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The Best ATV Helmets

a person wearing an ATV helmet and goggles

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) open up a world of adventure. Riding through remote forests and scaling rocky terrain brings an unmatched adrenaline rush. However, ATVs can reach high speeds over uneven ground, making accidents a real danger. Wearing proper protective gear, especially a quality helmet, is absolutely essential for safe off-road fun.

This comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know about choosing the best ATV helmet for trail riding. We’ll break down key features like construction materials, breathability, visors and face shields. You’ll also get our top recommendations on the most protective, versatile and high-end helmets on the market right now.

By investing in the right ATV helmet and wearing it on every ride, you can experience the freedom and excitement of backcountry trail exploration while greatly reducing the risk of serious head injuries. Let’s dive into how to select high-performance, comfortable head protection optimized for off-road adventures!

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ATV Helmet Construction Materials

When choosing the safest ATV helmet, pay close attention to the materials used in its construction. The outer shell of the helmet should be made from strong yet lightweight materials like polycarbonate, carbon fiber, fiberglass or Kevlar. These shells are designed to flex and absorb impact while remaining intact.

Inside the outer shell, helmets have an inner liner made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. This EPS liner compresses to absorb energy and cushion your head upon impact. Look for ATV helmets with thicker EPS liners, generally 1-2 inches thick. Density or firmness ratings like EPS D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) are also key – higher density EPS foams with compression ratings of over 15% provide optimal impact absorption.

Many advanced ATV helmets use dual-density or multi-density EPS liners. These have varying densities or firmness of EPS layers, allowing for progressive compression from low to high impacts. This gives better protection across different crash forces. Other leading-edge technologies like MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) reduce rotational motion during collisions, providing all-around protection.

 

Ventilation and Breathability

Proper ventilation and breathability are critical factors when selecting an ATV helmet for trail riding. The rigorous physical exertion of operating an ATV produces a tremendous amount of heat and sweat. Without adequate airflow, heat will become trapped inside the helmet, causing major discomfort and fatigue.

The best ATV helmets have ventilation channels built into the EPS foam liner, aligned with intake and exhaust vents on the outer shell. Strategically placed vents allow fresh air to flow in and hot air to escape. Top intake vents pull in cool air which gets circulated throughout channels in the EPS foam. Exhaust vents near the rear and lower edges allow hot stale air to exit. More vents generally provide better airflow and cooling performance.

Removable and washable interior liners and cheek pads are also important for managing sweat and keeping the helmet fresh. After a dusty trail ride, you can remove these components and machine wash them. Well-ventilated helmets with removable/washable parts will stay comfortable ride after ride.

Reducing neck strain is another key benefit of proper ventilation. The lightweight design of the helmet shell and impact absorbing materials enables comfort during prolonged wearing. Channels cut into the EPS lining also minimize material and decrease weight. By keeping your head cool and reducing fatigue, a lightweight well-ventilated ATV helmet enhances the overall trail riding experience.

 

Visors and Face Shields

The right visor or face shield is critical for managing changing light conditions and debris when riding ATV trails. Here are key features to look for:

 

Main Visor Length and Adjustability

Look for a main visor with adequate length to protect your eyes from sun, glare, and trail elements. The visor should have multiple adjustable positions so you can tilt it up or down to your preferred angle as needed.

 

Switchable Smoke and Clear Visors

Many ATV helmets allow you to easily swap between smoked and clear visors. The smoked visor blocks glare on sunny days while the clear visor is ideal for overcast days or riding in forests and shade. Quick-change systems make swapping fast and tool-free.

 

Full Face Shields for Total Protection

Full face shields protect your entire face while also enabling goggle use. Look for durable polycarbonate face shields that seal securely to the helmet edges. Top vents and breath deflectors prevent shield fogging. Side levers allow raising the shield quickly when stopped.

 

Bonus Features for Enhanced Trail Riding

In addition to strong safety construction and optimal comfort, today’s high-end ATV helmets include special features that enhance the trail riding experience.

