Review: SweatHawg’s Thirsty Helmet Liner

Review: SweatHawg's Thirsty Helmet Liner

Exercising in hot weather means sweat. For some of us, it means more sweat than others – so much so that it’s constantly in your eyes, on your glasses, and streaming down your face seriously distracting you from the task at hand.

In addition to the number of other products on the market to stem the tide of perspiration, SweatHawg has thrown their hat into the ring offering a discreet wicking helmet liner. The liner is available in two versions, multiple colors, and is made in Oregon. How does it work? Find out next.

Sweathawg

The SweatHawg liner is designed to sit inside any helmet and has an absorbent brow pad that is attached to a wicking liner at the top of the helmet. The two versions of the liner include the standard Sweathawg which is just placed inside the helmet before you put it on your head, and the hook and loop model where you actually remove the front pads of the helmet and attach the liner. The hydrophilic fabric can supposedly hold 10 times its weight in liquid, which in ring out tests after use resulted in about 1/4 cup.

After trying out both models, I have to say I prefer the non-Velcro model. Most of my helmets have one large front pad, and removing them left exposed velcro pieces that weren’t covered by the SweatHawg on the side of the lid next to the cradle straps specifically. The Uvex Ultrasonic CC above and my Giro Aeron work with the Hook and Loop model perfectly, but the Mavic Notch, Scott Vanish Evo, and Bontrager Lithos all have exposed velcro pieces and the Giro Air attack has the velcro reversed so there is nothing for the Sweathawg to hook to. There are helmets out there that will work with the hook and loop model, but you’re probably better off trying it out in person before choosing.

Trying out the SweatHawg will also give you an idea if you will have any fit issues. A few helmets that I have tried it with have been a tight squeeze at the temples since I was at the large end of the size, whereas others had plenty of room.

Review: SweatHawg's Thirsty Helmet Liner

The SweatHawg is stealth, others will never know it’s there.

 

Does the SweatHawg work as advertised? Yes, mostly.

Obviously, environment has a lot to do with how quickly moisture evaporates, so in desert or high altitude areas like above the performance of the SweatHawg is nearly flawless. Back home for me, in the humid Mid-West, the SweatHawg allows for drip free performance for about an hour before it gets to the saturation point and starts to drip. When it does start to drip though, the rate at which the sweat cascades into your eyes is slowed dramatically than if you were wearing just the helmet.

When it gets to this point, pushing on the front of your helmet or removing the liner and wringing it out will help out quite a bit. Even though it isn’t drip free on my home turf, the SweatHawg still works better than anything that I have tried and has been a part of my pre-ride ritual since its arrival. It’s not the magic bullet for the oppressive humidity of the Mid-West, but I’m not sure what is.

Only on the hottest days in the desert was the liner actually noticeable from a temperature perspective – but removing it meant having the scorching sun right on my dome. Those of us who have a more aerodynamic head (no hair) will appreciate the SweatHawg blocking the sun’s rays and not having to apply sunscreen only for it to run down your face with the sweat.

Verdict:

Overall, the SweatHawg is the best sweat management product I’ve tried. It’s not perfect, but it is more than worthy of the $20/22 price tag. If you’re a super sweater, the SweatHawg is one piece of gear you shouldn’t be without.

 

Comments

Pete - 07/26/13 - 6:35pm

Just wondering if it makes your head feel hotter overall since it looks like a hat inside your helmet?

Zach Overholt - 07/26/13 - 6:50pm

@Pete, really only in the hottest conditions is it noticeable. There is an evaporative cooling effect that takes place and keeps your head cool in most conditions.

Matt Appleman - 07/26/13 - 8:42pm

I’ve had the same experience with the SweatHawg as the reviewer. It does it’s job and I don’t notice it! No sweat in the eyes ever since I started using it. After long rides I squeeze out a surprising amount of sweat. The SweatHawg is more comfortable and works better than the Halo and Gut’r I’ve used in the past.

Sigismond0 - 07/26/13 - 9:27pm

Well, I’ll probably have to give it a shot, but I’m not too optimistic. I’ve been mostly happy with the Gut’r, but I sweat enough that it can overflow pretty easily. Maybe these two together will be what it takes to keep my eyes dry.

