Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $95
Pros: very durable. adjustable, full coverage
Cons: heavy, bulky, expensive
Best Uses: Great for groups, mountaineering, big walls, alpine routes; virtually any situation when weight is not of paramount importance.
This is an adjustable and ultra-durable climbing helmet that has been around for ages. It is not as light as newer models, but is still a great pick for rescue, caving and heavyduty climbing situations such as you find on big walls. Talk to any climber that has been on the scene for at least five years and chances are they have an Ecrin Roc in their closet somewhere. Additionally, due to the onesizefitsall design, this is a great helmet for groups or institutions.
Many colleges pick this bulldog of a helmet for group outings that range from cragging to ice. The Ecrin Roc fits most heads, is fast to resize and takes a beating extremely well. That said, most climbers will prefer a more comfortable, adjustable and cheaper helmet like the Petzl Elios. If you want the ultimate light weight helmet, check out the Petzl Meteor III which won our Editors' Choice award.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Petzl Ecrin Roc is the toughest Petzl helmet and the toughest helmet we tested. The suspension on the Ecrin Roc is comfortable, easy to adjust and for the most part the helmet stays put when you put it on. The Ecrin Roc has great adjustability. It holds a headlamp securely (although we still clip a light with a 'biner to the chin strap, as we do with all helmets).
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.
Throw on a bulky hat before wearing it and the Ecrin Roc is likely to slide back when you look up because it is pretty top heavy. This is a workhorse; it generally doesnt get a bunch of style points. We like to wear a sleek, lowprofile helmet and the Ecrin Roc is neither. We like our gear to be as light as possible and still get the job done right; the Ecrin Roc is not lightweight. If style and weight are your concerns, get a Meteor III or Elios (that is, if Petzl helmets fit you well; all brands fit differently).
While the Ecrin Rock is highly adjustable, the adjustment wheels are not nearly as easy to use as the single wheel on the Elios or Altios. This is not a big deal, but if your fingers are cold it's annoying.
The best application for this climbing helmet is for institutions or group climbs when the helmet is likely to get abused. It works great for being passed around a group and resized a bunch of times, or generally beaten on by users of most ages. "If it aint broke, dont fix it." These words ring true for the Petzl Ecrin Roc. Seriously, if you own this helmet and its in good working shape, theres no reason to upgrade to the modern, sleeker models on the market unless weight or image are really important to you.
The Ecrin Roc was on Chris Van Leuven's noggin when he took his longest and most dangerous of all leader falls more than a decade ago and it didnt break. A friend of his was belaying his partner in Patagonia when he took a 300-footer and lived while wearing the Ecrin Roc. Point is, this helmet is tough.
The $95 price means that this helmet is not the most affordable on the market. The Elios, a helmet that most people feel is more comfortable and plenty durable, is $30 less. That said, the Ecrin Roc is super-tough and will probably last you forever.
— Chris McNamara, Chris Van Leuven
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 22, 2010
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