 

Built-In Sun Visors

Riding through dappled sun and shade on wooded trails can make switching between clear and tinted visors a hassle. Many premium ATV helmets now have built-in retractable sun visors that provide UV protection and shading at the touch of a button. Popular with dual sport and adventure helmets, integrated sun shades offer the best of both worlds for quickly adapting to variable light conditions.

 

Communication Systems

Bluetooth communication systems are an excellent feature for ATV trail riding with a group or passenger. High-end helmets often have integrated Bluetooth for phone calls, GPS, and bike-to-bike intercom to stay connected on long rides. Quality speakers and microphones allow for clear audio without needing to remove your helmet.

 

Quick Change Shields

Modular or quick change visors and face shields allow you to optimize your helmet setup for different trails and riding styles. Many high-end lids feature tool-free removal of the visor/shield for swapping between tinted, clear, and open face options. This enables customization on the fly to match the riding conditions.

 

Goggle Integration

Goggles are a common pairing with ATV helmets to protect eyes from debris, branches, and variable weather. Premium options feature clips, anchors, notches, and strap management to seamlessly integrate goggles. This prevents the goggle strap from lifting the helmet and enhances fit and stability when tackling rough terrain.

 

Top 5 ATV Helmet Recommendations

When selecting the best ATV helmet for trail riding, it’s useful to consider the top-rated models across different price points and feature sets. We’ve compiled a comparison table highlighting our top picks, along with an in-depth review of each helmet.

 

Helmet

Price

Safety Ratings

Weight

Key Features

 

Fox Racing V3

$150

DOT Approved

3.1 lbs

Removable visor, moisture wicking liner

Scorpion EXO-AT950

$280

DOT Approved

3.5 lbs

Dual density EPS, adjustable visor, Bluetooth communication

Bell Moto 9 Flex

$380

DOT, ECE

3.7 lbs

MIPS safety system, X-Static antimicrobial lining

6D ATB-1

$650

DOT, ECE

3.3 lbs

ODS impact absorption, carbon fiber/Kevlar shell

Arai XD4

$700

DOT, Snell

3.5 lbs

Emergency cheek pad removal, interchangeable liners

 

Fox Racing V3

The Fox Racing V3 is an excellent budget-friendly option under $150. It features a lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell and a multi-density EPS liner for impact absorption. The removable visor blocks sun glare, while the moisture wicking liner and cheek pads keep you cool and comfortable on the trails. The V3 meets DOT safety standards and comes in a range of stylish graphics to match your ATV.

 

Scorpion EXO-AT950

For a mid-range helmet with premium features, the Scorpion EXO-AT950 is a superb choice at around $280. It uses an advanced LG polycarbonate shell hardened against impacts. Dual-density EPS liner provides progressive impact absorption from multiple angles. The face shield is optically correct and anti-fog, with tool-free adjustment. Integrated Bluetooth communication allows you to stay connected on rides. Overall, the AT950 combines safety, technology, and comfort in a DOT-certified package.

 

Bell Moto 9 Flex

The Bell Moto 9 Flex brings top-tier performance and protection to aggressive ATV riders. It meets DOT and ECE 22.05 safety standards, while the MIPS system reduces rotational impact forces. The polycarbonate shell incorporates RMAT materials for flexibility and durability. You’ll stay fresh on long rides thanks to the X-Static anti-bacterial fabric lining. Fully adjustable vents and a magnetic strap keep the helmet secure when the action gets intense. Expect to pay around $380 for these premium features.

 

6D ATB-1

Engineered for elite racers, the 6D ATB-1 offers unmatched protection. It uses an innovative ODS system with dual EPS liners to absorb angular impacts. The carbon fiber/Kevlar composite shell is extraordinarily strong yet featherlight. DOT and ECE 22.05 certified, it provides the most comprehensive safety package available around $650. The fully adjustable visor, aluminum honeycomb inserts, and washable liners make the 6D comfortable for all-day riding. Invest in this helmet for the ultimate in trail protection.

