I finally got my hands on the new Petzl Sirocco Climbing Helmet and I gotta say this thing is a game-changer. Climbing gear technology steadily improves from year to year with big advances only happening about every decade, so it has been awhile since I have been excited about something as standard as a climbing helmet. Enter, the Sirocco!
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick this helmet up off the rack, other than the color, is the weight… or lack of. At 165 grams it is ridiculously light. Many of us don’t think in grams so lets break it down a few other ways.
That’s 5.82 ounces.
That’s one ounce more than two Clif Bars.
Ironically, that is exactly half the weight of my long time favorite Petzl Elios helmet.
It’s 30% lighter than the well known ultra-light Petzl Meteor III helmet.
Ok, I think you get it that this thing is light. But helmet weight is definitely secondary to the protection it offers right? How can a helmet that weighs next to nothing protect you better than one that weighs twice as much? The answer is in the material the helmet is made out of, Expanded PolyPropylene, or “EPP”. Without getting to techy this stuff can take a hard hit, absorb the energy reducing potential energy, and retain its shape after. Other “ultralight” helmets like Petzl’s own Meteor III can absorb the energy of a hard hit, but can be destroyed in the process. This makes this helmet more durable at less weight. Win win IMO.
Petzl demonstrates some of this stress testing in this video.
Ultralight? Check. Durable? Check. How about comfort?
Well, a quick look at the helmet shows there is a ton of ventilation and the straps easily adjust to fit my big head. But today was the first hot day I got to test the helmet. How hot? Well I just got in from 3 pitches on Cathedral Ledge and this is what I’m pulling up online:
- Wind SpeedVrbl 5 mph
- Barometer29.93 in (1013.4 mb)
- Dewpoint64°F (18°C)
- Visibility10.00 mi
- Heat Index91°F (33°C)
Last Update on 31 May 4:54 pm EDT
I put the helmet on hiking up to the Thin Air Face of Cathedral around 9am. We climbed Toe Crack, then Turner’s Flake, and decided to walk over to the North End for They Died Laughing. About 1:30 PM I was flaking out the rope when I 2nd guessed if I had grabbed my helmet after rapping from Turner’s and had one of those “Where’s my glasses?” moments. Yup, enough said… this thing is super comfy.
To recap, so light it is weird, safer than any helmet I’ve owned, comfy enough you forget it is on even when it is hot & humid. But there has to be some negatives right? Sure. Let’s hit em:
1) Color. You will be highly visible at the crag. Apparently this material can not be dyed, so don’t expect a choice in colors to be coming.
2) Price. OK. It’s close to double most of the other helmets on the wall, Petzl or not. But what are you getting in return? The LIGHTEST SAFEST climbing helmet on the market. For such an important piece of safety equipment I don’t have a problem with the MRSP of this helmet, and climbing gear sales abound (EMS Club Day and Upgrade Your Gear sales).
I do have two questions for the manufacturer that I will post here and update once I get responses, so follow the blog if you are interested or would want to know.
1) How does Expanded PolyPropylene, or “EPP”, hold up with UV degradation.
2) How does it react, if at all, with DEET?
Well that’s it. I plan on getting some more reviews up over the next month so if you want to follow it’s that little spot at the top right of the blog that says “follow”. Happy climbing!