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.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST CLIMBING HELMETS

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

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide To Climbing

 

THE BEST CLIMBING HELMET – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
CLIMBING HELMETS
BEST FOR
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
PRICE
RATING
Black Diamond Vector
Overall Use
8.5 oz
$$
4.6
Petzl Meteor
Overall Use
7.9 oz
$$
3.6
Black Diamond Half Dome
Value
11 oz
$
4.5
Petzl Elios
Value
11.6 oz
$
4.5
Singing Rock Penta
Value
7.23 oz
$
4.5
Mammut Skywalker 2
Value
13.4 oz
$
4.4
Petzl Sirocco
Lightweight
5.8 oz
$$$
4.0
Black Diamond Vapor
Lightweight
7 oz
$$$
4.7
Mammut Wall Rider
Lightweight
6.9 oz
$$
5.0

 

 

CLIMBING HELMETS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST CLIMBING HELMET

 

1. 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.

 

2. WEIGHT AND COMFORT

Some like them thin and light. Some like them thick and heavy. What’s right 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.

 

3. 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.

 

4. 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.

 

best helmets for climbing

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/gregepperson

 

 

CLIMBING HELMET REVIEWS

THE TOP 9 BEST CLIMBING HELMETS

 

1. BEST CLIMBING HELMETS FOR OVERALL USE

BLACK DIAMOND VECTOR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: All climbing from cragging to the alpine

MATERIAL: EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam with polycarbonate shell

WEIGHT: 8.1 ounces (small/medium) to 8.5 ounces (medium/large)

FEATURES: Ventilation all around the shell, molded push buttons and ratchet adjuster to fine-tune fit, clips for headlamp

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

CONS: Not as strong as a hard plastic shell

 

 

 

PETZL METEOR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: All climbing from cragging to the alpine

MATERIAL: EPS foam with polycarbonate shell

WEIGHT: 7.7 ounces (small/medium) to 7.9 ounces (medium/large)

FEATURES: Ventilation all around the shell, magnetic chinstrap buckle that adjusts with one hand, breathable foam lining, clips for headlamp

PROS: Well-ventilated, comfortable, easily adjusted

CONS: Not as strong as a hard plastic shell

 

 

 

 

2. BEST VALUE CLIMBING HELMETS

BLACK DIAMOND HALF DOME

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Climbing where there might be rockfall

MATERIAL: EPS foam with a hard plastic shell

WEIGHT: 10 ounces (small/medium) to 11 ounces (medium/large)

FEATURES: Internal headband adjustable with one hand via a single dial, vents on sides and back, headlamp clips

PROS: Durable, great protection, cheap

CONS: Heavy, minimal ventilation, not the most comfortable

 

 

 

PETZL ELIOS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Climbing where there might be rockfall

MATERIAL: EPS foam with a hard plastic shell

WEIGHT: 10.6 ounces (small/medium) to 11.6 ounces (medium/large)

FEATURES: Interior foam removable and washable, sliding vents that can be opened or closed, headlamp clips

PROS: Durable, great protection, cheap, adjustable ventilation

CONS: Heavy, not the most comfortable

 

 

 

SINGING ROCK PENTA

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Alpine rock, big wall climbing, or ice climbing

MATERIAL: EPS foam with a polycarbonate shell

WEIGHT: 7.23 ounces

FEATURES: Large padded foam lining for comfort, large ventilation holes, headlamp clips, adjustable straps for best fit

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

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Climbing where there might be rockfall

MATERIAL: EPS (Expanded Polypropylene) foam with a hard plastic shell

WEIGHT: 13.4 oz

FEATURES: Side ventilation slots, one-handed wheel operation for adjusting fit, clips for headlamp

PROS: Durable, great protection, cheap

CONS: Heavy

 

 

 

 

3. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT CLIMBING HELMETS

PETZL SIROCCO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Alpine and big wall climbing

MATERIAL: EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) foam

WEIGHT: 5.1 ounces (small/medium) to 5.8 ounces (medium/large)

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)

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

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Alpine and big wall climbing

MATERIAL: EPS foam with polycarbonate shell

WEIGHT: 6.6 ounces (small/medium) to 7 ounces (medium/large)

FEATURES: Ventilation all around the shell, molded push buttons and ratchet adjuster to fine-tune fit, clips for headlamp

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

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

 

 

 

MAMMUT WALL RIDER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: All climbing from cragging to the alpine

MATERIAL: EPP foam with polycarbonate and hard plastic shell

WEIGHT: 6.9 ounces

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

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

Top 9 Best Climbing Helmets of 2017 – Best Rock Climbing Gear Articles – Climbing Products For Men and Women – Climbing Equipment Lists Posts

About The Author

Climbing Junkie

Derek Cheng is a journalist and photographer whose work has appeared in publications in several countries, including the US, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the UK. Since he discovered climbing about ten years ago, he has worked as little as possible so he can travel widely, chasing rock faces in all corners of the world - from stalactite-blessed limestone in China, to the alpine granite of the Bugaboos and the Sierra Nevada, to quartzite giants in Morocco. His work can be viewed at dirtbagdispatches.com.

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