 

Arai XD4

Topping our list is the Arai XD4, providing the pinnacle of comfort, features, and construction quality. It meets DOT and Snell M2015 standards for rigorous protection. The hand-laid fiberglass shell incorporates complex curves and details not found on cheaper models. Dual-density EPS liners absorb impacts while the removable interior lining facilitates easy cleaning. Large adjustable vents, multi-directional visor, and emergency cheek pad removal system make the XD4 incredibly versatile. Expect to pay around $700 for this premium ATV helmet.

 

Best Budget ATV Helmet

When you’re looking for an ATV helmet on a budget, the Typhoon Helmets Adult Offroad Helmet is a top choice under $150. This DOT-approved helmet provides good protection at an affordable price point. It features a lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell and a multi-density EPS liner for impact absorption. While it lacks some of the premium features of high-end ATV helmets, the Typhoon Helmets Adult Offroad Helmet still offers good ventilation and comfort. It has a removable and washable moisture-wicking liner to keep your head cool and adjustable intake and exhaust vents to allow airflow. The quick-release strap makes taking the helmet on and off easy between rides. While the visor is not interchangeable, it is optically correct and scratch-resistant. For riders that want a solid budget ATV helmet without breaking the bank, the Typhoon Helmets Adult Offroad Helmet is an excellent value pick.

 

Best ATV Helmet for Youth

When choosing an ATV helmet for kids and younger riders, safety and proper fit are paramount. The Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Youth stands out as the top youth ATV helmet for 2023. This feature-packed helmet comes in a range of vivid color graphics that appeal to young riders. It utilizes a lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell along with a multi-layer EPS liner for premium impact protection. The MIPS system reduces rotational forces caused by angled impacts. It has an adjustable visor, ventilation system, anti-microbial liner, and also accommodates goggles.

The Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Youth comes in a range of sizes to provide a snug, secure fit for growing kids. The shell design offers added side coverage and protection around the chin and neck. Parents will appreciate the safety certifications meeting DOT and ECE standards. While a bit pricier than adult helmets, the Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Youth offers parents peace of mind knowing their child has a high-end helmet engineered for off-road adventures.

 

Most Safety-Focused ATV Helmet

When selecting an ATV helmet, safety should always be the number one priority. For riders who want the most cutting-edge protection, the 6D ATR-2 is the top choice. This innovative helmet uses ODS or Omni-Directional Suspension technology which provides 360-degree absorption from impacts. It has dual-density EPS foam but also uses elastomeric isolation dampers at multiple points within the liner. These exclusive dampers allow the helmet to move microscopically and absorb energy in all directions. Along with MIPS, the 6D ATR-2 offers the most advanced impact protection system you can get in an ATV helmet today.

The robust carbon fiber/Kevlar shell resists penetration while remaining lightweight. The shell combines with the EPS foam and ODS system to provide an extremely high level of protection. The helmet is also comfortable thanks to deep channels cut into the EPS foam that enhance airflow from the 14 smartly placed vents. For a secure fit, the ATR-2 has a premium liner with an adjustable and removable padded chin curtain. The face shield is optically correct and treated to resist scratches. While pricey, you can’t put a value on the 6D ATR-2’s industry-leading safety technologies.

 

Most Versatile ATV Helmet

When riding on unpredictable backcountry trails, having an adaptable helmet provides crucial versatility to handle changing conditions on the fly. The Castle X EXO-C700 offers unmatched modularity and customization for tackling any terrain.

This innovative convertible helmet features a removable chin bar so you can easily switch between full-face protection and an open face for better visibility and airflow. The quick-release chin bar attaches securely while offering outstanding impact protection when closed. When more ventilation and visibility are needed, simply remove the chin bar in seconds to convert to an open face helmet.

Beyond the interchangeable chin bar, the EXO-C700 has a flip-up visor that latches in the raised position. This enables goggle use without needing to remove your face shield. The helmet also comes with an internal drop-down sun visor that deploys and retracts quickly. The sun visor provides instant shade from glare without needing to switch out external visors.

