A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
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Last updated: July 24, 2022
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Not all climbers and mountaineers will admit that there is an inherent danger in climbing but that is an inescapable fact. This is why protective gear like helmets are must-have essentials when preparing for a climb. If you think that buying the best climbing helmet is as easy as picking the first you lay your eyes on in a store, or one from a famous brand then you’re in trouble. It’s a whole bag of experience especially because there are multiple brands and models on the market to choose from.
To save you the agony, we rounded up the 15 best top-rated climbing helmets on the market as well as an all-inclusive buying guide in the end. The helmets are all from renowned brands and are up to par with all the relevant safety standards. Some of the features on which we based our choices and rankings include; color, weight, size, and construction. The features determine the convenience and efficiency and durability of a helmet.
Construction: co-molded EPS foam with polycarbonate shell
Size: S/M, M/L
Weight: 6.6 oz., 1.3 lbs.
Other features: adult type, headlight mounting
This helmet deservedly scoops the best overall position on our list because of its impressive balance of weight, comfort, and protectiveness which are plausibly the most important features of a climbing helmet. It is one of the best options for people with large heads. You don’t have to do much digging to find the appropriate M/L helmet size that fits you perfectly.
The helmet features a streamlined design and is well-loved for its stylish looks.
Other than weight and comfort, the helmet’s design also prioritized breathability. It is made with super durable co-molded EPS foam and polycarbonate shell which give it a low profile.
In addition, the helmet features an open-air geometric design and 12 vents which allow for an impressive amount of airflow.
For Superior comfort, the helmet has a padded suspension system that is highly adjustable. It also features a ratchet adjuster with molded push buttons and removable clips for the headlamp.
The black Diamond Vapor is an ultra-lightweight helmet and it comes in 2 sizes with the smallest weighing 6.6 ounces and the large weighing a mere 1.3 pounds. The large size helmet can perfectly fit on heads measuring between 58cm and 63cm even if a beanie is involved.
What’s more, it offers a lot of cranium coverage thus safe for rock climbing and hiking. It is also built sturdily to withstand plenty of abuse, especially in the outdoors.
If you can easily part with its price, then this is one of the best breathable climbing helmets for people with large heads. It offers superior comfort and protectiveness without sacrificing weight.
Other features: Standard EN 12492, UIAA standard 106 certifications, 2-year warranty
This is one of the best all-around premium quality helmets in the game. It is an indelible combination of solid durability, minimum weight, great coverage, and superior comfort. Whether you are into sport climbing, crag or alpine, this is one of the best hardshell climbing helmets you can get on the market.
The Mammut wall rider has a highly appealing shape and overall look. It is incredibly lightweight, low-profile, and well ventilated to offer any hot-headed climber the most comfortable and cool climbing experience.
The helmet owes its lightweight nature to the expanded polypropylene used in its construction. The plastic shell reinforcement gives it optimum impact absorbing properties, thus one of the best mountaineering helmets you can get yourself.
Moreover, the helmet features 16 large vents for maximum breathability. Its chin and rear straps are fully adjustable to not only give you a secure fit but also to optimize your comfort.
You can go climbing in the evenings, thanks to The Mammut Wall rider’s headlamp which is kept securely in place with 2 front clips that have a rear bungee strap.
The only downside to this helmet is its webbing adjustment which is not as intuitive as other plastic sliders on other helmets. It is not so straightforward and might need a little getting used to.
Overall, this is one of the best helmets with all-around impact absorbing properties. Its ergonomic construction makes it highly comfortable. It is certified safe for use, so you can also use it in construction sites plus your get a 2-year warranty.
Construction: EPS hard-liner and polycarbonate shell, anti-microbial foam padding
Weight: 11.2 oz.
Other features: 10 ventilation areas, four-point suspension strap
If you are on the market for a helmet you can use on the weekdays at your construction job site, then take it on a mountaineering trip on the weekends, this is a sure bet. You will like the Fusion climb Meka’s versatility, comfort, and durability.
The helmet comes in a remarkably lightweight design, weighing in at less than a pound. It is made with tough EPS hard-liner with a polycarbonate shell reinforcement to provide you with incredible impact protection. Furthermore, it features anti-microbial foam padding that offers unparalleled comfort to your head and at the same time manages moisture.
Additionally, the anti-microbial foam padding has properties that will prevent bacteria from accumulating inside the helmet.
