The winners are:
Editors' Choice: Petzl Meteor III+
The Petzl Meteor III+ is a lightweight foam helmet that comes in a single size. This single size has a large enough range to fit both men and women. According to test editor Luke Lydiard, this model rises above the rest in the group because it is comfortable, well-ventilated, easy to adjust, and is fairly durable for a foam helmet. The headlamp clips are easy to use and secure. Weighing 7.9 ounces, this is one of the lightest of the lightweight offerings, making it an easy choice to wear on a difficult climb or to pack along on an all-day alpine mission. Petzl is releasing a new version of the Meteor in 2014, and it will be available in two sizes, which may allow more people to find a comfortable fit.
Best Buy Winner: Black Diamond Half Dome
The Black Diamond Half Dome is sold for a reasonable price, only costing $60. Additionally, this hard plastic helmet in incredibly durable and will likely last a while, making it an excellent value. Lydiard claims that an entry-level climber or a climber wanting the most for their money will love this helmet. Though at 11.9 ounces it is much heavier than a lightweight foam helmet, it has a large click-wheel on the rear band to allow for quick, one-handed adjustments. It is available in two different sizes, a small/medium and a medium/large, so just about anyone can find a good fit for their head.
Top Pick Winner: Petzl Sirocco
The Petzl Sirocco is an outlier in the climbing helmet category. It is feather-light, weighing only 5.8 ounces. It is also the most expensive helmet reviewed. Lydiard states that it feels like wearing a baseball cap, and is easy to forget you are wearing it because the weight is so negligible. It has weight-saving features such as a textile harness instead of a rigid band and an elastic band to secure a headlamp on the outside. Also, the main buckle is magnetic to make clipping easier. This helmet is unique, because unlike other light foam helmets that have a thin polycarbonate coating over the foam, the Sirocco is just naked, unprotected foam. This helps keep the weight down, but also makes the helmet more vulnerable to dents, nicks, and cracks. Lydiard concludes that this helmet is best reserved for light and fast missions in the alpine or hard sends, and won't make a very good everyday helmet since it will probably not last very long. This model is also available in two sizes, so can fit a wide range of people of both genders.
The complete review highlights specific differences between all eight tested designs. It is also accompanied by a Buying Advice Guide that describes the benefits and drawbacks of both a lightweight foam helmet and a hard plastic helmet in-depth. OutdoorGearLab has created a sizing chart to illustrate this buying guide, and it compares the size ranges of all the popular helmet models, including women's versions, and will help a customer determine what designs will best fit his or her head at a glance.
OutdoorGearLab, LLC, based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, produces the world’s best outdoor gear reviews by comparing competing products available on the market. The website, www.outdoorgearlab.com, is a free resource for those devoted to the outdoors and for those who engage in activities such as hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, running, cycling, skiing, and yoga. The aim is to help solve purchasing decisions by presenting consumers with relevant comparison data. The review team performs side-by-side analysis of gear, publishing the results in comprehensive reviews illustrated with photos. Each product is scored across a range of weighted metrics relevant to that category, competing products are ranked, and winners are selected from the highest scoring models.