In this article, I will cover some important aspects when choosing the best climbing helmet. A climbing helmet constitutes the most important item in the whole segment. I'm not overemphasizing.
I don't even intend to endorse this piece of gear. However, you may theoretically skip on a couple of other items of rappelling or climbing gear. For that, you must put on a top-quality climbing helmet.
Protecting your headstands paramount under all circumstances. This point holds when maneuvering in areas where you might bang your head against hard surfaces or hit it to falling rocks.
That goes for all outdoor adventures, inviting a small element of risk. Climbing helmets come in handy for various other outdoor chores such as mountaineering, canyoneering, hiking, rappelling, arborist work, and more.
You could use a climbing helmet when practicing the above activities. However, using other types of helmets isn't advisable as they aren't designed for those activities.
For example, you must not use a biker's helmet for climbing because those helmets aren't built to protect your head after an impact.
I've told you earlier, and I'll reiterate it - always go for the right piece of gear to ensure the proper protection in any activity. Climbing helmets protect your head even after an impact. As such, you can continue with your climbing tenure or come down safely without problems.
However, that doesn't mean climbing helmets are non-breakable. You should exercise caution when surfing through uneven terrains or dangerous hills, even with a helmet on your head. They're made out of different materials and come in various designs. We'll touch all of them one by one.
Continue reading to figure out how to choose a climbing helmet. You'll also learn what to consider when picking one. I'll throw light on the different styles available out there and the differences in brand technologies. Plus, I'll tell you about the importance of lightness and breathability.
I wish to start with some real examples to help you choose an ideal one right away. Additionally, I decided to add some climbing helmets for kids to the list. That should ease your worries if you want to accompany a younger child on the trip.
1) PETZL - Sirocco, Ultra-Lightweight Climbing and Mountaineering Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The lightest climbing helmet
Let me start with something really exceptional. Sirocco is a mountaineering and climbing helmet that offers superb protection. Plus, it's excellent at comfort and ventilation.
The truth is it's difficult to bag a helmet as exceptional as the Petzl Sirocco. However, not all individuals would be ready to expend around 140 dollars on a top-class helmet.
I want to inform you that the item is worth every penny. The helmet weighs around 5.9 ounces or 170 grams, which is why it's one of the lightest helmets out there. Since the item comes out from the Petzl production house, it encompasses the unique design and impressive technologies.
Featuring a hybrid built along with an EPP foam shell, the helmet has a sturdy crown filled with EPS foam. The unique design covers the front, top, and rear portions of the head to ensure optimal protection. Also, the sidings offer much-sought ventilation. That doesn't imply that the sides won't protect your head.
When it comes to adjustability, you have a chin strap with a magnetic buckle (patented) and a headband. Petzl implemented one rear elastic and two hooks for headlamps. Although not the most high-tech system, it works well. With a measurement of 14x14x7 inches, the Petzl Sirocco comes in a single Orange/Black color-way.
2) PETZL Meteor Climbing Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best low-profile climbing helmet
It touches the scale of 7.7 ounces or 220 grams. With a measurement of 15x11x7 inches, it presents enough ventilation through the holes pierced on its sides.
It's a low profile helmet crafted with an in-molding technique. The model includes a polystyrene foam (expanded) liner and a lighter polycarbonate shell. Both of them offer magnificent protection on the sides and top of the head. Another highlight perk that distinguishes this helmet from its contenders is it features Petzl's Top and Side Protection label.
The model lets you wear ski goggles, in case if it's essential to you. The item is additionally compatible with VIZION and SKREEN eye shields. You can find this helmet in Orange/Red, Violet, and Grey.
3) Black Diamond Half Dome Climbing Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best budget climbing helmet
Black Diamond Half Dome has been in the market for quite a while. It's still one of the most user-friendly climbing helmets you can find today.
It's relatively more solemn than the Sirocco model. Yet, it comes at a smaller price tag. The item weighs around 16 ounces and measures 11x9x6 inches.
