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 your helmet, 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, but this helmet does offer a lot of adjustability and it fit an entire family of climbers, from a six-year-old boy to his dad with a big head. Combined with its light weight, comfortable fit, and impressive looks, this is a helmet that is suitable for all types of climbing, and all sizes of climbers.
Edelrid Shield II Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Large adjustment range, nice graphics.
Cons: Poor headlamp clips, adjustments take a while.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The 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 is 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 about an ounce more than the other EPS models that we tested, and almost four ounces more than the lightest helmet in this review. We think that the 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.
This helmet is also very well ventilated. The biggest key to good ventilation in a helmet is the vents all around it, including the front and rear, to let the heat from all around your head escape, and also allow a "cross-breeze" whenever possible. The six rear vents, combined with the two front vents, do a great job of facilitating this cross-breeze.
We weren't too thrilled with the headlamp attachment on this helmet. The clips aren't very long and don't completely cover or secure our headlamp strap. Also, 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 those made by Black Diamond, 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 an ABS hardshell instead.
The retail price of this helmet is right on par with other EPS helmets that we tested, but ended up scoring slightly lower than most of those models in our overall ratings. Fit is likely the deciding factor on which one of these will present the best value for you, but going just off our performance standards, we don't think this helmet offers the best value for an EPS helmet.
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