First Look Gear Review

Wild Country Alpine Shield Review

   

Climbing Helmets - Men's

  • Currently 3.8/5
Overall avg rating 3.8 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: January 25, 2014
Street Price:   $100
Pros:  Light, versatile, good look
Cons:  Can't adjust chin with one hand, easy to lose screws
Best Uses:  Rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering
User Rating:     
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  • 5
 (3.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Wild Country
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 20, 2012  
Overview
Discontinued Product
Wild Country has discontinued this helmet. We recommend you check out the Petzl Meteor III + (pictured below) which wins our Editor's Choice Award instead. To see all of climbing helmets we've tested see our full Climbing Helmet Review.
Petzl Meteor III + in grey/purple.
Petzl Meteor III + in grey/purple.
Credit: Petzl

Read on to hear our impressions of the now discontinued Alpine Shield in case you happen to find one for sale.

The Wild County Alpine Shield is the Transformer of the climbing helmet world. Put on the plastic shield and it is a burly ice-deflecting helmet. Take off the shield and it is a lightweight rock climbing helmet. According to Wild Country, this extra plastic shield makes it far exceed certain helmet safety standards.

I have been using this helmet for over a year for climbing, biking, paragliding, and mountainboarding. It is only intended for the first of those four activities. The first thing I did was remove the plastic shield. So far I have not been able to test the signature feature of this helmet. So this review is not complete until I do that.

However, I have used this helmet a ton without the shield. Which means I am basically just using the Wild Country Rock Lite. The Rock Lite is very similar in weight and shape. It has a different interior lining and the Rock Lite has a dial sizer rather than the pinch sizer on the Alpine Shield.

The Alpine Shield (sans shield, or call it the Rock Lite) is a competitor to the Petzl Meteor III Plus. The Meteor 3 is 0.9 ounces lighter and $10-20 more expensive. It's hard to notice the weight difference in your hand; both are really light. So far I like the Meteor more for climbing. It's lighter, ventilates better, and the chin strap is easier to adjust. But I love the Alpine Shield and use it probably more than any other helmet.


  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Chris McNamara

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 25, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)

0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

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  • 5
   Jan 25, 2014 - 03:54pm
Dwight Cheu · Climber · upstate NY
Love the concept, love the fit and lightweight. Not so durable.

I've used this helmet for a couple years for both ice and rock climbing (and even skiing). With the shield off, the helmet is feather-light — really don't notice it at all.

With the shield on, it gives you an extra layer of protection against objects penetrating the helmet (like the 5 lb icicle that hit my helmet the other month).

I'm not so keen on the durability. Probably in an effort to cut down on weight the helmet uses very thin plastic coated metal strapping to attach the chin strap etc to the helmet. Well that thin metal broke as I was putting the helmet on (right near the helmet attachment). Wild Country was great and sent me a new helmet right away, though!

Also, the tabs that you press at the back of the helmet to adjust the fit fall off almost immediately. You can still adjust the size, but now you pretty much have to take the helmet off to adjust.

Like any helmet I find that you bump your head on the rock more often.

Finally, the geometric design on the helmet (as least the black colored one) sort of looks like a big target on your head. Some will like that, others won't.

In end, it does a great job protecting my head, so I will continue climbing in it until it totally breaks down.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Wild Country Alpine Shield
Credit: wildcountry.co.uk
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