In the battle for lightweight head protection, Black Diamond has moved a-head with the Vapor helmet. With a head-turning weight of 199 grams (7.0 ounces) [M/L], the Vapor can already be seen atop the heads of many skimo racers. It’s packed in the back with head-cooling vents, while remaining head-lamp compatible. The fore-head is a smooth wind-blocking sheet, preventing head-sweat from percolating up and fogging your goggles. Get a head start with the lightest polycarbonate helmet and avoid head-aches from falling rock. Head on over to checkout with the Vapor head-bucket in your cart.
- A Kevlar sheet and carbon rods provide lightweight strength in this marvel of engineering.
- Ratcheting adjustment system is easy to use with gloves and can be tucked into the helmet.
- Headlamp clips can be removed to reduce snagging and avoid lugging of a couple grams.
- Co-molded EPS foam has a polycarbonate shell to reduce neck-breaking impact friction.
- Amazing ventilation and a low profile make the helmet great for highly aerobic activities.
Updates 2019/20: BD updated their color options available for this season, but this helmet otherwise remains the same.
|Certifications||EN 12492 (climbing)|
|Materials||Co-molded EPS foam with polycarbonate shell|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Ski mountaineering, climbing, ice climbing|
|Notes||Geometric, open-air design provides high ventilation|
|Bottom Line||Light, secure, and comfortable helmet|
|Compare to other Helmets|
Questions & Reviews
Background on product familiarity: I bought my Vapor helmet in Spring 2013, and have worn it since for lots of training, racing, and “real” touring.
First, the first impressions out of the box: Even compared to almost all the very light bike-style climbing helmet competition, the aptly named Vapor is noticeably lighter. Plus the material is relatively thin on top, and the helmet extends down relatively far on the sides, so the Vapor has no alien-style “crystal dome” effect (especially compared to the downright embarrassing Petzl Sirocco).
The ratcheting adjustment in the back is simple and effective, and ditto for the chin strap. Fit matches up well with the sizing chart.
Second impressions, in use: Since the Vapor comes down a little more than other climbing helmets, some sunglasses with relatively high corners don’t fit well. For ski goggles, I’ve never tried using the headlamp clips, although alternatively, with all the vents to serve as attachment points, jerry rigging would be easy with some combination of zip ties, resort lift ticket holders, and/or velcro straps. And those headlamps clips are removable, so if you ever do remove them (or don’t attach them in the first place), remember to snap them on before any outing where you might need them!
Third impressions, for long-term durability: All bike-style climbing helmets are designed to sacrifice their lives for you. But many reviews of the Vapor question its durability from just being carried about, although I’ve never read of any failures. I did shred the interior padding relatively quickly, but Black Diamond sent me an easily swapped-in replacement.
As for durability, I'm less concerned about what I'm going to be doing AFTER my head hits something -- besides stopping whatever it is I'm doing, and possibly seeking medical attention -- and more concerned about whether I will break the damn thing carting the helmet around. Starting an adventure with a non-intact helmet, or canceling an adventure because of a broken one seems like a major disadvantage to me; one EPP helmets don't share.
Anyway, if planning to compete outside of NA with this or any helmet, check with ISMF rules/office if it's approved.
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