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Why are there so many new skull caps, sweat bands, and helmet liners being developed each year? Because it’s so dang hard to solve the simple problem of keeping sweat out of your eyes!

There are so many options, but it seems like there is at least one nagging little problem with each one. Just last Saturday I was wearing my Headsweats cap, and I swear one of the seams created a groove which channeled sweat directly off my forehead and into my left eye!

Thankfully I have a new one to test – the SweatHawg Helmet Liner.

This is a bicycle-specific helmet liner designed to soak up sweat and prevent it from dripping into your eyes. And it’s made in the USA (in Portland, OR.)

I’m used to “helmet liners” that are really just skull caps, but this is indeed a helmet liner. You couldn’t wear it as a skull cap if you wanted to – it wouldn’t stay on your head!

There’s not much shape to it, so it requires the helmet to keep it in place. The benefit of the small size is that it’s nearly invisible beneath your helmet! The charcoal color is a close match to the foam ribs of most helmets, so it’s almost camouflaged, too. If you line it up even with your helmet, not even your riding buddies will see it.

I never really cared what I looked like when I was out riding, but after seeing how much cooler I look with this hidden helmet liner, I’m hooked! Plus, I never liked the tied ends of a headband or bandana scratching my neck.

But the real question is… does it work?


How to Position the SweatHawg

Before you can see if it works, you have to get it in your helmet and on your head – and that’s harder than you’d think! It’s not complicated, but it requires a specific motion with careful hand placement to get it right.

Basically, you put the liner in your helmet with the front of the liner lined up against the front of the helmet, and you use your thumbs to hold the sides of the liner against the helmet. I guess if you get it right, then you’re all set.

Clumsy me, though, I had some trouble getting it lined up. I would have to shift it around slightly after getting it on my head. I have gotten better at this, but it’s tough to line it up exactly with the edge of the helmet. It wants to slide up into the helmet as you put it on.

I’ll tell ya what though – this thing is so comfortable! It makes my helmet so much more comfortable and is more comfortable than anything else I’ve worn under my helmet.


How Much Sweat Can It Hold?

The style of this liner differs from the typical skull cap. Rather than being a single thickness and covering a large area of your head (giving more surface area to collect sweat,) the SweatHawg relies on a thick slab of hydrophilic material on your forehead.

One good thing about this style is that it won’t collect sweat from around the sides and back of your head. There’s no reason to soak up that sweat which wouldn’t get into your eyes in the first place. So the SweatHawg is efficient!

I don’t know how much, but it holds quite a bit of sweat!

Does it keep sweat out of your eyes?

This is the big question and it’s where I’m torn on the SweatHawg.

The good news is, any sweat that touches the SweatHawg is going to get soaked up. I did some 2-3 hour rides on hot summer days and the Hawg still had room to hold more sweat!

The issue is, half my forehead is uncovered. With my SweatVac skull cap, I can pull it down just above my eyebrows so it soaks up all my forehead sweat. (Not as stylish or comfortable, but effective.)

If my forehead is sweating and I can’t take my hands off the bar to wipe the sweat away, the sweat is going to run into my eyes and/or drip onto my glasses and obscure my vision.

When I was out for a casual road ride, it was simple enough to wipe away my forehead sweat with my glove’s thumb portion. But if I’m in a mountain bike race, I can’t be wiping sweat off my forehead like that.

On one test ride, which included a 20-minute off-road hill climb, that was a big problem. If I wasn’t constantly wiping my forehead, the sweat ended up in my eyes. Considering the repercussions of not having both hands on the bar were far worse than sweat stinging my eyes, I chose to endure the 20 minutes of eye burning.

The SweatHawg certainly soaks up a lot more sweat than your helmet pads do, but it faces the same problems as anything else that leaves your forehead exposed.

(Maybe I have a disproportional amount of sweat glands on my lower forehead? Who knows.)

Is the SweatHawg durable?

I got the SweatHawg in August, so durability hasn’t been an issue thus far. But I can say, the construction quality seems impeccable.

What’s the price?

It’s $20. That’s a little more expensive than a basic skull cap, but less expensive than some of the fancy skull caps. I think it’s worth it considering how it soaks up sweat non-stop.

Why the SweatHawg is Awesome:

  • It is super duper comfortable – no other skull cap or headband even comes close.
  • It’s practically invisible under a helmet – in other words, not dorky!
  • The company is owned and operated by cyclists.

Reasons You Might Not Want the SweatHawg:

  • If you want something that doubles as a skull cap for running or other sports, this won’t work. It’s a helmet liner only.
  • If you want something that covers the tips of your ears to protect them from sunburn, you’re out of luck.
  • If you want all your hair covered up so your helmet straps don’t pull at it, this doesn’t have that full coverage.

My final verdict is…

The SweatHawg is the best looking solution for keeping sweat out of your eyes, and if they made something similar in a skull cap or headband format, it would probably be my #1 favorite! (It has become my “go to” choice for road rides, just not for intense mountain bike races.)

As it is now, the helmet liner is not a do-it-all skull cap for sports with and without helmets, but for cycling, I think a lot of people will like it.

Official website: www.SweatHawg.com

Product Review Details
Company: SweatHawg
Product: SweatHawg Helmet Liner
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Date last updated: 2012-09-06
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. Looks hot!! Have you tested the Sweat Gutr?

  2. @Martha

    Hot as in, hot and sexy? Definitely!

    Hot as in, you’ll overheat by wearing it? Not at all. It’s very light and thin, other than the thick forehead part, and that’s hidden behind the helmet pads anyway, so it doesn’t restrict any air flow.

    The Sweat Gutr and Halo headband are the two popular products I have looked at but haven’t tested fully. I actually tested something similar to but even better than the Sweat Gutr, but that product never reached the market (unfortunately.)

  3. Hey Coach!

    FYI we are making a new version of the SweatHawg that has a Velcro loop strip across the front. You will be able to take your front pads out and stick the SweatHawg to the velcro dots for the pads. Sort of a pad replacement system.



  4. @John

    Great idea! Maybe someday an innovative helmet manufacturer will include SweatHawg pads right out of the box.

  5. Ran across your review while looking for a ‘sweat in eyes’ solution for hiking. Have you tried using a skull cap you used before with the SweatHawg? I’m thinking the combination may better wick the sweat off your sweaty lower forehead. Not a solution for me but it might work for you.


  6. @Leon

    Interesting idea! I’d never thought of that. My first impression is that it would be too bulky and tough to get lined up comfortably, but who knows.

  7. Does it provide sun UV protection?

    • @Patty

      I don’t know if there is a specific UPF rating for Sweat Hawg’s products.

      But, consider this. This is just a helmet liner, so there isn’t much coverage from it. It also (by definition) goes under your helmet, which is probably providing most of the sun protection.

      If you need to cover up more of your noggin, check out SweatHawg’s skull caps and cycling caps instead. I prefer them over the helmet liner.

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