Product Review: Tipperary 8700 Sportage Hybrid Helmet

The brand new Tipperary 8700 Sportage Hybrid! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

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 hoof print! #MindYourMelon #AHelmetSavedMyLife #Riders4helmets #NotJustBadEventer #BadEventer

A post shared by Bad Eventer (@bad_eventer) on

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.

Tipperary 8500 Sportage with a Da Brim. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

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):

The new Tipperary Sportage 8700 Hybrid (L);Tipperary Sportage 8500 (R). Images courtesy of Tipperary Equestrian.

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 …

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

… and removable comfort liner.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

And it comes in some fun color combination options perfect for pairing with your cross country gear.

I’m wearing the Black/Teal, but it also comes in Black/Black, Black/Carbon Grey, Black/Purple and Black/Royal Blue. Photos courtesy of Leslie Wylie.

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!