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Bern Helmets | Helmets vs. Hard Hats

Updated on April 4, 2013

Bern Helmets | Helmets vs. Hard Hats

Bern Helmets are becoming an increasingly popular choice for skiers, snowboarders, bikers, skaters and other extreme sports enthusiasts. Bern creates multi-sport helmets by making the winter pads kit removable, so many athletes are drawn to them since they get more bang for their buck. Bern uses three different construction styles - EPS, Zip Mold, and Brock Foam - to create their different models of helmets which can make it a bit difficult to purchase Bern Helmets or Hard Hats. Hopefully this lens will help outline the different construction styles and models available making choosing the correct Bern Helmet or Hard Hat a piece of cake.

Levi Huffman in his Bern Helmet
Levi Huffman in his Bern Helmet

Is it a Helmet or a Hard Hat?

I've heard some places call Bern Hemlets Hard Hats... why?

Bern makes many designs and styles of helmets for all sorts of action sports use including skiing, biking, skateboarding, and watersports. Often times the different styles such as the Watts, Baker, Macon and the Muse are made using one of two or three of Bern's different construction methods and will have different price tags. Therefore the particular design you want may be available as a Helmet and a Hard Hat. The EPS and Zip Mold construction styles are certified by CPSC and ASTM for actions sports use and therefore have earned the title of "Helmet". The Brock Foam Hard Hat is designed for Multi-Impact protection and therefore does not meet the standards for action sports safety as they are not written to include multi-impact designs. Keep in mind that action sports helmets which do meet CPSC and ASTM certifications are designed to be disposed of after a single hard impact.

Protect Your Brain!

CPSC and ASTM Certified Action Sports Helmets are designed and rated to take a single impact only. After one serious impact they should be disposed of and replaced.

Bern Helmets - EPS Construction
Bern Helmets - EPS Construction

Bern Helmets - EPS Construction

The Bern Helmets made using EPS Construction are available in Carbon Fiber and ABS Thin Shell models. These helmets use expanded polystyrene hard foam on the interior of either the hand-wrapped carbon fiber exterior or the ultra thin ABS shell specifically engineered for EPS foam depending on which model you choose. This construction style is specifically designed for high-impact protection. The EPS construction is available in many of Bern's helmet styles. They are typically a little more expensive than helmets made using one of Bern's other construction styles. However, if you are particularly hard on equipment, or plan on doing a lot of skiing, boarding, or biking near trees; I would highly suggest taking a look at the Carbon Fiber Models as they are the most durable shells available.

Check out the Hottest Models of Bern Helmets and Hard Hats on Amazon.com!

Bern Helmets - Zip Mold Construction
Bern Helmets - Zip Mold Construction

Bern Helmets - Zip Mold Construction

The Bern Helmets made using Zip Mold Construction feature a Polycarbonate (PVC) shell with liquid injected Zip Mold hard foam. The way Bern is able to engineer their Zip Mold helmets makes them extremely lightweight. With an excellent strength to weight ratio and certifications from the CSPC and ASTM Bern uses Zip Mold Construction for many of the helmet styles including all of the children's styles. The tapered edge and seamless finish provide excellent quality and unmatched protection for all.

Bern Hard Hats - Brock Foam Construction
Bern Hard Hats - Brock Foam Construction

Bern Hard Hats - Brock Foam Construction

As I mentioned before the Hard Hats are not actually certified Helmets for action sports. Why would Bern make them then? Hard Hats are designed to protect against multiple lower force impacts and may prevent concussions when hard foam helmets will not. Hard Hats are constructed using a thicker ABS shell specifically designed for specifically for the Brock Foam. The way the open cell foam is designed makes it soft and breathable Brock foam for multiple low-impact protection. There are many benefits to purchasing a Brock Foam Hard Hat, including its ability to circulate air through the foam keeping your head cooler and drier.

Who are Hard Hats designed for? They are designed for people who are riding the park while skiing, snowboarding, riding BMX, skateboarding, aggressive skating, etc. These athletes (aka teenagers) are more likely to take lots of spills while trying to learn new tricks. The difference with many of these types of falls is that the athlete is generally moving at a pretty slow speed when they go down. As I mentioned before Helmets are designed to take one good hit and get thrown away. If people actually abided by that rule of thumb, young riders and pros alike would need a van load of helmets every time they hit the slopes, pavement, or dirt jumps. In my opinion, the Hard Hats end up being safer for these individuals as they continue to provide protection every time they gear up.

