(5 out of 5)
”You gotta protect your money maker!” – A very smart climbing parter before I roped up sans helmet
To wear a helmet or not wear a helmet: that should not be the question. These days, the adoption rate of wearing a helmet in different sports continues to grow. Just twenty years ago, only 25% of skiers/snowboarders were wearing helmets. At the same time, the Tour de France was allowing riders to ditch their helmets for the final climb up a mountaintop finish. Fast forward to today, and roughly 90% of skiers and snowboarders where a helmet. The Tour and other UCI cycling events make it mandatory to wear a helmet at all times. The excuses of not looking cool or adding to discomfort in hot conditions are no longer valid. Helmet design and technology have come a long way to make either argument a thing of the past.
Yet, the prevalence of helmets in climbing is highly dependent on individuals, the type of climbing one is doing, location (remoteness), rock quality, and whether you are climbing or belaying:
- Boulderers never wear helmets
- Sport climbers are less likely to wear a helmet, especially on steep terrain where falls feel safer
- Trad climbers are likely to wear a helmet
- Belayers are less likely to wear a helmet compared to those climbing
Care to dig deeper on the data and influences around wearing helmets climbing? Checkout this article from Climbing Magazine.
If you’re still reading, we are going to assume you are pro-helmet. Cool. Let’s check out the Mammut Wall Rider and why we give it a solid endorsement for protecting your dome while climbing.
$120 | Where to Buy
The Mammut Wall Rider helmet offers solid protection in a lightweight package. The top of the helmet reinforces EPP foam with a hard shell, providing a combination of lightweight performance and durability. Comfort is achieved through interior padding, large ventilation holes, and a minimalist harness for dialing in fit. Overall, the Mammut Wall Rider is a great helmet that only gets better in the MIPS version.
The Wall Rider is made of expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam, which offers lightweight protection and the ability to absorb and distribute impacts over time. The alternative, EPS, can generally sustain larger impacts but is designed to only take a single blow that results in cracking or crumpling of the foam to distribute the force of impact. While EPP requires care in handling so that you don’t introduce unnecessary wear to the helmet, the Wall Rider uses a hard shell on top of the helmet for an additional layer of reinforcement where it is needed most.
Wondering which foam is best for you?
Learn more about EPP Foam
Learn more about EPS Foam
Weighing in under 9 ounces thanks to its EPP foam construction, the Mammut website officially lists the helmet at 195 grams or 220 grams depending on size. While there are lighter helmets on the market, this helmet will feel incredibly light if you are transitioning over from a hardshell style helmet. The extra weight from the hardshell top of the helmet is worth it for the added layer of protection and durability.
The Wall rider meets EN 12492 and UIAA standard 106. This is to say the helmet protects up to a certain force on top of the helmet and allows for proper fit using an internal adjustable structure and chinstrap. There is only so much a helmet can do against mammoth forces but rest assured this helmet meets safety standards specifically for climbing and mountaineering.
It must be noted that the baseline model described here does not include the additional MIPS safety technology, something that you should shell out extra cash for. MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) comes standard in most cycling helmets, which helps minimize rotational (angled) forces that are almost always at play in any type of crash or impact scenario.
Learn more at https://mipsprotection.com.
Large vents are used around the sides of the Wall Rider along with two smaller vents in the top-front portion of the helmet. The ventilation of this helmet is solid and adds to the overall comfort.
We can’t say enough about the comfort of the helmet. While no helmet will be comfortable to everyone, the Wall Rider gives you a lot ways to dial in the right fit. The main difference between other helmets is that it does not use a plastic dial to tighten the back of the helmet snug against your head. Instead, a minimalist nylon webbing is used to comfortably secure the helmet against your head. It’s similar to lace-up vs Velcro climbing shoes. While the system is a bit more cumbersome to employ, the fit is unrivaled by allowing you to fasten the helmet according the shape of your head.
Lastly, the helmet comes with different sized padding for the interior of the helmet which gives options for proper fit and comfort.
The general style of the Wall Rider is appreciated. It looks like it belongs in these modern climbing times, if that matters at all to you. Even so, it’s hard to not feel like it has a bit of a large dome, which is a common feature of EPP foam helmets, which typically require more material to meet safety standards. The helmet also has a headlamp attachment with clips in the front and bungee clasp in back. Lastly, the front of the helmet has a small brim that will do next to nothing in terms of blocking the sun or sheltering your face from rain, but it is a nice design touch to make the helmet look a bit less dorky.
The Not So Good
In this scenario of being forced to gripe about something, it would be the price tag (if you can put a value on protecting your brain). The Wall Rider is roughly $20 more expensive than similar helmets such as the Black Diamon Vision Helmet.
The Wall Rider comes in two sizes (52-57cm & 58-61cm) for different ranges in head circumference. Try the helmet on first before purchasing.
The Final Verdict
We really like the Mammut Wall Rider helmet. Coming from a hardshell model, it doesn’t feel like we are even wearing helmet. The adjustability of fit using the harness system is a nice touch compared to the common plastic dial found in most helmets.
While we really like Wall Rider, we were also sure to try on plenty of other models to get a sense for what fit our head the best. Be sure to do the same so you can ensure you find a comfortable helmet that you’ll actually want to wear at the crag.
Wear a Helmet!
$120 | Where to Buy