The low-profile carbonate shell and the co-molded EPS foam build contribute to the extra weight. The item that I'm stressing about right now is a better, upgraded piece.
It includes a new suspension system (low-profile). An easy to operate chin strap and a single-handed adjustment dial are the main highlights of the model.
Despite being a bit heavier, it's a comfortable climbing helmet, perfect for practice runs or short climbing sessions. The piece is available in Denim (pictured), Rain, Slate, and BDO Orange. For all the fans of the brand, we have made reviews on the 5 best Black Diamond climbing helmets.
4) PETZL - Picchu Kids Climbing Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best climbing helmet for kids
PETZL Picchu was my favorite choice when I had to pick helmets for my young nephew and niece. The model works just fine for both girls and boys. Plus, it comes in kid-preferred colors named Raspberry and Coral.
As per the manufacturer, the model perfectly suits kids aged between 3 and 8. In my experience, it's effortlessly adjustable and provides enough ventilation and comfort.
When it boils down to protection, the Picchu carries a slew of certifications, including CE EN 1078 (European cycling), E EN 12492 UIAA (climbing), and CSPC for kids 5+ years old (USA cycling). The model boasts of featuring a polystyrene liner and an ABS shell (injection-molded).
The foam is fully washable and removable, and that's an added perk. Also, there's a special mount for night-time climbing. The mount accommodates a headlamp, red light, and a SIGNAL. The helmet weighs around 20 ounces and is 12x10x6 inches in measurements.
Picking the right climbing helmet can be quite a task. A ton of legwork goes into making your final choice. However, you may quickly get rid of the labor. Follow the above advice and use your judgment. Within moments, you might have your hands on the best climbing helmet.
5) Mammut Wall Rider MIPS Lightweight Climbing Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: One of the most secure climbing harness
Let's begin with the design. It's the first climbing helmet to feature Mammut's patented MIPS technology, which aims at rendering an added layer of safety.
The technology works in a unique way. It directs and absorbs a significant portion of the impact force each time the helmet gets exposed to an angled impact.
Plus, the system depends on a low-friction layer that ensures the helmet slides a bit in relation to your head. Using this technology, the maker aims at reducing possible brain injuries.
That's definitely worth noting. Most of the good-quality climbing helmets can guard your head against low to medium impact.
However, very few of them might indirectly profess to secure your brain too. Weighing only 8 ounces, the product boasts of including the EPP impact foam. It's best suited for trad climbing and sport climbing.
You can find the product in two sizes and a single Black/White color with yellow accents. The product measures 11x9x7 inches. Read our whole review on Mammut Wall Rider Climbing Helmet.
6) EDELRID Shield II Children's Climbing Helmet - Sahara/Oasis
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best softshell climbing helmet for children
Well-known brands cover their products from various parameters. Users enjoy numerous privileges through their products. I don't wish to use the same low-quality items as others.
If you don't want to buy the Picchu for one or the other reason, take a look at Edelrid's Shield II. According to me, it's a much better alternative.
This climbing helmet for kids has an in-mold build that's lighter on the weight side. The overall built encompasses sturdy polycarbonate for the shell and expanded polystyrene targeted for the foam core.
Plus, you get an adjustable chin strap with a unique closure system situated below the ear. As far as airflow and ventilation go, various large vents exist on the sides. So, adequate air exchange is possible.
Edelrid employed an improved rear adjusting dial and Wing Fit System to ensure their products will fit perfectly on all head sizes. The interior padding could be washed and removed, which is handy. I can't definitely say that this helmet mimics the liking of Picchu on all parameters. Yet, it's able to fulfill all the requirements.
If you take a look at the reviews, you'll conclude that it's among the most recommended kids climbing helmets. Weighing 8.8 ounces, Shield II measures 11x10x9 inches. You can find the product in a single Oasis/Sahara color based on Light Green and Orange.
7) Fusion Meka Work Climbing Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The most flexible climbing helmet
Do you recollect what I told you about affordability? If you want a low-priced climbing helmet that offers a decent level of protection, look no further than the Fusion Meka.
