Helmets and raincoats are some of the most important things you need to have when going out in Vietnam. Fortunately, these two essentials are available everywhere in Vietnam, but with such a wide range it is important to know where to look and what to look for!
Things you need to know about helmets and raincoats in Vietnam
Choosing the right helmet sizes
Probably if you have not ridden a motorbike before coming to Vietnam you will be unaware of the wide variety of head sizes. Although it is easy to get a helmet in Vietnam, getting one that fits is not that simple. That’s even more true especially if you have a larger head!
Many helmets are simply the wrong shape – being too wide and not long enough ( as if shaped for a totally different shaped head than yours ). And some others are simply too small and will be perched on top of your head instead of fitting snugly.
Types of helmet clips
It is essential when buying a helmet that you try it on. So never buy a helmet online, that won’t work for most people. When trying them on the fastening test, most of them clip together easily.
However you can get some which have a more complicated clip system. This means that they are hard to unclip and are rather bulky around your chin.
After testing the clip, shake your head around. If you find that it is tipping and sliding around then it is too large and you need to try on a smaller helmet. Conversely, one which perches on the top of your head instead of coming all the way down to just above your ears is too small.
There are many different designs of helmets and raincoats in Vietnam. So when searching, it is good to have a general idea of what you are looking for before going and trying them on.
The most common type of helmet is simply a typical round helmet – this can be with or without a peak at the front. Although when you first try on helmets with peaks you may feel uncomfortable. You may think that it may impede your view a little. However, this peak is actually extremely useful as it stops the rain from dripping down directly into your eyes (during rainy days).
Another common type of helmet for women is the helmet which has a cut-out section at the back of the helmet for your ponytail! This type of helmet does defy its purpose of protecting your head to a certain extent. Because as if you did fall off your motorbike, this area would be exposed to danger!
Nonetheless, this is a very common helmet and enables you to maintain your stylish hairstyle whilst riding a motorbike.
Although in the West, most people who ride motorbikes have a full on helmet with a visor, these are not so popular in Vietnam. A full on helmet i.e. one that covers the ears instead of exposing them – but no visor for the face is also available as an in-between alternative.
There are an amazing array of helmets in Vietnam
Raincoats in Vietnam
In addition to a motorbike helmet, the second most important part of motorbike equipment is the raincoat. Both helmets and raincoats in Vietnam come in a range of designs. There are typically two main types of raincoat – the thin and the thick.
Thin- and cheap raincoats
The thin raincoat is made from a see through ( or almost see through ) material which is very light. The advantage of this is that it stops you from being super-hot. However it is much smaller than the thicker version and is much more prone to rips and tears. As a result, the thin version should really be used only when there is light rain.
Thin raincoats are useful for walking or light rain
Thick- and the more expensive type of raincoat
In comparison, the thick raincoat is made from much heavier materials and is typically very large, covering your entire body. Although this does a marvellous job in protecting you from the rain, it is much thicker than the original thin version. This means that you can get incredibly hot if using it in the summertime when wearing it.
Thicker raincoats are needed in the heavier monsoon rains
You should have both helmets and raincoats stored in your motorbike boot. This way, you will have the protection against the light rain when needed as well as being able to stay relatively dry in the torrential monsoon rains.
The double-headed raincoat!
A very interesting type of raincoat is the double headed raincoat. This is only available in the thicker material and consists of a giant cover all with the advantage of having two heads. This means that rather than your passenger getting wet or struggling with their own bulky raincoat, they are able to put yours on!
The helmets and raincoats are available everywhere – from the side of the road to supermarkets and stores – so be sure to get yourself kitted up before you get caught in the rain!
Overall, helmets and raincoats shopping in Vietnam is super easy once you know what you’re looking for. There are great varieties of colours and styles and you can feel incredibly fashionable and local with your new Vietnamese motorbike riding gear!