What sets this helmet apart from its peers is its 2 slots for mounting hearing protectors. This makes it an ideal choice for noisy environments especially in construction. However, do note that the helmet is not certified, thus cannot be used in a job site that requires certified helmets.
If you have a particularly large head you needn’t worry if the helmet will fit thanks to its ratchet system that allows you to adjust the fit around your head with just one hand. Yup! It is that simple. Although, unlike most helmets, the suspension straps on the inside are not adjustable, so if your head is larger than the 20’’-24’’ prescribed dimension, the helmet may end up sitting higher on your head.
Sweating is inevitable in any climbing or construction activity but that should never be an excuse to avoid wearing protection (for the head of course). All you need is a well-ventilated helmet with all the desirable protection properties. The Fusion climb Meka, doesn’t fall short of this description as it has 10 ventilation areas for maximum airflow to keep your head cool and comfortable.
All in all, this is one of the best protective helmets you can get for a variety of activities especially in noisy environments. You also don’t have to dig deeper into your pockets to own one.
What are our favorite features?
Hardshell for great impact protection
Great for noisy environments
Can fit large heads
Well-ventilated-10 ventilation areas
Anti-microbial foam padding-comfort and moisture management
Construction: injection-molded ABS; EPS, EPP and EVA foam
Weight: 13.8 oz.
Other features: EN 12492, UIAA certification
This is the ultimate helmet for any backpacker. It is the first and only folding helmet on the market. Other than packing small for convenience, the helmet is also built to offer premium comfort, maximum durability, and excellent protectiveness.
The helmet comes in a sleek sophisticated orange design. Though some users wish it came in other neutral colors as they find orange too conspicuous for their taste. It is built sturdy enough to withstand plenty of abuse in the outdoors. With an injection-molded ABS construction you are not only assured of the helmet holding up to a lot of uses but also of incredible impact protection.
The inside of the helmet is made with EPS, EPP, and EVA foam for added protectiveness and superior comfort. What’s more, the comfortable foam padding is detachable so you can actually remove it, wash the sweat stains, and then return it after every use.
What makes this helmet stand out among the rest is its ability to fold into a compact convenient size for easy transportation. It is also pretty lightweight, thanks to its EPP construction.
Who says you can’t go rock climbing in summer? The EDELRID Madillo helmet has 8 ventilation holes for maximum airflow to keep you cool when you feel like you are getting closer to the sun during climbing.
Furthermore, the helmet can comfortably accommodate large head sizes between 52 and 62cm. It also has adjustable chin straps for a secure and comfortable fit.
The only flip side of this helmet is that it does not expand well enough for you to wear it with anything like a rain shell inside. So, it might not be the best to use in rainy, snowy, or cold weather conditions.
In sum, this is one of the most unique climbing helmets you can get yourself especially with its folding capability. Backpackers have no better option than this helmet.
What are its best features?
Extremely comfortable-EPP, EPS, EVA foam padding
Folds into a compact size for convenience
Breathable-8 ventilation holes
Adjustable chin straps
What could be improved?
Does not expand well enough to be worn with anything inside
Comfort, lightness, adjustability, and protectiveness are the aspects that matter the most when assessing the efficiency of a climbing helmet. This PETZL meteor, the OG of helmets and benchmark for many others that followed after it, combines all the 4 essentials indelibly. It is one popular choice for a myriad of outdoor activities including cragging, alpine climbing, biking, and mountaineering in winter and summer.
The helmet is made with an EPS/Polycarbonate shell common in bike helmets. It is incredibly lightweight and offers better side protection in case you bang your head in a fall.
The EPS foam is made thick on top to protect you from falling stones and ice.
This helmet has a relevant safety certification for mountaineering and climbing plus its overall robust design is reassuring. Moreover, it has a superb fit, thanks to its soft and flexible plastic cradle that will accommodate itself to the shape of your head. It also has removable well-positioned padding that offers a secure and comfortable fit.
The magnetic chin strap buckle is the main selling point of this helmet. You can operate it with one hand making it one of the best adjustable climbing helmets out there.
Essentially, the Meteor is comfortably airy in hot weather. It has plenty of venting positioned all around the whole head to ensure a hothead does not get in the way of you reaching the peak.
In addition, the helmet comes in 2 sizes, thus ideal for various head sizes and it has a headtorch securely held in place with 4 robust plastic clips. It is also compatible with an eye shield which can help protect your eyes from flying debris.
