Thursday, 16 May 2013

Petzl Helmet Review

I am in a position of having used all 3 of the adult mens petzl climbing helmets. These are the Sirocco, Metero III+ and Elios. They also make a womens helmet, the Elia, and a childrens helmet, the Picchu.
Metero III+: My first petzl helmet was the Metero III+. It is made from expanded polysetser allowing it to be very light (235g!) and well ventilated. Despite its lightweight feel it is quite hard wearing. The helmet is fully adjustable, and after a bit of practice you can even do it with one hand. This type of helmet is abit different from a conventional climbing helmet. The expanded polyester is designed to absorb impact, and not deform then rebound like a normal plastic lid.
Trad in the Meteor III+ (Photo Credit: Joanna Lisowiec)
This means that if you were to get hit my a falling rock it is more likely to break. However, like a bike helmet, if you hit your own head on a rock then it does a much better job than a conventional helmet. This might seem a bit hard to get your head around at first glance. Depending on your fixed point of reference then either the rock or the head can be moving in either situation, but does it work. I bought this helmet as I wanted something that would be able to withstand a side impact, which the meteor III+ does very well. Before this helmet I owned a Grivel Airtech, but it really didn't fit as nicely or cover as much of my head as the Meteor. The Metero features easy to use headlamp attachments. The Meteor is a very good trad or sport climbing helmet. This gets a harry rating of 1 thumb up.
New Elios: I won a new Petzl Elios helmet at the STS in 2012 and since winning it I have used it more than any other helmet I own. It features an ABS shell with a polystyrene liner, protecting both against falling rocks and falling heads. The fitting system is pretty much the same as that of the Meteor III+ and again is easy to adjust.
Elios at Newtyle (Photo Credit: Dom Scott)
The Elios also features headlamp attachments. There are a series of vents down either side of the helmet which can be closed if it is really cold or windy. At 330g (size 2) the Elios isn't exactly heavy either. The Elios feels more durable than the Meteor and is my main helmet for winter climbing and general cragging. The Elios is an all round helmet for the all round climber. This gets a Harry rating of 2 thumbs up.
Sirocco: The new Sirocco from Petzl is a super lightweight climbing helmet, that comes only in orange. It weighs in at a measly 165g and is made from a new expanded polypropelene. I used the Sirocco at the final round of the STS at Glenmore Lodge as a Petzl rep. brought it with him and I asked to borrow it for the final. The helmets lightness isn't just it the special foam used. A new adjustment system has been made for the Sirocco which doesn't use the plastic clips found on other helmets but just relies on some small buckles. This means it is much harder to adjust, but this just shows Petzls dedication to make a super light helmet. The new foam has allowed Petzl to remove the plastic outer found on their other fully foam helmet, the Metero, which has reduced its weight but means you have to have it in orange with foam effect.
Sirocco at the STS (Photo credit:

There are headlamp attachments points, but there are only two unlike the four found on other Petzl helmets. The chin strap has a magnet inside the closing buckle. This is claimed to make it easier to close. I have never had any problem doing up a helmet and seeing as Petzl seemed to have abandoned ergonomics in favour of lightness for the rest of the helmet I think this is a little unnecessary. The Sirocco bends quite a lot when you press on the sides. The Petzl rep. who first showed me the helmet assured me it had been designed like this. The Sirocco is a nice concept and after they have worked out how to put some sort of design on the foam it will be even better, but I don't really see where it fits into my personal climbing. It is very light so it would be good as a competition helmet but if there was a large danger of falling rocks I think I'd rather something a bit more durable. This gets a Harry rating of 1 thumb up and 1 thumb down.

All three helmets have their place in climbing but from my personal all-round British perspectve the Elios is ideal. All of these helmets are available from

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