Boring and boxy looking helmet days are gone. Protecting your head while climbing and abseiling now comes in variety of lightweight styles and gives the best comfort to wear. Wearing a good helmet is a wise decision when you’re abseiling because it protects you from both falling debris and bumping your head with the rocks.
A climbing helmet is one of the essential safety parts for rock or mountain climbers. You may not like to wear a helmet all time of climbing but trust me it can save your life. While climbing rocks or mountain many unexpected things can happen such as falling from up or loosen rocks that fall from up as well. So in this unexpected situation it necessary to save your own life and your head. For this reason besides all other climbing equipment like rope, harness, belay devices etc. you need to have a good helmet that protects your head. There are many helmets in that claims to be good at the market, but remember the following points that I’ve discussed before buying a helmet. This will make sure you don’t get disappointed after purchasing the helmet.
Types of Climbing Helmets
In the market, there are mainly four types of helmets available and popular.
The climbing helmet: Climbing helmets are the general helmets that most of the climbers use to protect their heads, like the Mammut Wall Rider. This types of helmet are the most common in use for climbing protection.Check on Amazon.
Hard shells helmet: Hard shell helmets are made with heavy polycarbonate shell which has webbing inside it to absorb any impacts. The helmet is heavy but durable and design is tough. Because of this, it has fallen out of fashion in favor of lighter model helmets. But there are many climbers who still like to use the helmet because if it’s hardness. You can find this helmet on Amazon. Click here to check the price.
Hybrid helmet: This types of helmets use mid thickness plastic shell which has expanded foam inside to cushion climbers head. These helmets are good looking and lighter than hard-shell helmets. Click here to check it on Amazon.
The superlight helmets: This helmet is designed with thin polycarbonate shell with expanded foam inside it. These helmets are the lightest helmets available in the market right now. But let me tell you these helmets are the most expensive too.Click here to check on Amazon.
Most of the helmets model comes in a variety of sizes and adjustability with chin straps and side straps. Also provides headlamp adjustability. Let’s find out what helmets are made from and how to find the best one.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
EPS has the shock-absorbing foam. This foam is very hard and functions incredibly well in case of absorbing any serious impact. It works to crush and fracture when impacted. The Black Diamond Vapor and Petzl Meteor model are very lightweight. The foam in this models is so delicate that it can fracture from a simply being tossed down roughly on the ground. The integrity of the foam is compromised when the EPS foam starts to sport those fractures and fissures. You should replace it immediately, whenever you see cracks inside of your climbing helmet
Expanded Polypropylene (EPP)
EPP is designed to absorb any impacts without shattering. It has the same material that has in car bumpers, this is why it is more durable than EPS. There is only two EPP helmet on the market right now, the Petzl Sirocco and Mammut Wall Rider. EPP does not need any polycarbonate or ABS shell because of its great effectiveness and durability. You’ll find that both the Sirocco and Wall Rider are designed with a small covering of polycarbonate to improve their shape and appearance. This helmet is bit expensive but very protective, lightweight and durable. EPP has a very good chance of becoming the de facto material helmet in future.
One of the major problems of climbing helmets is that they don’t breathe well. This makes head sweaty and hot and uncomfortable to wear the helmet. Nowadays helmet manufacturers are making more and more comfortable to wear the helmet with ventilation systems. This is not a good idea in my opinion, because more ventilation means less space for protection materials. If you are a winter climber, then ventilation may be more of a drawback than the advantage.
The weight of the helmet
Helmets that I talked about in this article weight from 5.6 ounces to 13.8 ounces. You’ll find heavier helmets in the market. Lightweight helmets are best for climbers. In my case, I like my helmet to be as feathery as possible. The lighter helmet makes your neck feel better and they don’t shift around your head when you look up or down. As said the lighter the gear is the less durable it will be. The helmets that are made with EPP foam (Sirocco and the Mammut Wall Rider) are the lightest weight and most durable in the market right now.
Comfort is the most important trait in a climbing helmet. You won’t wear it if it’s not comfortable, and it won’t protect you if you don’t wear it. It depends a lot on the shape of your head skull. Sirocco doesn’t fit comfortably on very big heads. Try to check a helmet on in real life before making a purchase. I did not notice a huge difference in comfort between different helmet companies. Heavier is less comfortable but the lighter the better.
Size of Helmet
Before buying a helmet you need to make sure it fits you perfectly and comfortably. It should not bob abound that much when you move your head. If the helmet if floating on top your head, then the helmet is too small. For example, if your head is 57cm, then Mammut’s Rock Rider would be the perfect fit for you.
Without adjustability, a helmet will be a very narrow-minded one. Almost all climbing helmets provide two adjustments. One around the head and one around the chin. The Sirocco has a strap and buckles to adjust the head strap. Black Diamond Vapor has two-sided plastic ratcheting system. This helps to be adjusted using two hands. Black Diamond Half Dome provides one-handed adjustment. It comes with a circular knob that helps to tightens when you’re turning in one direction, loosens in other. All helmets use the same single strap and buckle for adjustment on the chinstrap.
It’s important to make sure your climbing helmet has headlamp compatibility. In the market, all the helmet claims to be headlamp compatible. You’ll find that some helmet holds the headlamp good while others don’t. Black Diamond Vapor has removable headlamp clips on it. Every helmet has this option nowadays but before buying a helmet make sure you get the best option for your headlamp as well.
Why Should You Buy A Climbing Helmet?
A helmet is a mandatory equipment while climbing rocks and it’s widely accepted. Rocks are loosened in mountains and falls are not as clean, so a helmet is a must. Never take gravity lightly because it can pull you down no matter where you are. So keep yourself safe make sure you have a helmet while climbing. When you’re falling your rope catches your legs and because of this your heap flips down, but will not save your head. So the helmet is essential for your head safety in this situation. Another thing is that while climbing a stone may fall from up straight on your head. So be sure to keep your head safe.
You may not like it but, but a helmet is a super important piece of equipment. The most useful helmet is the one that you’ll actually wear. You can buy cheap shoes, chalk bag, but make sure you have a good helmet to wear.