Most climbers start climbing indoors and then transition outdoors. Indoors, wearing a helmet isn’t necessarily required because you’re surrounded by foam floors, and holds that are securely bolted into the walls. Also, you always have someone observing in case you do happen to fall.
The outdoor experience is much more dangerous because nothing is secure. Even though some routes are deemed safe, anything can happen. Holds can break, and rocks can fall and hit your head.
People often assume that the indoor climbing experience will be identical to an outdoor one, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. Heed our advice and always wear a climbing helmet when you’re climbing outdoors.
If you don’t own a climbing helmet, now would be the best time to equip yourself with one. Keep reading for detailed reviews regarding the best mountaineering helmet you’ll find in our current day and age.
Best Climbing Helmets
Our Recommendations For Best Climbing Helmet
Winner: Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet
The most notable feature of the Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet is its adjustable design, which beat every other mountain climbing helmet on the market. It comes with a custom wheel adjuster that’s meant for improving the overall fit of the helmet.
The wheel adjuster comes coated in a soft yet rubber-like material that makes it effortless to adjust the climbing helmet regardless of whether or not you have gloves on. If you happen to have gloves on, the wheel is large enough that you can use it with gloves.
You can raise or lower the wheel based on the shape of the back of your skull. Several buyers who purchased the Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet in a Medium/Large were happy to find out that they can adjust it to fit every single member of their family from the adults to the children.
Another adjustable feature of this mountain climbing helmet is the V yoke portion of the chin strap. This means you can adjust the chip straps from back to front, so the helmet will feel snug but not to the point where you’ll be choking. This ensures increased lateral stability, which is essential for a safe rock climbing experience.
The Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet comes with an incredibly thick plastic shell and small amounts of polystyrene, which is known to be a fragile material. Most lightweight rock climbing helmets rely on polystyrene, so they end up not being as durable as they should be.
The interior of this climbing helmet consists of molded EPS foam, which won't endure any punctures since it is protected. Other parts of the helmet such as the yoke and chinstrap are sturdy so that they won't break easily.
When compared to other rock climbing helmets, the Black Diamond Half Dome falls under the heavy category since it weighs 12.1 ounces. This makes sense since it's made out of durable and thick materials.
Runner-Up: Petzl Vertex Vent Helmet
The ten ventilation holes you’ll find on the Petzl Vertex Vent Helmet will prove to allow sufficient air circulation, so your head doesn’t feel as if it’s in a sauna while you’re climbing. Most climbers have issues wearing helmets because their heads feel trapped inside them, which is an issue that this rock climbing helmet addresses.
Whenever it’s raining, you have the option to close the ventilation holes since they come built with adjustable sliding shutters. Petzl has thought of all the obstacles that will come your way when you’re climbing and created a helmet that will come in handy in any scenario.
The Petzl Vertex Vent Helmet provides decent shock absorption when the outer shell deforms. When a rock falls on your head or when you fall from your rope, this helmet will absorb most of the shock, so you don't have to fret about a concussion.
Since the Petzl Vertex Vent Helmet is a Type 2 Class C hard hat, it is built with an OSHA certified top and side impact protection. Keep in mind that it will not offer protection against electrical shock. OSHA stands for the United States agency called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which sets the standard for the level of safety your helmet can offer.
You can't forget about your ears, and neither did Petzl, so the helmet comes with a Vertex Vent feature that consists of side slots to ensure hearing protection. Other than protection, comfort is the next thing that the Petzl Vertex Vent Helmet delivers on.
Thanks to the webbed design of the helmet’s six-point suspension system, you can rest assured that it will conform to any head shape.
Even though being able to conform to your head is a massive plus, the Petzl Vertex Vent Helmet comes with a CenterFit adjustment system that permits you to adjust the headband so you can keep it centered and stable. Without this feature, the suspension system would not function as well.
Alternatives: Fusion Meka Work Climbing Helmet
Aesthetically Pleasing & Versatile
You can use the Fusion Meka Work Climbing Helmet for climbing as well as working purposes. Those in need of a hard hat will find that this will provide protection against falling objects while not drawing attention to your head since it comes in sleek black color.
Most climbing helmets and hard hats come in a bright color that gives off a tacky look. If you want to step up your helmet game, you can readily do so with the Fusion Meka Work Climbing Helmet.
Sufficient Air Circulation
Out of all the helmets we have included in our rock climbing helmet reviews, the one that comes with the most ventilation holes is the Fusion Meka Work Climbing Helmet. Your days of overheating in the sun during an arduous climb are over.
Since this helmet comes in black, it tends to absorb more of the sun’s rays, which leads to overheating. To fix this, Fusion Climb designed the Meka Helmet to feature ten ventilation areas.
The downside is that you can’t close these holes, so this wouldn’t be an ideal helmet to wear during the rain. Make sure to check out the weather forecast before bringing this mountain climbing helmet with you.
