Climb Gear Reviews Reviews

Top 10 Best Climbing Helmets

Rock climbing helmets are an important piece of safety gear for all types of climbers from sport climbing to trad climbers. They can be used in a variety of sports as well and even help protect against falls from height. There are many different features, styles and colours to choose from so you can find the best rock climbing helmet for your needs from brands like Black Diamond, Petzl, Metolius, Mad Rock and more. If you’re looking to buy one or replace your current one then check out this blog post!
If you are in a hurry, then we will recommend to you the Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet as our best choice.

What are the Best Climbing Helmets?

To decide on the absolute best climbing helmets, we have examined dozens of helmets for climbing and reviews left by real users who bought and used them. Based on what they geniunely shared and experienced, we have shortlisted the top 8 climbing helmets for you to consider, including their most important features, in order for you to make an informed decision.

On top of that, to make it easier for you, we have also compiled a list of critical things and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to consider before purchasing helmets for climbing. You can find later further down in the article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best climbing helmets.

1. PETZL Sirocco Ultra-Light Weight Climbing Helmet

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 170g ounces
Colours: 2
Shell Material: EPP (expanded polypropylene) foam and crown injected with EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam
Face Shield: No
Hearing Protection: No

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The Petzl Sirocco is a lightweight climbing helmet that provides extended head coverage with superior comfort. The main body of the helmet is EPP foam while the top is made of EPS foam, a hybrid that allows it to weigh a mere 170g and still provide increased head coverage.

The removable and machine washable interior padding helps manage sweat and cushions pressure points. It is well-ventilated and will deliver good airflow. Attaching a headlamp is easy with two clips in the front and an elastic band in the rear. The Sirocco is also certified for ski touring by CE. The only downsides are that it is not as durable as heavier helmets, and at times, the magnetic buckle traps dirt and dust.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well-ventilated
  • Fits deeper and more comfortably

Cons

  • Not as long lasting
  • Magnetic buckle sometimes traps dirt

2. Black Diamond Vapor Helmet

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 7.05 ounces / 199g ounces
Colours: 6
Shell Material: Expanded Polystyrene foam (EPS) with polycarbonate shell
Face Shield: No
Hearing Protection: No

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The Vapor is the lightest climbing helmet by Black Diamond and features more vents. It offers ultralight, low-profile protection while fitting securely and comfortably. However, the V-yoke on the chin strap is sewn on and hence, not adjustable and might cinch under your chin. The back straps are adjustable and can accommodate hats, ponytails, or braids.

A sheet of Kevlar and carbon rods placed in between the EPS foam keeps the weight at a minimum while still protecting you. The ratcheting suspension tuckets into the helmet for storage while the headlamp clips are removable, minimizing snagging when not in use. One drawback of this lightweight helmet is that it is susceptible to dings and dents when roughly treated. There are no front vents but the airflow from the sides seems sufficient.

Pros

  • Removable headlamp clips for reduced snagging
  • Low profile helps fit under hoods
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Dings easily
  • The V-yoke on the chin strap is sewn on, and hence, not adjustable
  • No front vents

3. Mammut Wall Rider Helmet

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 195g ounces
Colours: 2
Shell Material: Expanded polypropylene foam (EPS) with hard plastic shell
Face Shield: No
Hearing Protection: No

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The Wall Rider is Mammut’s lightweight helmet that features a comfortable fit and a minimalistic adjustment system. The low weight is attributed to the EPP foam and plastic hard shell. It has numerous vents that allow for optimal airflow while the fully adjustable chin strap provides an ideal fit. Two rear adjustable pull tabs keep the helmet snug against the head.

However, despite using lightweight EPP foam for interior cushioning, this helmet is heavier than some other lightweight helmets, weighing in at 195g. In addition, it can also be used with ski goggles, making it ideal for ski mountaineering. Two clips and an elastic strap attach the headlamp securely to the helmet. However, the headlamp clips can be finicky and require some practice.

Pros

  • Easily adjustable
  • Comfortable
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not as light as the other lightweight helmets
  • Tricky headlamp clips

4. EDELRID Shield II Climbing Helmet

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 248g ounces
Colours: 4 – Granite, Night, Oasis, Petrol
Shell Material: Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam with polycarbonate shell
Face Shield: No
Hearing Protection: No

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The Edelrid Shield II’s innovative graphics makes the helmet aesthetically pleasing to most climbers. The Oasis color choice is fluorescent and glows in the dark, making it easy for your climbing partners or buddies to spot you. This helmet is a comfortable helmet with removable and machine washable EPS foam padding that helps catch sweat over the brow and in the forehead. The helmet is well-vented and allows for good airflow.

