I’ve always been a fan of Grivel Helmets. Over the years, when many other helmets haven’t fitted, I've found that Grivel ones have. In fact, it’s always surprised me that you don’t see more of them at the crag. They’re comfortable, they’re light, and they’re durable - what’s not to like? In the case of the Stealth, the only thing I could possibly think of was that it made me look remarkably like Kryten from Red Dwarf…
The Stealth is a significant re-design of the old Air Tech, which was my helmet of choice from around 2009 - 2012. Odd though it is to remember this, I have very fond memories of it - the fit, the look, and the fact it was bright yellow. Despite its radical new angular look the Stealth is actually quite similar in terms of fit, which is a good thing, as for me it is a versatile lid, with a range of 54-62cm. Whilst these dimensions are quite common - they're the same as the Petzl Sirocco and very similar to the Black Diamond Vector, for instance - what makes the Stealth stand out is the low profile that comes alongside this range. With some helmets, you put them on and feel like you're going to bump your head on things constantly due to the rather ungainly increase in height. Some you struggle to fit under a hood. But not so the Stealth.
Whilst the dimensions of the fit may be quite similar to the Air Tech the actual coverage is quite different, with the sides and back of the helmet going a little lower than those of the original. As a result it offers greater protection in the event of banging your head in a fall, or even just for those bumps and grazes you get whilst actually climbing.
Being made of a polystyrene foam inner and polycarbonate outer, the Stealth provides a good balance between weight and durability. At only 190g, you hardly notice you're wearing it. This polystyrene/polycarbonate blend means that, with a bit of care, you can pop it in the top of your rucksack and bash it around without it disintegrating. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the Stealth has survived several months of fairly rugged use unscathed.
The strap/cradle system used throughout is far simpler than on the Airtech and much less mechanical. In fact, it's essentially just webbing and buckes, which I like - there’s absolutely nothing to break and it’s easy to operate with cold hands or whilst wearing gloves. In terms of ventilation the Stealth is second to none too, with as many venting holes as seem possible on a helmet without making it dangerous (!).
If there is one downside, it is the headtorch clips, which are difficult to handle barehanded - let alone with gloves. Becuase they sit flush to the helmet's exterior, and double as the attachment points for the straps/webbing on the interior, they're almost impossible to get up and away from the helmet enough for you to fit the torch strap underneath them. In my opinion, this is a major design flaw that will be quite off-putting for winter climbers and alpinists, those who habitually start their day in the dark and for whom benightment is a regular occurance. Were I to be in their position, I would probably favour putting on my headtorch from the word go, as opposed to fiddling around with it in the field.
A great performance helmet, with a good fit and a low volume, the Stealth strikes a good balance between weight and durability, and even comes in at a competitive price. It is let down by the headtorch clips, but other than that it is virtually spot on. For fans of Red Dwarf it also has the benefit of making you look like Kryten; for those who weren't fans, be prepared to have it mentioned to you at the crag...a lot...
What Grivel say:
Hyper-light and hyper-ventilated helmet. The polycarbonate shell is co-moulded on a layer of expanded injected foam that absorbs the impact, with an unbelievable weight of 190 grams! The design provides the best airflow ever made. One size (54-62) that can be regulated to fit once the helmet is on. The adjustment system tucks into the helmet for compact storage in your pack or haul bag. Headlamp clips.
For more info see grivelgb.co.uk