When I first started seeing riders wearing the wide-brimmed Equivisor extensions to their helmets, I couldn’t help but stare.
I couldn’t decide if I thought they were hideous, ridiculous, or actually a pretty smart innovation. All I knew is that I thought they looked super goofy.
Fast forward a couple of months and I’ve bought my own.
The black visor arrived in a recent Dover Saddlery haul. It’s sort of pricey for what you get — the visor, which aside from the grippy material that lines the inside of it to grip to your helmet — is exactly what you’d see in a sun hat or visor from any cheap-o beachy tourist shop. I paid $42.95 for it at Dover, not including shipping.
Living and riding in Florida year-round, I figured I’d benefit from having the extended visor. I’ve sported the “sunburn mustache” many o’ summers, where the short visor of my helmet casts a shadow just over my eyes and the bridge of my nose, leaving my upper lip exposed and quick to burn. Let me tell ya, it’s not fun to try to hide that with make up.
The first time I tried to test out my new Equivsor was on a trail ride. When I strapped on my helmet and climbed into the saddle, I immediately noticed the shift in my usual range of vision. That was the toughest part to get used to. In order to see the range I was used to without the visor, I had to turn my head more. It was uncomfortable when I realized I couldn’t see the car coming down the road behind us as easily when I turned my head.
The visor grew on me after the second ride. I hacked around on the flat with it, first after having whipped my helmeted head all around to test how strong the grip was. The visor never budged. I still struggled with the fact that I couldn’t see the corners and lines I usually ride until I was closer to them than without the visor.
The third ride I decided to take the Equivisor around a course of jumps. By now the visor didn’t feel so foreign. I was getting used to its limitations. While I was jumping, I was so focused on my job and navigating my horse through the course that I forgot I was wearing it. I guess that’s the goal right? For it to provide an extra level of sun protection without interfering with your ride.
I do like the extra protection it provides from the sun. Because it gets so hot in Florida (we had highs in the 90s already this weekend) I often ride in sleeveless shirts. The wide brim of the visor covers most of my shoulders, too. I did notice that I constantly bump into my horse while wearing it though. Like when I’m latching the nose band on her bridle, or am just going in for a hug. I’ll have to train myself not to poke my mare’s out eye out with it.
I would recommend the Equivisor for riders who are used to riding in hot, sunny outdoor conditions regularly. Otherwise, I’d say don’t bother. It’s an expensive item that could be just a fad.
Here’s a video review from SmartPak: