The 10 Best Climbing Helmets


Whether you’re an alpinist, a spelunker, or a wilderness rescue worker, one of the most important precautions you can take before setting off on your next trek is protecting your head. The climbing helmets on this list are designed to do just that, using a combination of advanced materials, such as injection-molded ABS plastic and EPS foam.

9. Petzl Picchu Climbing Helmets

It’s natural to worry about your kids’ safety while outdoors, but with the Petzl Picchu , there’s no reason they can’t get in on your next adventure, too. This versatile model is designed for children aged 3 to 8, and can be used in everything from rappelling to cycling.

  • Uiaa and cspc-certified
  • Rear light mount
  • Cheek straps not adjustable

8. MSA Nexus Linesman Climbing Helmets

Whether you’re working in an urban or wilderness environment, you’ll be glad you have the MSA Nexus Linesman on your head. Given its weight, it’s likely not suitable for serious outdoor sports, but it is both CSA Type I and ANSI-approved for just about everything else.

  • Reflective striping for visibility
  • Moisture-wicking sweatband
  • No mounts at all

7. Mammut Skywalker 2 Climbing Helmets

Cave divers and mountaineers who regularly expose themselves to heavy rockfall should check out the Mammut Skywalker 2 . This rugged unit combines a hard plastic shell with a thick EPS liner that, together, offer superior protection against random debris and rubble.

  • Easy-to-turn rear thumb wheel
  • One size fits most with adjustments
  • Not the most comfortable shape

6. Edelrid Madillo Climbing Helmets

If you’re headed off for an extended trip in the backcountry, don’t leave home without the Edelrid Madillo . This first-of-its-kind model boasts a modular design that actually folds in on itself, reducing its overall pack volume by 50 percent and making it super portable.

  • Utilizes three different foam types
  • Has a headlight mount
  • Feels small on larger heads

5. Petzl Elia Climbing Helmets

For women who can’t seem to find a helmet that fits correctly in this often male-dominated field, the Petzl Elia can feel like a literal lifesaver. It’s sized specifically for smaller heads, and incorporates a large rear notch that comfortably accommodates a ponytail.

  • 6 inches high by 8 inches wide
  • Compatible with vizion eye shield
  • Lacks some finer adjustments

4. Singing Rock Penta Climbing Helmets

At just 205 grams, the Singing Rock Penta is one of the lightest foam models out there that still carries both CE and UIAA certifications. It’s also one of the most cost effective, thanks to a low price tag that makes it far more affordable than some of its competitors.

  • Flexible rear retention system
  • Plastic veneer shields foam liner
  • Not as breathable as other options

3. Petzl Meteor Climbing Helmets

In addition to its lightweight construction and ample ventilation ports, the Petzl Meteor also utilizes an innovative tensioning system that allows it to feel at home on all types of heads. Together, those features make it one of the most comfortable models on the market.

  • Breathable lining
  • Low-profile harness
  • Easy to use magnetic buckle

2. Black Diamond Half Dome Climbing Helmets

From the top of the highest mountain to the bottom of the deepest canyon, the Black Diamond Half Dome will keep the most important part of your body protected no matter what. It’s as suitable for beginners as it is for veterans, and is sure to last for years to come.

  • Comes in a range of colors
  • Very durable hard shell design
  • Great value for price

1. Mammut Wall Rider Climbing Helmets

With the Mammut Wall Rider , there’s no crag or peak you can’t climb safely and securely. Much of the model’s versatility is due to its hybrid design, which combines vented foam to keep you cool in the back with a plastic shell to shield you from hard knocks in the front.

  • Available in two sizes
  • Minimalist adjustment system
  • Balances comfort and protection well

What to Look for in a Good Climbing Helmet

With several things to consider before purchasing your perfect climbing helmet, we’ve listed the most important below…

1. Foam Types – EPS vs. EPP

This is the barrier which is going to be the most important when it comes to protecting your head from impacts.

a. EPP (Expanded polypropylene)

This foam is designed to absorb impacts without shattering. It’s more durable than EPS and the material is found in things like car bumpers. These helmets are more expensive because they’re not only lighter but also more protective and durable.

b. EPS (Expanded polystyrene)

For a long time EPS has been the most popular shock-absorbing foam in climbing helmets. It’s very hard and it can protect your head from a serious impact. However, it will only protect your head from one impact. After that, its integrity is compromised and you’ll have to get a new helmet.

2. Shell Types – Polycarbonate vs. ABS
While the foam type determines what’s inside the helmet, the shell material determines what’s on the outside.

a. Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate helmets are light, making them the best helmets for long climbing days. While that’s appealing to some, keep in mind that it also means the helmet is less durable, so it’s important that you treat it with care both when climbing and when storing it.

b. ABS

ABS helmets can absorb pretty major impacts and protect against falling debris. This also means they’re heavier, thicker, and more durable. In addition, they tend to be cheaper.

3. Adjustability

Depending on the climbing you’re doing, you may cross a lot of different types of terrain in a variety of different climates, and the last thing you’ll want is a helmet that doesn’t fit properly. A good helmet should be snug but still comfortable. If you nod your head and the helmet moves then it’s too loose. Climbing helmets have two points of adjustability the head strap and the chin strap. If you’re going to be moving around a lot, it’s important to have a helmet which is easy to adjust when on the go.

4. Weight and Comfort

It’s important to consider what type of climbing you’ll be doing before purchasing a climbing helmet. Some helmets are heavy and thick while others are light and thin. The one which works best will depend on what you’re doing. If you tend to have long cragging days or prefer multi-pitch climbs, a lighter helmet is likely to suite you better. If you’re climbing a well-traveled route and falling rocks aren’t very likely, a thin, light helmet may be fine for you. However, if you plan on blazing trails in new climbing areas then you may want a heavier helmet which offers more protection. Another thing to consider is how long you’ll be wearing the helmet, because the extra weight on your head can quickly become unpleasant.

5. Ventilation

The number of vents you’ll want will be based on what climates you typically climb in. For summer climbers, more ventilation is often better because you won’t want your head to be burning up while you’re climbing. On the other hand, if you prefer things like ice climbing you’ll want a helmet with less vents to keep your head as warm as possible. Also keep in mind that the more vents there are, the less your head is protected. So even if you’re climbing in a warmer climate, if falling rocks are likely then you may not want a helmet with too many vents.