Protecting your high dollar helmet?


Original Post
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Not in a fall, I'm well aware that sucker is supposed to break and get retired after that. I'm more concerned about the day to day bashing. Packs tend to be filled with hard things, the back of a truck is hard, the ground is hard.

Seems like the only safe place to have one of these new fangled lightweight helmets is on your head (until you flip over and smash your head, which hopefully isn't often).

So what do you guys do? I'm a little afraid to take my new Vapor out of the box.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

They say you should replace a motorcycle helmet if you drop it on the ground. This is mostly for legal reasons and your helmet is still fine even if it gets dropped (given drops can reduce the effectiveness of the padding etc in the helmet). I don't know exactly on climbing helmets but I am assuming this is coming from something similar to that. If your helmet is really going to get broken from sitting in a bag banging gear or dropping 5-10ft on the ground with nothing in it... are you really sure it will provide any use in a real use from a fall where your head is banging against the wall?

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
ViperScale wrote:They say you should replace a motorcycle helmet if you drop it on the ground. This is mostly for legal reasons and your helmet is still fine even if it gets dropped. I don't know exactly on climbing helmets but I am assuming this is coming from something similar to that. If your helmet is really going to get broken from sitting in a bag banging gear or dropping 5-10ft on the ground with nothing in it... are you really sure it will provide any use in a real use from a fall where your head is banging against the wall?
I assume by 2016 you've seen a bicycle helmet somewhere. Am I correct? They are foam covered by thin plastic and are quite easy to break or melt in a hot car. As flimsy as they are, they have a long proven track record of keeping heads safe in a fall.

The type of helmet I'm talking about is basically a bicycle helmet that is fitted more for climbing. Owing entirely to it's destructible design, it's probably useful in the event that you hit your head. It's ability to break is precisely the reason it works. The trick is not to break it before you need it.

The older durable designs are really just a rock or ice fall barrier.

So now that I've clarified what I was talking about, do you have anything other than off topic rambling to add?
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

Guess I wasn't keeping up with new helmets so it seems they removed the shell off these new helmets so the only thing left is basically the inside stuff that is fragile?

Maybe someone makes the old style hard shell that are on old school helmets that you can put around it to protect the helmet until you start climbing. That or some kinda hard box.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 643

When I first got my Meteor, I was worried about its robustness. Always was delicately strapped to the top of the pack, removed from pack when loaded into the truck, etc. It has proven to be far more durable than I first imagined. Now it gets stuffed into the pack, chucked into truck with the rest of the kit and generally treated about as well as my sandwich. I don't sit on it or drop it to the ground (if I can help it). YMMV

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

I had a high dollar bicycle helmet that came with a foam and fabric zippered box that is similar to a giant sunglasses case. I've never seen such things in the climbing world.

I suppose packing it near the top of my pack where i keep my coat and clothes is the only real option.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

If it fits in your pack, the top is a great place for it so it doesn't get crushed. Otherwise, clip it to the brain. I have a BD Half Dome that has held up fine without taking too much care...bumped my head a few times and was very glad I had it on.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 95

Buy a plastic box for the car ride if you are worried about it getting dented or scratched. Ask a lady friend if she has any spare fabric bags that are shipped with higher end purses or heels, or just buy one:
https://www.amazon.com/Non-woven-Breathable-Dust-proof-Drawstring-Storage/dp/B00PIUZ2UU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483116172&sr=8-1&keywords=purse+storage+bag

As for transport to the crag, put it inside your pack on top or wear it. or cinch it tight to the rear of the pack.

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 25

I've been beating up on a Vector for a few years now. It's one step down from your Vapor, but pretty much the same thing. It's held up really well to the abuse actually. The hard outer shell is more durable than it looks. It's got a couple small dents, and scratches, (mostly form carelessy bonking my head on overhangs) but nothing concerning. I fill my pack up, then take my chalkbag and any other loose items and stuff them inside the helmet before I set it on top of all the other gear in the pack. If I have a full pack I just strap it tight to the outside. I haven't been at all concerned with protecting it.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438

I've owned the BD vector and vapor helmets. I used to leave the vector strapped on the outside of my pack for mountaineering trips (when I was a gumby and brought the kitchen sink). I'd take the pack off and just toss it on the ground, the helmet would hit rocks and stumps. The shell got beat to shit in two years.

For the vapor I've just taken to packing it in the top of my pack. For alpine days I'll wrap my thin puffy around the outside of the helmet. It takes up all the volume, protects the helmet, and lets me access the puffy first.

