Mammut Wall Rider

The debate over plastic versus foam helmets has divided climbers ever since expanded polypropylene was molded into melon shapes. Do you go with the ol’ reliable hard shell, or dish out the extra cash for a lighter but less durable foam dome?

 The debate over plastic versus foam helmets has divided climbers ever since expanded polypropylene was molded into melon shapes. Do you go with the ol’ reliable hard shell, or dish out the extra cash for a lighter but less durable foam dome?

The Mammut Wall Rider bridges these two camps with a hybrid: an expanded polypropylene (EPP) core topped with a hard plastic shell over the center and front. The Rider maintains the durability and overhead protection of a hard shell, yet isn’t heavy. At only 195 grams, the Wall Rider is the third lightest climbing helmet, behind Petzl’s 150g Sirocco ($129.95) and Black Diamond’s 186g Vapor ($139.95), but The Wall Rider costs 30 to 40 dollars less. It also has a lower profile than the Sirocco, making it less likely to get in the way when head room is tight such as it can be in chimneys and under roofs, and the hard shell gives me peace of mind when I toss the Rider alongside a pile of cams and ice screws in my pack.

The Rider has a minimalist but adjustable suspension system, which uses thin webbing straps to lock it down on your head. The system is quick to cinch tight or loosen, making it easy to add or remove a hat on the fly—and it’s comfortable either way. Add that to the generous ventilation in the EPP core, found around the sides and back of the helmet, and The Rider is great for both ice climbing and cragging in the sun.

To keep your mind at ease, the Rider is EN and UIAA certified.

—Hayden Carpenter

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