The Best Climbing Helmets of 2017


Black Diamond Vapor

Black Diamond Vapor

A climbing helmet protects your head against falling debris (rockfall, icefall etc.) and if you accidentally hit into a wall or an overhang. Therefore, a climbing helmet is necessary, not only for hardcore climbing, but also for mountaineering and hiking in areas where rockfall or icefall is common. If you are often hiking and mountaineering on steep and rocky terrain, it is very likely that you will encounter rockfall at some point. In the following we selected and reviewed the best climbing helmets of 2017. We only listed helmets which are perfect for mountaineering, hiking, via ferrata ascents and other aerobic outdoor activities. All climbing helmets in this review are lightweight and provide good breathability. They are also a great option for sport climbing and ice climbing.

1. Buying a Climbing Helmet – What is important?

Helmet Type:

There are three types of climbing helmets; hardshell helmets, shelled foam helmets and foam helmets.

Hardshell climbing helmets:

Hardshell helmets feature an outer shell made of durable ABS plastic and have a foam liner and strap suspension system on the inside. These helmets are very durable and can withstand repeated small impacts (rockfall) without deforming. However, they are usually heavier and less breathable than foam and shelled foam helmets. Hardshell helmets are often called suspension helmets.

Shelled foam climbing helmets:

Shelled foam helmets feature a polycarbonate shell and a thick layer of impact-absorbing polystyrene/polypropylene foam. The polycarbonate shell is not as strong as ABS plastic shell and therefore shelled foam helmets deform faster upon impact than hardshell helmets. However, they are lighter and provide better breathability (by having more vents).

Foam climbing helmets:

Foam helmets are made only of impact-absorbing polystyrene or polypropylene foam – they don’t have a strong and smooth shell on the outside. They deform quickly upon impact but on the other hand they are also super lightweight and thus very comfortable to wear.

When choosing a climbing helmet, think about what is more important to you – durability or comfort. If you want durability (long lifespan) go for a hardshell helmet; if you want a super comfortable helmet, then get a foam helmet, and if you are somewhere in between go for shelled foam helmet. In this review of the best climbing helmets we listed all three types of climbing helmets to suit everyone’s wishes.

Weight:

The lighter the helmet, the more comfortable it is to wear – lighter climbing helmets put less pressure on your neck and shift less around on your head. In this review of the best climbing helmets we only listed lightweight helmets – the heaviest product in the selection weighs eleven ounces.

Ventilation:

If a climbing helmet doesn’t provide ventilation it makes your scalp sweaty, hot and uncomfortable, especially in warm weather. Therefore, a climbing helmet should have well-positioned vents which allow warm air and moisture to escape to the outside. The size and positioning of vents should, however, not compromise your safety.

Adjustability:

You can typically adjust the circumference of the headband and length of the chin strap to make your climbing helmet fit perfectly. There are three systems for adjusting the circumference of the headband; wheel, plastic slider bar and webbing. The webbing system is typically more complicated to use (especially with gloves on) while wheel and plastic slider bar are easier to adjust. All products in this review of the best climbing helmets have great adjustability.

Headlamp Compatibility:

Some climbing helmets have clips around them which can hold the strap of a headlamp so that it doesn’t slide downwards or upwards. If your headlamp doesn’t feature clips, you can consider purchasing an adaptor for mounting a headlamp to the helmet – such as the Petzl Kit Adapt which works with Petzl Tikka and Actik type headlamps. You simply glue the adaptor to the helmet. Also check out our review of the Best Headlamps.

Size:

Climbing helmets are typically available in at least two sizes which fit different head circumferences. For each helmet in this review we listed which sizes cover which head circumference in the table below.

Color:

For everything except sport climbing, choose a bright color so that your team members (or rescue squad) can see you in conditions of low visibility.

2. The Best Climbing Helmets Review

Best Climbing Helmets

Best Climbing Helmets

  1. Black Diamond Vapor
  2. Mammut Wall Rider
  3. Petzl Sirocco
  4. Black Diamond Half Dome
  5. Petzl Elios

Comparison

Feature/Product Black Diamond Vapor Mammut Wall Rider Petzl Sirocco Black Diamond Half DomePetzl Elios
TypeShelled foam Foam (with hardshell panel)Foam (with hardshell panel)HardshellHardshell
Weight6.6 oz.6.9 oz6 oz. 11 oz.10.6 oz
Weight (Metric) 186 g195 g170 g310 g 300 g
SizesS/M, M/LS/M, M/LS/M, M/LS/M, M/LS/M, M/L
Head Circumference21-23 in. (S/M), 23-25 in. (M/L)20.5-22.4 in. (S/M), 22-24 in. (M/L)18.9-22.8 in. (S/M), 20.1-24 in. (M/L)19-22.5 in. (S/M), 22-24 in. (M/L)18.9-22 in. (S/M), 20.9-24 in. (M/L)
Head Circumference (Metric)53-58 cm (S/M), 58-64 cm (M/L)52-57 cm (S/M), 56-61 cm (M/L)48-58 cm (S/M), 53-61 cm (M/L)48-57 cm (S/M), 55-61.5 cm (M/L)48-56 cm (S/M), 53-61cm (M/L)
Black Diamond Vapor

