Durable, fully adjustable and with great headlamp attachments The Black Diamond Vector is a favorite lightweight foam climbing helmet. Though slightly pricier than hardshell helmets, the Vector is sleek, comfortable and durable. Made of expanded polystyrene and covered by a thin polycarbonate shell, the Vector is very similar in construction to the Petzl Meteor and Black Diamond Vapor.
Like all lightweight helmets, the Vector is so comfortable as to be virtually unnoticeable. Though not as light as the Vapor or the Sirocco, neither of which has a polycarbonate shell, the Vector provides a good mix of durability and comfort. Thanks to two strategically placed thin foam pads, the helmet keeps your head cool and dry on even the toughest of climbs. Additionally, with a simple plastic clip to close the chin strap and a rear adjustment band, the Vector is easy to adjust. However, because of the lack of a heavy adjustment wheel, the Vector requires two hands to adjust size instead of just one.
Of the lightweight helmets tested, the Vector is the heaviest. At 8.4 ounces, it weighs 2.6 ounces more than the Petzl Sirocco, which is currently the lightest climbing helmet on the market. While still 3.5 ounces lighter than the Black Diamond Half Dome – the second heaviest helmet on the market – the Vector doesn’t have the durability that the Half Dome offers, nor does it have the almost-not-there comfort that the lighter foam helmets do. However, it’s a good middle-of-the-road option for someone looking for a mixture of comfort and safety.
In keeping with its “middle-of-the-road” fashion, the Vector is just okay on ventilation. While it offers decent ventilation, it still falls behind when compared against the Black Diamond Vapor, which is the most ventilated helmet on the market, and the Petzl Meteor, which had vents more strategically placed to allow for maximum airflow.
The Vector’s headlamp clips tend to shine even if other aspects don’t. Similar to the clips found on the Meteor, the Vector’s clips are low profile, easy to use, and offer a secure hold on the headlamp strap.
While not as durable as the Black Diamond Half Dome or the Petzl Elios, the Vector does offer more durability than the Vapor, which is prone to dents, and the Petzl Sirocco, which, due to its complete lack of a hardshell, is prone to squashing. Additionally, the Vector’s shell wraps around the bottom edge of the foam, which serves to protect the foam when the helmet is not being worn.
At $100 – $40 more than the Black Diamond Half Dome and $30 cheaper than the Petzl Sirocco – the Vector is, again, in the middle of the road in terms of value. However, if you are an experienced climber, you know your territory and are just looking for a more lightweight option, this may be a good option for you.
Fully adjustable harness
Durable, lightweight option
Shell that wraps around to protect edge of foam when helmet is set down
Excellent headlamp clips
The Black Diamond Vector is best for experienced climbers that want to protect their noggins but don’t want the weight of a hardshell helmet.
The Black Diamond Vector is a durable, lightweight climbing helmet great for experienced climbers that know how to treat their gear. From ventilation to headlamp clips, the Vector has all of the makings for a great helmet and has precisely what anyone can need to enjoy their climb.