If you’re heading outdoors for a day of climbing, you will definitely need some protection against rocks, debris, and perhaps even falling cell phones! It’s always a good idea to wear a climbing helmet. What are the best climbing helmet brands out there, and how do they differ? We’ve taken the time and worry out of picking the right helmet by researching some of the top brands in the biz and highlighting key construction features.
For hot weather multi-pitch climbs, breathability is crucial to keep you cool and focused. And keep in mind, not every cranium is sized equally. Therefore we have selected a range of features and sizes to choose from, so you can find the perfect cap for your cabeza.
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Our Top Choice
Petzl Sirocco Ultralight Climbing Helmet
The Petzl brand is the by-product of founder and cave explorer Fernand Petzl’s need for high-quality equipment that serve explorers well, no matter what the terrain is.
Light and comfy with plenty of ventilation. Accommodates Vizion Vizor and headlamp. Magnetic buckle for single-handed chin strap adjustment. Washable lining.
This model only comes in orange.
Ultra light foam
EPP single block
1 or 2,
.32 - .36 pounds
Edelrid Madillo Climbing Helmet
Edelrid is working on two centuries of manufacturing climbing gear. Starting with ropes, they have expanded into all the safety gear you need for an enjoyable outing.
No room in your backpack? No problem. This helmet folds nicely, reducing its size by half with foldable side and back panels. Padding detaches for washing.
One size fits most.
EPS, EPP, & EVA shell
One size, 19-22 inches
Black Diamond Vapor Helmet
From apparel to gear, Black Diamond has you covered with everything you need for climbing, hiking, trekking, and skiing, offering advanced features and safety components.
Lots of air flow. Offers protection with a lower profile than the Vector helmet. Kevlar and carbon rods for extra protection. Removable head lamp clips to avoid snagging.
Although undeniably light and comfortable to wear, occasionally damage to the outer shell has been reported.
Light shell w/suspension
EPS and Kevlar shell
SM or ML, 21-25 inches
Mammut El Cap Unisex Helmet
Mammut takes the business of manufacturing outdoor gear seriously, with high performance design and everything you need to go on an outdoor adventure.
Easily adjustable and comes in many sizes. Unisex, but fits a ponytail through the back straps. Rim helps keep the sun out of your eyes.
Some complaints about size inaccuracies.
Visor hard shell
2K EPS Core
3 sizes, 19-24 inches
Camp USA Armour Helmet
Camp USA originated in Italy, taking their manufacturing from the ice axe to an extensive line of equipment from crampons to helmets for mountaineers, rock and ice climbers.
Takes you anywhere safely, from the caves to the cliffs. Soft fabric under the chinstrap for extra comfort. Nice price. Lots of cool styles to choose from.
Where your next adventure takes place will determine the key features you should look for in a helmet. Some people want a super lightweight helmet for long hikes in hot weather. Others are looking for an extra-strong helmet for maximum protection in high-traffic areas, where rocks and other climbing debris are likely to come loose. The good news is, there’s something for everyone when it comes to climbing helmets.
Our Top Choice
While the Sirocco helmet by Petzl is unisex, if you are looking for a helmet designed specifically for women, check out the Petzl Elia Women's Climbing Helmet that features a design to accommodate ponytails.
Petzl Sirocco Unisex Ultralight Climbing Helmet in Orange - Available in 2 Sizes
Whether you want to go spelunking and need a helmet that accommodates your headlamp, or you’re a rock climber who wants a well ventilated helmet that will be ultra light to carry, Petzl has designed the perfect helmet for you with the Sirocco model.
Petzl has been in business since 1975, founded by cave explorer Fernand Petzl. They deliver top notch outdoor adventure equipment to extreme sports junkies who are looking for the best gear.
You’ll enjoy the aeration of this helmet, which comes with its own ventilation crevasses throughout the system to keep you cool and relaxed all day long. Petzl also has a patent on a magnetic buckle they put to use on this helmet, so you can attach the chin strap with one hand if your other hand is busy.
