Do you enjoy outdoor climbs but fear the risk of exposing your most important asset- your head? Since time immemorial, climbers’ heads have come at risk from being stuck in awkward positions or long falls in outdoor climbs.
Needless to say, when it comes to outdoor climbing, climbing helmets are an essential piece of gear. They protect your head in the unfortunate event of a fall.
The type of helmets you ought to wear for outdoor climbing all comes down to the individual choice of the climber. However, in making such a crucial or life-saving decision, you should consider weight, materials, and appearance.
This article lists the best climbing helmets, from ultra models to inexpensive yet durable ones.
Best Overall Climbing Helmet
1. Black Diamond Vision ($100)
Many must have wonder when Black Diamond would join the expanded polypropylene (EPP) movement, and then came an answer in the form of the Black Diamond Vision.
In climbing helmets, EPP is quite a new material gradually becoming a common sight in the market. It isn’t surprising considering its advantage of absorbing impacts rather than shattering.
Black Diamond Vision, which hit the market last spring, features an EPP body, a polycarbonate covering that protects against dents and strengthens durability and a touch of EPS foam material at the crown of its head.
It cost $100 and weighs 7.5 ounces. Although it isn’t one of the lightest options in the market, coupled with its under-ear strap is not adjustable, it is still one of the few helmets in the market that strike the perfect balance between price and weights.
It is worth mentioning that the Black Diamond Vision also comes in a MIPS version at the cost of $160 with a fantastic technology that protects against angled impacts.
Click to buy Black Diamond Vision / Black Diamond Vision MIPS.
Best Budget Climbing Helmet
2. Petzl Boreo ($60)
Protection is the top priority in outdoor climbs; thus, every helmet on this list meets the standard safety certification. As a beginner in climbing, price is an essential factor to consider when shopping for a helmet.
The Petzl Boreo is one very affordable helmet in the market. It cost just $60 and yet is durable. It features both EPP and EPS foam for maximum impact protection.
It is constructed with an ABS shell, one of the most reliable helmets, as it comprises the most durable foam and robust shell material.
It is also relatively light for an entry-level model weighing 10.1 ounces
However, its two-handed adjustment and fixed straps under the ears are a bit discomforting, but it makes up for this with a unique suspension system at the crown of the helmet.
Click to buy Men’s Petzl Boreo / Women’s Petzl Borea.
Best Ultralight Climbing Helmet
3. Petzl Sirocco ($110)
The first Petzl Sirocco was an instant hit in the climbing world, primarily light and durable construction.
Its second version follows the model of its first version but has a slight difference in shape and look while still bearing similar fundamentals.
As with the Black Diamond Vision, the Petzl Sirocco makes use of expanded polypropylene (EPP) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) but is amazingly light that you may forget you got a helmet on as it only weighs 5.6 ounces, almost 2 ounces less of the Black Diamond Vision and features less polycarbonate shell.
The disadvantage of the Petzl Sirocco is its unstable rear cinch and magnetic chin buckle, which usually get undone during climb and easily clog with dirt; nonetheless, it is still one of the best and lightest helmets in the market. It cost $110.
Click to buy Petzl Sirocco Helmet
Best of the Rest
4. Black Diamond Half Dome ($65)
The Black Diamond Half Dome is all about protection and toughness. It isn’t the lightest or the most convenient or groundbreaking in any particular way but affordable, protective, and very reliable.
It will save your head from knocks of falling rocks. It has a specially made version for women with a ponytail-friendly design and more venting. Its adjustment is effortless, unlike the Petzl Boreo.
The Black Diamond Half Dome is made up of an ABS plastic shell and a softer EPS foam and thus can take in a tremendous amount of impact without damage to the EPS foam within.
Although it’s pretty heavy, weighing 11.6 ounces, the Black Diamond Half Dome is one top helmet choice for outdoor climbers. It cost $65.
Click to buy Men’s Black Diamond Half Dome / Women’s Black Diamond Half Dome
5. Petzl Meteor ($90)
This is personally one of my favorite helmets. It is the first-ever certified ski touring helmet.
It has a shape that gives room to ski goggles and features a high-quality adjustment system and extensive coverage down to the neck with excellent ventilation.
A combination of ski-touring versatility, good range, and availability at a fantastic price of $90 makes the Meteor one unique EPS dome and ideal for a 4-season climb.
