Can You Wear a Hat Under a Motorcycle Helmet?

Motorcycle riders are the epitome of cool, but wearing safety gear, like helmets, is not necessarily considered to be. This might leave the modern rider wondering if there is a way to bridge the gap between the free riders on screen, and the need for protection. Some riders might even consider wearing a hat under their motorcycle helmet. Is this possible? We have researched this topic to determine if this is a safe and acceptable possibility. 

For safety reasons, you should not wear a hat under a helmet. A helmet should fit snug against the head. Anything in between the head and the helmet lining can cause the helmet to shift, increasing the potential for a disastrous outcome in the event of an accident. 

A helmet and a hat collage photo, Can You Wear a Hat Under a Motorcycle Helmet?

Keep reading for all of the critical details on this safety issue, so you can be safe when you hit the road!

Is Wearing a Hat Under a Helmet Safe? 

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute,  says that wearing a baseball cap or other hats under your helmet poses the same risk as thicker hairdos. Namely, the thickness of the cap and its sweatband or the bill of the cap can interfere with the fit of the helmet. This is true for motorcycle helmets as well. 

Also, some baseball caps have steel balls on the top that can raise the helmet above the head, leaving part of the sides unprotected. Raising the helmet on the head can destabilize the sides of the helmet, compromising its structural integrity in a crash. Also, any decorations on the hat, such as beads, might be an impact hazard that could cut into the scalp. In a nutshell, or a noggin shell, it might be cute to wear a hat under your helmet, and it might keep the sweat or sun out of your eyes, but make sure that anything you might put on your head doesn’t interfere with the helmet’s fit.

A motorcycle helmet should cover the tops and side of the head and fit snugly enough that it does not shift when moving the head. Moving the helmet should cause the skin to move. If it is any looser than that, then the helmet is too large.

What Do You Wear Under Your Motorcycle Helmet?

If you’re bald, or just don’t like the feel of a bald helmet on your head, some soft head coverings are thin enough to fit under a helmet without causing it to slip. Riders have experimented with putting Handiwipes over their heads to absorb sweat and keep the sun from coming through the vent holes in the helmet. Others swear by “do rags”, or simply fold a bandana and place it at the top of their helmets against their head. If it’s really hot out, you can pour water on any of these soft coverings to cool off your head, as long as the helmet won’t slip.

Here's an example of a thin liner-type beanie that can be worn under a helmet, if needed. 

Click here to see this on Amazon.

It’s also a good idea to take your soft head coverings with you next time you’re buying a new helmet so the salespeople can help you find the best fit that includes the liner. If you miss this step, put the softcover under your helmet and try to pull the helmet off your head. If the helmet slips at all, then it doesn’t fit right. Adjust the straps or pads in the helmet so that it does.

Here’s a useful checklist for whether your helmet fits (with or without a hat)

  • Assess the size and shape of our head. Helmets come in a lot of different shapes and sizes so you can choose the one that is best for you.
  • Measure the circumference of the widest part of your head using a tape measure. The tape should lay right above your eyebrows and around the largest part of your head. Compare this against a helmet size chart to determine the correct size for you. 
  • Try the helmet on. The cheek pads should touch your cheeks without being too tight, and there should not be any gaps between your temples and the brow pads. If it is a full-face helmet, press on the chin piece to make sure that the visor does not touch your face. 
  • Grab the chin bar and try to move the helmet. The skin on your face and head should move with the helmet and it should not slide around. 
  • Wear the helmet for about 30 minutes to check for it being overly tight. The most common places for tightness are on the forehead and temples. If your helmet leaves a red line or mark, then it might not be the right shape for you, and you need to try something else. 

There are plenty of helmet options that contain their visors, sun protection, or moisture-wicking pads, just make sure these are officially approved by the Department of Transportation.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Why Do Bikers Wear Bandanas Under Their Helmets?

Wearing a bandana is more than a fashion decision; it provides an important safety function. A properly secured bandana will fit snugly beneath a helmet and will soak up sweat and prevent it from running into the rider’s eyes, obscuring her vision. While there are more expensive options on the market, a bandana is a safe and cost-effective way to take care of a common issue. 

Can a Motorcycle Helmet Cause Hair Loss?

While wearing a helmet does not technically cause hair loss, various factors can enhance hair loss that is already occurring. For example, traction alopecia can occur due to the constant tugging at the hair from wearing a helmet for long hours. This can damage the roots and lead to gradual hair loss. Keeping your hair clean, dandruff-free, and moisturized can help to minimize friction and irritation that can also damage the hair follicle. 

For more great insight into motorcycle helmets, check out these other posts on!

Can You Reline a Motorcycle Helmet?

How Many Years Does a Motorcycle Helmet Last?

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