Top Gear #7 Petzl Meteor
Climbing helmets have come a long way in recent years. They are now much lighter and more comfortable with user friendly features and better styling. This is all very positive because it means that, like skiing and cycling helmets, their use is becoming much more common. We've got absolutely no stats on how many climbers are now using them or how many lives have been saved by the growth in their use, but you certainly see more and more climbers popping a lid on nowadays (information I wrote about a helmet testing workshop may also be of interest and can be found here). One model that has led the way in this development is the Petzl Meteor and it’s our current favourite helmet. It is, therefore, Peak Mountaineering's seventh Top Gear choice.......
The Petzl Meteor changed climbing helmet design by using an expanded polystyrene sheathed in a lightweight polycarbonate external shell. This makes a very light helmet with the latest Meteor 4 model weighing only 220 grams. It also has a comfortable and easily adjustable head cradle ensuring it is unrestrictive to wear and large vents ensure a good through flow of air. Other features include attachment clips for a headtorch, various colour schemes, the Petzl reputation for quality and a reasonable price tag (around £75). It really is a great product.
The only disadvantage of this type of helmet is durability. A very lightweight shell covering a polystyrene dome means the Meteor is prone to damage if packed carelessly or, of course, if it is struck by an object. Infact, helmets of this type intentionally absorb impact partly by deforming and so they are more of a one hit design than some other types on the market. For this reason I don't personally wear this type of helmet for activities like ice climbing where being clunked by chunks of ice is fairly common. It also means that, should the helmet receive a significant impact, you should expect to retire it and invest in a new one. In truth I don't see this as a problem as replacing any helmet after it had taken a big impact is good practice.
So, if you want a light weight, comfortable, easy to adjust, well constructed and good value helmet that is well suited to rock climbing and general mountaineering I strongly suggest you give the Petzl Meteor 4 a try.