It is constructed with a polycarbonate shell and weighs 7.9 ounces. However, it isn’t as durable as the Black Diamond Vision or the Petzl Sirocco; hence, you’ll have to treat it carefully to ensure it is can still be usable for an extended period.
Click to buy Petzl Meteor Helmet
6. Mammut Wall Rider ($120)
Another of the best helmet in the market is the Mammut Wall Rider. It is a combination of a balanced weight, durable construction and materials, and excellent coverage.
It uses a lightweight polycarbonate covering and EPP foam, and the result is the ideal helmet that provides all-around impact protection and full range.
The Mammut holds along-track of success both at the crag and Alpine. It has a more appealing and sleek design than most helmets and weighs 6.9 ounces.
The slight disadvantage of the Mammut Wall Rider is its difficult webbing adjustment and its price. It cost $20 more than the Black Diamond Vision. Its MIPS version sells at retail for $180.
Click to buy Mammut Wall Rider / Mammut Wall Rider MIPS
7. Black Diamond Vapor ($150)
Vapor is one one of the best climbing helmet of the Black Diamond line. It holds the perfect balance between appealing design and weight, weighing 6.6 ounces.
Climbers will almost not notice they are wearing something on. The top-of-the-line venting surrounding the whole helmet is one of its most significant advantages and would satisfy any climber.
However, it is made of EPS construction material and thus can easily shatter.
It’s pricing at $150 doesn’t justify buying it when the likes of EPP made helmet that absorbs pressure such as the Black Diamond Vision, and the Petzl’s Sirocco cost less than that.
Nonetheless, it is still a safe helmet to use that offers maximum comfort to the wearer.
Click to buy Black Diamond Vapor
8. Edelrid Shield II ($100)
If you ardently stick to the three most essential principles of climbing—look good, climb hard, and be safe, then the Edelrid Shield II is a great option to consider.
The helmet gives a solid first impression with its colorful design and shape. It is customizable and provides excellent coverage.
It weighs 8.7 ounces, is one of the heaviest lightweight options, and features EPS construction and a polycarbonate shell.
Available at a market price of $100, couple with its ten large vents, make the Edelrid Shield II is one helmet worth considering.
Click to buy Edelrid Shield II
9. CAMP Armour ($60)
The CAMP Armour goes old-school, making use of ABS plastic shell. Nevertheless, this makes up for longevity and increased durability.
Recent updates show it holds better designs, new colors, and easy-to-use rear adjustment, and it doesn’t cost much at $60. However, it is one heavy helmet weighing 11.1 ounces.
Despite that, it is a common sight at the crag and the ideal helmet for beginner climbers that do not mind ounces and want some style points.
Click to buy CAMP Armour
10. Black Diamond Vector ($85)
The Black Diamond Vector is ideal for intermediate climbers transitioning from ABS helmets without facing the sizable price jump.
It weighs 8.1 ounces, features an EPS foam cover in a polycarbonate shell with an intuitive adjustment system, and costs $85.
The Vector’s slight disadvantage is that its seam between the rim and helmet body often comes undone and creates a gap plus, it is heavier and bulkier than a few other helmets that cost a little more than $85.
The Petzl Meteor is an example that cost $5 more. However, the vector is still a good option, especially for climbers on budget.
Click to buy Black Diamond Vector
11. Mammut Crag Sender ($100)
The Mammut brand is reputable for producing great climbing gear, and the Crag Sender is no exception. The Crag Sender provides excellent coverage from the front, back, and side.
It features EPS foam sheathed in a polycarbonate shell, which gives it a light but fragile build and weighs only 7 ounces making it one of the lightest options available in the market.
The disadvantage with the Crag Sender is its unproven long-term performance. It cost $100; however, its MIPS version cost $50 more.
Click to buy Mammut Crag Sender / Mammut Crag Sender MIPS
12. CAMP Storm ($100)
The Camp brand is known for the several functional helmets they’ve produced over the years. However, their taste in styles and design is a little off the charts until recently, especially with the release of the CAMP storm.
It is made available in four different color combinations, lightweight weighing 8.1 ounces, comfortable, and well ventilated.
Its construction material features EPS foam combined with a polycarbonate shell and boasts a well-designed adjustment system.