With its smart modular design and abundance of practical features, the Castle X EXO-C700 delivers unmatched versatility for trail riders needing a helmet that adapts to diverse riding conditions and terrain.

 

Best High-End ATV Helmet

For the most advanced helmet technology and premium features, high-end ATV helmets from top brands offer the ultimate in protection and comfort. Expect to invest $400 or more, but the unparalleled quality is worth it for serious trail riders.

The Shoei VFX-EVO is our top pick for a high-performance, feature-packed luxury ATV helmet. This helmet starts with an ultra-strong yet lightweight composite matrix shell construction using organic fibers for flexibility and rigidity. The multi-piece multi-density EPS liner has varying densities for progressive impact absorption, while the 3D Max-Dry liner system channels airflow to keep your head cool and dry.

The VFX-EVO is packed with premium details like a spring-loaded base plate for goggle adjustment, stainless steel vents, and an anti-fog smoke tinted visor. You can easily swap in a clear visor for variable light conditions. The quick release shield system lets you switch from the face shield to goggles in seconds. Overall, the VFX-EVO delivers phenomenal safety, ventilation, and convenience.

 

ATV Helmet Sizing

Getting the right size ATV helmet is crucial for protection, comfort and proper vision. Helmet sizes are measured in centimeters and typically range from XS to XXL. Most brands provide detailed size charts to help you select your ideal fit.

When sizing an ATV helmet, the most important measurement is your head circumference. To measure correctly:

 

  • Wrap a soft measuring tape around your head about 1 inch above your eyebrows and ears.
  • Make sure the tape is level from front to back.
  • Record the measurement in centimeters or inches.
  • Refer to the brand’s sizing chart to identify your size.

 

It’s also important to consider helmet shape. Round, intermediate oval and long oval shapes are common. Choose the shape that best matches your head’s natural contours for a snug and comfortable fit.

When trying on helmets, make sure you can slide a finger between your brow and the helmet rim. The cheek pads should touch your cheeks without squeezing. There should be no pressure points. A proper fit means the helmet stays securely in place when you turn your head.

 

Proper Use and Maintenance

Getting the right fit and features is crucial when selecting your ATV helmet, but proper use and care will ensure it protects you when you need it most out on the trails. Follow these tips to use and maintain your helmet correctly:

 

Securing the Chin Strap

The chin strap is a critical component that keeps your helmet stable on your head. It should fit snugly under your chin and have a sturdy D-ring closure. Give it a firm tug in all directions to ensure it is tightly secured every time you wear your helmet.

 

Cleaning Tips

Dirt, mud, and sweat can degrade helmet materials over time which why it’s important to regularly clean your helmet. Use mild soap and warm water to gently clean the liner and cheek pads. Let all parts air dry completely before reassembling. Avoid harsh chemicals or cleaners. For the outer shell, wipe with a soft cloth to avoid scratches.

 

Replacing Liners and Shields

With frequent use, your helmet’s liner and shields will wear out. Replace the liner if it becomes overly compressed or degraded. Scratched or foggy shields also need replacement. Use only factory-authorized parts to ensure safety and performance.

Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement intervals will optimize your helmet’s protective abilities. With proper care and maintenance, your ATV helmet will provide reliable performance season after season on the trails.

 

Conclusion

When selecting the best ATV helmet for your trail riding adventures, you’ll want to consider key factors like construction materials, ventilation, visors and shields, and special features. Look for a helmet with durable polycarbonate or composite shell materials along with multi-density EPS foam lining for superior impact absorption. Breathable elements like intake and exhaust vents will keep you cool even on hot days, while a drop-down sun visor provides shade without needing to swap shields.

Features like camera mounts, Bluetooth, and integrated communication systems allow you to capture the action and stay connected on group rides. Ultimately, choosing a helmet from a reputable brand that balances protection, comfort, and versatility is the best way to maximize both safety and fun on the trails.

