Friday, August 16, 2013

Gear Review: Petzl Sirocco Climbing Helmet

The Sirrocco climbing helmet is one of Petzl's new products and it sure does deliver!  It is the lightest and most durable climbing helmet on the market while also being comfortable and breathable.  This combination results in one of the more innovative pieces of climbing gear to recently hit the market.

Photo: Doris Oberlander

At just 165 g (for a large), the helmet literally weighs nothing.  I can barely tell its on my head and the additional weight in my pack is not noticeable.  Given its light weight, one may question the safety of the helmet.  After all, that is why we all wear helmets.  Not to fear, this helmet is made out of expanded polypropylene.  Essentially this is some really durable foam that can withstand high impact resistance without losing its shape.  Unlike other helmets, that typically have a thin plastic exterior lining, this helmet is made out of just a single piece of foam resulting in a more durable product.  I've even seen people step right on the helmet with no signs of wear and tear!

The helmet also has a very unique and lightweight strap system.  The material for the straps is soft and comfortable and there is a magnetic buckle that keeps it all together.  While it's advertised that this buckle can be attached with one hand; it does take a little coordination.  Also, a couple times after I thought I had buckled my helmet I have noticed that it was just merely sitting on my head with the straps dangling around my ears.  Not ideal when you are 500 feet off the ground.  What I have noticed, is that it's important to keep the magnetic area clean and free of dirt so that it appropriately adheres.

Other nice features include:  a lightweight, yet reliable headlamp attachment points and removable foam pads that are washable.  It is very breathable and air flow is not compromised even on the hottest of days.  Believe me, I have tested this out during the heat of the Salt Lake City summer.  It is quite comfortable and does not limit my vision in any direction.  And it has held up well for many summer adventures including being thrown around in the dirt and stuffed in my backpack for extended trips.

I don't have too many complaints with the product except that it is probably the most dorky climbing helmet I have seen in a long time!  Will that stop me from wearing it....ummmm...No. But I did need to think about that a little bit.

Bottom line:  This is the helmet for you if you want the lightest, most durable and most comfortable helmet on the market.  Lets face it, climbers are not  very good at protecting their head.  With a helmet like the Sirocco, climbers have no excuse not to wear a helmet.  As a nurse in the ICU, I have seen too many head injuries that could have been prevented with helmets.  Doesn't everyone want to be rock climbing when they are 70?  I know I do and that is why I am going to wear my Sirocco in the mountains, on sketchy trad leads and top roping.

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