Truth be told, the reason this review is coming out in the middle of winter is because I became so used to the SweatHawg that I forgot about it. It sounds weird, but I’ve been using this product daily for the past almost 6 months and I forgot it because it works, it makes my ride better, and it doesn’t cost the Earth. The SweatHawg headwear has become a fully integrated part of my cycling kit. It should be part of yours too.
The SweatHawg headwear is aimed at anyone who sweats, and that’s all of us on a bike. SweatHawg reckon that 25-30% of cyclists as ultra-sweaters and are the ones who will benefit the most from their product. I know I sweat profusely, probably due to my enormous power output and frightening speeds (I think I need to put one of those little asterixis on that last part), to the point where the wife and kids no longer hug me when I get home after a ride.
I know I can’t stop it (and I don’t really want to, since that’s the way a body regulates its temperature), and it’s normally not much of a problem when I’m riding, since I’m either by myself or with a bunch of other equally sweaty people. Lycra is a Godsend with all of the wicking and fast drying and other high-tech stuff it provides – those who advocate riding in “civies” aren’t advocating riding at speed. The place where I’m let down (or was let down, since now I’ve got the SweatHawg stuff) is on my head.
Sweat running down your face and into your eyes is no fun. Your eyes sting and you can’t wipe them properly when you’re wearing glasses. The salty sweat taste isn’t fun while you’re trying to suck in air either, even if it does taste like victory, which mine doesn’t. Your glasses, of course, will then slip down your nose and you won’t be able to right them because you’re riding a technical section and have to keep both hands on the bars. I’m sure you know what I mean, or at least some variant on it. Head sweat is no fun, it’s distracting.
I can probably guess what you’re saying at this point: either “ewwwww” or “this problem has already been solved”, and you’re right on both counts. I remember years ago, before I was reborn to the bike, buying a headband with a silicon sort of strip across it that channeled sweat away from the center of your face and directed it to the outside. I was wearing this headband under a fencing mask while poking a sword at someone (and they were poking a sword at me). I had on other heavy protective clothing and I was sweating more than I ever have on a bike. Normally I would be awash in a torrent of sweat, but the magic band I was wearing diverted the sweat away from my eyes…and into my ears, and then down onto my neck. I gave up on that one.
Fast forward to now and I’m doing something a lot more dangerous than sword fighting (i.e. battling Sydney traffic), and I’m still suffering from sweat. I’ve tried cycling caps (look cool, get soaked easily, and then the seems disintegrate under my sweat), headbands (get soaked easily and don’t sit well with the helmet), and skull caps (fit well under the helmet, but get soaked easily), and I have stopped using them all after a couple of week’s use. They didn’t do the job. But now I’m using the SweatHawg.
The SweatHawg comes in three flavours (is that the right term to use when discussing sweat products?); the helmet insert, the headband, and the skullcap. The helmet insert is designed to replace the pads at the front of your helmet. There is a velcro version, if your helmet has velcro’d on pads, and a non-velcro version if you helmet doesn’t. The skullcap is a skullcap, and is the solution I prefer. The headband is a headband; it works like the other products, but isn’t something that suits me on the bike. It fits under my hat, however, so it will be great for some serious spring and summer bushwalks.
Christopher of BNA models the SweatHawg Skullcap
The SweatHawg Helmet Insert has a peak and fits loosely without a helmet
The way the SweatHawg products work, and how they differ from the moisture channel type of headbands, is the absorbent padding. In all of the products, the part that comes in contact with your forehead is a triple layer of “magic” material. It draws the sweat away from your skin and redistributes it so it can wick away. The helmet inserts, for example, have the absorbent band and a “tongue” that goes across the front vents of the inside of you helmet, while the skullcaps distribute it over the whole cap. The combination of the padding and the wicking fabric draws the sweat from where it doesn’t need to be to where it can be eliminated.
And it works! That’s the best thing about this product; it simply works. In all of the time I’ve been using it, I haven’t had a drop of sweat run down my face. The company are so confident with their product that they promote “We stop dripping sweat, period” and have a money-back guarantee.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I forget it’s there, until I remove it that is. If I’ve had a hard session on the bike and I’ve worked up a sweat, removing the SweatHawg band feels weird. My forehead is initially dry, then the sweat starts running down. Honestly, it feels like someone has cracked an egg on my head. As weird as it feels, it’s a sign to me that the SweatHawg is working when it’s on and I don’t have to deal with face sweat while I’m riding.
The SweatHawg Non-velcro Helmet Insert version
The SweatHawg Velcro Helmet Insert version
The SweatHawg would obviously work well in the summer (pro tip, wet the skullcap before putting it on to cool your head down), but it works well in the winter too. While I’m probably not sweating as much, I’m still sweating, and the SweatHawg provides a barrier between my head and the wind, so the chill-factor is reduced.
It’s also easy to take care off. In recent months, I’ve been washing it once a week with my pile of commuting kit, but in the summer months I just ran it under the tap each afternoon when I got home and left it hanging next to my bike to wear the next day. There has been no smell so far and the skullcap shows no sign of decay.
The SweatHawg Headband with a MTB helmet
The SweatHawg Insert with a MTB helmet
For the price, which isn’t much, you’d be hard pressed to buy any cycling gear that will improve your comfort on the bike as much as the SweatHawg. Just buy the version that will work for you and you won’t need to worry about a sweaty face again. You’ll simply forget what it’s like to sweat like that. SweatHawg gear should come standard with helmets, but since that hasn’t happened, you can get your SweatHawg, from US $15 for the Headband, $20 for the Helmet Liner and $25 for the Skullcap.
With the currency exchange rates at the time of publishing this is around AUD $20 for the headband, $26 for the Helmet Liner and $33 for the Skullcap with $17 shipping to Australia from the US. Price-wise, the quality and performance means it is a good buy, though consider doing a group-buy with your friends because they will appreciate this and it will drop the shipping cost. Surely there’s an opportunity for an Aussie distributor somewhere?
Details and ordering from: sweathawg.com