Black Diamond Vapor

1. Black Diamond Vapor

Suitable for:

  • Mountaineering
  • Sport Climbing
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Ski Touring
  • Hiking

 

The Black Diamond Vapor climbing helmet is ideal for tough ascents due to its low weight. The helmet has a lightweight polycarbonate shell and polystyrene foam lining for impact absorption. A Kevlar sheet is placed between the shell and the polystyrene lining for extra strength. Therefore, the Vapor helmet provides great durability and can withstand repeated impacts. It has several vents on the sides which allow warm air and moisture to escape to the outside. The headband circumference can be adjusted easily and quickly with a plastic slider bar and the helmet also has an adjustable chin strap. It comes with three clips which allow you to securely attach a headlamp without fuss. The Black Diamond Vapor climbing helmet is super lightweight but also very durable and therefore it’s one of the best climbing helmets currently available.

 

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Breathability
  • Weight

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Best Buy!

Also available at:

REI | Backcountry

Video

Mammut Wall Rider

Mammut Wall Rider

2. Mammut Wall Rider

Suitable for:

  • Mountaineering
  • Sport Climbing
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Ski Touring
  • Hiking

 

The Mammut Wall Rider climbing helmet is made of impact-absorbing and super lightweight polypropylene foam. It also has a hardshell panel which covers the top and front side. Due to the hardshell panel, the helmet offers good protection against rockfall and icefall. Furthermore, the hardshell panel also increases the durability and thus lifespan of the helmet. The headband circumference and chin strap length can be adjusted with a webbing system. Unlike many other climbing helmets, the webbing system on the Mammut Wall Rider helmet works very well – you just pull the straps backwards to tighten the headband. The helmet also has headlamp attachment clips and several vents on the sides for good breathability. The Mammut Wall Rider climbing helmet is a great option because it combines good protection with a low weight.

 

Pros:

  • Durability (for a foam climbing helmet)
  • Breathability
  • Weight

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

Petzl Sirocco

Petzl Sirocco

3. Petzl Sirocco

Suitable for:

  • Mountaineering
  • Sport Climbing
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Ski Touring
  • Hiking

 

The Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet has a design similar to the Mammut Wall Rider climbing helmet above. It is made of polypropylene foam and has a polystyrene shell on the top for extra protection and longer lifespan. However, the shell on the Petzl Sirocco helmet covers a smaller area than the shell on the Mammut helmet. Therefore, the Petzl Sirocco helmet is even lighter – it weighs merely six ounces. The helmet is super easy to adjust and has a magnetic buckle on the chin strap for fast and easy buckling. It also has two clips and a rear elastic for attaching a headlamp. The Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet has been updated in 2017 – the first model of Sirocco helmet didn’t have a polysterene shell. It was made solely of polypropylene foam.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Breathability
  • Magnetic buckle

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Best Buy!

Also available at:

Backcountry | Campsaver

 

Black Diamond Half Dome

Black Diamond Half Dome

4. Black Diamond Half Dome

Suitable for:

  • Mountaineering
  • Sport Climbing
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Ski Touring
  • Hiking

 

The Black Diamond Half Dome climbing helmet is a hardshell helmet and thus it is, with the weight of 11 ounces, slightly heavier than the helmets listed above. Nevertheless, the helmet is very durable and provides excellent protection. It has a wheel to adjust the circumference of the headband. Therefore, the circumference can be easily and quickly adjusted even when you are wearing the helmet or have the gloves on. The Black Diamond Half Dome helmet also has headlamp clips which securely hold your headlamp. It is a very durable helmet and comes for a low price. Therefore, the Half Dome helmet is perfect for beginners.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Durability
  • Adjustability
  • Lifespan

Cons:

  • Heavy (in comparison to foam and shelled foam helmets)

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

Petzl Elios

Petzl Elios

5. Petzl Elios

Suitable for:

  • Mountaineering
  • Sport Climbing
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Ski Touring
  • Hiking

 

The Petzl Elios climbing helmet is, like the Black Diamond Half Dome, a hardshell helmet. It weighs approximately the same and has similar features. The Petzl Elios helmet is equipped with vents which can be closed in cold weather and has four clips for attaching a headlamp. For adjusting the circumference of the headband, it uses a convenient plastic slider bar. The Petzl Elios climbing helmet is also compatible with the Vizion eyeshield (sold separately) which offers protection from ice chips and spindrift. It is a very durable and inexpensive helmet and thus it is perfect for those who are new to climbing and mountaineering.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Durability
  • Adjustability
  • Lifespan

Cons:

  • Heavy (in comparison to foam and shelled foam helmets)

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

 

3. The most attractive product in the review

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