Overall, this is one of the best helmets for winter climbing, cragging, and mountaineering especially with its optional addition of eye protection.
What makes it stand out?
Soft cradle for a snug fit
Magnetic chin strap buckle for easy one-hand adjusting
Other features: expanded polystyrene, polyester webbing; CE EN 12492, UIAA certification
This is easily one of the best lightweight helmets you can get out there. It also has an aesthetically acceptable design with a perfect size and shape that make it less bulky. You will forget you are wearing it.
Alpine and winter climbers will benefit from this the most as it is compatible with the PETZL VIZION face shield that can protect your eyes from snow, though it is sold separately.
The helmet comes in a funky design with 2 color options; black/orange and white/orange which are stylishly bold and beautiful. It combines the EPP foam and an injected EPS protected with a polycarbonate crown in its construction for added durability and optimum impact protection.
The EPS and EPP foam construction serve to reduce the volume of the helmet without sacrificing strength.
You can use the SIROCCO helmet in different kinds of weather as it has a low profile that fits well on top of a hat or a light jacket hood. Because of its low-profile, your head won’t become so massive and you will be provided with all-around impact protection in case of a fall.
Moreover, the helmet has wide holes that make it highly breathable even when worn on top of a hat. The overall feel of the helmet is surprisingly protective and durable given it is one of the best lightweight helmets. Its construction also conforms to the relevant safety standards which is reassuring.
On the debit side, because of its appalling lightness, this helmet will cost you a pretty penny and its durability is also not top tier because of obvious reasons.
In a nutshell, this is the best helmet you can get for speed climbing, light, and fast alpine climbing, or multi-pitch climbing. If you are going on an international climbing trip, you will need to pack lightly and this Petzl Sirocco helmet is your best bet.
Construction: co-molded EPS foam with polycarbonate shell
Size: S/M, M/L
Weight: 1.3 lbs., 2 lbs.
Other features: large ventilation ports, ratchet adjuster with molded push buttons
Here is yet another lightweight and comfortable helmet with a great fit from Black Diamond that is perfect for technical climbs and weight-sensitive missions. This may sound cliché but you will forget you are wearing the helmet on account of its lightness and premium comfort.
The Black Diamond Vector comes in a durable build with an aesthetic appeal in lots of cool color options. It owes its outstanding full-coverage impact protection to the robust EPS foam and polycarbonate shell construction.
The helmet fits easily and is beautifully discrete once on your head. It features a simple ratchet adjuster system with molded push buttons that make it super easy to use. Additionally, because of its great adjustability, you can wear the helmet with hats and hoods underneath whether it is summer or winter. Its buckle is easy to operate regardless of the size of gloves you will be wearing and the chin strap secures it in place in comfortably.
The vector helmet stands out for giving good head coverage with excellent protection for the upper neck and back of the head.
Furthermore, it has plentiful ventilation holes positioned well to prevent the vertical entry of stones and debris. With the 4 headlamp clips on the helmet, you can securely attach 2 head-torches, one at the front and another at the back so you can climb even after the sun goes down.
The only flip side to this helmet is that because of its EPS construction, it cannot be able to take multiple impacts and must be handled with extra care. Another thing is the black color option. Climbing a mountain or rock or alpining in a black helmet is not the best idea as it would heat up in the hot weather. As much as it is not a deal-breaker, black is an impractical color for a climbing helmet.
Overall, this is one of the very best lightweight and supremely comfortable climbing helmets out there.
This is the best low-profile helmet you can lay your hands on especially if you are tired of constantly feeling like you are going to bump your head onto things with helmets that have an ungainly increase in height. The Grivel Stealth Helmet offers an excellent fit, great versatility, supreme comfort, and adjustability.
With a polycarbonate shell and injected foam construction, the Grivel stealth provides a perfect balance between durability and weight. Weighing in at 6.7 ounces together with its discrete body, you will hardly notice it on your head. Its sturdy build is a reassurance that it will remain unscathed with months of fair rugged use.
The helmet is designed to offer a full-head coverage with its sides and back going a little lower compared to other helmets.
What’s more, the helmet has a less complicated strap/cradle system that is super easy to use as it is basically just webbing and buckles. You will find it so simple to operate regardless of the size of the gloves you’ll be wearing.
When it comes to ventilation, the Grivel Stealth is second to none too. It has a generous amount of ventilation holes carefully positioned to prevent the vertical entry of debris or ice.
