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BEST CLIMBING HELMETS OF 2019

At the point when companions get into shake climbing, they regularly solicit us what kind from shoes, tackle, or rope they should purchase. We generally reveal to them something very similar: "the main thing you should purchase is a head protector." But an extraordinary cap: a great, agreeable, well-fitting model that they will really wear. A head protector does nothing more than a bad memory if it's sitting in the soil or in your rigging storage room back home. On the off chance that it's your responsibility however, it can mean the distinction among life and passing. Beneath we separate the top climbing caps available in 2019 from ultralight models to driving spending choices. For more data, see our head protector examination table and point by point purchasing exhortation underneath the picks.

Best Overall Climbing Helmet
1. Mammut Wall Rider ($120)
Weight: 6.9 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPP w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Lightweight, durable, and sleek design.
What we don’t: Heavier than the Petzl Sirocco below; webbing adjustment isn’t very intuitive.

The best climbing head protector is one that figures out how to join strength, insurance, and solace into a lightweight bundle—and the Mammut Wall Rider does only that. Utilizing a greater part of extended polypropylene (EPP) froth, the Wall Rider can withstand different effects without breaking, not at all like a large portion of the models on our rundown that are made with EPS (for additional on these distinctions, see the purchasing counsel beneath). Add to that a smooth look and agreeable feel, and the Wall Rider gets our top spot for 2019.

The greatest contender to the Wall Rider is the Petzl Sirocco beneath, however the Mammut wins out as far as worth and appearance. With the two protective caps, you get EPP froth, which we'll generally take over EPS when given the decision. The two head protectors are streamlined for weight-investment funds, fusing straightforward change frameworks (the two of which are fairly finicky) and uncovered froth. In any case, the Mammut does it for $20 less, with an increasingly elegant structure that arrives in a couple various hues (in contrast to Petzl's standard orange and dark/white combo). In case you're centered around going ultralight, you may fork out the additional money for the 1.3-ounce lighter Sirocco, yet we'll stay with the Wall Rider for generally purposes. Also, it's important that Mammut as of late discharged a variant with MIPS for $180, which is the main climbing protective cap of its sort. MIPS is intended to secure against calculated effects and is prominent in the ski and bicycle world, yet now is streaming over to other open air sports also.

Best Budget Climbing Helmet
2. Black Diamond Half Dome ($60)
Weight: 11.6 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPS w/ ABS shell
What we like: Affordable and dependable.
What we don’t: Heavier and less durable than the Petzl Boreo below.

With new climbers flocking to the sport, we’d be remiss not to give a nod to Black Diamond’s tried-and-true Half Dome. This helmet isn’t groundbreaking in any particular way, nor is it the lightest or most comfortable model on the market. But it’s affordable, reliable, and will protect your head from falling rocks—and that’s what matters most. Additionally, the rear dial (updated for 2019) offers incredibly easy adjustment—better than the comparable Boreo below—and Black Diamond also makes a women’s version with more venting and a ponytail-friendly design.

It’s all about protection and toughness here: the Half Dome’s heavy ABS plastic shell can absorb a sizable impact on its own without damaging the softer EPS foam inside, unlike helmets with lighter and less durable polycarbonate shells (the BD Vapor below, for example). The Half Dome is not without competition though: for just $10 more, the entry-level Petzl Boreo adds EPP foam for even greater amounts of protection and durability, and the Mammut El Cap offers better styling and ventilation. But for a quality helmet at the lowest price point, the Half Dome is still our top choice for climbers looking to venture outdoors without breaking the bank.
See the Black Diamond Half Dome  See the Women's Black Diamond Half Dome


Best Ultralight Climbing Helmet
3. Petzl Sirocco ($140)
Petzl Sirocco helmet (2018)Weight: 5.6 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPP w/ EPS & polycarbonate crown
What we like: Ultralight, comfortable, and vents well.
What we don’t: Pricey and the magnetic chin buckle can clog with dirt.

The original Petzl Sirocco shook up the climbing world with its lightweight yet durable construction, and soon earned the endorsement of many serious alpinists. The second version builds off the first, with similar fundamentals but a more traditional shape and palatable look. Like the Mammut Wall Rider above, the Sirocco uses a majority of expanded polypropylene (EPP), but with less polycarbonate covering and a lower-profile design, it weighs over an ounce less. In fact, this helmet is so feathery light that you’ll forget it’s on your head.

