.S. flag or with a flame pattern.
SPEG UV-Pro Cycling Head Cooling Helmet Liner
For want of a more affordable option, the SPEG UV-Pro Helmet Liner is definitely a strong pick for this list. While it only comes in one color – white – this liner offers SPF30 protection and is designed for flexibility.
The SPEG UV-Pro comes in one size which is meant to fit most heads. Many users reported a good fit even with their larger head sizes. But smaller heads might find it loose and it could cover your ears entirely. This would then reduce its effectiveness in absorbing the sweat from your head. Some users even commented that it did an average job in cooling, although it worked fine for wicking sweat away.
The cotton-polyester material is meant to be comfortable and yet dry easily when you perspire. Furthermore, the manufacturer claims that the fiber is woven in a “tetra channel” format, making the helmet liner more airy.
French Fitness Revolution Skull Cap Beanie
French Fitness Revolution is a family-owned business that specializes in headwear accessories. The Skull Cap Beanie stands out as a compact, portable product that you could easily fold and keep in your pocket.
This lightweight helmet liner was designed for both hot and cold seasons. In the summer, it helps you keep cool by wicking away moisture, while in the winter, it keeps your head warm. You may even use it for other sports besides biking – whether it’s basketball, hiking or at the gym, it’s a comfortable piece of headgear.
The Skull Cap Beanie comes in one size that’s somewhat on the loose side. This is great if you prefer not to have a tight fit that might squeeze on your scalp whenever you wear it. However, it may not be suitable if you have a smaller head and you hate having the liner slide up every so often.
Most users have expressed satisfaction that the liner does well to keep sweat away. Nevertheless, it has been noted by some that this model has some dye bleeding issues, so do keep that in mind.
Ergodyne Chill-Its 6630 Skull Cap
Last on our list is the Ergodyne Chill-Its 6630 Skull Cap. This is an affordable model that comes with a built-in headband made of terry cloth. This helps to keep sweat out of your eyes. Designed to be durable and machine-washed, the manufacturer is confident in its workmanship.
The Ergodyne Chill-Its 6630 Skull Cap comes in one size, which may be loose for some people. As the material is 100% polyester, it may not be as stretchable as the other products in this list. Some users have complained about the lack of elasticity and the difficulty in getting a snug fit. Those with oval or pointed-shaped heads may find it loose at the sides.
On the plus side, the Chill-Its 6630 come in a choice of 9 colors. Besides the plain colors of lime, blue and black, they also offer creative patterns including camo, flames, and stars and stripes. We think it is worth a consideration if you’re looking for a simple helmet liner that can be used in everyday situations.
Now that you have taken a look at the options above, we have selected Tough Headwear’s Cooling Skull Cap as our top pick. It fits well for most people, is comfortable, and can keep your head cool for long biking sessions. It’s also relatively affordable and comes in plenty of design choices.
If you don’t mind something simpler that is more affordable, you could go for the Ergodyne Chill-Its 6630 Skull Cap. It does what a helmet liner is expected to do and offers many designs. However, note that it may not be a good fit for people with pointed, oval and irregular-sized heads.