The equipment you use is essential in any physical activity, as it helps us to do it, even though sometimes it is essential to be able to carry it out. But of all these elements, there is one that, in addition to being necessary and protecting us from possible injuries, can be considered our life insurance. We talk about the helmet.
In many sports, it is a mandatory tool. It is the helmet for climbing. We must protect our heads from objects that may fall on us, such as carabiners, safety devices, rocks, or ice. It can also save us from the severe consequences of a fall. In Best Review Club, we tell you more about this product.
Here are the best mountaineering helmet recommendations:
Sideways vent holes for breathing and preventing tiny gravel.
Adjustable back of head closure system
Headlamp buckles are suitable for universal headlamp assembly.
Streamlined, lightweight headlamp clips
The one-handed fit adjustment dial
Easily adjustable chin strap
The most important
- A helmet is mandatory in any activity in which our head is exposed to receiving impacts.
- The helmet has to be resistant but also light and comfortable.
- As we will see in more detail in the purchase criteria, helmets must bear a label or inscription, EN 12492, certifying that they comply with current safety regulations.
The best climbing helmets on the market: our recommendations
The market offers various climbing helmets, even some compatible with their use in other sports or physical activities. Big brands of sports equipment are behind these models that protect our heads from blows that, in the worst case, can be deadly. We are going to learn more about some of the best options.
What you should know about climbing helmets
The leading information we must obtain about a climbing helmet is its effectiveness in protecting the head. Therefore, the following answers try to show us the characteristics of the different models, the tests that must pass to comply with the regulations, or which are the most appropriate types according to their construction or the use we will give them.
What is a climbing helmet?
The climbing helmet is a safety element that protects the skull from the blows that may be received during a fall and from the impacts of rocks and ice. Therefore, this accessory must be used whenever climbing is practiced, at least outdoors, since it is where landslides can occur that damage our physical integrity.
What are the types of climbing helmets that exist according to their construction?
The materials from which climbing helmets are made are mainly plastics. All are required to have a minimum of hardness and impact resistance. But, among these materials, we find some lighter than others; hence we distinguish three main types of helmets:
Rigid helmets: They are the most robust and durable. Generally, they can be used in all adventure activities, so, typically, they are used in companies that offer multi-adventure services. They are usually made of ABS plastic with an inner pad of hybrid construction.
Lightweight helmet: Its outer plastic layer is thinner, which reduces durability, but favors the ability to absorb impacts. It has a molded expanded foam known as EPS. It can be considered a hybrid helmet, a mixture of the rigid ones we will quote below.
Ultralight helmet: It is the one that most experienced professionals or adventurers like the most due to its incredible lightness. They are designed in monoblock with polypropylene or polystyrene (EPS), lacking the outer layer. It is necessary to consider the risk of its reduced protection and the economic cost of its shorter useful life.
What certification does a climbing helmet need?
The EN 12492 standard explains the minimum conditions a climbing helmet must meet. The energy absorption capacity cannot exceed 10 kg (kilonewton) after being impacted by a mass of five kilograms, either vertically, laterally, front or rear, the fall distance being two meters for the vertical test and 50 centimeters for the other three.
There are also multifunction helmets, certified for various disciplines, such as cycling, climbing, and skiing; Although, if you practice one, it does not make up for its high price.
Learn a little more about other safety implements and very important for the practice of this sport in the following post:
How long is the useful life of a climbing helmet?
The useful life of a helmet depends on the quality of the material with which it is made. In any case, plastics become brittle, so it is not advisable to exceed five years of use, even one less if we use it a lot. Most manufacturers specify in the instructions the date until which we must use the helmet.
If it happens, it is best to replace it, even if it appears in perfect condition. The climbing helmets protect the head from the blows of rocks or blunt objects. It is positive that they break after a hard impact since the energy is better distributed.
How does the type of climbing influence when choosing the helmet?
The different modalities that we can practice in adventure sports or outdoor activities, with other surfaces, terrains, and climates, also need a helmet with the appropriate characteristics for each. Next, we will see the recommended functions for the helmet in each type of climbing:
Indoor climbing: With the exception that those responsible for the place indicate some particular rule, the usual thing is that you can use a very light helmet with little foam. After all, the rock on which you will carry out the activity is unnatural, and you will not be in danger of being impacted by landslides or falling objects.
Mountain terrain: Normally, they are activities of long duration and in which we carry a lot of weight. The ideal is a lightweight helmet with wide openings for ventilation and bright colors to be located at long distances.
Ice climbing: We will not need ventilation to protect us from the cold. The hull’s resistance must take precedence over lightness since they are a terrain in which it is highly likely to receive impacts from falling chunks of ice or other materials.
Belay climbing: In this modality, we risk receiving many types of blows to the head, from rocks or dirt to pieces of your teammates’ equipment. Let’s bet on a rigid helmet and even with a visor to avoid damage to the eye area.