For ounce-counting alpine climbers, it doesn’t get any better than the latest Sirocco. In addition to its impressively low 5.6-ounce weight, the helmet vents well and now extends further down the back of the head for more protection. Further, it’s certified for ski touring, putting it in a distinct group along with the Petzl Meteor and CAMP Speed Comp below. But such a lightweight build does mean a minimalist adjustment system, and we’ve been less than impressed in this regard: the magnetic chin buckle and rear adjustment can loosen or come undone while climbing. And for $20 less, the Mammut Wall Rider above has a slightly more durable build with a larger polycarbonate shell.
See the Petzl Sirocco Helmet



Most Durable Climbing Helmet
4. Petzl Boreo ($70)
Petzl Boreo climbing helmetWeight: 10.1 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPS & EPP w/ABS shell
What we like: A lightweight yet durable entry-level helmet.
What we don’t: Inferior adjustments compared to the Half Dome and costs $10 more.

Outdoor companies constantly are innovating and improving helmet technology, and even entry-level models are now reaping the benefits. True to form, Petzl has replaced their popular Elios with the Boreo, which is an upgraded all-around workhorse. It keeps the ABS shell and EPS foam design of the Elios, but adds EPP foam along the sides, offering maximum durability. In fact, this puts the Boreo in an exclusive category of multi-foam, ABS-shelled helmets, joined only by the unique Edelrid Madillo below.

The Boreo is comparable to Black Diamond’s flagship Half Dome above, but the EPP foam cuts weight and increases durability. It’s also designed with a few more vents, making it a better hot-weather helmet. However, we think the two-handed adjustment and fixed straps under the ears simply aren’t as user-friendly as the click wheel and adjustable chin strap on the Half Dome, plus the Boreo is $10 more. And for women, Petzl also makes the ponytail-compatible Elia ($65), which is similar to the Boreo but without the EPP-foam update.
See the Petzl Boreo  See the Women's Petzl Elia


Best of the Rest
5. Petzl Meteor ($100)
Petzl Meteor climbing helmetWeight: 7.9 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Certified for ski touring; less expensive than the Vapor.
What we don’t: Again, the EPS is more fragile than the Sirocco’s EPP.

Updated for 2019, the Meteor earns a higher spot on our list with a new build that offers more coverage down the neck and ventilation throughout. But that’s not all: the Meteor also holds the title of being the first CE-certified ski touring helmet, making it an extremely versatile pick. To accomplish this feat, Petzl changed the shape of this climbing helmet slightly to accommodate ski goggles and revamped the rear suspension system to be extremely adjustable, even under a beanie. All in all, this high-quality helmet just got even better and, surprisingly, held onto its reasonable $100 price tag. 

With the Meteor’s EPS foam construction, you do give up the durability and class-leading protection of the Sirocco and Wall Rider above. Be sure to treat the helmet gently to get the most use out of it. And this might be a small nitpick, but the Meteor no longer comes in a wide variety of colors and designs—Petzl streamlined the selection with its standard orange schemes (although there is the option for a purple accent). But with ski-touring versatility, great coverage, and a good price point for what you get, the Meteor now beats out the Vapor as our top pick for an EPS dome with polycarbonate shell.
See the Petzl Meteor Helmet



6. Black Diamond Vapor ($140)
Black Diamond Vapor climbing helmetWeight: 6.6 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Lightweight, comfortable, fits big heads, and ventilates extremely well.
What we don’t: Fragile and expensive.

If you’re not yet sold on EPP foam but still want an ultralight helmet, the Black Diamond Vapor is another solid option. It’s almost as light as the Petzl Sirocco, adjusts better than the Mammut Wall Rider, and is virtually unnoticeable when it’s on your head. And one of the Vapor’s big selling points is its top-of-the-line venting, which basically surrounds the entire helmet and should satisfy just about any hot-headed climber.