It costs half the price of many other comparable items. Still, it can fit you properly and offer the much-desired protection.
Some individuals use Meka for rappelling and climbing. Then others use the product for tree work. Meka features ten ventilation spots, making it ideal for hotter conditions.
However, if you want to wear the helmet on a hot day, try the Orange or White-colored model instead of the Black one. Although the Black piece looks simply superb, it'll catch heat faster.
Also, you can mount two hearing protectors, which is a big plus. With a weight of 11.2 ounces, the product measures 6.25 inches H x 10.3 inches L x 8.25 inches W. It's a highly reliable and durable product. The manufacturers didn't compromise on quality for the price.
8) Petzl - ELIA, Versatile Helmet for Women
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best women's climbing helmet
Some ladies don't go for unisex helmets. Why? Those helmets either lack comfort or don't fit properly. If you check this article till the end, you'll notice that I touched on the key differences between women's and unisex climbing helmets.
As far as Petzl ELIA climbing helmet is concerned, it's a small helmet that includes the Omega headband system. The brand new system makes it easy to take off and put on the helmet. Furthermore, this climbing helmet for women incorporates a practical design to support a ponytail with no issues.
The only downside is it doesn't offer added protection like its contenders. Despite this point, ELIA comes with an expanded polystyrene liner and a sturdy ABS shell.
ELIA makes an affordable and flexible choice for starters due to its compatibility with VIZION eye shields and headlamps. Weighing around 10.1 ounces, ELIA carries a measurement of 10.2x8.3x6.3 inches. Available in two colors - Lime Green and Red, it comes in two different shades of White.
9) CAMP Titan Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best unisex climbing helmet
In my opinion, CAMP Titan Helmet is a jack of all trades brand that mixes affordability, durability, and a unique design.
Encompassing the ABS injection-molded shell, the helmet assembles all its components without rivets or screws. It means you could take it apart, clean it, and reassemble it without facing much hassle.
You may also replace its liners after a while. So, you can put on this helmet for years without bothering about a replacement. However, you can enjoy longevity only if it doesn't hit and sustain significant damages.
The item is available in Orange/Brown color. Plus, it features a spider suspension framework to ensure comfort and ventilation. It's also possible to add a headlamp onto the helmet, thanks to the four holder clips.
10) CAMP Speed Comp Helmet
TOP IN CATEGORY: The best climbing and alpine skiing helmet
CAMP Speed Comp Helmet is a flexible and impressive helmet because you can use it for alpine skiing as well as climbing. Besides the extra protection, the product presents a lighter weight and added breathability compared to other products.
Its headlamp and ski goggle compatibility stands unmatched. Right now, it's the most lightweight helmets in the segment.
Featuring an in-mold built, it has 22 vent holes for comfy ventilation. The adjustment system depends on an easy dial that's handy to operate. Measuring 12x9x6 inches, the helmet weighs just 9.6 ounces. The product meets both EN 1077/B standards necessary for alpine skiing and EN 12492 standards for climbing.
So yes, you may use a skiing helmet for climbing too. Here, skiing should be the main activity, not the other way round. Although other comparable helmets exist, this is the best of all so far.
Best Climbing Hamlet FAQs
1) Is a ski helmet a suitable replacement for a climbing helmet?
As a general rule, you should probably only use climbing helmets for climbing. That being said, there is an exception that can be made for ski helmets. Let's be clear: if you're climbing exclusively, then use a climbing helmet.
But, if you are on a skiing trip that involves a lot of climbing, ski helmets are acceptable. Ski helmets such as the CAMP Speed Comp. This is the perfect example of a ski helmet that is great for climbing.
2) What's the difference between men's and women's climbing helmets?
Generally, not much. Most climbing helmets are designed to be unisex. All of them, nowadays, are adjustable to accommodate all head sizes and shapes. There are, however, some brands that are designed specifically for women.
The main difference here is a design adjustment to accommodate ponytails. While most women find that regular climbing helmets are perfectly fine, others might appreciate the adjustment.