Based on the models reviewed, we recommend the O’Neal Warhawk helmet as the best overall trail riding ATV helmet. It offers excellent safety credentials along with rider-focused comfort and convenience. For those on a budget, the HJC CL-X7 meets safety standards at a very affordable price point. Youth riders will appreciate the cool graphics and design of the Fly Racing Youth Zone helmet. If maximum protection is your top concern, go with the 6D ATD-1 helmet equipped with advanced safety systems. And for riders that value features, the Bell Moto-9 Flex provides integrated camera and communication abilities.

Investing in one of the best ATV helmets engineered for off-road use allows you to explore nature’s beauty with the peace of mind that your head is protected. Use this guide to select the perfect trail riding helmet for your needs and budget.

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The Best ATV Helmets Q&A

Some of the top ATV helmets available in Canada include the **Bell Moto-9 Flex**, the **Fly Racing Formula helmet**, the **6D ATR-2 helmet**, and the **AGV AX-9 Adventure helmet**. These helmets offer excellent protection, comfort, ventilation, and features like MIPS technology for reduced rotational forces during crashes. Popular brands like O’Neal, LS2, Fox Racing, and Arai also have quality ATV helmet options available from Canadian retailers.

When buying an ATV helmet in Canada, look for certifications like **DOT, ECE 22.05, SNELL M2015**, or SHARP. These certifications indicate the helmet has passed standardized tests for impact protection, penetration resistance, retention system strength, and other safety criteria. DOT is the minimum certification, while SNELL and SHARP indicate more rigorous testing. Avoid novelty helmets without proper certs.

Good places to buy ATV helmets in Canada include:

 

– Local motorcycle and powersports dealerships

– Online retailers like FortNine, GP Bikes, Parts Canada

– Stores like Canadian Tire, Princess Auto

– Specialty gear websites like Revzilla, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

– Amazon.ca and Walmart.ca

 

Shopping in person lets you try helmets on for fit and comfort. Online has wider selections but can’t test fit.

Key features to look for in a good ATV helmet include:

 

– Strong outer shell (polycarbonate, carbon fiber, composite)

– Multi-density EPS foam liner

– Comfortable, removable, washable interior padding

– Secure retention system and chin strap

– Good ventilation and anti-fog measures

– Available accessories like breath deflectors, goggles, and face shields

– Optional extras like Bluetooth, speakers, camera mounts

 

The most protective and comfortable ATV helmet for you depends on your budget and riding style.

For ATV riding, a **full face helmet** is strongly recommended for superior protection. Full face helmets cover the entire head, offering impact protection for your chin, jaw, and face in addition to the top and back of the head. This prevents serious facial injuries in the event of a crash while riding an ATV. Open face helmets leave your face exposed and are not ideal for ATV use.



For casual **trail riding**, an adventure-style or dual-sport helmet is usually the most versatile and comfortable choice. These feature good ventilation, eye port visibility, and often have peak visors for sun protection. Good options include the 6D ATR-2, AGV AX-9, and similar helmets.

For **motocross** racing, you’ll want a dedicated MX helmet with more aggressive styling, superior venting, and safety features like MIPS to handle jumps and high speeds. Top MX helmet choices include the Bell Moto 9 Flex, Fly Racing Formula, Fox V3, etc.

The price range for good quality ATV helmets in Canada is typically **$150 to $600 CAD**. More affordable ATV helmets start around $100, while premium race-ready helmets with the latest safety tech run as high as $700+. When buying a helmet, don’t compromise protection to save money. Expect to invest at least $200 for a feature-packed ATV helmet from a top brand.

To complement your ATV helmet and maximize protection, always wear:

 

– Goggles or a face shield/visor for eye protection

– A motocross jersey with elbow pads

– Gloves for grip and hand protection

– Sturdy off-road style boots

– Knee and leg guards like MX pants

– A chest protector for high-speed riding

 

Layer correctly for the climate and don’t forget sunscreen!

