It has been a while since I have climbed on rock or pulled on plastic in a rock gym, but the sport hasn’t changed much in the past decade. Yeah, the elite climbers are pushing the limits of extreme climbing, but the equipment they are using, including climbing helmets, hasn’t really changed.
Ha! There is a contradiction in terms. Elite climbers using climbing helmets. I don’t think I have ever seen a rock climber doing a route over 5.12a with a helmet on, especially on a sport route. Even for me, during the peak of my climbing days when I was leading 5.11s, and an occasional 5.12, I never wore a helmet on a sport climb. Never even owned a rock climbing helmet.
One of my climbing partners did, but he climbed a bit more trad routes, which is much more common place for climbing helmets. My experience with climbing helmet has been limited to my early days of climbing in the Needles in South Dakota and on Devil’s Tower in Wyoming while on a NOLS course during a break in college. I also used a climbing helmet the last time I climbed, which was a trip up The Monkey’s Face at Smith Rock in Oregon.
It was the only time I ever wore a climbing helmet at Smith Rock, which is mostly where I climbed back in the day. It was a reunion climb with old climbing buddies, one that was turning 40. We hired a guide to take us to the top the Monkey’s Face. Not wearing a climbing helmet was not an option.
There are a few good reasons to wear a helmet when climbing. The first of because of rock fall. This has always been the primary reason to wear a helmet, even above hitting your head on the side of a cliff. Getting hit in the head by a rock is bad enough. Getting hit in the head by a rock while in the middle of a climb or while belaying your partner through a very thin crux, is even worse.
There is not much you can do if you are lying there unconscious dangling on a thin rope hundreds of feet in the air, or even just 30 feet in the air for that matter. The protection you get from wearing a climbing helmet is vitally important, especially where rock fall is common.
Luckily, rock climbing helmets and mountaineering helmets can be pretty high tech and made from some very advanced, and lightweight materials, which is important when hauling gear. Below, I have chose some of my favorite climbing helmet that are available on Amazon.
Amazon is a great place to get a climbing helmet. There is a huge selection to chose from and the prices can’t be beat. Most even come with free shipping.
I have broken up the helmets below into different categories by price. If you are in the market for a new climbing helmet, I am sure you can find a great one below.
Best Climbing Helmets $50 – $100
These helmets are your entry level helmets. You can probably find some helmets for under $50, but I wouldn’t recommend them, unless they are on sale. Cheaper helmets are exactly that, cheaper. The materials are inferior and they tend to be a bit heavier.
Helmets in the $50 – $100 range are made out of good materials, but can be a bit heavier than more expensive helmets and don’t come with as many features.
Best Climbing Helmets $100 – $150
For more avid and serious climbers, this is a great price range. The helmets in this range will have more features, be more versatile, be more comfortable, and be lighter in weight.
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While the helmets displayed above are all great helmets, if I had to pick one or two, they would be the Petzl Pro Vertex Climbing Helmet and the Petzl Sirocco Ultralight Climbing Helmet. Petzl has always been a very reliable and high quality manufacturer of climbing equipment. They have set the standards for others to follow.
The Vertex has also received the most positive reviews of those that purchased one through Amazon. While I have never tried on the Sirocco helmet, I really like its super lightweight and magnetic buckle.