Helmets are an important safety consideration when climbing and will protect your head from falling rocks, ice or other debris. Also in the unfortunate event of a fall, you are far less likely to suffer head injuries if wearing a helmet. Helmets are essential in high mountain areas due to the frequency of rock falls, but even on low lying crags in the UK falling rocks are an ever present danger.
Modern lightweight helmets made with an expanded foam inner and a very thin outer shell (such as the Wild Country Rocklite) are by far the lightest climbing helmets on the market. They are ideal for single pitch cragging and sports routes.
However they don’t offer the same durability and long term protection that a traditional ‘Hard shell’ helmet will. These use a much thicker ABS plastic shell with a fabric cradle for your head and are excellent for resisting sustained use and abuse (the Vertex Vent is a good example).
Most general purpose helmets now use a hybrid construction, that uses the expanded foam inner, from the super lightweight helmets, combined with an ABS plastic shell that’s thinner and lighter than a old school hard shell. These type of helmets are often referred to as ‘half shell’ or ‘hybrid’ helmets and are the most versatile type of helmet and suit a wide range of users.