The only minus for this helmet is its head torch clips. They are a bit difficult to handle with bare hands leave alone with gloves. This is because they sit lower on the helmet’s exterior and double as the point of attachment for the straps on the interior, making it difficult to get up and away from the helmet in order to fit the head torch strap underneath them.
Other than the head torch clips design flaw, this is one of the best full-head coverage climbing helmets you can get out there. It is virtually spot-on as it balances weight, comfort, and protectiveness pretty well, plus, it comes in at a competitive price.
Other features: strong chin strap, CenterFit adjustment system
Here is another fantastic choice if you are a construction worker and cannot get enough of climbing, whether it is rocks, mountains or alpines. It is one of the lightest best-rated helmets for working heights and with its sturdy build, it can double as a climbing helmet for just about any activity.
The helmet boasts of a tough but comfortable and functional construction. It is made with ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, and high-strength polyester. All these materials give it great impact protection capability. They also serve to make the helmet ultra-lightweight without giving up strength.
Although the interior foam padding gives the helmet a rather tall profile, it is supremely comfortable.
The PETZL Alveo features side wheel adjustors that are easy to manipulate. Moreover, it accommodates various head sizes thanks to its CenterFit adjustment system that ensures a proper alignment to the size and shape of your head. Plus, it has a large allowance for various head sizes between 53 and 63cm.
Additionally, the helmet has a strong and comfortable chin strap that holds it securely in place.
When it comes to ventilation, the PETZL Alveo comes second to none. It has 10 vents that allow maximum airflow to help cool you down on a hot summer day. However, they have no protection against showers of rain and debris, so you would have to buy a face shield separately.
What makes this helmet stand out are its adaptors for eye and ear protection as well as lighting. They make it one of the best helmets for noisy environments and snowy or dusty climbing.
In conclusion, this is one of the best climbing helmets by PETZL for people with large heads. Its sturdiness, comfort, and protectiveness are out of this world.
Other features: CE certified, fully ventilated, fully removable and washable inside padding
Here is another climbing helmet that almost seems to be made of air and is as light on your pocket as it is on your head. It is ergonomically designed to offer you premium comfort without sacrificing durability.
The Penta helmet is highly preferred for its durable build. With a hard PC shell and PS foam padding, it will undoubtedly stand the test of time and remain unscathed with plenty of abuse.
The PC shell protects it from being dinged by other climbing gear in your backpack and any other possible every-day damage. The foam offers comfortable cushioning to your head and the icing on the cake is that you can fully remove it and wash all the sweat stains from it.
Like many other helmets, the Penta has generous cutouts on its side and back to allow maximum airflow to cool you down on a hot day. However, you will still have instances of sweat building up in the helmet because of the foam insulation.
The helmet only comes in one size but it can adjust from 51cm to 60cm to accommodate the various head size. Thanks to its adjustability you can get a snug fit even when wearing something underneath.
Furthermore, the harness circumference adjusts easily with 2 sliding buckles. Once you zero in the initial fit, the entire process is fuss-free.
Penta meets all the relevant certification standards and can, therefore, be trusted for various climbing activities from mountaineering and alpining to cragging.
All in all, this is one of the best durable climbing helmets you can get at such an attractive price. It offers nearly all the features that most of its pricier counterparts have.
What are its best features?
Offers premium comfort
Highly adjustable-51cm to 60cm
Snug fir even when worn with anything underneath
Easy to use
What could be improved?
Complaints about straps not fitting well on some users’ heads
Other features: for children between the ages of 3 and 8
It’s never too early to show your kids the beauty of the outdoors life. This PETZL Picchu helmet is dedicated to kids and it can double as a cycling and climbing helmet. It is best suited for kids between the ages of 3 and 8.
The helmet comes in attractive bright orange color. To make it more fun for your little rippers, it comes with a set of stickers for customization. It is built tough to last yet incredibly comfortable with injection-molded ABS shell and EPS liner.
The EPS makes it ultra-lightweight so it wouldn’t weigh down your child and the ABS shell makes it tough enough to give them incredible impact protection when they are riding a bike or perfecting their alpining.
What’s more, you wouldn’t be in so much trouble if you were caught out in the dusk with your little ones riding or climbing rocks. The helmet features a sweet little red light on its back. It is an LED, so regardless of all the endless energetic playing and fiddling the batteries will work when needed.
The helmet can adjust to accommodate various children’s head sizes between 48cm and 54cm. the interior headband and chin strap are easily adjustable to ensure a secure and comfortable fit.