Our one major gripe about the Vapor is price: at $140, it’s one of the most expensive helmets on our list. At that price point, a helmet should have more durable and protective EPP foam construction. And compared to the Meteor above, the Vapor is over an ounce lighter and offers just as much coverage, but is not certified for ski touring (although we often see it used in this setting). And again, keep in mind that EPS foam can be fragile and we don’t recommend throwing this helmet (or any EPS-constructed model) on the ground or stuffing it at the bottom of your bag underneath heavy racks and ropes.
See the Black Diamond Vapor


7. Mammut El Cap ($70)
Mammut El Cap climbing helmetWeight: 10 oz. (52-57cm)
Construction: EPS w/ ABS shell
What we like: Function meets fashion.
What we don’t: $10 more than its competition.

Like the Black Diamond Half Dome above, the Mammut El Cap is a nice value helmet that sports a traditional EPS foam and hard shell (ABS) construction. But with its 2019 update, the Mammut now has two layers of foam instead of one—a high-tech spin on a traditional helmet that both lightens the build and provides more shock absorption. Further, it’s hard to deny that the El Cap is downright fashionable for a climbing helmet. With its streamlined design, you won’t look like a mushroom, and the visor—designed to block out sun during long, multi-pitch days—actually is functional on the rock. At a reasonable $70 price point, the El Cap is a solid budget option.

Stacked against other helmets with ABS shells, the Mammut El Cap certainly is competitive. It has more vents than its counterparts and the inner foam even has small, built-in channels to facilitate airflow. In addition, the helmet’s unique adjustment headband is functional and user-friendly. Finally, the updated version weighs a reasonable 10 ounces, placing it among the lightest ABS helmets on this list. The only notable downside is price, but at only $10 more than the competition, this isn’t a huge hurdle to overcome.
See the Mammut El Cap



8. Mammut Rock Rider ($80)
Mammut Rock Rider climbing helmetWeight: 8.8 oz. (52-57cm)
Construction: EPS w/ ABS shell
What we like: More durable than polycarbonate options but similarly lightweight.
What we don’t: Comfort is more in line with a budget helmet like the Half Dome.

Mammut’s Rock Rider is one of a kind: it sports the same durable ABS shell as entry-level models like the Half Dome and Boreo above, but features the in-mold construction we see on helmets with polycarbonate shells. The result is a lightweight ABS helmet that looks more top-shelf than it actually is. In fact, the Rock Rider is one of the best values on the market. For $80, you get a lightweight build, great buckles and venting, and head coverage similar to a helmet like the $100 Edelrid Shield, but with a far more durable exterior. As a result, this helmet likely will still be around when others with polycarbonate shells are long gone.

The Rock Rider gives up a little in terms or weight, but we’re talking mere tenths of ounces here. You’ll certainly get a lighter build with the polycarbonate shells of helmets like the Petzl Meteor (7.9 ounces) or Camp Storm (8.1 ounces), but you’ll pay for it in durability and price. The difference is more tangible when you look at other ABS helmets—they’ll run you $10-20 less, but tack on an additional 2-3 ounces with each build. Overall, we think the Mammut strikes a nice balance. It might not be as stylish as some of the helmets above, but if you’re looking for a practical helmet that you can wear year after year, the Rock Rider is a nice choice.
See the Mammut Rock Rider



9. Edelrid Shield II ($100)
Edelrid Shield II climbing helmetWeight: 8.7 oz. (size 1)
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: The best-looking helmet of the bunch.
What we don’t: Heavier than most of its lightweight competition.

If you ascribe to the three most important rules of climbing—look good, climb hard, be safe (in that order)—then the Shield II is a worthy option. The helmet makes a bold statement with colorful designs and a visually pleasing shape. But more importantly, you get excellent coverage and a highly customizable fit system. If you struggle to find a helmet that fits your odd-sized noggin, the Shield II is a great option to try.

Despite its EPS construction and polycarbonate shell, at 8.7 ounces, the Shield II is the heaviest of our lightweight options. We also noticed that the adjustment dial doesn’t fold as neatly into the dome of the helmet as it does on most other models, making the Shield II a bulky addition to a pack. But with 10 large vents, a slightly lower price tag than most, and a sleek design, the Shield II still is worth considering.
See the Edelrid Shield II



10. Singing Rock Penta ($70)
Singing Rock Penta climbing helmetWeight: 7.2 oz.
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Great price for what you get.
What we don’t: Adjustment system is not ideal; only comes in one size.

Singing Rock isn’t the most popular brand in climbing gear, but the Czech company is known for producing some quality products. The Penta is no exception, and with a price tag $30 to $70 less than other helmets in its weight category, is one of the best values on this list. We don’t like that it only comes in one size, but the Penta is light, provides good all-around coverage, and is comfortable enough to wear all day.

