/ Foam vs Hardshell Hemet?

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GStone - on 08 Jan 2017

I am looking to replace my old Hardshell helmet.

Initially I thought great, now is my opportunity to get something smaller and lighter in the new foam type helmets, but after doing quite a lot of research, and trying some on, they don't actually seem much less bulky than the Hardshell types.

I am looking for something I can use for all round mountaineering including Alpine so something durable is a key feature I'm looking for, but if I can save weight that would be an advantage too.

I have basically narrowed my search down to the Petzl meteor, or BD half dome (if I don't feel the foam is a massive advantage), but thought I'd see if any owners of those helmets could give me any feedback?

I would consider the BD Vapour if I thought it would be good enough for mountaineering/alpine but have seen a few reviews that say the opposite. Can anyone confirm?

Thanks for you help!

Post edited at 07:49
galpinos on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

I have a petzl meteor but will replace it with a petzl sirocco. I decided I want a helmet that will protect my head more in a fall, hence the foam, as most of my climbing is UK trad. Rockfall is not 'that' common so I decided injury from falling was my top priority. I have worn it alpine climbing/ski mountaineering too but have yet to hit by rockfall so can't comment on that......

I'd replace it with a petzl sirocco as this seems to have to absorption in a fall of a foam helmet with the ability to take multiple blows as per a hard helmet. Best of both worlds?
86inch - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

I tried the Meteor and the Half Some, plus many others but ended up with a Mammut Wall Rider. The most comfortable of everything I tried. It's light, tough and perfect for style of climbing.

Worth considering if you've not looked at it.
Ben Sharp - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

Had the old BD half dome for years and it's been a nice helmet, stood up to a few knocks and bashes quite well although it did get cracked during a fall once. The crown adjustment is good especially if you're taking a hat on and off but then most modern helmets seem to have good adjustment systems.

I've not used the petzl but they seem different enough helmets to choose between, presuming they both fit you well. What do you want? Foam, light weight with plenty ventillation but less durable or a more solid outer shell with better wind protection and more durability but a bit heavier?

The Vapour has large ventillation holes in the back, nothing wrong with using it for alpine/mountaineering but it's a personal risk/choice and a reviewer can't really tell you whether the fit, protection and comfort match your needs. If you expect shards of ice or small rocks to be hitting the back of your head a lot then choose a different helmet. If you want the fit, comfort and protection the rest of the helemet affords and aren't worried about things going through the back then go for it.
TobyA on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

Check the Decathlon Simond ones for fit, you could probably buy both their foam and plastic one for the price of one from the big brands, then you have a choice. For years I had a meteor for rock and an elios for ice climbing. If you use them weekly year round it didn't seem silly plus you have a spare to lend to friends.
zimpara - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:
I've got a BD vapour.


It is VERY light weight! I explain in the video that at the end of the video by saying "You're going to die looking good!" So I wouldn't expect it to offer much protection tbh.
Post edited at 10:30
olddirtydoggy - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:
I've been using a foam Sirocco for a good year now and whilst it hasn't taken any huge hits I've no doubt it would be safe enough. The main advantage is weight which is the main issue for me on long walk ins and multi day routes. I use a plastic helmet for local cragging but this would be the weapon of choice when weight is key. It it quite bulky compared to some plastic models.
Post edited at 10:33
Stuart the postie - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:
I've been using a Petzl Meteor III for about 4 years, probably sustained more damage from packing inside my pack, than on crag! Ticks all the boxes, happy to wear it in the winter, even deflected a friend's crampon as he flew over my head.

Will replace with Sirroco probably, due to more flexible, squishy, less damaged by packing inside sack.

Post edited at 10:49
More-On - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

I also own a sirroco. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that it offers more protection for your face than most other helmets. Now I probably consider this more than most people due to breaking most of my face and jaw a few winters back, but worth pointing out...
The strap system also works really well with glasses, which again might not be a major factor for you, although you mention alpine so I assume sunglasses.
It is also very obviously light and I would say very durable as others have said.
rogerwebb - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to More-On:

I am interested that you find the scirocco durable. I went right off them when I broke one sitting on my sac and replaced it with a wild country 360.
There are now so many good reports about sciroccos that I am beginning to think I was just unlucky.
I take it you have treated it as any other helmet?

I share your concerns about face protection.
PPP - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

For what it's worth, I have both Sirocco and Meteor (4 I believe). Got rid of Elios fairly quickly as it was giving me headaches after longer days.

Meteor looks pretty much brand new as I used it only in the local crags so I don't look stupid climbing VS with such helmet ).

For multi-pitches and Dolomites the Sirocco was the go to. It's just so light that I once sat in the car and bumped my head against the headrest, realising I completely forgot about something on my head...
thlcr1 on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

Ive got a Meteor. Super comfy and no signs of damage. fairly happy it would offer good protection in a fall. Tried a few hardshells as well but not comfy and I thought the Scricco made me look a bit a lune.