In addition, you can remove the interior foam padding and wash off all the sweat stains after every use to maintain its cleanliness.
Essentially, you wouldn’t hurt your wallet if you got your child this helmet, which is good because they tend to outgrow, forget, lose, and break stuff pretty quick.
With the 3 year guarantee, this is by far the best cycling/climbing helmet you can get for your kids out there.
Why is it special?
LED light for night vision
Removable and washable foam padding
Bright attractive color
Comes with a set of stickers for customization
What are the flaws?
The cheek straps are not adjustable on the older model
Other features: Wing-Fit system, rear adjustment dial, large vents
This is another tough yet comfortable helmet ideal for long and demanding climbs. It is packed with features that render it safe and comfortable enough for your lengthy climbs. Plus, its price is as bearable as its weight.
The helmet boasts of a robust outer shell made with impact-resistant injection-molded ABS material. This guarantees you incredible impact protection as it fully covers the cranium. The EPS foam padding on the inside provides a soft cushion to your head and also serves as reliable shock absorption.
The interior of the helmet is ergonomically shaped to align with the size and shape of your head for superior comfort and protection. And, you can always remove it for a good wash after a sweaty climb.
What’s more, the helmet comes with extra padding for convenience. This way you can easily keep the helmet clean at all times.
Worried about getting a snug fit for your large brains? Fret not, as this helmet can accommodate a wide range of head sizes between 54cm and 62cm. It also features a Wing-Fit system and a rear adjustment dial to give you the perfect fit whether you wear it bear or with a beanie, hat, or hoodie underneath.
Also featured is a fully adjustable chin strap with a closure system under the ear for premium comfort and secure fit.
With this helmet, you can forget about a hot head getting in the way of your climbing goals. It has large vents all over it for a constant supply of fresh air to keep you cool.
Another plus for this helmet is that it packs small as it cradle folds into it and it features 4 robust head torch clips that allow you to attach 2 head torches at the front and back.
All considered, this is the best climbing helmet you can get for your rock climbing escapades. It is built to withstand the riff raffs of the outdoors life while offering you supreme comfort and outstanding protection at the same time.
Other features: 10 aluminum grilled vent holes, CE EN12492 safety certification, light-reflective labeling
If you are on the market for a climbing helmet that also doubles as a hiking, caving, and work helmet, here is your best bet. The Tontron helmet meets all the relevant certification standards thus one of the most reliable helmets for just about any climbing activities including mountaineering, alpining, cragging, and rock climbing.
With an EPS liner and a polypropylene outer shell, the helmet’s weight is pretty obvious. It is not the best lightweight helmet out there but it is light. Its weight is unnoticeable and would never get in your way.
The propylene outer shell can take a good hit and the high-density interior liner offers greater comfort. Additionally, the unit has a 10 aluminum grilled holes that allow a maximum flow of air to cool your scalp. The holes are carefully positioned to prevent the vertical entry of gravel or rain.
For a secure and comfortable fit, the helmet features a back of the head closure system that is fully adjustable. Anyone with a head size between 51cm and 62cm can get a snug fit effortlessly.
Moreover, the unit features headlamp buckles that can fit almost all headlamp assemblies. You wouldn’t be in so much trouble if you were caught inside a cave or on top of rocks at dusk. What makes this helmet stand out among its competition is its 7-piece light-reflective labeling that makes you recognizable at night for safety purposes.
Overall, this is a fantastically versatile helmet worth considering, especially because it meets all the safety standards of a helmet.
Other features: strong chin strap, six-point textile suspension, CenterFit adjustment system
Here is yet another super-durable helmet from PETZL that is ideal for construction sites and other impact-heavy fields. It packs a punch when it comes to safety and adjustability with impressive features. However, it’s a bit bulky, thus best suited for beginners or anyone looking to do extremely high climbs.
The vertex vent is second to none when it comes to durability. It is built to stand the test of time with ABS, polycarbonate, polyethylene, and high-strength polyester. This makes it highly capable of protecting you in case of an emergency. Its outer shell is designed to deform on impact to absorb the blow and keep you safe in case you fall.
Essentially, the Vertex Vent is decently comfortable. It comes with the CenterFit adjustment system that allows it to mold to the center of your head. This guarantees you a better fit and also prevents it from dangling too much from one side to another.