Zach Overholt - 07/27/13 - 12:19am

@Sigismond0, what region do you live in?

Nick H - 07/27/13 - 12:27am

Wow. Excellent review. I sweat like crazy when I do any physical activity and I also live in the extreme humidity of the midwest. Sounds like I need one of these. Just curious, does sweat drip down when you look down? Personally, I have to wear prescription glasses so I can see when riding. I can’t stand it when I look down and sweat drips right on my glasses! Things get blurry very quick when the liquid drips off my glasses and the salt stays right in front of my eyes.

Dave - 07/27/13 - 10:53am

Ditto what all the reviewers have said. I’m a big time head sweat guy, and this thing’s the closest thing to perfection out there. I’ve also tried the Halo and Gut’r (I found the Gut’r to be the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever tried, I literally wore it only two rides before giving up on it). One thing, the front felt pad is a little thick. I actually did remove the front padding from my helmet and like it much more this way. I’ve also ridden with it in triple digit heat, although it’s noticeable it’s not too bad as far as heat. When it’s soaked and evaporating, it actually feels like it gives a cooling effect.

Fraser C - 07/27/13 - 11:53am

I gotta try one of these! A Halo only gets me thru my 45 min commute on days less than 75F!

Limba - 07/27/13 - 2:17pm

I used to wear headbands until I found the Sugoi cooler cap. It’s made from a very thin material. I wear it over my ears so it’s noisy but you don’t have to do that. It’s UV protectant and on the hottest days you can dump water over your head (and arm screens) to stay cool. Buy them, they work.

http://www.sugoi.com//cooler-cap.html

Mike S. - 07/27/13 - 2:21pm

I would recommend the Sterling Helmet from Rudy Project. It comes with an extra helmet liner that works great to absorb excess sweat and keeps the sun off your bald spots.

Tom - 07/27/13 - 7:12pm

As noted, the problem with the SweatHawg is that once wet, it is VERY difficult to get it to dry out, unless you are willing to remove it and wring it out. Of all the surprising things, I have the best luck with Nike’s Combat skullcap. It also allows some dripping, but when you turn downhill, it dries enough to quit dripping in about 2 minutes.

But nothing is perfect when it is hot and humid!

bikehoarder6 - 07/28/13 - 5:54pm

OK, I’ve been waiting patiently for the Vinnie Barbarino/Mr. Kotter comments
and none of you losers went to bat.

So up your nose(s) with a rubber hose(s)!
(Then clean up with a Sweathawg!)

:)

Ajax - 07/28/13 - 6:51pm

This thing is a gimmick. Putting on a hat to absorb sweat works counter to what your body is trying to do. Your body wants the water from sweat,so it cam dissipate heat from you as it evaporates. This thing, and others like it, work in opposition to your body’s natural cooling system.

Rob P. - 07/29/13 - 11:02am

@Ajax, I’m guessing you haven’t tried this. It works great. It isn’t in opposition to your body’s natural cooling system, it helps it. The sweat stays around your head where it evaporates and cools your skull. Without the sweat simply runs down your face, into your eyes, glasses, and off your head where it can’t cool your skull.

If anyone has had sweat in their eyes, this solves your problem and I’ve found my helmet is more comfortable. I do wish the back section was larger. I’ve been using it for 2 months in Missouri.

The_D - 07/29/13 - 1:27pm

Ajax,
Your eyebrows may have evolved well for running, but if you are hunched over the bars, it’s humid out, and you want to see where you are going, you are going to have to engineer a solution around nature. Sort of like the bike itself. Unless you trapped and tamed your bike from the wild and you ride in a loincloth, I think you can probably see what I mean.

Yoshi - 07/29/13 - 2:14pm

I like it. When I purchase new helmets I look for features like bug screen, this could easily open up the options since there are few companies that sell helmets with Bug Screens. Rudy is probably the best known that I can think of.

Greg - 08/20/13 - 1:50pm

The SweatHawg is by far the best option I have tried, and I have now stopped looking.

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