UPDATE: Sometimes initial impressions of a piece of gear change after months of use. After all, that’s what we do with climbing gear, right? Beat it up, and see if we like it. After six months of use and abuse, Shaun Matusewicz has a different perception of the Penta helmet.
I am six months into using the Penta Helmet and things have changed.
The helmet just doesn’t fit right; maybe I have a funny shaped head but that it not my only gripe. The strapping system that seemed lightweight and interesting at first has also shown its true form. The straps move seemingly at will, no matter how many times you adjust them. They continually slip down and press down on your ears, at times hurting.
And the liner pads, oh man these things are no good. On long multi-pitch routes it is like climbing with a wet sponged pressed to your forehead. Uncomfortable and a recipe for a breakout.
In short, the Singing Rock Penta helmet gets a thumbs down. Give it a pass, spend a few extra bucks and get something that fits well and performs.
See his initial thoughts below:
For the last 15 years my climbing helmets have faithfully ping-ponged back and forth between Black Diamond and Petzl, depending on who was having a sale at the time. A lot of my friends are in this same boat.
Recently after retiring my latest helmet, I wanted to see what else was out there. It was time to switch it up. But with who?
Review by Shaun Matusewicz, Senior Contributor
From the pictures on the web (I had never seen one in the wild), the Singing Rock Penta looked a lot like the BD Vector. Then I saw something on The Singing Rock website that changed my mind: hard PC shell avoids sharp objects penetration.
This is exactly what I was looking for. Helmets should be light, strong and able to be stuffed into a backpack with massive cams, big bros and whatever else that days mission calls for, all without denting. At first I thought this additional protection would come at a weight price, but the helmet weighs in at only 205 grams, 35 less than the Vector and 15 grams less than the Petzl Meteor.
The helmet arrived promptly and looked good right out of the box, although the strapping system immediately caught my eye. It is made entirely out of webbing – no hard plastic like a BD or Petzl. ‘This might be terrible,’ I thought, as I slid on the helmet.
Turns out my fears were unfounded. The strapping was comfortable, easy to adjust and avoids the one thing I dislike about the Meteor – the design of the plastic strapping used to adjust helmet size. It might work for some, but for me it often jams up into the helmet and gets caught behind the inner edge of the plastic shell.
While the hard shell and weight exceeded my expectations, the Penta is not without one drawback, at least for a guy with a bigger head. The helmet is one-size-fits-most (51-60 cm) and does not cover the back of my head quite as much as I would like. It rises up and leaves about an inch more of the back of my skull exposed than competing helmets.
Not a big deal with good rope management or for a smaller heads, but for us bobble heads, if things go wrong that one inch could be a real bummer.
The Bottom Line: The Singing Rock Penta is a good-looking helmet that is light and affordable. Buy it if weight and having a helmet that can be packed into a bag are important – just make sure it fits if you have a bigger head.
In the vertical world, quality gear is as important as good weather or the right partner. At the Climbing Zine, we review gear that we put to the test in our personal climbing pursuits, over months of use. If we like it we’ll tell you, and if we don’t we’ll tell you. That’s our policy…If you have gear for us to consider for a review please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. You can now subscribe to The Climbing Zine as well!