The Singing Rock Penta is made of the same budget-friendly combination of EPS and polycarbonate as many helmets on the market. Like the Mammut Wall Rider and Petzl Sirocco, it shaves weight by using webbing for its suspension system, which does make adjusting the fit a bit of a bear. But what’s most impressive is that the Penta is just $10 more than the nearly 4-ounce-heavier Black Diamond Half Dome above, and $30 less than the popular BD Vector below. If you don’t have a brand allegiance and want a lightweight helmet at a good price, give this bucket a serious look.
See the Singing Rock Penta



11. CAMP USA Storm ($100)
CAMP USA Storm climbing helmetWeight: 8.1 oz. (size 1)
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Fits well and highly adjustable.
What we don’t: Heavier than other models in its price range.

CAMP USA has made plenty of functional and durable helmets over the years, but until recently, they haven’t earned many style points. The Storm is a good start: it’s available in four color combinations and includes an internal adjustment system that keeps it snug and close to the head. It also takes a few pointers from CAMP’s Speed Comp below, resulting in a comfortable, lightweight, and well-ventilated climbing helmet that is made for just about any type of mountain adventure.

The CAMP USA Storm’s makeup is similar to many helmets on our list that combine EPS foam with a polycarbonate shell. It’s about the same weight as the Black Diamond Vector and Petzl Meteor, and matches them both in price. The Storm also fits a broad range of head sizes and shapes and comes with a well-designed adjustment system. We know it’s hard to choose among all of these options, but if you’ve struggled to find a helmet that fits well, the Storm is a good choice.
See the CAMP USA Storm



12. Edelrid Salathe ($120)
Climbing Helmets (Edelrid Salathe)Weight: 7.4 oz.
Construction: EPP w/ ABS shell
What we like: A lightweight and well-made helmet.
What we don’t: Doesn’t quite measure up to the EPP competition.

We’ll start off with the bad news: the new Edelrid Salathe doesn’t lead in any department. It’s not the lightest helmet on this list, nor the most affordable, nor the most durable. But it is another viable EPP option, and a unique one at that. Instead of pairing this ultralight and durable foam with a polycarbonate shell—like our chart-topping Wall Rider and Sirocco helmets—Edelrid uses a patch of ABS (the same material found on entry-level models like the Half Dome above). While ABS is more durable than polycarbonate, it’s heavier and mostly-cosmetic here (EPP foam should be durable enough to stand alone).

A few ounces isn’t the end of the world, but all else being equal, we’ll always take the lighter helmet. For comparison, the Salathe’s 7.4-ounce weight is a bit heavy compared to the Wall Rider (6.9 ounces) and Sirocco (5.6 ounces), and even the EPS-foam Black Diamond Vapor is lighter at 6.6 ounces. Apples to apples, you get a better deal for the same price with the $120 Wall Rider. In terms of adjustment straps and closure, the Salathe features similar minimalist webbing with easy adjustments and a secure buckle (we like it more than the Sirocco’s magnet closure). And for the ski mountaineers out there, keep in mind that unlike the Sirocco and Meteor, the Salathe is not certified for use while skiing, although it is shaped to accommodate goggles.
See the Edelrid Salathe



13. Grivel Stealth ($100)
Grivel Stealth climbing helmetWeight: 6.7 oz.
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Great combination of weight, price, and coverage.
What we don’t: Comes in only one size; kind of looks like it’s from the Space Age.

Offering an impressive price-to-weight ratio, superior coverage, and an aggressive love-it-or-hate-it design, the Grivel Stealth is a solid do-everything option. One notable feature in particular is the unique, flat-paneled construction that sits lower on the head and is less likely to move around in the event of a rockfall or whipper. According to Grivel, this design actually provides a stronger and more protective barrier against impact than a traditional dome helmet.

In terms of shortcomings, we’ll start by saying that we aren’t huge fans of its celestial vibe, but we know that style mostly is subjective. And in terms of fit, the Grivel only comes in one size. You do get a simple webbing strap for adjustment, that—unlike the Sirocco or Wall Rider—is surprisingly easy to loosen and tighten, even with gloves on. However, the focus on simplicity means that the chin strap is fixed in position and can dig into your neck. The one-size-fits-all Stealth does fit most heads, but if you’re on either end of the spectrum, we recommend going with a helmet that comes in two sizes.
See the Grivel Stealth Helmet


14. CAMP USA Armour ($60)
CAMP USA Armour climbing helmet_0Weight: 11.1 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPS w/ ABS shell
What we like: Durability + comfort.
What we don’t: One of the heaviest helmets on our list.

Similar to the Black Diamond Half Dome above, the CAMP USA Armour goes old-school with its ABS plastic shell. To recap, this translates to increased durability, longevity, and affordability, at the cost of added weight. But with a 2019 update, the Armour now offers a better fit, a more durable and easy-to-use rear adjustment, and a variety of new colors and designs. For $60, it’s tied with the Half Dome in terms of affordability and some consider it to be more comfortable. In fact, we’ve started seeing more and more of the Armour at the crag and it’s easy to see why.

At 13.1 ounces for the large version, the Armour is one of the heaviest helmets on the list and definitely not our favorite to wear or carry for extended stretches. The new Petzl Boreo is lighter and more durable, and we’re not ready to dethrone the Half Dome as our favorite budget hardshell helmet just yet. But for beginner climbers who want some style points and aren’t counting ounces, the CAMP USA Armour is a nice value option.
See the CAMP USA Armour



15. Black Diamond Vector ($100)
 Black Diamond Vector climbing helmetWeight: 8.1 oz. (size S/M)
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: Great adjustment system.
What we don’t: Pretty unremarkable.

Petzl and Black Diamond seem to go tit for tat with their climbing helmet models. The BD Vapor above competes with the Sirocco, and the BD Vector competes with the Meteor. Between the latter two, it’s a close call. Both come in at $100 and feature similar construction, material types, and features. So why is the Vector all the way down near the bottom of our list, when the Meteor clocks in at number five?

The biggest reason is the Meteor’s versatility: you get a climbing and ski-touring helmet in one, and with a better adjustment system to boot. Further, we’ve found the Vector’s design to be lacking in durability—the seam between the rim and the helmet body can come undone and form a gap. And compared to the competition, the Vector is less breathable than the similarly priced Storm, heavier than the $70 Penta, and looks more mushroom-like than the $100 Shield II. It is a tried-and-true option for sure, and if you’re a Vector devotee, we get it. But if you’re in the market for a new lightweight helmet, we’d recommend checking out the options above.
See the Black Diamond Vector  See the Women's Black Diamond Vector



16. CAMP USA Speed Comp ($120)
CAMP USA Speed Comp climbing helmet_0Weight: 12.7 oz.
Construction: EPS w/ polycarbonate shell
What we like: A go-to alpine all-rounder.
What we don’t: Heavy if you’re looking for a high-performance, climbing-specific helmet.

The CAMP Speed Comp is unique: not only is it a climbing helmet, it doubles as a ski mountaineering helmet as well. But don’t get this confused with the Petzl Meteor’s ski-touring certification—the Speed Comp takes it to another level with a beefy build worthy of a more speed-oriented alpine skiing and skimo cert. Further, it sports a relatively thick external shell and is slightly more durable than most of the EPS versions listed above. And some climbers feel that the shape of the Speed Comp is slightly rounder than they’re used to, so if Black Diamond or Petzl helmets don’t fit your head well, this might be your solution.

However, while it may be lightweight on the slopes, the Speed Comp is a bit on the heavy side for an in-mold climbing helmet. Overall, we recommend the Speed Comp only if you spend significant time crossing over between climbing and skimo and are looking for one helmet to do the job of two. If you’re not randonee racing and just looking for a helmet for ski touring missions, the Petzl Meteor above is much lighter, $20 cheaper, and also accommodates goggles.
See the CAMP USA Speed Comp



17. Edelrid Madillo ($110)
Edelrid Madillo climbing helmetWeight: 13.8 oz.
Construction: EPP, EPS, EVA foams w/ ABS shell
What we like: Packs down to half its size.
What we don’t: Weighs more than any helmet on our list.

If you’re the type that hates hanging your helmet off of your pack during the approach, is always tight on space, or needs a durable helmet to abuse in the packing process, the Eldelrid Madillo is worth a look. This helmet folds down into a rather streamlined shape half its original size, allowing it to be easily packed with the rest of your gear. Packability might be the only major selling point of the Madillo though: at 13.8 ounces, it’s the heaviest helmet on our list.

