The original Tipperary 8500 Sportage is ALMOST my dream helmet. After trying out multiple brands and reading approximately one million reviews, I bought one to ride the Mongol Derby in this summer, and it ticked all the boxes: ventilated, lightweight, comfortable, good-fitting and, most importantly, super safe. A couple riders got taken out by concussions during the race, and we were all hitting the dirt left and right. I knew I needed a helmet that I could literally trust my life with — and Tipperary was it.
Case in point: a couple weeks ago one of my favorite people Laura Szeremi, whom you may know as Bad Eventer, trampled by a young horse and posted this pic:
Yep, that’s a Tipperary 8500 Sportage. It’s highly rated when it comes to safety (sorry you had to be a crash test dummy, Laura, but so glad you’re OK!), as the high-density ABS material provides superior impact resistance without adding weight — in fact it’s one of the lightest helmets on the market. #MindYourMelon indeed, every time, every ride.
My only beef with the 8500 Sportage is a small complaint, literally: its itty bitty teeny tiny baby brim. Can I get a little shade here, please? Not only is riding with the sun in your eyes not ideal, I’ve got this 21-year-old porcelain complexion to protect.
Just kidding. My mid-30s complexion isn’t exactly porcelain, thanks to years and years of playing outside everyday with horses, often without a ballcap, sunglasses or even (gasp!) sunscreen. But it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself, and so I’ve been been in active crinkle-face prevention mode for the past few years.
I’ve been making do, equipping my 8500 Sportage with a Da Brim visor.
But it’s not the sort of look you can pull off at a horse show, and I hated leaving my Sportage at home when I hit the road for clinics and events. So I was thrilled, THRILLED!, when I spotted a new and improved version of my Almost Perfect Helmet on the Tipperary website: the 8700 Sportage Hybrid.
A side-by-side comparison of the 8700 (left) and 8500 (right):
At first glance the 8700 looks a lot like the 8500, and all the best features are still intact: a padding system designed to create a custom fit, the cutaway profile, the outstanding ventilation, and it comes with its very own helmet bag. But there are some design upgrades, most notably a legit brim, that give it a sleeker, more elegant edge over its predecessor. Other standout new features include a convenient magnetic hook clip fastener on the chinstrap …
… and removable comfort liner.
And it comes in some fun color combination options perfect for pairing with your cross country gear.
I’m sure a lot of you out there already own a 8500 Sportage — it’s a hugely popular helmet, for good reason — but when it comes replacement time (at least every five years, or sooner if the helmet takes a blow) the 8700 Sportage Hybrid is an impressive upgrade.
The Tipperary 8700 Sportage Hybrid retails for $99.99 from Tipperary Equestrian. Check it out here!