What Headgear to Wear Below a Motorcycle Helmet

Partzilla.com sells a lot of motorcycle helmets. And we’ve done several posts related to helmets, but we don’t talk enough about what headgear to wear underneath a helmet.

Motorcycle riding head gear

We all know the helmet is the most important piece of riding gear you can buy to protect your melon, but what about those items that provide additional comfort and protection below the “brain bucket”? In this post, we’re going to show some love to the headgear you can wear underneath the helmet. Here are 6 essential pieces of headgear to wear below the motorcycle helmet for comfort and safety.

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A bandana is a cloth commonly worn around the head or neck that’s made of several materials such as linen, cotton and silk. They’re typically colorful, and are worn by bikers to cover their heads from the sun or wind. Some bikers wear bandanas for fashion purposes, and/or to keep sweat out of their eyes while riding a motorcycle. Others wear them to protect their nose and mouth from flying debris and bugs.

Motoryccle head gear bandanas

Bandanas can also help keep your head warm on a cold day, to prevent “helmet hair”, and to stop long hair from whipping you in the face. For the baldies or those who can’t grow long hair, a bandana can help protect the scalp from helmet irritation on long rides. Bandanas are also flexible, and can be shaped into head wraps or skull caps (more on those later). 

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For the harsh cold winter months, perhaps nothing protects your head better than a balaclava. Also known as head socks or ski masks, balaclavas are fabric tubes that protect your face, ears and neck from the wind. 

Motorcycle riding head gear balaclava

Head socks are known for providing comfort and breathability underneath the helmet. They can be worn on hot days too to absorb sweat and prevent that sweaty funky smell from happening inside the helmet. Balaclavas are also great for keeping long hair intact while you ride.

Face Masks

Exactly what they sound like, face masks keep your face warm and shield it from windburn. Face masks can also shield your nose and mouth from flying debris and bugs, and keep long hair from blowing around in the wind. While balaclavas are also considered face masks, there are many styles of masks like half-face masks that don’t cover the entire head.

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Head Wraps

Also known as doo rags (or durags), head wraps come in variety of styles and materials. These wraps fit completely over the head or just over the forehead. Head wraps pack hair in neatly so it doesn’t get all in your face during a motorcycle ride. They also keep sweat and other oils from getting in your eyes and stinking up the inside of the helmet. Head wraps are also sometimes referred to as skull caps.

Motorcycle riding head gear head wraps

Neck Gaiters

Also known as neck warmers, these fabric tubes are basically the lower half of a balaclava. In other words, they’re only designed to protect the neck, not the face, from wind, sun and dirt. However, some neck gaiters can be pulled up to cover the nose and mouth. They can also hold tied-up long hairstyles such as braids and ponytails in place at the back of the neck.

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Skull Caps

These caps are basically the same thing as headwraps, which are designed to cover the top of the head. You can think of skull caps as pirate caps to differentiate them from head wraps, if that helps, but the terms "skull cap" and "head wrap" are often used interchangeably. Some skull caps are made from materials like spandex, nylon and polyester, and are designed to fit snugly over the skull.

Motorcyclce riding gear skull cap

As mentioned earlier, bandanas can also be turned into skull caps to keep the head warm in cold weather, or to keep sweat from dripping onto your face. Skull caps are also favored to prevent “helmet hair” and scalp damage from the helmet pulling on hair. It’s also said that skull caps can help prevent hair loss from excessive helmet use.

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Whatever headgear you decide to wear underneath a helmet, make sure the size of your helmet allows enough room to snugly accommodate a balaclava, skull cap, or whatever else you choose to wear underneath it while riding a motorcycle.

Should You Wear Hats Under Motorcycle Helmets?

So now that we’ve covered headwear that goes beneath the helmet, let’s talk about hats. Some riders choose to ride without helmets, wearing only a hat on their head, perhaps because they want to look cool. 

Motorcycle riding head gear hats

And there are those who wonder whether a hat can be worn underneath a helmet. The bottom line here is hats and/or baseball caps (and even beanies) can prevent a helmet from fitting snug on the head, thereby hindering the helmet’s effectiveness. If you’re a biker, absolutely wear hats for style and/or representation of the brands you support … when you’re off the bike. Just don’t wear them underneath your helmet while you’re riding.