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Rock Climbing Helmet

Helmets are built to protect the climber from falling rock, ice, or from impact during a fall. Rock climbing helmets should comply with standards and be approved and documented by a certification of compliance.

Materials Used in Making Climbing Helmets

The outer shell of rock climbing helmets are commonly made from these types of materials: Polycarbonate shell, hard plastic, polyethylene, polycarbonate or fiberglass. The inner shell is made for fitting comfort and distributing impact force. The inner shell is usually a foam liner or harness system.

  • Plastic. climbing helmets are lightweight and strong and make good choices for caving, rock climbing and rappelling. This type of helmet is lighter than the fiberglass or polycarbonate composite helmets.
  • Fiberglass and polycarbonate composite. Climbing helmets absorb the shock energy by breaking. The outer shell of the composite helmet absorbs the energy. Plastic and nylon helmets transfer the shock to the inner cradle harness. This type of helmet has a useful life about twice as long as the plastic helmet. Helmets made from fiberglass or polycarbonate are good choices for ice climbing.

Features of Climbing Helmets

Adjustability: Helmets for climbing should fit tight but not uncomfortably tight. There should be no gap between the head and inner suspension. The padding should press firmly and uniformly in pressure all the way around the head. The chin strap should be adjustable and circumference harness system.

Ventilation: The holes for ventilation on climbing helmets are small to limit rocks and dirt from getting inside. Many helmets provide option for plugging top side vents during cold weather. Some vent on the side using small holes or side ports.

Weight: The weight of a climbing helmet varies from about 10 oz / 280 grams, to 17 oz / 480 grams. Choose your helmet based on the importance of weight, considering the tradeoffs.

Recommended use: Many indoor climbers don't wear helmets--most gyms / climbing walls do not require their use. However, when climbing outdoors on rock or ice, rappelling, or cave climbing, it's pretty important to wear one. Protective head gear used in other sports, or construction hard hats should not be substituted. Climbing helmets are designed to excel in different climbing environments: Rock, big wall, face, mountaineering, ice, and cave climbing are different environments. Choose a helmet with the features required the particular sport. Each manufacturer provides a recommend use.

Warranty: This varies by manufacturer and varies widely. Check the warranty for each climbing helmet individually.

Care of your rock climbing helmet. Do not sit or step on it. When you finish climbing, wipe it down with a moist cloth inside and out. Store it in a cool, dark, and dry location with other climbing gear. Dry it by hanging it on a clothesline. Check it out before climbing, look for signs of wear or damage.

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