More-On - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to rogerwebb:

I haven't treated it any differently to the Elios I broke during my accident and it shows less nicks and scratches than the Elios had at a similar age. I do keep it on the lid of my rucksack though, so haven't treated it to a sideways bodyweight load. It has however had several reasonable bangs during use, including someone in another party dropping a cam on my head from several pitches up an adjacent route! The helmet suffered only a small nick...
WildCamper on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

Ive got a meteor and a WC 360.
My go to helmet is the 360, it weighs 100g more but is more robust. The fact that foam helmets can only take one good knock to make them useless puts me right off.
No good for spending days in the mountains imo

Also the 360 is subtle looking, no hideous colour scheme ;)
David Barlow - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

I've had my sirocco for almost 2 years, after several petzl ecrin rocs. I switched because foam helmets provide much better side protection in falls than rigid helmets, and modern helmets are a lot lighter than the roc. I chose the sirocco because petzl claim the sirocco is usable after more than 1 hit (though obviously you do need to replace it) - unlike all other foam helmets. I was initially very careful of the helmet, but I've got less and less careful over time, and it's been surviving fine. Of course it is not as robust as an ecrin roc, and I don't sit on it. The only problem, assuming you find the helmet's colour acceptable, is that the magnetic catch is vulnerable to being partially blocked due to grit, and then not closing on one or both sides. As long as you're aware of this and ensure both sides of it catch when you close it, this isn't too bad a problem.
zimpara - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to WildCamper:
I agree. There is lightweight, and there is f*cking stupid.
And I am fucking stupid for spending £108 on a helmet!
Post edited at 18:19
Nath93 - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Stuart the postie:

Be careful with the Sirocco in colder temperatures. Mines cracked on the inside (along the line where the ice shield would attach) with not much force even though Petzl show it being squished together in their promotional video the same way mines was. And they weren't particularly keen to replace it but eventually got a new one.

Other than that though I really can't fault it, been my choice for well over a year now and never have an excuse for not wearing a lid.
rogerwebb - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to More-On:

fairweatherclimber - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

Depends partly on the shape and size of your head, what fits comfortably.

I've just replaced my old and cracked BD half dome with a new one. Hard to beat for comfort and robustness IMO.

I did look at foam helmets. Tried a meteor but it felt huge on top of my head. Like the idea of the Scirocco but too orange for me. Bought a Vapour as I got a good deal. It is noticeably less external volume than others and super-light, so I'm more likely to take/wear it when it's marginal if I need one. Protection to the back of the head (in a fall?) also seems better than some other designs.
GStone - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to fairweatherclimber:

I think you've hit the nail on the head as it were! The vector felt too big compared to the half dome. I haven't tried the meteor yet, but am waiting for one and guessing it's going to be the same.

I'm going go try the vapour, but just concerned of its durability compared to the half dome.

My current Hardshell feels smaller than all of the foam ones I've tried so far.
flaneur - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to 86inch:

> I tried the Meteor and the Half Some, plus many others but ended up with a Mammut Wall Rider. The most comfortable of everything I tried. It's light, tough and perfect for style of climbing.

The Wall Rider is expanded polypropylene - i.e. the same material as the Sirocco - rather than expanded polystyrene like the Metor and other foam helmets. It has the Sirocco's flexibility and durability in a less eye-popping style.
Dave Perry - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to zimpara:

Have you actually tested your helmet? Or is it a review of it in the house sort of thingy?
fairweatherclimber - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

I've seen some very beat up looking Vapours (and Vectors) at the crag.

They do seem to suffer from cosmetic damage just being carried around, a sort of dimpling of the surface from many small knocks. I'm prepared to be more obsessive than most in protecting mine, at least for now, so not worried. And for trips where it's most likely to get kicked about, I take my Half Dome.
Bwox - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to zimpara:

> I am f*cking stupid for spending £108 on a helmet!

Presumably you don't cycle?
nniff - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to GStone:

I've just dropped a rather lurid green grivel salamander in the bin. Its replacement is a Petzl Sirrocco, which is both stupidly light and actually fits well. It also takes a visor which, having once had a bad day out with some falling ice, is important to me. However, the visor is not cheap- to quote my wife, it is 'the most stupidly expensive piece of flat plastic I've ever bought'.

Putting the two together is not cheap, but still dramatically cheaper than my cycling helmet. The latter glows in the dark and has a blinky light on the adjuster - both 'essential' features markedly absent from climbing helmets.

If anyone wants an excellent visor for a Grivel Salamander, drop me a line. Free to a good home if you apy postage or pick up in central London/White Spider/Slough

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