Safety is a paramount consideration when undertaking any kind of climbing. Ensuring you have the right equipment when climbing is of vital importance. A helmet is a key item and it is not as simple as just walking into the shop and picking one off the shelf. Protect your head in the best way by choosing one of our top 5 rock-climbing helmets.
This is the lowest priced of our top 5 recommended helmets and perfect as a budget buy. Praised for the level of comfort it offers, this helmet is a popular choice. It is a simple helmet, so lacks the addition of certain things such as the padding on the chin strap. However, this did not cause a problem for many wearers in terms of comfort. This is a lightweight, molded foam helmet with a good system for headlamp attachment. Adjusting this helmet takes some practice and can be tricky with gloves, so if you opt for this, make sure you try it several times in advance.
Suitable for climbing, mountaineering and ski touring, this helmet is another great option, although it does not meet the standards for alpine ski helmets. It is lightweight with excellent ventilation. The design of this helmet allows for the easy addition of ski goggles or visors with its integration points. Sitting in the mid-price range, this is another superb option.
Pricier than the previous two choices, this premium-end helmet is incredibly light and offers a high level of comfort to the wearer. The air vents mean that optimal airflow allows your head to stay cool throughout your climb. Removable headlamp clips are another bonus to this helmet. Furthermore, its clever design allows for the easy storage and transportation of the helmet with the ratchet suspension system able to be tucked inside.
This hybrid helmet is another lightweight option with soft insides, but a hard shell over the middle and front. So, another good choice with excellent protection and durability. Its low profile means that it is less likely to get in the way when the wearer finds himself in a tight spot. This robust, well-ventilated helmet could be the right choice for you and sits in the mid-price bracket.
Suitable for all kinds of climbing, this helmet is one of the best around. Sitting firmly in the mid-price range, this lightweight option with great ventilation means that it becomes almost part of your body and you can forget you are wearing it! Although lighter than most helmets on the market, this does not reduce the protection it offers. The polycarbonate shell and co-molded EPS foam allow it to offer full support and withstand wear and damage.
Similar to a cycling helmet, a rock-climbing helmet offers protection for your head. Your skull is a great natural protection for your brain, but a helmet offers an exceptional level of additional security. If rocks or hardware are kicked loose above you, these could cause significant damage. The use of a helmet reduces the risk of serious injury or fatality. Overhangs can also be problematic. If you bump into one without protection, this could leave you with severe problems. Likewise, peeling off a wall and then flying back into it can cause damage. Although no one item can stop injuries entirely, the use of a well-chosen, fit-for-purpose helmet can significantly reduce the risk of long-term, life-changing injury or death.
Traditionally, there were two types of helmets: those with hard shells and those with softer ones. The harder shelled helmets, also referred to as hybrid or suspension helmets, tend to be made from APS plastic along with a strap suspension system and a thin inner layer made from foam. Typically, these helmets are lower in price and have a longer lifespan. Conversely, softer shelled helmets are often made from a thick layer of polystyrene polypropylene foam with a thin polycarbonate shell over the top. These helmets tend to be much lighter in weight and have significantly better ventilation.
It is imperative to choose a helmet that is suitable for the type of rock climbing you intend to do. For example, while one helmet might be perfect for ice climbing, it may not be the right choice for warm-weather climbing. Helmets differ in size too, so ensure you get one, which will fit snugly. You can assess its suitability in terms of fit by placing it on your head, adjusting the fit and then shaking your head from side to side. The helmet should continue to be snug. Additionally, the chin straps must not have any slack after adjustment.
It is not advised to use the same helmet for both cycling and rock-climbing. Both types of helmet are designed with the individual sports in mind and therefore it would be much better to have one helmet for each activity.
At the first sign of wear and tear or damage, it is advised to replace your helmet. Dents, cracks and damage, even if just to the straps, can prevent the helmet from offering full protection in the event of an accident. Minor dents are unavoidable. However, with larger, more significant ones, it is always better to be safe than sorry and replace the helmet. Where there is no sign of damage or wear, you should certainly seek to replace it after around ten years. UV rays from the sun can degrade the helmet’s materials significantly without being evident. If you climb frequently, replace every five years.