If you use a Vizion Visor, there are two holes for that, and two hooks with elastic in the rear to accommodate a headlamp. The shape of this helmet has enough curves that it should fit snugly on a myriad of noggins, and the single block shell is extremely light and wearable. Quilted with foam for extra comfort, the internal lining is washable.
Comes in sizes one or two in the color orange. Size one is for a head circumference of 48-56cm, and size two is for a head circumference of 53-61cm.
If you’re planning to take any kids with you on your next journey outdoors, safety is always first. Of course you will need a helmet that is light and shock-absorbent to fit the youngest member of your crew. In that case, check out the Edelrid Ultralight Junior Hardshell.
Working on their second century in business, Edelrid began their foray into climbing with advanced rope making. Ever since then, they have expanded into the gear pros and weekend warriors cherish most when hitting the crag, mountains, or underground scenery with innovative design technology that is safe and comfortable to use.
The Madillo climbing helmet by Edelrid features one of the most innovative designs we’ve seen. Coming at you from a surprise angle, this helmet is actually foldable. The two sides and the back are made of movable side panels that reduce this helmet by 50%, so you can actually stash it in your backpack with plenty of room to spare.
The hard shell surface combines several different protective technologies to improve your safety, like EPS, EPP, and EVA foam. The injection molded ABS will protect you from any rock fall or dropped pro, and fits head sizes with a circumference of 52 to 62cm.
The color is a gray hue and is called pebbles/oasis. The design is adjustable to fit a variety of head shapes. This is a great piece of protective gear that will stow away nicely when not in use.
The Vapor is super light and well-ventilated, great for crags or multi-pitch routes. If you want the most durable helmet in their product line, check out the Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet that comes in two sizes with a wide range of colors to choose from.
Black Diamond Vapor Light and Breathable, Low Profile Helmet - Available in 4 Colors & 2 Sizes
Black Diamond has everything you need for climbing, hiking, trekking, and skiing. Included with their professional line of gear is a wide range of helmets with advanced features and safety components.
With the low profile protection offered by the Vapor helmet, you get strength and breathability. Ventilation is incorporated throughout the design. The EPS foam with polycarbonate shell has been enhanced by a sheet of Kevlar and carbon rods for durability.
The Half Dome Helmet stores well in your haul bag and is very light and comfortable to wear. The ratcheting suspension has a molded push button adjuster. If you’re going to hit the wall in the wee hours of the morning or late at night, have no worries, as this helmet has headlamp clips that are removable when not in use.
All in all this is a great helmet, especially in the summer time. Available in S/M or M/L.
Mammut users love the fine fit and wearability of the El Cap helmet with several sizes and styles to choose from. If you’re looking for a good one-size-fits-all money saver, check out the Mammut Skywalker 2 Climbing Helmet that comes in orange and fits a head circumference of 53cm-61cm.
Mammut El Cap — Unisex — Available in 5 Colors & 3 Sizes
With a long standing tradition of manufacturing climbing ropes, Mammut garners feedback from outdoor enthusiasts to fine-tine the details of producing highly sought-after sleeping bags, gear, and apparel for people who like to live life on the edge.
The Mammut El Cap comes across as a nice classic helmet with a little pizzazz and style. Did we mention it’s super comfy? It’s easy to adjust and fits well so you can forget it’s on and attend to your climbing. With mounting for your headlamp, it’s good for before dawn and twilight journeys to the crags and mountains.
The Mammut El Cap comes in three sizes ranging from 48cm-56cm, 52cm-57cm, and 56cm-61cm. There are many colors to choose from such as Ontario/white, White/iron, White, Pacific/orange, and Shadow/sunglow.
Camp USA makes lots of great affordable helmets to choose from. If you want a kid-specific helmet to safeguard the youngest members of your clan, check out the Camp USA Armour Junior Helmet in orange, or white & red.
Camp USA Armour Helmet — Unisex — Available in 12 Colors & 3 Sizes
The original C.A.M.P. was founded in Italy to ramp up gear for classic climbs like Mont Blanc. The founder’s grandson designed the ice axe and other mountaineering gear in the early 1900s. Renowned mountaineer Riccardo Cassin helped the family continue to design mountain equipment as the years progressed, and in the process the company began to add crampons, pitons, nuts, and hammers to the mix. Still pushing the envelope, Camp USA has an extensive line of gear and equipment for the extreme sports enthusiast.
