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The Edelrid Shield Lite first came to my attention when I was climbing with some German friends earlier in the year. Edelrid is a very popular brand in Germany and my friends were all sporting new helmets, all Shield Lites, and they only had good things to say about them. Later in the summer I jumped at the chance to test one for myself, and I wasn't disappointed.
I have had many helmets over the years including several of the more modern foam helmets such as the very popular Black Diamond Tracer and Petzl Meteor. I climb a lot, from UK trad sea cliffs through to alpine routes, and although in the past I have used a shelled helmet for alpine and winter climbing, these days I seem to use a foam helmet for everything. I get a new one every couple of years or so, usually when the last one gets broken in transit, luckily not when it gets broken on my head!
How Strong Is It?
This is clearly a fairly difficult question to answer, but of course the Shield Lite passes all the relevant safety tests for a climbing helmet. More than that though, the Shield Lite seems fairly robust for stashing in a rucksack, which can often lead to damage of foam helmets, especially if you sit on your pack without thinking! The foam is fairly thick, covers the head well and the ventilation holes aren't too large, meaning shards of ice or pieces of rock hopefully won't poke through.
Overall the Shield Lite (which is almost the same as the Shield II helmet, only with different internals: a lighter double pull adjuster instead of a 'Wing Fit' cradle and dial adjuster), comes across as one of the more robust foam helmets out there and that is something very important to me when choosing a helmet.
Fit and Comfort
Part of the reason that the Shield Lite is 'light' is because the straps have been thinned down and made very simple. For me the fit of the straps was fine and comfortable, but quite basic. The helmet came with additional padding to be inserted if needed, but I haven't used it. The shape of the actual helmet itself fit my head very well, and I found it to be comfortable, light and easy to wear. It hugged the head well, didn't move around, and after a while I did forget I was wearing it. The Shield Lite isn't the coolest (temperature-wise) helmet out there, and I did get warm in the helmet on some of the summer's hotter days. I guess this is a trade-off against having larger cooling vents, and I think Edelrid have balanced comfort and safety quite well here.
How a helmet looks has got to be the number one deciding factor for many climbers! I found the Shield to be pretty cool, not the most action hero styled helmet out there, and perhaps slightly 'egg-head' in style, but clean looking, nice colours (white with a blue trim being the only colour option for the Shield Lite) and it suited me (well that's what I thought at least). A bit like sunglasses, you have to try before you buy if you are really that bothered about looks.
An excellent lightweight helmet. It has a superb fit (at least on me), looks pretty smart, and seems robust and sturdy enough to endure being shoved in a rucksack, which is a great effort from Edelrid as this is one of the lightest helmets out there. A firm thumbs up for the Shield Lite.
More information: Edelrid Website
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