Made with three different foam types and an ABS shell, the Madillo, like other hard shell helmets, is a very durable choice. With more moving parts however, it’s also more likely to break than a helmet like the Half Dome or the Armour. And at a price point about $40 above its competition, we find ourselves struggling to find the upsides. Unless you have a specific need for a collapsible helmet, we recommend the options above.

Climbing Helmet Buying Advice
Foam Types: EPP vs. EPS
Shell Types: ABS vs. Polycarbonate
When to Wear a Climbing Helmet
Comfort
Sizing and Adjustability
Women's-Specific Climbing Helmets
Ventilation
Weight
Durability
Headlamp Compatibility
Ski Helmets

Foam Types: EPP vs. EPS
We touched on EPS and EPP foams briefly in the product descriptions above, but it’s worth going into extra detail about the differences between these two materials. After all, this barrier will be protecting the most important part of your body.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS)
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been the shock-absorbing foam of choice in climbing helmets for as long as we can recall. It’s very hard and functions incredibly well for absorbing a serious impact—once. EPS is known for crushing and fracturing when impacted. In fact, on some of the lighter-weight EPS models like the Black Diamond Vapor and Petzl Meteor, the EPS foam is so delicate that it can fracture from simply being tossed down on the ground or stuffed under heavy gear in a pack. Once EPS foam starts to show those fractures and fissures, its integrity is compromised. If you can see cracks on the inside of your helmet, it’s already time to replace it.

EPP (Expanded polypropylene)
Expanded polypropylene (EPP), on the other hand, is designed to absorb impacts without shattering. It’s the same material found in car bumpers and is more durable than EPS. We still don’t see many helmets being made with EPP in 2019—the Petzl Sirocco, Mammut Wall Rider, and Edelrid Salathe are a few exceptions—although we expect this to change in upcoming years. In fact, EPP is so effective and durable that it technically does not need a polycarbonate or ABS shell, but many manufacturers incorporate a partial covering or crown for extra protection against falling objects and to improve both shape and appearance. The downside is that EPP helmets are more expensive, but they are more protective, durable, and lighter. If EPP doesn’t become the de facto material of choice for climbing helmets in the future, we will be very surprised.

Shell Types: ABS vs. Polycarbonate
Now that we’ve covered the stuff on the inside, we’ll break down what protects it. We’ve mentioned some “hardshell helmets” with ABS plastic shells, such as the Black Diamond Half Dome and CAMP USA Armour. ABS shells can absorb sizable impacts and protect well against any debris falling from above, and they’re also generally cheaper than other options. That said, they typically are thicker and more durable than polycarbonate shells, and that comes with added weight (which is why we mainly recommend them for cragging as opposed to multi-pitching).

For long days on the wall, however, opting for a helmet with a polycarbonate shell—or crown, like the Petzl Sirocco—to shave weight definitely helps. That said, lighter-weight helmets always need to be treated with more care as they will damage more easily. For budget-conscious or new climbers who want more durability for their buck, a hardshell helmet will do the trick.

When to Wear a Climbing Helmet
It’s widely accepted that a helmet is a mandatory piece of equipment for every alpine climber. The mountains are volatile and objective hazards loom large. However, it’s our opinion that no matter where you’re climbing—in the mountains, at the crag, or even on lead at the gym—gravity (literally) is a force to be reckoned with. Rocks can fall even in popular, established areas, people can drop things, and whippers can result in head trauma. A helmet always is essential for your safety. Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are our recommendations for each type of climbing.

Alpine Climbing
This one is a no-brainer—virtually no one goes to the mountains without a helmet. Rock is loose, falls often aren’t clean, and snow and ice succumb to gravity too. Because approaches to the mountains can be long and you’ll likely spend all day wearing or carrying your helmet, you’ll want a lightweight bucket with suspension that packs down into it. Durability also is a crucial consideration here—there’s nothing quite as disappointing as having gear malfunction when you’re days from the car. Our top picks for the alpine are lightweight and durable helmets made with EPP foam, like the Petzl Sirocco and Mammut Wall Rider. If you get out frequently, the extra cost is worth it.