The V-yoke on the chin strap is fully adjustable while the back is controlled by a click-wheel. The tough polycarbonate shell is sides, front and back tested according to EN 12492 standards. The 4 headlamp clips are tricky to navigate and might not fit over the headlamp strap. They have also been known to come loose.

Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Interesting and unconventional colors
  • Adjustable straps and click wheel in the rear

Cons

  • Heavier than other helmets
  • Headlamp clips might not cover straps and can pop out

5. Petzl VERTEX VENT ANSI helmet Black

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 14.39 ounces/490g ounces
Colours: Black
Shell Material: ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), nylon, polycarbonate, high-strength polyester, polyethylene
Face Shield: Attachable
Hearing Protection: Attachable

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The Vertex Vent by Petzl comes with an adjustable CENTERFIT system that keeps the helmet on the center of your head, greatly increasing the comfort. The six-point webbing suspension allows the helmet to mold to the shape of your head and makes it great for climbers that struggle with fit issues. The vents have shutters, allowing you to control the amount of airflow and protect your head in cold weather.

This helmet can be used for workers needing head protection; it allows for a VIZIR visor, a PIXA headlamp and accepts hearing protection. Offering superior durability as a professional model designed for use in construction and other fields, the weight of 490g might make most experienced climbers hesitant to use it.

Pros

  • Sliding shutters across air vents can open in the heat and close in the cold
  • Six-point textile suspension fits the head snugly
  • Centrefit system keeps the helmet on the center of the head
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Heavy at 490g
  • Professional grade helmet that might be too excessive for experienced climbers

6. Singing Rock Penta Helmet Blue

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 205g/8.82 ounces ounces
Colours: Blue
Shell Material: Polycarbonate with polystyrene and polyamide
Face Shield: No
Hearing Protection: No

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Singing Rock’s lightweight helmet, the Penta is a comfortable, fully ventilated helmet designed for sport climbing, trad climbing, and mountaineering. It offers good, low-profile head coverage, while a hard polycarbonate shell protects the exterior. The interior padding made with polystyrene foam is removable and machine washable. The eleven vents provide excellent ventilation and headlamp clips will fit any headlamp strap on the market.

The straps of the retention system are soft and light while the chin strap allows for a hat under the helmet. However, this helmet comes in only one size and is not fully adjustable, making testing the fit necessary. If you do fit, this is a good value for money buy and one of the more affordable lightweight helmets in the market.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Light
  • Well-ventilated
  • Removable and washable padding

Cons

  • Comes in only one size
  • Webbing for chin straps can be tricky

7. CAMP Storm Helmet

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 230g ounces
Colours: 4 – Blue, Grey, Green, White
Shell Material: Polycarbonate
Face Shield: No
Hearing Protection: No

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Camp USA has taken their popular Speed helmet and designed the Storm for technical climbing and mountaineering. It is comfortable to wear for all-day expeditions and has 22 streamlined vents that provide maximum airflow. The polycarbonate hard shell and expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) make up the construction and all padding is removable and washable for exceptional comfort and safety.

The harness and dial system keeps the head low and holds the head snug even with dynamic movements. However, the dial system is easily over-tightened, and the chin strap buckles sit under the chin instead of by the sides of the head, which might be uncomfortable for some.

Pros

  • Easily adjusted
  • Sturdy headlamp clips
  • Well-ventilated

Cons

  • Chinstrap buckles under the chin might be uncomfortable
  • Easily over-tightened

Following all the comparisons, research and information we have gathered about these top climbing helmets, we can confidently say that PETZL Sirocco Ultra-Light Weight Climbing Helmet is the best climbing helmet out in the market.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Singing Rock Penta Helmet Blue as an affordable alternative.

Lastly, if you are going through all the best features with high-quality materials and would like to consider all the premium options out there, we will strongly recommend the Black Diamond Vapor Helmet. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below what are some other models that you might have experienced that are even better!

What You Should Know Before Buying Climbing Helmets

Benefits And Advantages Of Wearing A Climbing Helmet

The helmet is an essential piece of climbing gear that every climber should have strapped permanently to their pack. Most experienced climbers know of at least one accident that could have been avoided should a helmet have been worn. Yet a lot of climbers choose not to wear helmets, endangering themselves as well as their climbing partners.

Helmet black diamond - Benefits And Advantages Of Wearing A Climbing Helmet

Helmets protect the head in the event of a bad fall headfirst into a rock face or lateral falls that could potentially injure the head. Rockfall and icefalls are common whether in crags or up high in the mountains. Getting brained by a stray rock and making your partner struggle on a rescue attempt isn’t going to make a very fun day out.

Even on sport climbs, helmets save lives. Getting your leg stuck in front of the rope will flip you upside down and send you plummeting headfirst onto the rock. Helmets save lives!