Bern Hard Hats - H2O
Bern Hard Hats - H2O

Bern Hard Hats - H2O

Water isn't as soft as it looks, so protect your head when you're participating in water sports activities too! The Bern H2O Hard Hats are designed using the same thicker ABS shell specifically designed for Brock Foam, but are are lined with water resistant EVA and laminated neoprene. The H2O Hard Hats come with removable ear protectors to help keep the water out if you crash. The H2O Hard Hats comply with CE 1385 standards.

Helemts vs. Hard Hats - Which one would you choose?

Which one would you choose an action sports certified helmet or a multi-impact rated hard hat?

If you don't fall you're not trying hard enough. Bring on the Hard Hat! I need multi-impact protection.

If you don't fall you're not trying hard enough. Bring on the Hard Hat! I need multi-impact protection.

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    • anonymous 3 years ago

      I use a hard hat because it can take multiple impacts. Also helmets only prevent skull fractures so I see no need to go for the full helmet.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Well stated peopleskate:

      CPSC means get a concussion in this helmet!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I ordered them both to check out. The hard hat is a lot more comfy and the helmet is hard foam against my head in places. I also feel it's safer since I take a lot of small hits that lead to minor concussions in my current helmet but don't break the foam.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I fully agree with peopleskate, i want my kid in hard hat but am completely assed out due to "certified" helmets.

    • skateANDcreate 5 years ago

      Multiple impact is the way I roll, I don't feel like replacing my helmet after each session!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I was very pleased with the way you responded to the request for foam cutting quote and the prices that you supplied at http://www.finelineupholstery.co.uk/services/cushi...

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I sat down with the head protec helmet designers at SIA this year and debated the merrits of CPCS certification for about an hour. As it turns out, the CPCS certification is some what arbitrarily applied to snowboard helmets. basically, you can drop an anvil from 40 ft and it will take enough impact to not give you brain damage (but if it really happened, you'd probably break your neck). I personally refuse to except its validity until they throw sensors on a crash dummy (or real person) and send them through a slopestyle park, big air, half pipe, boardercross course, etc. until then, the certification standard is irrelevant to 95% of users out there. if you go 40mph top of the head first into a tree, You will likely sustain enough impact for your fall to be fatal, helmet or not (broken neck, collapsed lung, etc).

      I can only speak on anecdotal accounts, but it seems to me the real reason people wear helmets is so they don't get knocked out and wake up with wet underwear. I have personally witnessed 3 people get completely knocked unconscious wearing cpcs helmets and 0 wearing multi-impact foams. that is not to suggest that those getting knocked out in cpcs would have been fine in a hard hat. the reality is that, it is impossible to say, until we can establish a baseline for the strength and kind of impacts each discipline of snowboarding sees, and wear the right helmet for what you are doing.

      The troubling thing to me is helmet manufactures seem totally content moving towards these hard foams because it removes some liability from them. it's not because there is scientific data supporting this move, just arbitrary standards applied from other extreme sports disciplines and tested in a way that has almost no relevance to the real world. (word is, even bern is moving away from the hard hat moving forward).

      If you want my opinion, I wouldn't wear hard foam helmets at all. it bothers me that I can't stick my 3 year old in a helmet I consider safer because of the litigious society we live in (no one will make a junior snowboard helmet that is not certified). I've snowboarded for almost 20 years, I know how kids handle helmets, I'd be surprised if even 50% of the used cpcs helmets are "safe" kids throw, punt, jump on, kick and defame their helmets as a sign of parental rebellion. I did it, I now watch it happen every day, it has not slowed or stopped. helmet manufactures really need to consider the real world and make it a goal to keep heads safer, not dodge lawsuit or impose arbitrary standards masked by slippery slope arguments about brain damage.

    Captain Safety Here! Certifications are a must. I want a Helmet.

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      • anonymous 5 years ago

        certified helmet!!! or why bother!

      Please Leave Me Some Feedback. Thanks.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I realize this post is a few years old, however, it has been incredibly helpful when deciding which type of helmet to go with. Thanks so much for all the info. Out of all the sites I stumbled upon that compared Bern's different types of helmets, this was the most informational and unbiased.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I ordered one of each to see the difference for myself. I have to say that the hard hat is much more comfortable and a better fit. The helmet has hard foam directly against my head in a few akward spots, not so cozy. I will keep the hard hat and am additionally stoked that it will take multiple small impacts as I've had many in my old helmet that leave me feeling concussed but aren't big enough hits to actually break the foam. I feel this is probably more dangerous over time than the danger of being less protected if I take that one big shot some day.

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          RollerHockeyMavin 6 years ago

          Never knew there was a difference! Thanks for clearing that up, I need to replace my skateboard helmet and this info really helped!

        • MonsterJack LM profile image

          MonsterJack LM 6 years ago

          Great Lens Skier Chick! Nice use of your key words. How about a link in a text module, and some links behind your pics? Great Job!