Multi-Pitch Climbing
For long days on the wall—think the Chief in Squamish or Black Velvet Canyon in Red Rock—you’ll want a lightweight helmet with good adjustability, ventilation, and comfort. Helmets made with EPP foam like those mentioned above are our top recommendation for multi-pitch climbing as well, but those on a budget can definitely get away with a slightly heavier, less durable build. Look for a helmet with EPP or EPS foam with a polycarbonate overtop, a sub-10-ounce weight, a one-handed adjustment system, and a headlamp attachment. For long multi-pitch climbs, helmets like the Black Diamond Vapor, Petzl Meteor, and Edelrid Shield II are our top picks. You can get away with a helmet with a heavier ABS shell, but your neck might be feeling it at the end of the day.

Cragging
We know too many people who leave their helmets at home for days at the crag (on single-pitch climbs), but there’s a lot wrong with that logic. You’re more likely to be climbing at your limit right off the ground, meaning you’re also more likely to be falling at the crag. And even when you’re hyper-aware of where the rope is running, you still can take a lead fall with a leg behind the climbing rope. When this happens, chances are high you’ll flip upside down and swing head-first into the wall. And this doesn’t just happen to newbs unfamiliar with proper rope management.  Last year, a well-known, helmetless climber was whipped upside down during a fall at Smith Rock—a crag notorious for bad rock and no head protection—and many locals since have changed their ways.

OK, enough time on our soapbox. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, and if you do choose to wear a helmet at the crag, you’ve got some decisions to make. Are you pushing the grade? If so, you might want an ultralight helmet to go along with your lightweight harness and rope. Think EPP or EPS foam with a polycarbonate crown, like the helmets mentioned in the sections above. But because you’ll likely be taking your helmet off when you’re not climbing, most craggers can get away with a helmet that emphasizes durability and a lower price point above saving weight. Look for EPS foam with an ABS hardshell, a convenient adjustment system, and a sub-$70 price tag. The Black Diamond Half Dome and Petzl Boreo (and women’s Elia) are our favorite cragging options.

Comfort
Aside from safety, one of the most important traits in a climbing helmet is comfort. If it’s not comfortable, you won’t wear it. And if you don’t wear it, it won’t protect you. Comfort is subjective and depends a lot on the shape of your skull. For example, the biggest critique we’ve heard about the Petzl Sirocco is that it doesn’t fit comfortably on larger heads. As with most climbing equipment, your best bet with helmets is to physically try them on before buying. That said, we haven’t noticed huge variability in comfort between different companies, but we’ve definitely seen it between models. And almost without exception, heavier means less comfortable, and lighter is better.

Sizing and Adjustability
A good climbing helmet should fit snugly but comfortably, and shouldn’t bob around much when you move your head. When guiding, we always ask our youngest clients if they like ice cream, provoking them to nod emphatically. If the helmet fits, it won’t move while they express their love for tasty cold treats. If it bobs up and down or comes to rest with their forehead showing, we tighten up the rear adjustment and chinstrap. And if the helmet just floats on top of the head more like a yarmulke than a baseball cap, it’s too small.

Most climbing helmet models are available in two sizes, and there is usually some overlap between one size and the other. If you are near the cutoff point for either, we suggest you try the helmet on before buying (although this is never a bad idea regardless). In terms of adjustments, all climbing helmets offer two straps: one around the head, and one around the chin. Some helmets like the Sirocco—usually those that emphasize weight—have a strap and buckles to adjust the head strap. Others, like the Black Diamond Vapor, offer a two-sided plastic ratcheting system, which is meant to be adjusted using two hands. The Black Diamond Half Dome offers a really simple one-handed adjustment system using a circular knob that tightens when turned in one direction, and loosens in the other.

Women's-Specific Climbing Helmets

A couple of head protectors on our rundown offer ladies' models, eminently the Black Diamond Half Dome and Petzl Elia. These ladies explicit variants are separate by one primary element: a "braid neighborly" shell and suspension framework, which means an upward bend at the back of the head. Generally (and this is originating from a pig tail wearing lady), this doesn't appear to be an especially vital element, however I'm certain a few ladies will welcome the idea. Dark Diamond additionally offers their Vector in a ladies' model, however the main distinction there is shading. As a rule, climbing protective caps are a unisex bit of apparatus and suit a wide range of head shapes, sizes, and haircuts.