You can achieve the CenterFit with the 2 adjustment wheels on the sides of the helmet. The unit also boasts of a webbing suspension that allows it to conform well to the shape of your head.
As if that’s enough, the helmet features adjustable ventilation in the form of shutter vents. You can close and open them to change the airflow levels at your own will.
Furthermore, the helmet’s foam padding is interchangeable for better use and its double chin strap provides you with a secure and comfortable fit. Additionally, you can attach headlamps to light your way as well as a variety of other add-ons like nape protectors since it is a professional helmet.
In a nutshell, this is a perfect choice for beginners or anyone looking to practice safe climbing. If you are a professional climber that is too concerned about the safety and can put up with the extra size and weight then you can get a ton of uses with this helmet as well.
Other features: wheel system at the back, six large vents, curved front
If you are out to shop for sheer value for money, this should be your prime pick. It offers a pretty pennyworth as it goes for nearly half the price of most high-end helmets that offer the exact same features and performance.
The helmet fantastically balances durability and comfort. The ABS plastic shell and the EPP foam lining construction make it a perfect choice for climbing of high difficulty. The materials serve to make it incredibly lightweight with great impact-resistance capability.
The helmet comes in 2 sizes; 48-57cm and 53-61cm to accommodate various head sizes. You also get to make a color choice from the 3 options provided.
With an airflow system of 8 large vents, there is no way a hot head would get in your way. Plus, the unit has stainless steel mesh at the top vents to prevent falling ice and rock from entering.
One praiseworthy feature on this helmet is the curved front which increases peripheral vision. Additionally, it has a wheel system on its back that allows an easy single-hand adjustment even when you have gloves on. Its front is also adjustable and together with the rear straps, it accommodates different head shapes for a perfect fit.
In addition, you can attach headlamps or use snow goggles thanks to the slots on the helmet.
In sum, when it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat the KAILAS helmet. You can use it for a variety of activities including caving, rock climbing, mountaineering, tree climbing, and other team-building activities.
What makes it stand out?
2 size options
Curved front-peripheral vision
Protective stainless steel mesh
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Things to Consider
It is important to brace yourself with the right information before buying a climbing helmet to ensure you get the right fit that meets your needs and preferences and is within your budget. This section contains critical information that will give you the buyer’s confidence. You will get to know the necessity of a climbing helmet, the different types of helmets, and how to choose one based on the type and the features to consider before paying for one. You will also learn how to care for your helmet so it can last you a while before you retire it.
Why buy a climbing helmet
A climbing helmet should be first on your climbing gear list. It protects your head in various scenarios including:
Things falling on you like rocks, debris, ice, and equipment from above.
It also protects your head from severe injuries in the event that you fall from a high point, hit your head on an overhang, or when you peel off and hit your head on a wall.
Climbing Helmet Types
Climbing helmets come in 3 main types and there are different terminologies used for every type. It is therefore better to focus on trivial construction details like shell hardness and the number of vents to make the best buy. The 3 helmet types are:
These are the most durable climbing helmets as they are made with tough material like ABS plastic and then paired with a strap suspension system. Most of them are affordable and they guarantee you a long lifespan.
Shelled foam helmets
These are the best lightweight helmets as they are made with a thick layer of impact-resistant polystyrene and polypropylene foam that is protected by a thin polycarbonate shell. They are designed to deform when hit by impact. They are also the best ventilated.
Hybrid shell helmets
These are typical hardshell helmets with a thin foam liner on the interior to create a good balance of weight and comfort. The foam liner serves to make it lighter and comfortable while the hard outer shell offers maximum impact protection.
How to choose a helmet by climbing type
Your choice of the helmet will largely depend on the type of climbing you will be doing.
Mountaineering and trad climbing
In these cases, you are most likely to be hauling a lot of gear, thus, low-weight and maximum ventilation are critical. A shelled foam helmet would be the most suitable.
However, if you are a beginner or you are practicing safe climbing, then you should go for a hard-shelled helmet for extra protection. If you are a pro climber and take safety seriously a hard-shelled helmet would do you good.
You are bound to encounter a lot of falling ice and debris. You should consider a shelled foam helmet with minimum ventilation as you wouldn’t need much cooling. Ensure the vents are well-positioned to prevent the vertical entry of ice and debris.
Go for a shelled foam helmet with a maximum number of vents for optimum airflow so you can cool down.
In this case, rockfall isn’t a huge concern but a cool lightweight shelled foam helmet is needed. The gym rules should dictate whether you need a helmet though.
