At just 165 g (5.8 oz), the Sirocco Ultralight Climbing Helmet is one of the lightest weight climbing helmets available. Made from a single piece of expanded polyprophyene, Petzl has succeeded in creating a climbing helmet that offers all round impact protection in a package that is, in the words of users, “incredibly comfortable and light.” Before the Sirocco, climbing helmets were made of expanded polystyrene, which is rigid, and which must be protected by an outer hard shell in order to successfully spread larger impacts across its surface. Expanded polyprophyene, on the other hand, is flexible, which means that the tough outer shell can be done away with. Thanks to its lightweight structure and almost “not there” feeling, there is no doubt that the Sirocco has aided considerably in the growing popularity of helmet usage amongst avid and novice climbers alike.
In terms of wear and comfort, the Sirocco is one of the best climbing helmets on the market. Because it’s so lightweight, it is virtually unnoticeable, and thanks to its flexibility, it can adjust to any head size. With the same amount of ventilation as the Petzl Meteor, it resists heat build up and is great for when climbing in extreme temperatures. On the other hand, the slight lip at the bottom of the helmet does a good job of keeping rain and water droplets out of your eyes while climbing. Additionally, the shell has holes meant to accommodate Petzl’s VIZION visor if you’re tempted to go climbing in the rain, sleet or snow. Finally, because the Sirocco is so lightweight and flexible, it is great for packing into tight spaces without fear of cracking it or when you are trying to save weight.
One pitfall to the Sirocco’s lightweight frame is the fact that it utilizes an all-textile harness to secure the helmet to your head. Meant to save weight and to collapse easily when packing away the helmet, the harness does not keep the helmet in place as well as a hard plastic rear adjustment band. Additionally, the rear webbing band makes it more difficult to put the helmet on, as it requires you to fully loosen the rear buckle and cinch it back up each time you put it on. However, because the helmet is so light, it does not move around much and therefore, the lack of a rigid band is not necessarily a deal breaker.
The headlamp set up is not ideal either. While the front headlamp attachment consists of two easy-to-use plastic clips and holds the headlamp well at an upward angle, the rear headlamp is held in place by two bands of elastic and a single plastic clip. The set up is more difficult to use, and the plastic clip releases with an upward pull, which is actually the angle in which a headlamp pops off.
Furthermore, while the lightweight frame makes for a comfortable fit, it means decreased durability. The single layer of expanded polyprophyene is meant to withstand a single trauma; once you take a big
hit, the helmet will have to be replaced entirely. Considering that it’s on the more expensive end of the price spectrum, this is a major turn off for those who want a long-term investment.
Finally, the Sirocco comes in only one color: orange – which is great if you want to look like a traffic cone.
* A low weight of just 5.8 ounces
* A strap adjustment system that adapts to all head shapes
* Removable foam lining is quilted and lined with absorbent fabric that will keep your head dry even as you’re working up a sweat; it’s also washable
* Magnetic buckle on chin strap can be attached with a single hand
* Plenty of vents that allow for adequate ventilation
* Headlamp attachments in front and rear
Overall, the Sirocco is the perfect helmet if you’re looking for comfort, flexibility, and a lightweight option. However, if you’re in the market for value, the Sirocco is not your best option. Because of its high cost and lack of durability, most avid climbers would be better off purchasing the less expensive and more durable Meteor. However, if you’re one to skip the helmet altogether normally, the Sirocco is the perfect compromise.