Ventilation

Previously, one of the principle grievances we had about climbing caps is that they didn't inhale all around ok, making our heads sweat-soaked, hot, and awkward. As innovation keeps on improving, we've seen head protector producers include increasingly more ventilation. While we're amped up for the pattern, it merits referencing the innate detriments of more noteworthy ventilation. More vents implies progressively void space and less material securing your head. It's conceivable, albeit beautiful darn improbable, for a meager and restricted shake or ice shard to sneak through. Furthermore, in case you're basically a winter or chilly climate climber, ventilation might be to a greater degree a downside than a bit of leeway. All things considered, we believe that caps like Petzl's Sirocco and Meteor strike a pleasant center ground of assurance and breathability.

Climbing Helmets (Petzl)

Less expensive protective caps don't exceed expectations in ventilation

Weight

The caps on this rundown say something somewhere in the range of 5.6 ounces at the low end to 13.8 ounces at the very good quality, and there are much heavier models out there that didn't make the cut. While 13 ounces (under 1 pound) appears to be an immaterial add up to whine about, it's still more than twice as overwhelming as the lightest head protector accessible. Truly, these ounces can include rapidly. In any sort of multi-pitch climbing situation, or even on long cragging days, the head protector goes on in the first part of the day and doesn't fall off until the day's end. By and by, we like our head protectors to be as fluffy as could be allowed. Lighter protective caps additionally ride less on the neck and don't appear to move around the head as a lot of when gazing upward and down.

climbing caps (sirocco 2)

The ultralight Petzl Sirocco is perfect for toting into the mountains | Austin Siadak

Toughness

Normally, weight and strength are contrarily corresponded with climbing gear (or any sort of open air gear). As such, the lighter the rigging, the less solid it will be. In the realm of climbing protective caps, in any case, this example doesn't generally remain constant. Protective caps made with EPP froth, similar to the Petzl Sirocco and Mammut Wall Rider, are the lightest and the most sturdy available. Keep in mind, EPP froth is made to curve and assimilate sway, while EPS froth breaks so as to deal with gruff power. Among EPS plans, those with an ABS hard shell will withstand wear much superior to those with a polycarbonate shell.

Mammut's Wall Rider

EPP froth doesn't split under effect like EPS froth

When you've picked your protective cap, it's essential to realize how to measure its mileage. As a rule, one fall or effect is sufficient to end the life of an EPS-built protective cap—any kind of break in froth implies that your head protector's wellbeing is undermined. However, the precarious thing is, not all cracks are unmistakable (some lay within underneath the polycarbonate or ABS shell). To check, search for significant gouges on the shell as a decent marker of interior harm. It's additionally critical to review the webbing and suspension framework, clasp, and on account of ABS caps, the strength of the froth's connection to the shell. Then again, on the grounds that EPP doesn't break similarly as EPS, these models are excluded from the "supplant your cap after effect" rule. By the by, you will need to keep on assessing the froth. Given its halfway uncovered nature on caps like the Sirocco and Wall Rider, this ought to be a fairly direct procedure.

Headlamp Compatibility

We would be unable to discover a climbing protective cap that doesn't profess to be headlamp-perfect, so it's practically guaranteed. All things considered, a few caps hold a headlamp superior to other people. For instance, the advantageous back tie on Petzl's Sirroco is a breeze, while the connection focuses on Grivel's Stealth are fairly hard to utilize. A few clasps even are removable to spare weight, yet popping these pieces all through the froth may slacken and debilitate the connection focuses after some time. Basically any protective cap you purchase will be headlamp-good, simply study the framework utilized for verifying the headlamp before you make a buy.

Ski Helmets

Many weight-cognizant skiers will decide on an ascending protective cap for quick and-light days in the mountains, yet just a couple are really planned and confirmed for both skiing and ascending (the Petzl Sirocco, Petzl Meteor, and CAMP Speed Comp). These head protectors give more inclusion than climbing caps, shielding against effect from the side just as the top. They likewise are perfect with ski goggles. The Speed Comp makes it a stride further with effect assurance and even is evaluated for snow capped skiing and skimo hustling. On the off chance that your form of skiing includes a great deal of climbing or going over shifted territory, you may value the lighter weight, included breathability, and lower profile of these adaptable caps.

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