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Petzl Altios Review

   

Climbing Helmets - Men's

  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 3 reviews. Most recent review: May 21, 2012
Street Price:   $80-90
Pros:  comfortable, easy to adjust, multipurpose, breathable
Cons:  sits too high on head
Best Uses:  ice, bigwall nail ups, all around
User Rating:     
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  • 5
 (3.0 of 5) based on 2 reviews
Recommendations:  50% of reviewers (1/2) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 4, 2009  
Overview
Discontinued Product
Petzl has discontinued the Altios. Instead we recommend the Petzl Elios which is similar in construction and rides better on the head. To see all of the helmets we've reviewed see our full Helmet Review.

To see what we though of the discontinued Altios keep reading.

Petzl packs more features into the Altios than into any other helmet we tested. It has a similar construction to their popular Ellios but comes with an additional hybrid suspension system, Climate Control System and an ADAPT headlamp quick attach point. You actually have to scroll down the page on Petzls website to cover all the features. The Altios has a different feel than other helmets because of a removable mesh layer that makes the helmet float above your head. This makes the helmet comfortable and breathable, but it also means that it rides very high, which affects both its look and feel.

This feature led almost all testers to find the Altios less desirable than the Petzl Elios. The real question is whether all the extra features are worth a price $24 more than the Elios and $30 more than most other hard-shelled helmets. Try it on. If you don't mind the fact that it sits so high, this might be the helmet for you. Otherwise, we would either spend a little more money to get the Petzl Meteor III+ or look at one of the many highly rated helmets for $60 to $65.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
With a truly long list of features, the Altios is definitely the most tricked out helmet on the market. For ice climbing you can attach the VISION face shield. If you're nailing up El Cap in August, you can move around the padding to open up or close vent holes. The mesh layer is removable to make the helmet fit better with a hat or increase ventilation. You can also use the ADAPT clip for a single-point attachment of a Petzl Tikka or Zipka headlamp.

Beyond the long list of features, most people found the helmet very comfortable. This was the only helmet with a mesh layer on top to disperse the pressure across the entire top of your head. This is in contrast to most helmets where you feel "pressure points" if you push down on the top of the helmet. Like all Petzl helmets, you can adjust the chin-strap while wearing it. This is very nice at belays or on big hikes because it allows you to quickly and safely get more ventilation. Few other helmets manufacturers have chin straps that can easily be adjusted while you are wearing the helmet.

Dislikes
We prefer low-profile helmets, ones like the Elios, Petzls streamlined plastic helmet. The Altios floated just too high, which made the helmet top heavy and more likely to roll back when looking up while belaying or searching the path ahead. You can remove this mesh layer to make the helmet sit closer to your head. But if you are going to mostly wear the helmet minus its mesh, we would rather have the Elios, which costs $24 less.

While we do not rate helmets on looks in our comparison table, most people felt the fact that the helmet sat so high was not a flattering look.

Best Application
This is an all-around helmet. It is great for winter and summer climbing, hard nail-ups and alpine. Petzl uses a 1,2 size system on the Altios. Size 1 is small to medium. 2 is medium to large (this applies to its harnesses, too), which means it is not as adjustable as the Ecrin Roc if you are looking for a helmet to teach with.

Value
Size 1 is $80 and size 2 is $90 (Size 2 fits most adults). This makes it one of the most expensive helmets we tested. It is durable, so over time you will get your money's worth. And it isnt a bad price tag if you really value all the features that Petzl packs into this workhorse of a helmet. But if you don't want all the features, there are four other highly rated helmets for $60 to $65.

Chris McNamara, Chris Van Leuven

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: May 21, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)

50% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 2 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   May 21, 2012 - 06:23pm
wade · Climber · Boulder, CO
I felt compelled to like this helmet. I chose this over the Elios because I thought the climate control system would be a nice perk in the winter. Unfortunately I never really felt comfortable wearing it. Not because of the climate control system, the fit is what really did it in for me. The helmet sits awkwardly high and I usually end up whacking it on something. It gets silly after awhile and honestly, there are better thing to make fun of while climbing.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 8, 2010 - 03:14pm
MN_SlowTrad · Climber · MN
I have been using a Ecrin Roc for the last 15 yrs, and a Joe Brown before that, so putting on an Altios was like another world. Very lightweight, plenty of air holes, fit is fantastic. It does tak a bit of fiddling with the straps to customize it to your head. I removed the hybrid feature suspension deal, it made the helmet ride a little high on my head, and I didn't really see the point.

The exterior seems like it will take the abuse I put on helmets. I climb a lot of "classic" choss piles, and I occasionally get hit with debris, this has enough of an outer shell to take the dings and still function.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Click to enlarge
The Altios is a hot looking helmet -- but it breathes so cool. To quote Petzl, This helmet "floats" above your head -- a feature many testers found ended up making the helmet too top heavy.
Credit: Petzl website
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