O’NEAL SLAT HELMET
— Testing a light, easy and cool UTV helmet —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
O’Neal has been in the off-road apparel market for 50 years! In that time the company has come up with a lot of helmets. At one time what was then called “full-coverage” helmets and now 3/4 or open-face were the standard in head protection. Now, of course, full-face helmets with rigid chin bars are the standard. There are still good reasons to wear a 3/4 helmet when driving a UTV or when working with a utility quad at low speeds.
These days an open-face helmet is considered retro. With the $129.99 Slat helmet, retro meets modern with the complex shell shape of current helmets; a long, adjustable, vented visor; and full venting. The ABS-shell helmet comes in sizes XS to XXL. We always recommend trying a helmet on for size, but our experience was that we needed to go up a size from what we normally wear. Open-face helmets are great for getting cooling air to your face and head, but the Slat has six filtered vents, including two on top with large scoops to pull air through.
Inside the helmet is a moisture-wicking, washable, removable comfort liner with separate snap-in ear pads. Under the comfort padding are multiple air channels molded into the EPS helmet interior. Our XXL helmet felt very light, but perhaps that is due to the lack of a chin bar adding mass to the front of the helmet. In actuality, the Slat
weighs approximately 3.5 pounds.
The open-face design leaves room for any contemporary goggle design, and the field of vision is amazing. Safety is vital, and the Slat meets or exceeds DOT (U.S.) and ECE (European Union) certification. Replacement parts available if needed.
The Slat is available in Flat Black with subtle dark grey graphics or in a Flat Black version called a Torment that has a small checkered flag graphic on top and what looks like hand-lettered words and phrases on it. It looks like a custom helmet, but it has the same $129.99 price. As you can imagine, the helmet slips on easily. Riders who wear glasses will be completely pumped. You can put the helmet on or remove it without bothering your eyewear. You can talk with passengers or other folks outside the machine easily as well. The visor is easy to adjust with a good range, and it is open enough that high-speed running never pulls on your head. The Slat’s DOT-approved, padded strap and double D-rings work well.
We can shoot photos with the helmet on, and it should be easy to adapt intercom or radio communication systems to the Slat as well. We have spent some long, rough days in UTVs wearing the Slat, and on hot days it is very welcome. For our head shape, having the ear pockets a little lower and deeper would be nice, but these are minor issues that won’t keep this helmet out of our gear bag. To look at O’Neal’s lineup of helmets, go to