Features And Varying Uses

Climbing helmets are meant to protect the head from injury from the impact caused by falls or falling rocks. They come equipped with a tough exterior shell, headlamp clips to affix a light source in the dark, vents to allow for airflow, foam padding for comfort and impact absorption, and several adjustable straps to secure it onto your head.

A climbing helmet is designed to disperse the point of impact, for example, of a falling rock throughout the helmet. It is built to absorb and distribute impact from the sides, front and back. However, the toughest construction is at the top of the helmet to protect from headfirst falls and rockfalls. Hence, it is not suitable to be used in other activities such as biking.

Some helmets receive dual ratings and can also be used in ski touring or ski mountaineering. It is safest to only use a helmet for whatever activity it is certified for.

Precautions To Note

Wearing your helmet can start from the parking lot if there is a chance of rockfall. You don’t have to wait till you are at the base of the climb to put on your head protection. On the approach, a good practice would be to put your helmet on well before you reach the base of the climb.

Ensure your helmet fits snugly and won’t come loose during a climb by securely fastening all adjustable straps as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. Check all straps for structural integrity frequently and replace the helmet if the straps appear worn or have tears.

Check the helmet’s outer shell frequently for dents and dings, as well as the inner foam padding for tears. Replace the helmet immediately if it is dropped from a height.

Helmet Sizes And Shapes

Helmet sizing is a tricky one, we all have heads of all shapes and sizes. The best and safest option is to try before you buy, especially if you have a uniquely shaped head or a smaller or bigger head than the average person.

Check the size and keep in mind you might need room for a beanie or hat. Use the adjustable straps to find the minimum and maximum range the helmet can accommodate.

The helmet should not wobble when you cinch everything in place. Ensure all the straps aren’t slack and the helmet will stay snugly fitted even in dynamic motion. Jump in place, wiggle your head from side to side, be as active as you can while fitting a helmet.

Top And Side Protection Of A Climbing Helmet

Climbing helmets have reinforced protection that covers the top, side, and rear. Most of the structural strength is focused on the top of the helmet to protect from falling rocks and head first falls.

However, recent studies and experiences have led to the necessity of protecting the back and sides equally well. Hence, top and side protection was introduced by Petzl in 2018.

When a helmet has a top and side protection label, it means it meets the EN 12492 Standard and UIAA 106 Standard tests that deal mostly with the top of the helmet. To test for this standard, a 5kg load is dropped from the back, front, and sides of the helmet at a height of 50cm.

Climbing Helmets For Varying Types Of Climbing

There is a multitude of disciplines in climbing; indoor, outdoor sport, ice, traditional, mountaineering, and bouldering.

Helmets are most frequently used in sport, traditional, mountaineering, ice, and multi-pitching. To pick a helmet for each activity, consider the length of time you will spend in it, and the ventilation features of the helmet.

The duration of wearing a sport climbing helmet is likely to be shorter than the duration of wearing a helmet on an all-day multi-pitch traditional climb or mountaineering adventure. A well-ventilated helmet meant for all-day sweaty climbs might not be suitable for wearing on an ice climb in sub-zero temperatures.

Questions and Answers About Climbing Helmets

Can Climbing Helmets Be Used For Biking?

No, climbing helmets cannot be used for biking. A climbing helmet is designed to absorb the impact of falling rock and distribute it throughout the helmet and the rest of your skull. It will not protect your head from high-speed impact with immovable objects. A motocross helmet almost completely envelopes the head and is designed to protect from high-speed crashes.

Can You Wear A Climbing Helmet For Cycling?

No, climbing helmets cannot be used for cycling. A climbing helmet is structurally the strongest at the top while cycling helmets protect from all sides. A climbing helmet disperses the energy from impact all around the helmet while a cycling helmet protects the head by cracking and distributing the impact throughout the surface.

How Long Do Climbing Helmets Last And Do They Expire?

According to reputable helmet maker brands like Petzl and outdoor retail giant REI, climbing helmets last typically ten years depending on the frequency of use. Regular climbers that climb several times a month should consider replacing their helmets every five years. Always check your helmet for any faults or damage and retire the helmet immediately after any significant impact such as a drop from a height.

Should You Wear A Helmet Bouldering?

Climbing helmets are built to protect the top of the head. Since boulders are short, the chances of rockfall are minimal. However, a helmet with side, front, and rear protection might be beneficial to boulderers and help protect the head in a tricky landing or awkward fall, especially if the landing zone has other rocks. If you feel safer bouldering in a helmet, by all means, wear one.

Are There Climbing Helmets With Lights?

No. Climbing helmets often come with headlamp clips that allow you to affix the straps of your headlamp onto the helmet for those pre-dawn or night climbs. Helmets typically have 4 clips, two in the front, two in the back, that hold the headlamp straps in place and secures it to your helmet. Some helmets have rear mounts to additionally secure the headlamp.

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