Your ATV helmet should fit snugly all around without painful pressure points. It should not shift around on your head or lift visibly when opening your mouth wide. Proper fit allows the helmet to best protect your head. The cheek pads should lightly touch your cheeks without squishing them. You should not feel any gaps between the liner padding and your head. Test fit helmets in person while moving your head around. Expect some break-in after a few rides.

– Rinse your helmet with cool water after muddy/dusty rides

– Wash helmet liner pads occasionally in mild soap and let fully air dry

– Wipe outer shell with a damp cloth – avoid harsh chemicals

– Store helmet in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight

– Avoid dropping or setting heavy things on your helmet

– Replace after any major crash impact

 

Inspect for cracks in the shell before each use and replace the helmet every 5 years due to aging materials.

Many premium ATV helmets today offer integrated Bluetooth intercom systems to enable onboard communication, GPS, and music. If your helmet doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth, most brands offer aftermarket Bluetooth kits that can be installed into helmet speaker pockets. Just ensure any accessory wiring is securely mounted. Bluetooth adds convenience but should not interfere with helmet safety and function.

Helmet peak visors attach to the front of an ATV helmet to provide shade from the sun without limiting visibility. Breath deflectors fasten to the chin area and redirect your outgoing breath downward to prevent visor fogging. Both accessories can greatly increase comfort in varying terrain and weather. They are usually removable and easy to install.

MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) is a popular safety layer inside premium helmets that allows slight rotation of the outer shell to redirect impact forces. This helps prevent concussions and brain injuries during crashes. Other technologies like Koroyd structures, SAS-Tec foam, and 6D’s Omni-Directional Suspension also aim to enhance protection. Any helmet meeting DOT/SNELL standards will protect your head effectively. Advanced safety tech offers next-level performance.

Both Sena and Cardo make excellent Bluetooth communicators and entertainment systems for powersports helmets. Their units securely attach to helmet shells using glue, Velcro and clips. This allows connecting with other riders in your group mid-ride via built-in microphones and speakers. Most communicator manufacturers offer mounting kits for popular helmet brands. Just check compatibility. Adding a communicator enhances the riding experience for trail, dunes, and long tours.

There are good options for buying ATV helmets both locally and online. At your area motorsport shop you can try helmets on in person, see stock availability, and support local business. Purchasing online opens up many more brand and style choices and potential sales. Just be sure to carefully measure your head and match to size charts when ordering helmets online. Free returns are also useful to test sizing. There are pros and cons to both options.

If your ATV helmet has built-in accessory mounts, you can attach items like:

 

– GoPro/action cameras to record your rides

– LED light bars for enhanced visibility

– Bluetooth communicators to talk to other riders

– GPS devices and phone mounts for navigation

– Visors, peaks, and breath deflectors for weather protection

 

The mounting locations vary by helmet – chin, side, top, or back. Check for accessory compatibility and ensure any add-ons are securely attached.

The main youth and children’s ATV helmets from reputable brands utilize the same safety standards, materials, and impact protection as adult helmets. Often the youth helmets feature brighter graphics, different sizing, and slightly different proportions to better fit kids’ heads. Always check for legitimate DOT/ECE certifications on children’s helmets rather than toy badges. Investing in a proper, high-quality youth helmet is crucial for safety.

Smart or connected ATV helmets feature built-in electronics like Bluetooth, activity tracking, HD cameras, and even integrated head-up displays in some high-end models. They allow riders to monitor speed, navigation, tire pressure, music playlists, and more right on the visor without glancing down at devices. Leading models are also compatible with smartphones and smartwatches. Smart helmets enhance the riding experience while optimizing safety. Popular options include the Livall and CrossHelmet.

For ATV riding, a full face helmet is strongly recommended over modular helmets. Modular helmets have a flip-up chin bar to make them easier to put on, but compromise protection. The pivoting chin bar is vulnerable to opening during a crash. Full face ATV helmets provide complete coverage and are less likely to separate on impact. If you ride trails a modular helmet could work, but for aggressive sport riding choose full face instead.

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