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Love climbing rock faces outdoors, but worried about protecting your most important asset – your head? Since time immemorial, climbers’ heads have come under threat from rockfall, or by being struck during an awkward sideways or upside down fall. There are a myriad of helmet options, but which one is the best climbing helmet for the type of climbing that interests you?

 One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for climbing. Whether you’re after something light, durable, or inexpensive, we’ll walk you through a selection of the best products on the market and show you how to choose the best climbing helmet for you.

For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out the Best Climbing Tape.

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Quick Answer - The Best Climbing Helmets

  1. Black Diamond Vector
  2. Petzl Meteor
  3. Black Diamond Half Dome
  4. Petzl Sirocco
  5. Black Diamond Vapor
  6. Mammut Wall Rider
  7. Petzl Elios
  8. Singing Rock Penta
  9. Mammut Skywalker 2

 

Comparison Table - Best Climbing Helmet

PictureNameWeightMaterialPriceRating
Black Diamond Vector8.5 ozEPS Foam with Polycarbonate Shell$$4.6
Petzl Meteor7.9 ozEPS Foam with Polycarbonate Shell$$3.6
Black Diamond Half Dome11 ozEPS Foam with a Hard Plastic Shell$4.5
Petzl Sirocco5.8 ozEPP (Expanded Polypropylene) Foam$$$4.0
Black Diamond Vapor7 ozEPS Foam with Polycarbonate Shell$$$4.7
Mammut Wall Rider6.9 ozEPP Foam with Polycarbonate and Hard Plastic Shell$$5.0
Petzl Elios11.6 ozEPS Foam with a Hard Plastic Shell$4.5
Singing Rock Penta7.23 ozEPS Foam with a Polycarbonate Shell$4.5
Mammut Skywalker 213.4 ozEPS Foam with a Hard Plastic Shell$4.4
PictureNameWeightMaterialPriceRating

Reviews - The Best Helmets for Climbing

Black Diamond Vector

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with Polycarbonate Shell
  • Weight: 8.5 oz
Features
  • Ventilation all around the shell
  • Molded push buttons
  • Ratchet adjuster to fine-tune fit
  • Clips for headlamp

BEST FOR: ALL CLIMBING FROM CRAGGING TO THE ALPINE

PROS: Great ventilation, comfort and adjustability without compromising on safety

CONS: Not as strong as a hard plastic shell

Petzl Meteor

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with Polycarbonate Shell
  • Weight: 7.9 oz
Features
  • Ventilation all around the shell
  • Magnetic chinstrap buckle that adjusts with one hand
  • Breathable foam lining
  • Clips for headlamp

BEST FOR: ALL CLIMBING FROM CRAGGING TO THE ALPINE

PROS: Well-ventilated, comfortable, easily adjusted

CONS: Not as strong as a hard plastic shell

Black Diamond Half Dome

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with a Hard Plastic Shell
  • Weight: 11 oz
Features
  • Internal headband adjustable with one hand via a single dial
  • Vents on sides and back
  • Headlamp clips

BEST FOR: CLIMBING WHERE THERE MIGHT BE ROCKFALL

PROS: Durable, great protection, cheap

CONS: Heavy, minimal ventilation, not the most comfortable

Petzl Sirocco

Specs
  • Material: EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) Foam
  • Weight: 5.8 oz
Features
  • Ventilation all around the shell
  • Magnetic chinstrap buckle that adjusts with one hand
  • Foam inner that is removable and washable
  • Clips for headlamp and a visor (not included)

BEST FOR: ALPINE AND BIG WALL CLIMBING

PROS: Lightest helmet on the market, comfortable, superb ventilation

CONS: Expensive, not as strong as a hard plastic shell, only available in bright orange

 

Black Diamond Vapor

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with Polycarbonate Shell
  • Weight: 7 oz
Features
  • Ventilation all around the shell
  • Molded push buttons
  • Ratchet adjuster to fine-tune fit
  • Clips for headlamp

BEST FOR: ALPINE AND BIG WALL CLIMBING

PROS: Great ventilation, comfort and adjustability without compromising on safety

CONS: Expensive, not as strong as a hard plastic shell

Mammut Wall Rider

Specs
  • Material: EPP Foam with Polycarbonate and Hard Plastic Shell
  • Weight: 6.9 oz
Features
  • Partial hard plastic shell for the front-center part of the head
  • Ventilation all around the shell
  • Adjustable chin and rear straps
  • Clips for headlamp

BEST FOR: ALL CLIMBING FROM CRAGGING TO THE ALPINE

PROS: Hard plastic protection in the vital, front area, ultralight and comfortable, great ventilation

CONS: Headlamp clips hard to open, not the easiest to adjust

Petzl Elios

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with a Hard Plastic Shell
  • Weight: 11.6 oz
Features
  • Interior foam is removable and washable
  • Sliding vents that can be opened or closed
  • Headlamp clips

BEST FOR: CLIMBING WHERE THERE MIGHT BE ROCKFALL

PROS: Durable, great protection, cheap, adjustable ventilation

CONS: Heavy, not the most comfortable

Singing Rock Penta

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with a Polycarbonate Shell
  • Weight: 7.23 oz
Features
  • Large padded foam lining for comfort
  • Large ventilation holes
  • Headlamp clips
  • Adjustable straps for best fit

BEST FOR: ALPINE ROCK, BIG WALL CLIMBING, OR ICE CLIMBING

PROS: Ultralight, cheap, well-ventilated, easy-to-use headlamp clips

CONS: Not as strong as a hard plastic shell, not the easiest to adjust

Mammut Skywalker 2

Specs
  • Material: EPS Foam with a Hard Plastic Shell
  • Weight: 13.4 oz
Features
  • Side ventilation slots
  • One-handed wheel operation for adjusting fit
  • Clips for headlamp

BEST FOR: CLIMBING WHERE THERE MIGHT BE ROCKFALL

PROS: Durable, great protection, cheap

CONS: Heavy

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLIMBING HELMETS

PROTECTION

Rocks are solid, so helmets need to be made of suitable material to protect you from them. All helmets meet an industry standard of protection, with greater protection from overhead impact than from the side. Most helmets are usually made of a hard plastic shell, or a thick layer of lightweight foam with a polycarbonate shell. A plastic shell is considered to be more durable and longer lasting, but what it offers in safety, it compromises on weight and comfort.

 

WEIGHT AND COMFORT

Some like them thin and light. Some like them thick and heavy. Choosing the right climbing helmet for you will depend on your goals. If you’re developing new climbs in new areas, then a heavier, plastic-shell helmet will offer more protection from rockfall. A lighter helmet may be better if you’re climbing longer routes that are relatively well traveled, as rockfall is less likely.  If you’re new to climbing, a bit of weight difference isn’t going to matter all that much.

 

VENTILATION

Sometimes climbers will want to wear a helmet all day. Other times simply for an hour or two. Melting under a helmet with little ventilation in a hot, humid climbing area is no fun for anyone. But neither is alpine climbing in a frigid stratosphere in a helmet with more ventilation gaps than an open window. Pick the right amount of ventilation for the type of climb you’re most psyched on.

 

ADJUSTABILITY

Climbers traverse lots of variable terrain and climates, and sometimes wear woolen beanies of different thickness under their helmets. If you’re in an environment that may see you adjusting your helmet multiple times in a day, then it will make a great deal of difference to have one that is easy and intuitive to fine-tune.

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