Features to consider when choosing a climbing helmet
Here are some of the features you cannot overlook when choosing a climbing a helmet:
You don’t want a bulky helmet getting in your way in the middle of a climb. You would be forced to remove it and that wouldn’t be safe. Go for a reasonable size that fits you perfectly and feels comfortable. Most helmets come in at least 2 sizes, medium and large to fit various head circumferences.
For you to get a perfect fit, ensure you measure your head size before choosing a helmet.
Go for a helmet with a wide size range and high adjustability like the PETZL Vertex Vent Helmet above, so you can be able to wear it with things like hoodies, hats, and beanies underneath.
This is a matter of personal preference but you have to factor in practicality. For instance, a brightly colored helmet is a better option for mountaineering to increase your recognition as opposed to a black helmet that would heat up and make you uncomfortable.
These determine the weight, comfort, and durability of the helmet. Most hardshell helmets are the best durable but are usually bulky and a bit heavier. Though they offer the best impact protection, thus the safest. They are usually made of ABS plastic. On the other hand, most shelled foam helmets are more comfortable and lightweight but less durable.
If you are out to shop for sheer durability, then you will have to put up with some weight and bulkiness. The most durable helmets like the PETZL Vertex Vent Helmet reviewed above are made with robust material that guarantees you a lifetime performance. You can also find helmets made with EPS foam, nylon, polyethylene, and polycarbonate shells that are sturdily built but they are not as durable as hardshell helmets.
This is a crucial factor. The lighter the helmet the more comfortable it is as it won’t put a lot of pressure on your neck. Ensure you choose a helmet that is light enough to suit the type of climbing you will be doing to avoid instances where you will feel like removing it.
Be sure to check for your helmet’s lifespan on a sticker beneath a section of the comfort liner. Most manufacturers recommend that you retire your helmet after 10 years after the manufacturing date. The more you climb the more the helmet wears out and should be replaced.
You can choose the color that suits your tastes if you are given options. For rock climbing, mountaineering and just about everything except sport climbing choose brighter colors for increased recognition, plus they look better in photos.
This is very crucial especially if you will be climbing in warm weather. Be keen on the number of vents for maximum airflow and their positioning to avoid any incidences of debris and ice entering vertically in the helmet.
This is a clear indication that the helmet’s construction meets all the relevant safety standards. If you want a helmet you can use at a construction job site and still be able to go climbing with on the weekends you will have to check for certification.
This is another key factor. It allows you to attach a headlamp that can light your way so you can be comfortable when caught out in the dark or just to help you see poorly lit areas well.
Special women’s models
Some manufacturers like PETZL offer special women’s models that have special features like a recess at the back to accommodate tied hair. Though most climbing helmets are unisex and the women’s models usually have very few distinguishing features.
Light reflective labeling
Some helmets like the Tontron Climbing Helmet above have light-reflective labeling to increase your recognition in the dark. This makes them suitable for use at night.
How to take care of your climbing helmet
Here is how to make your climbing helmet last almost forever until it is time to retire it:
Handle it with care especially during transportation. When packing, place it at the bottom or the very top to prevent other gear from dinging it.
If the interior foam padding is removable, remove it and wash it after every use to keep the helmet clean. You can also wear a bandana to protect it from moisture if you sweat a lot when climbing.
Avoid using the helmet for activities for which it is not designed.
Do not expose it to temperatures beyond 122 degrees Celsius by leaving it in direct sunlight or inside a vehicle.
You put your life at risk because you are susceptible to accidental falls and falling rocks, ice, or debris. In case you fall, or hit your head on a wall you would suffer greater injuries than if you had a helmet on.
For helmets with removable and washable padding you can wash with lukewarm water and soap by hand then hang to dry. You can scrub the exterior with a piece of cloth and warm soapy water. Do not use a high-pressure water cleaner to clean any type of climbing helmet as it would damage it.
Yes. You can wash a helmet with warm soapy water and hang it to dry to keep it clean.
Climbing is a fun adventure and can be an amazing experience for anyone but a lot goes into preparation for one. A climbing helmet is a must-have climbing gear and should be chosen with keenness due to the crucial role it plays in protecting a climber. With the points above, you shouldn’t find any trouble choosing a climbing helmet that fits you perfectly, suits the type of climbing you’ll be doing, and is within your budget. You can as well choose to go with any of the top-rated helmets we rounded up in the guide.