This Armour helmet is available in many different colors and is offered at a great value. With striking looks and a padded chin-strap for added comfort, you can enjoy the protection it provides when you’re in the danger zone, and look good while you’re wearing it.
This helmet is headlamp compatible for forays into the dark. The one-size-fits-all design is secured via the rotating size adjustment wheel to accommodate a variety of head shapes and sizes. There are lots of colors to choose from, including gray, black, orange, blue, light blue, green, red, and white/orange.
Climbers know that what goes up must come down. That’s why every good climber has a solid set of cams and an equally good climbing helmet. Smart climbers recognize the speed and impact of falling debris, and they aren’t about to let an easily preventable injury spoil their day. Keeping your head safe with a reliable climbing helmet, plus safeguarding against falls with the right climbing harness and climbing rope, leaves you with nothing to do but concentrate on your next move. And that’s just the way it should be!
In terms of price, a cheap climbing helmet can be had for anywhere from $20-$40, but the cushion and fit are often inferior. It’s best to spend just a tad more if you can afford it. On the low end, you can purchase a decent climbing helmet for $40-$70, depending on the size and style. For added bells and whistles such as better venting, adjusting the fit so it hugs your noggin just right, and special sizing options, you’ll probably spend anywhere from $70-$150 for a really good helmet.
Climbing helmets are an absolute must, because one thing is for sure: thanks to gravity, stuff is always falling. Rocks, debris, and equipment are constantly taking a nose-dive when you least expect it, therefore a prepared climber is a happy climber. With that in mind, let’s check out a few features to look at when purchasing your helmet:
Color and style
Unique design features
As you can see by this list, there are many helmet designs available from expert climbing gear manufacturers, and some really make a difference in performance.
Construction and Design
Thanks to many new innovations in design, there are climbing helmets for every type of climb and every type of climber.
There isn’t a huge range of sizes out there; many climbing helmets only come in one size. However, there are some manufacturers that offer a decent range of size options for those with uniquely shaped heads. Generally, though, the adjustments are made through design features such as adjustable buckle straps and adjustable head cradles.
The outer core can be a soft shell (which isn’t really soft, but is made of a lightweight breathable foam), or a hard shell, which can be made of a variety of materials.
Many helmets are constructed of EPS foam, which absorbs energy well but can become brittle over time, or EPP foam, which performs better after multiple impacts due to its elasticity. EPP foam also has a lower environmental impact due to the manufacturing process. Other foam types include EPE foam, with excellent thermal properties, or EVA foam, with greater tensile strength.
Some of the high-end helmets have incorporated such features as Kevlar for maximum impact protection, which is a nice feature if you climb on highly unstable surfaces or around crowded crags.
Also consider the helmet profile. Some have rims that can help block the sun, and others have a very low profile so any limits to your vision are kept to a minimum.
Performance and Ease of Use
Little things mean a lot. Look for considerate design features, such as a slot for your ponytail if you have long hair. Another small but nice convenience is extra padding on the chin strap for a little added comfort.
There are helmets that have an easy one-handed release feature, such as a magnetic buckle which might suit your style. If you tend to get sweaty, a washable helmet lining is always a bonus. Some helmets even have collapsible designs, so they will take up less space in your already crowded backpack when it’s time to hit the road.
For long mountaineering excursions, every ounce in your backpack counts, and lightweight foam might be a great choice. During multi-pitch climbs in hot weather, breathability is crucial to keep you cool and focused. Look for a well-ventilated helmet if this describes your climbing environment.
Keep in mind that heads come in different sizes. We have selected a range of features and sizes to choose from in climbing helmets, so you can find the perfect one.
Safety first, and the fun will follow. You never know what is going to come at you at the bottom of the crag, or halfway up the mountain, so a good helmet is a must. After all, you want to keep enjoying your adventurous lifestyle for years to come, don’t you? Keep your head well-protected with some of the best climbing helmet choices on the market in terms of wearability and safety features from trusted manufacturers.
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