Petzl Meteor Helmet
It was a fair few years ago when Petzl introduced a ground breaking new helmet they called the Meteor. Rather than the traditional hard shell with an interior cradle, the Meteor was a radical design shift with a very lightweight plastic shell and a shock absorbing foam liner. It looked and reacted to impact more like a cycling than a climbing helmet and the design set new ground in terms of comfort, styling and weight. It also performed really well in impact tests (the Meteor is designed to deform as it absorbs shock so it only copes well with an initial impact) and you can read more about some results we compiled during live tests during a BMC Technical Conference here.
Over the years I've owned every model of the Meteor and it has improved significantly with each new offering. The latest incarnation (which has given up the number system to be known again just as the Meteor) takes over from the 3+ that has been around for the last few years. It is difficult to see how far Petzl can stretch this design, so, when I had the chance to try the new model, I wondered how different is the new Meteor?
The Meteor has been my favourite choice for all summer mountaineering and climbing (*) over the last decade or so and, of these, the 3+ certainly set the highest standard of comfort, style and functionality. I have only been wearing the new model for the last couple of months so, although this is certainly no long term test, here are my initial thoughts.......
The new model is a different shape
There are improved ventilation slots in the reshaped rear and along the sides. It looks more than ever like the large fin like vents popular on cycling helmets and, although I haven't used the helmet on hot Summer days yet, there is definitely more space for air to flow around. Hopefully this will mean improved ventilation.
The new shape is more streamlined
The new Meteor feels and looks neater on the head and this makes a difference if you wearing it under a jacket hood. If you hold one helmet against the next there is actually no difference in the width of the helmet but the top dome has been redesigned and so the overall feel is that it is slicker. The previous model was extremely comfortable and unobtrusive - but this still feels more compact.
The adjustment system is improved
The old helmet adjuster worked well but it is certainly easier to adjust the rear adjuster with gloves and when operating one handed. It is an excellent design and a significant improvement. The simple catch, which allows the user to slide the headband open or closed, works like a charm.
The chin strap adjuster has changed
The new Meteor features the same magnetic closure system Petzl use on their Scirocco helmet. It took a little while to get used to but, once mastered, it works really really well. The clip can be operated one handed and I have had no problem using it with gloves on. It is spot on.
The headtorch holder clips are different
Petzl have cleverly incorporated the clips into the shell and they are completely unobtrusive when not in use. When you need them they hold a torch headband solidly and securely.
The shell patterns are new
Yep. The new design facelift looks really fresh.
So, the new Meteor is definitely an improvement but many of the changes are fairly small or cosmetic tweaks. So, my conclusion would be that it probably isn't worth immediately paying out for a new one until you are due to replace it. Having said that, when you do swap you'll be very pleasantly surprised with the new model. Well done (again!) Petzl.
Posted by Paul