It cost $100 and is a good fit for any mountain adventure.
Click to buy CAMP Storm
13. Edelrid Salathe ($130)
The Edelrid Salathe isn’t one of the best in this list and thus peaks at No. 13. Notwithstanding, it is still another viable EPP option and unique.
It is made up of EPP foam covered in ABS shell material and weighs 7.4 ounces. Its adjustment straps are made up of minimalist webbing and a secure buckle.
Although the Salathe gives accommodations for goggles, it is not ideal for ski touring as it does not have an official CE rating.
Generally, the Edelrid Salathe is a lightweight and well-made helmet and costs $130.
Click to buy Edelrid Salathe
14. Singing Rock Penta ($70)
One of the best brands known for making some of the best climbing gear is the Singing Rock brand. The Penta is no different.
Made with a combination of polycarbonate shell and EPS foam and budget-friendly, it is one helmet that falls within the ranks of the Black Diamond Vector and Edelrid Shield above.
Weighing at 7.2 ounces, it is also very light. However, there are a few downsides to the Singing Rock Penta. Firstly, it comes in only one size, and its adjustment system proves a little challenging to handle.
Considering this, one might opt to buy Black Diamond Vector, which costs just $15 more. Nonetheless, the Singing Rock Penta is a great helmet and worth a try. It cost $70.
Click to buy Singing Rock Penta
15. Grivel Stealth ($110)
Many climbers will no doubt love the Grivel Stealth helmet. It offers excellent coverage and a perfect balance price-to-weight ratio.
But the most notable feature of the Grivel Stealth is its unique flat-paneled construction that rests lower on the head; thus, making it unlikely to move around in the unfortunate event of a rockfall.
The Grivel brand states that the flat-paneled construction of the Grivel Stealth helps strengthen and provide a more protective barrier against the force of impact than a regular dome helmet.
Additionally, the Grivel Stealth helmet boasts an easy webbing strap for adjustment. The disadvantage of the Grivel Stealth is mainly for its mostly personal style and the fact that it comes in only one size.
On the bright side, this size will accommodate most heads. It weighs 6.7 ounces, is made up of EPS features shrouded in a polycarbonate shell, and costs $110.
Click to buy Grivel Stealth
16. Mammut Skywalker 2 ($60)
Mammut Skywalker 2 is the ideal helmet for casual and new climbers. It features a combination of traditional EPS foam and ABS shell construction.
However, it isn’t exactly a lightweight or attractive design; nonetheless, it does get the job done. It is durable, offers an easy-to-adjust suspension, and is comfortable to wear.
Sadly, it comes in only one size and provides less coverage than other helmets listed above on this list. It is pretty heavy, weighing 13.4 ounces, and ventilation is limited.
There are several better options, but still, Mammut Skywalker 2 is enough to give you the protection needed on the Crag. Its cost $60.
Click to buy Mammut Skywalker 2
17. CAMP Speed Comp ($120)
The CAMP Speed Comp is one unique climbing helmet that fits well for skimo-racing and alpine skiing.
It features an EPS foam with polycarbonate shell construction and is more durable than many of the EPS versions mentioned above.
It weighs 12.7 ounces and costs $120. It is the ideal helmet for both climbing and skimo as it will meet the general protective need of both activities.
Click to buy CAMP Speed Comp.
18. Edelrid Madillo ($120)
The heaviest helmet on this list, the Edelrid Madillo, weighs 13.8 ounces. It is constructed with three different foam types (EPP, EPS, EVA) and an ABS shell, making it very durable.
It has too many moving parts, which makes it more likely to break. The most significant selling point or advantage of the Edelrid Madillo is the fact it is mobile.
Edelrid Madillo can easily be folded down into half of its actual size. It cost $120. Unless you have a specific need for this helmet, it would be preferable to check out other options listed above.
Click to buy Edelrid Madillo.
Helmets are vital climbing gears. They are irreplaceable. Hopefully, you’ve gain insight into some of the best climbing helmets in the market with the varieties of helmets listed above.
Well, decide on your preferred choice and get climbing. Please let us know your thoughts on our best climbing helmets for rock climbers in the comments section below.
See Rock Climbing Diet & Nutrition, 30 Special Climbing Gifts for Rock Climbers, and 10 Best Beginner Rock Climbing Shoes: Rock Climbing Shoes.