Petzl Meteor III+

After the wall of text I dedicated to my new harness, I’ll try to keep this review a little more succinct. Also tagging along for the ride this past weekend was a brand spanking new Petzl Meteor III+ helmet I’d snagged from US Outdoor. While USO has it at $10 less than the MSRP, it’s still pricey for a helmet at $100. However, on my last few weekends out I’ve found myself packing my helmet in (“Yeah, it takes up a lot of space, but I should be wearing it. Bring it.”) and then never ever wearing it (“I can’t bear to cover up my beautiful Ken-doll hair.”). Since I was going to be lending my old helmet to my partner for the weekend anyway, I figured this was a good opportunity to upgrade.

Despite my vanity, I actually like the Meteor more for its features than its looks. It’s very easy to adjust the chinstrap on the fly, making it easy to add or remove hats throughout the day. This is a blessing; a few of the other helmets I’ve used make this simple process into an ordeal that takes entire minutes. Minutes! The system for tightening the band around your head isn’t the usual spin dial, but instead has two ratchets. This makes it slightly harder to adjust the band while you’re wearing the helmet, but not by much. If you’re OCD like me you’ll have to overcome a nagging fear that the ratchets might not be perfectly symmetric on the back of your head after you’ve blindly adjusted it, but the helmet will be comfortable regardless.

A helmet so light, it weighs less than your hair!

What really stands out about the Meteor though is its weight. I realize this will sound cliche, but I literally forgot I was wearing this thing for large portions of the day. I ate lunch wearing it and didn’t realize until I was halfway through my sandwich. Since my hope was to pick up a helmet that I would use more often, this is a huge plus.

The Meteor, like most climbing helmets I’ve seen, is a foam helmet covered with a crown of hard plastic. The plastic is thinner than in most models, and the helmet probably is less durable as a result–as with all foam helmets, once the foam gets a dent in it, it’s retired, so thicker plastic around the foam matters in that respect. The Camp helmet and Petzl Elios both feel a bit more substantial and bomber than the Meteor III+. Personally, I’m more concerned with the rigidity of the helmet plastic when I’m considering rockfall. In the event of an inverted lead fall, the foam is doing all the work protecting your noggin anyway, and the Meteor actually has foam protecting the side of your head unlike the other helmets I’ve worn. I will probably continue to use a harder, heavier helmet on multipitch or in areas where something falling onto my head is a worry, but for day-to-day cragging the Meteor is my new go-to.

The Meteor is a step up in looks from my Camp Armour, but I still think it’s kind of ugly compared to flaunting my winsome blond locks. However, at least now when I do need to use a helmet, I might still get Facebook-worthy pictures. And that’s the real reason I climb.

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