Climate: What prevails is ventilation. A helmet with many or vast openings is necessary for hot temperatures. You have to fight the heat and sweating. Against the cold, on the contrary, a fully closed helmet that does not allow air to flow through it is the best option.
What does a climbing helmet protect us from?
The debate over the effectiveness of helmets has yet to be resolved. Many believe that the regulations are not demanding enough and are limited to influencing the impacts received by falling objects on the head. The reality is that most of the blows are from collisions that can affect lateral, rear, or frontal areas.
It is true that some climbing helmets have passed tests in this regard and have additional certification, but most still do not resolve this critical issue. In any case, molded and expanded foam (EPS) helmets are the ones that offer the most excellent protection for those collision situations, which are more frequent than impacts by objects.
When we go to buy a climbing helmet, we must be clear about what we are going to use it for. Once we know the terrain and the weather conditions from which it must protect us, we will focus on the most suitable product, analyzing the material, weight, and fit, but also making sure that it complies with the safety regulations.
The first thing we must assess before purchasing a helmet is the type of climbing or activity we are going to do. In ice or cold climates, a lot of ventilation is unnecessary, but a high level of resistance to the greater risk of impacts or falls is necessary. Lightness and wide openings prevail for airflow in less demanding terrain or high temperatures.
The regulations require that climbing helmets be made of plastic materials. The outer casing must be polycarbonate with high mechanical shock resistance. It is the lightest option. Most of the models use ABS material. The interior is made with expanded polymer foams (polypropylene, polyurethane, or polystyrene).
The climbing helmet must be resistant since its function protects us from blows to the head. But it also has to be light, especially when we are going to do some activity that forces us to use it for a long time. However, most of the products on the market are made with materials that provide that lightness.
The adjustment system must be adequate, preventing any helmet movement. The chinstrap is the strap that holds the helmet below the chin. They have to be padded and cause a feeling of comfort because sometimes we will use them for several hours. The rear adjusting wheel, or dial, completes the clamping.
The size they are available determines whether they can be suitable for children, women, or men. Most models have a variety of sizes; that is, they are unisex, but others only offer large sizes, and their use is reduced to the male gender. For women, there are helmets with a hole in the back, which allows the hair to be collected in a ponytail.
Do I need a helmet for mountaineering?
Most ice climbers and mountaineers wear helmets, as do many traditional rock climbers. But far fewer rock climbers don lids for short climbs especially sports routes. … Many ice climbers forego their helmets while rock climbing.
What is the use of helmets in mountaineering?
The helmet is an essential piece of safety equipment for various vertical activities. They protect the head against falling debris (rocks) and impact –e.g., if the climber’s head hits a rock wall during a fall.
Can you wear a ski helmet for mountaineering?
Ski helmets are great options while skiing, but for mountaineering and climbing objectives, it’s key to utilize the specific equipment that will keep you safe and comfortable on the mountain. Some helmets receive a dual rating, for example, for ski touring and climbing.
How long do climbing helmets last?
Even if it’s never impacted, retire a helmet within ten years. The sun’s UV rays slowly degrade materials, so if you climb frequently, cut this lifespan time in half.
Can I use a climbing helmet for snowboarding?
No – If you want your helmet to be certified for both sports, most climbing helmets are not approved for skiing. Ski helmets give superior protection to all sides of the head to account for collisions (versus just the top for rock falls).
Can you use a climbing helmet as a ski helmet?
This question is everywhere, “Can I use my climbing helmet for skiing?” The answer, as usual, has caveats. This “Yes, definitely!” is for helmets that are officially certified both for climbing (EN 12492) and skiing (EN 1077).
How tight should a climbing helmet be?
Climbing helmets should be snug around the circumference of your head and tight but comfortable underneath your chin. Also, ensure the helmet doesn’t hit your neck when you look up, and you will be doing this a lot.
What are the different types of climbing helmets?
There are three types of climbing helmets: hard shell, foam, and hybrid. As with most things, each style has its advantages and disadvantages: Hard Shell Helmets are reminiscent of a hard hat construction workers would use.
How do you size a climbing helmet?
Sizes usually come measured in inches, anywhere from 48 cm to 61 cm for adults. Measuring can be done with a tape measure or simply by securing the helmet and tilting your head. It shouldn’t move, wobble or be able to be pushed off with ease when the straps are attached.
What are climbing helmets made of?
Most helmets have a tough polycarbonate shell with a foam inner either made of expanded polypropylene (EPP) or expanded polystyrene (EPS). These helmets are durable and meant to last.
The climbing helmet is a fundamental piece of our team. We would say that even mandatory, although, in individual activities by nature, no one will demand its use. Let’s not forget that the head is one of the most sensitive parts of our body, in which any injury can cause serious consequences, even death.
To avoid these risks, we must always wear a helmet. The market offers many options at attractive prices. It only remains to find the most suitable model for the practices we will carry out, always ensuring the product’s resistance, if possible, combined with lightness and comfort.
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