Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gear Review: New Petzl Meteor Helmet

After using over five helmets during the last several years, I think I have finally found my perfect match.  That is not to say that the previous helmets I used are inferior; only that I have found a new model that meets my requirements in terms of function, safety and fashion.

I used the new Meteor helmet on a climbing trip to Italy and Switzerland.  With variable weather conditions during the trip, I tested the helmets ability to function in a variety of different environments and temperatures.  The helmet is very breathable in hot and humid weather and I was comfortable using it on sweaty sport climbs in Northern Italy.  The helmet is also very adjustable and the strap system can be configured  into a variety of different settings.  The interior pads can also be removed to provide more space.  I was able to comfortably use the helmet with a hat on a 15,000 foot peak in the Swiss Alps.  I use the size small 1 (48 - 56 cm) and I did notice that it fits just a bit smaller than the previous Petzl models I have used.

One innovation that I am particularly impressed with, is the ability to fit a low sitting pony-tail into the "V" shape that the adjustable straps make on the back of the head.  I realize there are women's specific helmets out there that are designed for a pony-tail but the women's specific models are not as light weight as the Meteor helmet.  I am not sure if Petzl developed this strapping system with a pony-tail in mind or if this is a creative adaptation on my part.  Either way, it is a great feature for us long-haired climbers!

The helmet also comes with the patented magnetic buckle.  On the Meteor helmet, I noticed the buckle seems to have improved a bit from the buckle on the Sirrocco helmet.  I have had no issues with it coming undone mid-climb and it seems more secure on the Meteor than the Sirrocco.  A headlamp can also be securely attached to the helmet.

One of the best features about the Meteor helmet is the fact that it is very light weight but also very sturdy.  At 220 grams, it is 15 grams lighter than the previous model.  While not quite as light weight as the foam constructed Sirrocco, the hard outside material of the Meteor adds some sort of mental component in terms of safety.  The Sirrocco has certainly been through rigorous safety testing but there is something about having the hard external shell on a helmet that inspires confidence.  Additionally, the helmet is very durable and has stood up to travel across several countries and being packed in my backpack up glaciers and steep trails.  It actually packs quite nicely as the strapping system neatly tucks into the inside of the helmet.

The helmet comes in four different colors with unique graphics depending on the size.  While this may not be a selling point for everyone, I personally love bright clothing and gear and I have already gotten several compliments on my new raspberry colored helmet!

All and all, this a great all-around helmet for the climber that is looking for a lightweight model that is comfortable, breathable and durable.  There is no excuse not to wear a helmet these days, when there are products like the new Meteor.  For more information see: Petzl and to purchase see Backcountry.com.

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