Climbing Helmet Reviews

Modern climbing helmets are so light and unobtrusive that there's no excuse for not wearing one. If you're ready to buy your first helmet, or replace a clunky older model, Climbing's reviews will guide you through the many choices. These articles will also teach you how to care for your helmet, and when to toss an old helmet and invest in a new one.
  • HPECTrad

    Gear Guide 2014: Trad Climbing

    From cams to carabiners to shoes, here are 18 of the best new products for plug-and-chuggers.

  • Black-Diamond-Vapor-Helmet

    Black Diamond Vapor Helmet

    “Cobbles fly at the Minimum Crag in Utah’s Maple Canyon,” reported one tester, “but most climbers don’t wear a helmet for fear of losing style points and because it gets hot. But the Vapor is so light and low-profile, I kept it on climbing and belaying.”

  • Petzl-Sirocco-158

    Petzl Sirocco

    Not only is it the lightest lid on the market at 5.82 ounces (that’s 1.8 ounces more than an iPhone 5), it is also unique in design—and look. The Sirocco utilizes expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam instead of the standard expanded polystyrene. EPP is the same foam used in car bumpers, and it is more spongy and flexible—instead of cracking like EPS, it is intended to absorb the impact without damage.

  • Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009

    Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009

    The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is madness this time of year—the reason is the summer Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, a massive gathering (over 20,000 people, I've been told) of outdoor gear and apparel companies, retailers, media, and athletes.

  • 2012 Gear Guide: How to Buy - Helmets

    You wouldn’t consider biking down a busy road without a helmet, so why climb without one? Whether sport climbing at your local crag or venturing up a 15-pitch alpine route, helmets offer critical protection from falling rock or ice as well as from a blow to the head during a fall. Two basic designs of climbing helmets are available: Suspension models, or “hard hats,” have a hard shell supported by webbing. Foam models are similar to bike helmets, with a thin shell protecting a dome of foam padding.

  • Mammut El Cap

    2012 Gear Guide: Helmets

    Mammut El Cap - Love it or hate it, climbing is getting steezier. From neon clothing to reflective sunglasses, flash is back. So when climbing helmets needed a makeover, Mammut introduced the El Cap, which breaks away from the standard bucket helmet with a narrower design and a low-profile visor. At first glance, this helmet looks more apt for kayaking or snowboarding, but the El Cap more than holds its own on rock. With 12 ventilation openings, adjustable headband, and relatively light weight (12 oz.), this is a well-built helmet that looks good.

  • GG-Camp-Speed_31427.jpg

    2011 Gear Guide: Helmets

    We take a look at three of the newest foam-lined helmets on the market, plus a sneak peak at the latest version of Black Diamond’s popular Half Dome suspension helmet. A team of climbers put these helmets to the test on ice and mixed routes in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Not only did they climb, they also did their best to shake headlamps off their heads; wore the lids with a variety of hats; tested adjustability with and without gloves; and checked the brain buckets’ fit against climbing packs.

  • PetzlElia_26242.jpg

    New and Notable: Petzl Elia - 2010 Gear Guide

    Observation 1: a lot of women rock climb. Observation 2: helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for climbing. Observation 3: there are very few helmets designed specifically for women. Enter Petzl’s ELIA helmet, with a pony-tail friendly, easy-to-adjust headband, and three tasteful color combinations to complement your feminine mystique.



    For 2009, the venerable UK manufacturer Wild Country ( brings multi-functionality to the cranium-care department with its new Alpine Shield. Only 9.2oz in pared-down rock mode, this vented, EPS-shell/EVA-foam helmet wears light and cool while cragging or multi-pitch climbing. But snap on the polycarbonate shield and you have an alpine player that screens out debris and ice shards, as well as imparts durability and impact resistance beyond that typical of the “one-strike-then-retire” comolded helmets.

  • From Monsters to Bastards - No. 246

    From Monsters to Bastards - No. 246

    A year and a half ago, I noted in our leashless tool review that the designs then available were only a precursor of shapes to come.

  • Helmet Review - No 227 - February 2004

    Helmet Review - No 227 - February 2004

    With the bevy of stylish and functional models on the market now, you’ll be able to find a rock climbing helmet that fits well and makes you look like a superstar.

  • Simond Bumper Helmet Review

    Simond Bumper Helmet Review

    The bike-style Simond Bumper is a good choice for the winter ice cragger. Those industrial-chic Frankenstein bolts on the exterior aren’t for show, they’re for the face shield.

  • Petzl Elios Helmet Review

    Petzl Elios Helmet Review

    One of the new-generation hybrid models, the Petzl Elios has one of the trimmest silhouettes of any helmet we tested, an asset in tight spaces.

  • Petzl Ecrin Roc Helmet Review

    Petzl Ecrin Roc Helmet Review

    Like the Edelrid Ultralight, the Petzl Ecrin has been a staple in the suspended-shell helmet market for many years, and for good reason — it’s very durable, well ventilated, and easy to adjust.

  • Lucky Alpha Helmet Review

    Lucky Alpha Helmet Review

    The hybrid-style Lucky Alpha tips the scales at a featherweight 10 ounces. The suspension is comfortable, with generous padding on the inner polystyrene, and the fit system adjusts easily with a quick-ratchet buckle.

  • Kong Scarab Helmet Review

    Kong Scarab Helmet Review

    “Straight out of Milan” is how one tester described the Kong Scarab’s appearance.

  • HB Dyneema Helmet Review

    HB Dyneema Helmet Review

    For those who can’t bear to part with their old fiberglass Joe Brown, the HB Dyneema is for you.

  • Edelrid Ultralight Helmet Review

    Edelrid Ultralight Helmet Review

    The Edelrid Ultralight has been a staple in the climbing-helmet market for well over a decade, and for good reason.

  • Cassin Astral Helmet Review

    Cassin Astral Helmet Review

    For those with wide heads, Cassin’s Astral is a good bike-helmet-style lid. The adjustment knob provides quick and easy micro-adjustment within the well-padded suspension.

  • C.A.M.P. Silver Star Helmet Review

    C.A.M.P. Silver Star Helmet Review

    The C.A.M.P. Silver Star was a universal test favorite for comfort and adjustability. The suspension is well padded, and treated with an anti-bacterial formula that helps keep down the skank factor.

  • Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet Review

    Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet Review

    A pioneering hybrid design, the Black Diamond Half Dome offers great overall protection, with a large cap of polystyrene in the interior.

  • About UIAA and CE helmet certification

    The shop salesperson puffs up and says, “Oh, yeah, that helmet’s UIAA and CE-certified.” You think, ‘That’s nice, but what does that mean?