When polling a group of climbers about what they look for in a helmet, they all agreed that they had to look good in it. While some may have been joking, it is a valid concern. If you feel goofy or awkward in it, you might be less likely to wear it. Enter the Edelrid Shield II, the most attractive helmet on the market today (in our opinion). We're not giving out style awards in this review, and there were a few technical issues that we encountered with the headlamp clips, so it's not perfect. This helmet does offer a lot of adjustability though, and it fit an entire family of climbers, from a six-year-old boy to his dad with a big head. For a slightly lighter foam helmet that also has a unique (but not ugly) look, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Mammut Wall Rider.
Edelrid Shield II Review
Cons: Poor headlamp clips, adjustments take a while.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Edelrid Shield II has an expanded polystyrene (EPS) liner with a polycarbonate shell on top. It's available in two sizes, Size 1 (48-56 cm) and Size 2 (52-62 cm). This helmet weighs 9.7 ounces in the Size 2 that we tested, and Edelrid has added some fun graphics to several of the color choices.
Overall this was a comfortable helmet. There's light padding all over the top inside, and along the brow to help catch any sweat. The click-wheel at the back is on the larger side though, as is the plastic headband. As with all click-wheels, there's the easy potential to over-tighten it and give yourself a headache, so don't crank it down too hard or you'll regret it.
This helmet has a lot of adjustability width wise. We tested it in a Size 2, which fits a range of 52-62 cm, and it did indeed work for all of our testers, including some kids! The click-wheel at the back lets you dial in the fit quickly and one-handed, and the V-yoke of the chin strap is also adjustable, though it does take some time to work the webbing through all of the buckles.
At 9.7 ounces, this helmet weighs a little more than the other EPS models that we tested. It's an ounce more than the Camp USA Storm and the Black Diamond Vector, and almost 3 ounces more than the Black Diamond Vapor. We think that extra weight is probably coming from the knob adjustment in the back, which seems to weigh more than the slider bars that most of the other EPS helmets seem to favor. We'd also guess that it might have a slightly thicker polycarbonate shell (See Durability below), which could also add to the weight. As such, it doesn't feel too heavy when on, but is noticeably heavier than the 6.1 ounce Petzl Sirocco, our Top Pick for Lightweight helmets.
This helmet also vented very well. The biggest key to good ventilation in a helmet seemed to be vents all around it, including the front and rear, so as to let heat from all around your head escape, and also allow a "cross-breeze" whenever possible. The helmet that impressed up the most for this category though was the Black Diamond Vapor, which seemed to be made more of empty space than helmet material.
We weren't too thrilled with the headkamp attachment on this helmet. They aren't very long, and didn't completely cover or secure our headlamp strap. In addition, the clips pop out easily. They are attached to the textile harness in the back and are meant to pop out so you can adjust the length of the webbing, but shouldn't pop out every time we went to put our headlamp on, which they did.
We had no durability issues with this helmet during our testing period, and the polycarbonate shell on this model felt particularly sturdy. Some of the EPS foam helmets seem to dent easily, like the Black Diamond Vector, but we didn't experience that with the Shield. Will it last as long as the hardshell helmets? Probably not, so if you need a helmet you can sit on, accidentally drop from a few feet or cram in your pack without worrying about, check out the Black Diamond Half Dome instead.
We liked this helmet for a variety of applications. It was comfortable and light enough for all-day missions, vented well, but didn't feel like it would break if you looked at it funny. If you need a sturdy headlamp attachment though, you may want to look at any of the other EPS helmets that we tested.
This helmet costs $100, which is on par with other EPS helmets that we tested, like the CAMP USA Storm, Black Diamond Vector, and Petzl Meteor. This helmet did end up scoring slightly lower than all of those models.
If you're in the market for a lighter foam helmet, check out the Edelrid Shield II. Everyone that wore it during our testing period had positive things to say about it. It wasn't the highest scorer in our review, but still a solid performer and a great helmet.
— Cam McKenzie Ring