Also on the protection note of the new helmets. Last year I did some dumb shit, long story short I fell from a vertical section with my only pro on a double where it kicked up from slab. Landed on the slab on both feet, couldn't run fast enough, pitched over backwards, smashed the back of my head on the rock as I tumbled. Like I said, dumb shit.
BD vapor crushed inward on the back, shell deformed and foam cracked. I saw stars, had a minor concussion. Took a bivy shortly after, finished the route. The fancy light helmet did it's job. I don't think an old plastic hardhat would have absorbed the impact as well.

beach · · Portland, ME · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 44

i cracked my old vapor from stuffing it in my backpack to forcefully and crushed some of the foam when running straps through the vents to tightly when strapping it on to the pack... if i ever get a new one i'll be very mindful of these limitations

i think a good way to do it is to make sure something is inside the helmet when you put it in your backpack

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 615

Dude, it's a helmet. Ultra light helmets will pick up dings from getting hit by rock or ice, but it will be fine in the top of your pack. Plus, a shiny looking helmet just signifies that you aren't climbing enough! I've had a vapor for two years and it still looks really good. I don't baby it, but it only has minor dings.

Phil Sakievich · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 30
beach wrote:i think a good way to do it is to make sure something is inside the helmet when you put it in your backpack
Probably the best bet. If I have an extra base-layer, socks, shirt etc, I try to stuff it inside my helmet (BD vapor). Keeps the pack compact, and protects the helmet.
ebmudder · · Bronx, NY · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 0

i packed a BD Vector in a soft-sided roller duffel on a flight x-country. I had packed it at the "top" end of the duffel pointing "outwards" with clothing stuffed inside it. When I unpacked the duffel the foam was cracked completely through from the inside to the plastic laminate "shell"...probably just from rough baggage handling. Now I pack its replacement (I went back to a hardshell helmet after this experience) at the bottom where there's a rigid support panel.

I also observed (I swear it wasn't me this time) someone sit on a similar helmet when it was clipped to the back of their harness, and nearly broke it in half.

What most concerned me in both these incidents is that the helmet looked perfectly OK from the outside, even though it had lost most of its structural strength underneath. In my case, I observed the damage quite accidentally...I noticed a faint crack in the foam that when I flexed the helmet opened to show it was split all the way through.

I don't normally inspect the inside of my helmet before putting it on, but with these foam-only helmets it seems like a good idea.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 520

Treating your helmet like you do your sandwich seems like a wise way to go. I use the Ecrin Roc, which they quit making for some dumb reason. One-time-use helmet? No gracias.

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 0
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:Not in a fall, I'm well aware that sucker is supposed to break and get retired after that. I'm more concerned about the day to day bashing. Packs tend to be filled with hard things, the back of a truck is hard, the ground is hard. Seems like the only safe place to have one of these new fangled lightweight helmets is on your head (until you flip over and smash your head, which hopefully isn't often). So what do you guys do? I'm a little afraid to take my new Vapor out of the box.
Either place the helmet outside the pack or at the top inside. The plastic outer skin of the helmet is only designed to protect the closed cell foam inside. Just make sure you don't create large dents or cracks in the foam. The foam absorbs energy to protect your head so try not to damage it. Small dings in the shell isn't a problem.
Rob Warden...Space Lizard · · Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an... · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 0

If a vector last me a year its a mircle but i climb choss

Kent Richards · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 3
Stiles wrote: I use the Ecrin Roc, which they quite making for some dumb reason. One-time-use helmet? No gracias.
You're aware of the vast difference in protection between an Ecrin Roc and a styrofoam helmet, right?
Collin Holt · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 0

The BD vapor and vectors plastic adjustment piece fold up into the helmet to protect from getting crushed...I usually stuff the helmet with a puffy to fill the dead space and put it inside my pack... never really been an issue.

That being said, I really like the Sirocco because it has no plastic pieces that could break... instead they use just webbing straps... seems bomber for such a light helmet.

JK- · · SLC · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 13

The only special care I take with my Vector I don't use it when I'm climbing somewhere I know is loose. I'll take something more robust for that. But I pack it and haul it around just like any other helmet. 18 months and still going strong.

JeffL · · Salt Lake City · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 15

Wear it on your head or clip it onto your harness. There is a plastic piece to clip on the back of the Vapor, makes the helmet sit nicely against your body.

I don't think it's realistic to expect these lightweight helmets to last long.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply