Trying to decide between an open face snocross helmet and a full face helmet for snowmobiling depends on a few factors, but ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both have advantages and disadvantages as far as comfort and functionality. The biggest concern most people have, experienced or not, is fogging or icing.
This article will cover the more popular snowmobile and snocross helmets currently available. Helmets with breather tubes and filters aren’t the most practical choice for most riders ($$$), so for those curious about some pros and cons for everyday snocross and snowmobile helmets - read on.
A major thing to consider when trying to choose between the two helmet styles is how long you typically ride your snowmobile - do you go for short rides in your local area, or do you spend all weekend on your sled? Either way, you’ll see all types of riders who choose one or the other for their own reasons. A breath box, or breath deflector, may be available for most popular helmets that significantly helps reduce or stop fogging.
Full face helmets do offer more protection from snow, sleet and wind, but tend to fog up without the right amount of ventilation. Wearing a full face snowmobile helmet with a single pane face shield and no properly fitted breath deflector is bound to fog at some point. There are a lot of full face helmets that can be perfect for snowmobiling with the right parts like a double pane anti-fog face shield, or an electric heated face shield. A double pane shield is great for all around, but for more extreme conditions and spending all weekend on your sled, a heated shield will ward away the fog and ice. The downside to heated shields is primarily the initial cost, but for some riders keeping those older sleds running there might be a little bit of modifications necessary to power the standard 12v heated shield. Having a cord that gets in the way or comes unplugged easily can be an annoyance for just about everyone.
Open Face Snocross
Snocross, or snoX, helmets might feel a bit more familiar to motocross riders. The open face design is going to be a bit lighter than a full face. You will need proper snow goggles designed for low temperatures, and another thing to consider if you wear glasses is that you may want to find goggles that fit over your glasses. Snocross helmets definitely (obviously) offer a bit more ventilation than a shielded helmet, so wearing a balaclava, or head sock, will make it much more comfortable in most conditions. Even at super cold temps, a balaclava might not cut it.
A sort of in between snocross and standard full face is the dual sport helmet. Just about every dual sport helmet can accommodate a face shield or goggles. Just be sure to check what type of face shields are available for the helmet you are choosing. Double pane and heated shields are often times available as optional upgrades or accessories.
Choose the style that suits you the best. If you are most comfortable with motocross helmets then go for a snocross or dual sport. If you like being fully protected from the wind and snow, a full face or dual sport would be the way to go.