Fits Most Adults
Generally speaking, the average adult head can make use of the Fusion Meka Work Climbing Helmet because of its adjustment features. The helmet will only loosen up when you adjust the back portion of the helmet with your own hands.
Some buyers did complain about it sitting higher on their head than a typical climbing helmet, but this doesn't affect the overall performance of the gear. This comes in handy when heavy objects come falling but makes it difficult to work your way around tight spots.
On your next climbing adventure, make sure that you have at least one of these helmets with you so you can climb without putting your life at risk. If you still don’t believe you need to wear a helmet, you have to ask yourself a single question that will change your outlook on the topic.
Ask Yourself: Why Should You Always Wear A Helmet On A Climbing Route?
Climbers who venture in alpine regions always wear helmets. On the other hand, you rarely see those in a climbing park wear a hiking helmet. Just because the climbing route isn’t as dangerous as one that involves mountainous regions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the same precautions regarding your head.
To ensure how serious it is to wear your climbing helmet, you should understand the risks involved with climbing outdoors. Climbers often fall and flip due to a rope that's caught behind their leg. If they happen to wear the wrong-sized harness, flipping can readily occur.
In all of these instances, a head injury is a strong possibility. In fact, a majority of climbers deal with concussions, skull fractures, as well as critical lacerations.
When climbers go out alone and injure their heads, there is no one out there to help them, which means getting to a hospital is impossible. They set themselves up for a situation in which there is no solution but to sit in pain.
The Journal of Trauma recently released a study about how often rock climbers wear their helmets. The results were shocking since only 36 percent wear helmets a majority of the time, 19 percent never wear them, and the rest sometimes wear them.
When it came to alpine and ice climbers, they wore their helmets each and every time. As you can imagine, head injuries weren’t as prevalent in this group than in those that were rock climbers.
You could never truly recover from a head injury, so why put yourself in that situation in the first place? Helmets won’t make you invincible, but they do increase your chances of being able to survive a head-related accident.
On What To Pay Attention When Buying Climbing Helmet
Before you go searching for the best climbing helmet to protect you on your weekly rock climbing adventure, you need to comprehend design aspects of the gear. Without knowing what you’re looking for, you’re bound to make a mistake and purchase the wrong helmet.
Below is a basic run-through of important climbing helmet design elements that will ensure the first helmet you order is the perfect one.
Most first time climbers wear helmets that don’t fit their heads. You can avoid this mistake by using a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head right above your eyebrow. Usually, the manufacturer has a sizing chart for you to use as a point of reference.
Most climbing helmets come in two sizes, so it can be difficult to determine which category you fall under. After you measure your head, you should figure out the circumference of the helmet you’re considering. Most helmets are adjustable so they can fit a wide size range.
As a rule of thumb, the helmet should cover a huge chunk of your forehead along with your occipital bone located in the back of your skull. If it does, then you have found the perfect helmet to protect your head size-wise. You still have to figure out which material you prefer.
You can either choose between a hardshell or a lightweight foam climbing helmet, but hybrid helmets also exist. You’ll find that most climbers favor one material over the other, so it’s up to you to figure out which one rests comfortably on your head.
A climbing helmet is considered a hardshell helmet when it composes of an ABS outer shell that goes on to cover a tiny piece of EPS or expanded polystyrene foam. At the top of the helmet rests the EPS foam since it absorbs high shock impacts, which is also found in lightweight foam models.
However, the main difference between the two materials is that the main structural component of hardshell climbing helmets is the ABS. These helmets largely rely on the thickness of the plastic outer shell to protect the climber. This is why the heaviest climbing helmets will be hardshell ones.
While hardshell helmets rely on an ABS plastic build, lightweight foam helmets are largely made out of EPS foam. This foam is then covered with a thin layer of polycarbonate plastic, whose purpose is the protect the foam.
As you can see, the structural components of lightweight foam helmets are EPS foam, which is identical to the ones found in bicycle helmets. Don't get any ideas about swapping out your bicycle helmet for your climbing one because it won't protect your head for a climbing expedition.
The fact that lightweight foam helmets weigh a fraction of hardshell ones is what has climbers lining up for this model.
The climbing helmet material and other features determine its overall weight. It’s no surprise that there is no specific weight that a climbing helmet falls under.
The climb you're participating in should determine the weight of your helmet. Long climbs call for lightweight foam helmets, while hardshell helmets are ideal for mountain climbing or multi-pitch routes.
The sturdiness of the climbing helmet depends on the adjustment system it comes built with. The chin straps are also another feature that will determine whether or not the helmet will stay centered on your head.
All of the climbing helmets reviewed above come with decent adjustment systems and chin straps so that sturdiness won't be an issue with any of them.
You just went from knowing nothing about climbing helmets to comprehending everything you need to know to make an objective decision as to which one best suits your head protection needs.
We highly recommend our winner, the Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet, as the perfect fit for any climber since it is versatile and provides ample protection. The other two will function fine, but they address specific needs that not all climbers require in a helmet.