Reviews You Can Rely On

Mammut El Cap Review

Breathable for a hardshell helmet
Mammut El Cap
Credit: Mammut
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Price:  $70 List
Pros:  Sun visor, front vents.
Cons:  Heavy.
Manufacturer:   Mammut
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 13, 2017
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
  • Comfort - 20% 6.0
  • Adjustability - 20% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 4.0
  • Ventilation - 10% 5.0
  • Headlamp Attachment - 10% 5.0
  • Durability - 20% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Mammut El Cap is a hardshell climbing helmet with some good features, most notably the sun visor. It is adjustable, but heavy and not as comfortable as the lightweight foam models for all-day wear. While this type of helmet still serves a purpose, when compared to the lightweight EPS and EPP foam helmets, including Mammut's own Wall Rider, our Editors' Choice winner, it falls a little behind. We also preferred the Black Diamond Half Dome over this helmet, and gave it our Best Buy award for great value and durability.

New Colors

Mammut has ditched the racing stripes for this season's El Cap helmet. It now comes in a two-tone black/white combo (shown above) or a light pink/white combo. The technical specs and design of this product remain the same.

March 2019

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mammut El Cap is made with a hard plastic shell with an EPS liner. It currently comes in three color choices and two sizes: Size 1 (52-57 cm) and Size 2 (56-61). Note that a lot of user reviews complain that they bought a Size 1 and found it too small. We only tested a Size 2, but it fit both our 56 cm female tester (closed to as small as possible) and our 61 cm male tester with a bit of play still. So, if you are in the 56 or 57 cm range, we'd recommend the Size 2 over the Size 1.

Performance Comparison

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - the el cap is a good choice for times when you want a lot of...
The El Cap is a good choice for times when you want a lot of protection with a bit of sun shade for your face.
Credit: Juice Zuger


The Mammut El Cap ranked similarly to most of the other hardshell helmets that we tested. It's comfortable enough for all-day wear, and has some nice padding around the forehead. However, so much of a helmet's comfort is associated with its weight, and this one is on the heavy side. We did like that it has a slider bar instead of a click-wheel to tighten it, which tends to create a pressure point on the back of your head. And we gave this helmet an extra comfort point for giving our face some shade on sunny days.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - we did notice the weight of this helmet after a long day on a route...
We did notice the weight of this helmet after a long day on a route, but the sun visor was nice!
Credit: Aloysius Leap


There's a lot of adjustability to this helmet, and it scored high in this category. The V-yoke for the chin strap is adjustable, and the buckle is small and sits on the side of your chin, not directly underneath it like on the CAMP USA Armour. The rear slider bar can also move up and down on the webbing to help it fit better around your own occipital bone shape. However, there is only 5 cm of play in the circumference of the helmet, and we got more range out of the Black Diamond Half Dome. If you are looking for something that can fit a range of people, say for a group or program, check out that helmet instead.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - the el cap in front of half dome. we liked the adjustable v-yoke...
The El Cap in front of Half Dome. We liked the adjustable V-yoke fore dialing in the fit.
Credit: Aloysius Leap


This helmet was one of the heaviest in this review, weighing 11.8 ounces. While it felt similar to the 12.1 ounce BD Half Dome and the 11.4 ounce Petzl Boreo, it was a revelation to put the 6.1 ounce Petzl Sirocco on after wearing this helmet. That helmet got our Top Pick for Lightweight award for being the lightest and most comfortable helmet that we tested.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - this helmet weighs 11.8 ounces in the size 2 that we tested.
This helmet weighs 11.8 ounces in the Size 2 that we tested.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring


We actually liked the ventilation that we got in this helmet, and gave it a slightly higher score than the Petzl Boreo for this category. The El Cap has two ventilation slots on the forehead, which helped to vent some of our heat and let a breeze in. The slots on the side are large in the shell but small in the EPS liner, and don't offer much in the way of ventilation. The Petzl Boreo's vents can be shuttered though, which is a nice touch if you climb in very cold conditions or poor weather.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - we appreciated the front vent for a little "cross-breeze," though...
We appreciated the front vent for a little "cross-breeze," though overall it doesn't vent as well as the lightweight foam models.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Headlamp Attachment

Our thoughts on the headlamp attachment clips for the El Cap are mixed. The rear tabs are standard clips with a notch at the bottom to secure your headlamp strap. The front ones are more positioning tabs than anything else; there's no notch, not a lot of pressure exerted on the strap, and they don't cover a strap completetly either. We wore this helmet on an evening Search and Rescue operation and had no issues with the headlamp slipping, but knowing how finicky headlamps and helmets can be, we wished this one attached a little more securely. Also, if you are using a smaller headlamp that lies close to the helmet, you might end up with a dark spot due to the sun visor.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - the front clips are not very secure. while the back clips lock the...
The front clips are not very secure. While the back clips lock the strap down, the front ones merely keep it in place. The headlamp's more likely to pop off if it gets snagged on something as a result.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring


While this helmet is more durable than most of the lightweight foam helmets on the market, but when examining older and well-used versions of the hardshell helmets that we tested, this was the one we saw the most wear in. We have a ten-year old Elios that is still hanging in there, and an older Black Diamond Half Dome that still looks great as well, but our old El Cap has a crack in the visor. Also, from a purely cosmetic standpoint, the graphics are nice but easily scratched up, so we'd recommend the plain helmet over this one.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - the sun visor is nice, but seems to be a week spot over time.
The sun visor is nice, but seems to be a week spot over time.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Best Applications

The Mammut El Cap is a great choice for those looking for the maximum protection that a hardshell helmet offers but who want a little more ventilation. As small as the sun visor is, it does offer a bit more face coverage so if you climb in the sun a lot this is a great feature for you.

Mammut El Cap climbing helmet - this helmet is a good choice for those looking for a durable lid for...
This helmet is a good choice for those looking for a durable lid for long days where rockfall might be an issue.
Credit: Aloysius Leap


This helmet retails for $70, which is a bit more than the $65 Petzl Boreo and the $60 Black Diamond Half Dome, our Best Buy winner. Considering that we preferred the other two helmets over this one, you can save a few dollars and go with one of those models instead.


The Mammut El Cap is a sturdy helmet that's a good option for those who prefer a hardshell helmet over a foam "bicycle" helmet style one. With the addition of a sun-visor, this helmet is a great choice for those who climb in sunny locales.

Cam McKenzie Ring
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