snowmobile helmet styles

The Great Helmet Debate: Full Face, Modular, or Snocross?

No doubt about it, a quality helmet is a must-have accessory for snowmobiling. Not only will it protect your noggin should things go awry, but it’s essential for keeping you warm and providing a clear field of vision while you ride.

The question is: What’s the best snowmobile helmet style? Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer. It depends on a number of factors, namely personal preference and weather conditions.

While there are many variations, snowmobile helmets are generally classified into three types: Full face, modular, and snocross. With the help of some of our fans on Facebook who recently debated this issue, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each style of helmet to help you make the best decision.

Full Face

A full face snowmobile helmet is exactly what it sounds like. It covers the whole head with a shield over the eyes. It’s the helmet style of choice for the most extreme weather conditions and also offers the most overall protection.


  • Keeps riders warmer
  • Offers greater protection from wind and other elements


  • Can actually be TOO warm, especially for those with aggressive riding styles
  • They are more prone to fogging
  • Can be heavier


Modular helmets are nearly identical to full face helmets but with the added convenience of being able to lift the chin bar/face shield.


  • Larger field of vision
  • Breathe freely into open air when stopped
  • Easier to talk with fellow riders, eat, and drink when stopped


  • If there’s an electric shield, the cord can be annoying
  • Also suffers from fogging issues

Sledder Traci Knowlton has had her modular helmet for 11 years. Her only complaint is that they only make the breath system in one size, so she had to modify it to fit her smaller face.

“Love my modular,” Traci said in our Facebook post. “Never fogs up, retractable sun visor. Breath deflector system. Full coverage so no frostbite!”

Modular is also the clear choice for Chad Mathiowetz.

“When you do stop for a second, you can freely breathe into the open air and see faces,” Chad said. “Less moisture build-up from lack of air movement while driving.”


In this style, there’s no eye shield, which means snowmobile goggles are required. Finding the RIGHT goggles is particularly critical to help reduce the exposure to the elements that the lack of a shield creates.

Some riders actually use motocross helmets, using breath boxes to adapt them for snowmobile riding.


  • Being able to use different lenses/tints (clear, yellow, smoke)
  • Little to no fogging
  • Clear field of view
  • More lightweight
  • Sportier style


  • More exposure to the elements

Despite an impressive list of pros, most hardcore snocross helmet fans still believe that full face is the way to go when the temperatures are particularly bitter.

Think Outside the Box

Of course, there are variations and options for each of these helmet types that can reduce or eliminate some of the cons. If you like the protection of a full face or modular helmet but hate the fogging, an electric shield can help alleviate that issue. Or maybe it’s the look of a snocross helmet you’re after. In that case, check out a dual sport snowmobile helmet.

And of course, since weather conditions can vary from ride to ride, the best solution may be multiple helmets or, as Daye Kurasz has found, a combo approach.

“After all these years I got it figured out,” Daye said. “This year I got a Castle with the heated shield. I wear my orange 509 goggles in the day with the shield up. Sometimes when it’s windy or cold on those long straightaways, I pull the shield down over the goggles. At night on the long cold ride back, I use just the heated shield. For me, it’s the best of both worlds.”

As you can see, no type of snowmobile helmet is universally superior. You have to pick the best one(s) for you. Whatever that is, you can be sure to find it at Up North Sports.

Shop Snowmobile Helmets


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Up North Sports
2000 Division St W
Bemidji, MN 56601

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