Some brands also claim to be women's climbing helmets simply because of the color scheme used. Ignore these claims because there are far more important aspects to consider.
3) Are all climbing helmets compatible with headlamps?
The vast majority of them are nowadays, as the safety of climbing becomes ever more important. Modern climbing helmets will be compatible with headlamps. This is excellent because hiking after sundown would be impossible without them.
There are, however, differences in how you attach the headlamp to the helmet, depending on the brand. Be sure to check your personal brand, but a general guide can be found below.
Some simply have rear straps that can attach a headlamp with ease. Some may require you to clip the headlamp into place. While you may find one easier than the other, the main thing is that your headlamp is secure.
Both of these methods are entirely reliable. If you find one to be easier for you, just make sure you ask about the securing mechanism before purchasing a new helmet.
4) How can you tell if a climbing helmet fits properly?
A correctly fitted climbing helmet is quite literally a lifesaver. The ideal fit is relatively tight so that the helmet doesn't move around on your head. However, if it is tight enough to cause pain or be uncomfortable, it isn't the right fit either.
You don't want to risk preventing blood flow. The two straps that come with climbing helmets are adjustable, so you can make it fit securely without being too tight.
One of the straps fastens around the whole head, and the other below the chin. Adjust both of these to ensure the fit is right for you. Just give you're head a wobble when it feels comfortable; if it doesn't move, you're good to go.
If you can't find the right fit for your particular model, you might need to buy a new one. All helmets come in two sizes, so make sure you find the one that's right for you.
5) Do you need to wear a helmet each time you go climbing?
Absolutely. Climbing, rappelling, caving, whatever sport it is that you are doing that requires a helmet, are by their very nature, dangerous! However, wherever you are doing the sport, you're always going to be exposed to some risk element.
Whether you're alpine climbing or practicing on a twelve-foot wall at the gym, the risk is still the same. Helmets are designed to protect one of your most vital organs: your brain. Don't ever put yourself at risk by refusing to wear a helmet.
Climbing isn't supposed to be glamorous, and you don't need to look your best. Your safety should always be your top priority. Climbing is a battle between yourself and nature, and nature can win very quickly if you don't take proper precautions. Wear your helmet!
6) What type of climbing helmet should I wear while multi-pitch climbing?
When multi-pitch climbing, you need a helmet with EPP foam. These helmets are the lightest and will ensure maximum comfort. You'll likely be on the wall for hours, so pick a helmet with outstanding ventilation too.
A helmet should ideally weigh no more than 10 ounces and have an adjustable strap that you can use with a single hand. The likelihood is you'll also need a headlamp, so pick one with easy securing mechanisms. If you're unsure of which model suits you, the Petzl Meteor is always the right choice here.
7) What about Alpine Climbing?
Alpine climbing requires the most durable gear. You'll likely be away from your car or camp for an extended period of time, and any malfunctions will set you back. You can lose time and money without the proper gear here.
Pick something durable and robust so that you don't put yourself at risk of any injury. EPP foam is advisable again here to keep the helmet nice and light. Something hardy like the Petzl Sirocco is what you should be looking for when alpine climbing.
8) What is the best helmet to wear while cragging?
Some people opt not to use helmets at the crag, but injuries are still possible here. Accidents can occur even during single pitch climbs, so don't put yourself at unnecessary risk. Whilst helmets may not be strictly necessary, your safety should still be a priority.
Choose something a little cheaper to save money. A helmet like the Black Diamond Half Dome is ideal. Just look out for a helmet with an ABS hardshell and EPS foam; any other safety precautions aren't necessary for cragging.
Of course, if you wanted to guarantee your safety, investing in more expensive gear is OK too. But generally speaking, a cheaper helmet will more than cover you at the crag.
By making it this far, you've shown a commitment to safety and proper procedure: congratulations!
Hopefully, this guide has allowed you to think more deeply about the helmet that's best for you and your climbing needs.
If you have any suggestions or additions to make, please feel free to get in touch! Thank you!
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