Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Helmet Funk No More

You all know the feeling -- you grab your helmet and slip it on only to find it wet and clammy from your previous ride. It's definitely discouraging for those of us who are safety-obsessed, and it's one of the excuses of the anti-helmet set. Not only did I have this problem with my previous helmet, but I also broke out in a big angry rash every time I wore it; in fact, I am ashamed to admit that I used to occasionally ride Mac sans helmet because I was sick of walking around with a huge red rash smack in the middle of my forehead. So, lately it has been my mission to banish Icky Wet Funky Helmet once and for all. My plan of attack is as follows:

#1: I bought a new helmet. My previous helmet was a Charles Owen Hampton and was a nice helmet, but it had zero ventilation. I also acted very unwisely when I first purchased it -- after riding, I would put my still-damp helmet in my lovely monogrammed nylon helmet bag and store it in my tack trunk in the completely unventilated tack room. Definitely not a wise idea (especially down here in the swamp!). The new helmet that I purchased is the Charles Owen AYR8, which has 12 ventilation slits plus a silver ion-infused interior which is naturally antimicrobial. If the CO isn't for you, there are plenty of other ventilated helmets out there: International, Tipperary, GPA, and Troxel all make nice options.

#2: I let my helmet air-dry. As much as I love my monogrammed helmet bag, it is only suitable for storing a dry helmet. Now, in addition to hanging my helmet in the breezy barn aisle while I'm grooming and cleaning tack, I store it on a bridle hook in the tack room (in this barn, the tack room has a window & the door is always open, so it's much less funk-friendly).

#3: I actually bought helmet cleaner. Yes, this is kind of a no-brainer. With my last helmet, I tried every product but helmet cleaner (alcohol, Lysol, etc.) and yet nothing ever killed whatever microscopic creature was inducing my rash. This time, I'm not taking any chances! I purchased the Charles Owen foaming helmet cleaner, which does a very nice job. I plan on using it every so often just to make sure my helmet always stays fresh and clean.

#4: I bought a Fresh Helmet Sack. I saved the best for last because this is such a good idea! The Fresh Helmet Sack contains activated carbon to neutralize odors, plus a desiccant that helps your helmet dry faster. You just place it in your helmet after your ride, and you'll never be greeted by a musty, sweaty helmet ever again! And if it ever needs to be reactivated, you can either pop it in the microwave or set it out in the sun for a few hours. So simple! I saw this on Smartpak, where it received glowing reviews from the Smartpak staff, and pretty much immediately clicked "Add to cart."

It also comes in a blue bandanna print

Finally, I am free of the funk! I hope these tips help those of you currently suffering from the funk. And if I can convince an anti-helmet person that there are steps you can take to make helmet-wearing comfortable, so much the better!


eventer79 said...

Oooo, the helmet sack is a REALLY good idea! I just hang mine on one of my tack hooks and it air dries there and lives there. It's a Tipp so it's PLENTY ventilated, I've never had any funk issues.

I confess that read about putting wet helmet away in leather bag in tag trunk made the hair on the back of my neck stand up...LOL

baystatebrumby said...

Here's what happens with my helmet: I leave it in the barn and it either gets pooped on by a bird, or worn my someone else who re-adjusts my straps (grrrrr), or a spider decides to crawl in it and make a home there!!! I've tried taking it home each time but that drives me crazy too. Now the outer plastic shell slips off the foam part. I think I need a new helmet! This one has gotten too crappy! Maybe I'll get one like yours! It sure looks sharp.

SprinklerBandit said...

I have a vented Ovation helmet (just got it last month) and I'm really enjoying. It's so hot and dry here that I really haven't had a problem with dampness and odors, but you seem to have found some excellent solutions.

Are you riding again?

Frizzle said...

Yes, I am riding again! I will be posting about that as soon as I have some pics. :-D

Denali's Mom said...

I tried the Charles Owens when I went helmet shopping last summer. What I learned. Charles Owen helmets are perfect if you have a rounder head (not me) and IRH helmets are more for oval shaped heads. I love, LOVE my IRH helmet! Also, no more helmet funk. Love it!

Frizzle said...

That's weird, D -- most people say GPAs are for round heads and COs are for oval heads. ?? Well, you have a helmet that fits you, so that's all that counts, right? :-)