Climbing helmets have come a long way in the last few years—mostly by shedding weight and becoming ultralight. I’ve realized that the really light helmets are not for me, they smash and get banged up too easily. Thus when I got my hands on the burly looking Grivel Stealth I hoped this was one that would be up my alley—the fact that it also was lightweight (190 grams) was a huge bonus.
The first thing that every climber has to consider with helmets is how they fit on your head. I’ve noticed over the years climbers seem to be loyal to certain brands because of that, and I have as well. I’d never worn a Grivel before, so I wasn’t sure.
Right away I noticed the webbing system for the Stealth was different than most helmets I’ve seen. The strap that fits around the back of your head is a piece of webbing that moves closer to your head than most helmets I’ve had. Rather than attaching to the back of the helmet like most are, it can be adjusted to snuggle right along the back of your head. When putting the helmet on for the first time this seems awkward, but after a few times I got used to it. Eventually I really grew to like the fit, and I also realized that, yes, this style of helmet fit my head well—something I can’t guarantee for everyone because of the nature of helmets.
Now that the first hurdle was cleared—a good fit for my head—the more obvious features needed to be considered. The most striking thing to me is that it checks in impressively light (190 grams, with an inner foam made of polystyrene, and a polycarbonate outer shell) and also can withstand some banging around. (For reference the lightest helmet out there, the Petzl Sirocco, due out in July, is now down to 170 grams).
Another important aspect of a helmet for me is coverage. The Stealth has more coverage in the back of the neck than most helmets, always an area I’m worried about hitting in the advent of an upside down fall. The ventilated sides ensure a coolness on warm days, and I’m sure those vents help shave a few ounces off the weight as well. The headlamp clips work efficiently and can be clipped into quickly.
For me this is the kind of helmet I’m looking for. It’s not the lightest, but in the end I’d rather have one extra ounce of weight, versus a helmet I can’t bang up without cracking.
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About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle.