A riding hat is one of the most important investments you can make to protect yourself in the saddle. However, more people are buying online and risking ending up with an ill-fitting hat. At best this can cause discomfort or leave you with an unsuitable purchase. At worst this can seriously impair the hats ability to do its job in the event of a fall.
Champion recommends that online purchases are avoided unless replacing a correctly fitted hat like-for-like. Ideally, anyone looking to buy a new hat is advised to visit a BETA-trained retailer for free, professional fitting and advice.
So what can you expect from a professional hat fitting?
- Certificate: Retailers should have on display an up to date certificate stating they have had hat fitting training from a qualified body.
- Up to standard: The type of hat you choose is usually determined by its purpose; a trained staff member should be able to recommend a range of hats to suit your requirements, advising upon safety standards whether you’re a happy hacker or competing in a chosen discipline.
- Getting the measure: Even if you think you know your size, a staff member should take a measurement. The tape measure should sit a fraction above the eye brow and skim your ears, just as your hat should. Remember to wear any glasses and your hair as you would when riding; a different hair style could affect fit.
- Right for you: Different models of hats vary in sizes and shape, so a staff member may try different options to find the best fit. They will look for a hat which sits firmly and evenly on your head with a little space by the temples, and the strap adjusted to sit snugly below your chin. The hat should not rock, tilt or come down over your eyes as the fitter gently manipulates or taps it. Your eyebrows should follow the movement of the hat. If this doesn’t happen the hat may be too big. If you can’t feel the top of the hat on the top of your head it may be too small.
- Snug as a bug: If replacing an old hat, you might feel the new hat fits more closely than you’re used to. This may be where the foam in your hat has deteriorated with wear causing it to loosen over time. For that reason it’s advisable to replace your hat at least every three-five years (or immediately if it has suffered an impact – even if it looks fine on the outside).
- Check point: It’s likely that a fitter will check the fit several times to ensure the hat is suitable.
Champion recommends all hats are professionally fitted. Details of trained retailers near you can be found at www.beta-uk.org.
All Champion hats carry the BSI Kitemark – an assurance that they continually meet rigorous standards when tested in key areas. You can ride with confidence when you choose a professionally fitted Champion hat. Our reputation is based on safety.