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Hands-on Gear Review
CAMP Armour Review
Cons: does not take headlamp well, bulky chin strap
The CAMP Armour stood out for its comfort. Most people who tried it on were surprised by how nice it felt on the dome. Truth be told, and since our review helmet was green, we felt a bit like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle while donning it. Turtle look aside, this became a favorite for many testers for helmets in the $60 range. Despite being heavier than most other helmets tested (by a fraction of an ounce), the Armour still felt like one of the lighter helmets because it is so comfortable.
It stays in place (doesn't ride up on your forehead and slide back onto your neck), takes a beating well, and has a slim, breathable profile. Not all helmets stay put on your head, but the Armour does. This helmet gets tough competition from the following $60-65 helmets that are also great: Petzl Elios, Black Diamond Half Dome and Mammut Skywalker 2. We have a hard time saying which is best so try them all and see what fits you best. You might be surprised, as we were, at just how comfy this helmet is. If you don't mind a more expensive and fragile helmet, it's hard to beat the Petzl Meteor.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Armour stood out for comfort. It uses open cell foam that is cushy and had most testers saying "ahhhh" when they put it on. This foam is on the top of the helmet, around the edges and even on the chin strap. Unlike the Skywalker II that sit on top of the head, the Armour wraps around the forehead, which gives it a secure feeling.
The Armour is definitely the helmet with the most vibrant color combinations. Most helmet colors are pretty conservative but CAMP gives you five bold color combos.
While we have not used this helmet enough to truly test its durability, it does feel like one of the more durable helmets out there. When you squeeze the sides in with two hands it bends much less than most other helmets. That is not a very scientific way to test durability. However, we have found that helmets that crack easily either a) are made of light foam (like the Meteor or Black Diamond Tracer) or b) feel flimsy when you squeeze them together. The key question in science is always: is that correlation or causation? We don't know and we are not scientists. But we will keep using this helmet and write back here once we have a chance to test its durability.
The Armour is one of the heaviest helmets tested (but is only a one-half ounce heavier than most other helmets in its class). Honestly, we didn't notice that the Armour weighs more than the other helmets tested; this is likely due to its streamlined design.
In some ways the chin strap is very comfy because it has a removable padded sheath. But in other ways the chin strap is a little clunky. It is not possible to adjust easily while wearing and is even a little hard to adjust when you take it off because of the extra padding sheath. In cool temps the larger padded chin strap is comfy. But when the temps climb the larger chin strap becomes more noticeable because it breathes less. In these situations we removed the padded sheath. This helped, but the chin straps were still on the big size.
This helmet did poorly in the headlamp test; the clips were too tight in the front. This is not a big deal because most people don't need to put a headlamp on and off a lot. And who knows, maybe the tighter clips in the front mean the headlamp is less likely to come off in a fall.
The Armour makes a great wall climbing helmet. In fact, it works equally well for nearly any situation you'll encounter climbing, from ice, trad, sport and big wall (including nail-ups), even alpine. When big wall free climbing, we generally go for a polycarbonate helmet such as the Petzl Meteor, but despite the heavier weight of the Armour, we still reached for it because it felt tough and has great ventilation. It also feels more out of the way than the Half Dome.
For most of this review Chris Van Leuven thought the Armour was one of the lightest helmets. But when we put it on the scales it actually was one of the heavier ones (but not by much). This underscores the fact that while the Armour is not one of the lightest, it certainly feels like it is.
This helmet isn't de rigueur at the crags. Perhaps this is because its a brand fewer people are familiar with and it is not quite standard looking. That said, it is gaining popularity and is a top seller at the Yosemite Mountain Shop, one of the best-known mountain shops in the United States. We put the Armour in the category as the Mammut Skywalker II: priced competitively, comfy and easy to adjust, but not a common sight at the crags yet.
The CAMP Armour is an awesome value. It is tied for least expensive helmet with the Black Diamond Half Dome and Mammut Skywalker II.
CAMP Armour Lady
— Chris Van Leuven, Chris McNamara
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