Anyone climbing outdoors or indoors, for work or for fun, needs a helmet. A helmet or a hard hat should be considered a fundamental part of PPE. Why? Direct head trauma from a height of about 10 feet is sufficient to cause permanent brain damage or even death. Accidents while working at heights happen all the time: climbers can fall or bump into equipment at heights, drop equipment, rocks fall, massive plumes of snow or ice can appear out of nowhere. Check out the reported accidents database, you will be surprised, as these reports prove that care and attention are necessary even on the seemingly easy ground. What should you be looking for in a helmet? Focus on these characteristics: foam types (EPP or EPS), ventilation, weight, comfort, sizing, adjustability, and headlamp compatibility.
- Protective Foam: Expanded Polystyrene is an incredibly hard and reliable material that will protect even from serious impacts, but it will be crushed while absorbing the blow and will need to be replaced as soon as you notice cracks. Expanded Polypropylene is engineered to absorb strong impacts without shattering.
- Ventilation: Although poor ventilation is a common complaint among many helmet users, there should be a perfect balance between ventilation requirements and safety because to improve ventilation more empty spaces were added, which increases a chance of a smaller rock or an insect to get inside a helmet through ventilation holes.
- Weight: The lighter helmets are less likely they are to shift around your head when you look up or down. However, there is a correlation between weight and durability: the heavier the helmet is, the more durable it is.
- Comfort: If it is not comfortable, you won’t wear it. Period.
- Sizing: A perfect fit is achieved by the correct sizing: a helmet should be comfortably snug.
- Adjustability: A helmet without adjustability does not make sense. Good helmets offer adjustable straps around the head and around the chin so you can adapt it to your perfect fit.