Mammut Skywalker 2 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Affordable, easily adjustable
Cons: Heavy, poorly ventilated, not super comfortable, headlamp attachment difficult to use
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Skywalker 2 comes in a variety of colors and two sizes to help you narrow down the sizing range when you buy. It comes with a few notable attributes, including its very easy to adjust click wheel that makes it a good choice for sharing among multiple climbers. We found, however, that the downsides far outweigh the benefits, especially compared to other choices in the same price range. The ABS shell is lined on the inside with EPS foam, although this foam is positioned only over the top of the head, and so this helmet does not provide great coverage for side or front impacts that one may take while falling. While beginners or infrequent climbers may appreciate the low cost, we recommend checking out our Best Buy winner instead.
Worn in isolation, that is, without the opportunity to compare it to multiple other helmets, one might feel that this helmet is fairly comfortable. However, when compared to others, we think it is among the least comfortable overall. The fit is fairly shallow, so it sits high on the head and is thus prone to moving about, especially side to side (many online photos we see of people in this helmet show it to be sitting cockeyed on their heads). Cranking down the tensioning wheel is the only solution, but this adds too much pressure to the cranium. The straps around the ears, and especially under the chin, are constantly present and a bit annoying, and frankly, this is a helmet we just wanted to take off as soon as we put it on.
One of the commendable attributes of the Skywalker 2 is its adjustability. It features a click wheel tensioning band on the back of the head that turns very easily to tighten or loosen to the desired fit. Additionally, the v-yoke straps around the ears, as well as the placement and length of the chin strap, are easily adjustable via slider buckles. The only way this helmet could be even more adjustable is if the height of the tensioning band in the back could be adjusted up or down to accommodate a ponytail more easily, but it cannot. Regardless, this is one of the most easily adjusted helmets you can buy.
We tested the largest of the two sizes of this helmet, and on our independent scale, it weighed 13.5 ounces. This may not sound like much, but in fact, it was far and away the heaviest choice in this review. The lightest helmet is less than half as heavy, and we have found time and again that weight is one of the most critical factors in our experience while wearing a helmet all day.
This helmet has very poor ventilation. On each side there are three tiny vent holes, with two additional tiny vent holes on the back, for a total of eight. The small openings in the ABS outer shell, unfortunately, taper to become even smaller as they punch through the interior EPS foam. While the lack of foam around the bottom edges of the helmet means there is a gap between the shell and the head to allow a little bit of airflow on the inside, we found this helmet to be a real sweat-fest, something we didn't appreciate on warmer days.
One can attach a headlamp to the outside of this helmet using the standard design of four plastic clips that the headlamp band can slide up and under, but we warn you, with this helmet, it is not easy! The plastic clips are so tight with latent tension that we found it impossible to pry them open enough using our bare fingers and needed to slide a knife under them to pry them away from the shell. At this point, we couldn't easily slide the headlamp band in. Essentially what we are saying is that we found this system to be impractical and unusable, a poor design, so don't even consider picking this helmet up for caving use.
While we didn't attempt to destroy the helmet to see how durable it was, our experience is that ABS plastic shell helmets are far and away the most durable. We tossed this one into our packs and on the ground repeatedly during the test period, never babying it like we would have to with a soft foam helmet, and while a few scratches are visible, it is none the worse for the wear.
This helmet is among the most affordable and durable that you can buy, which will make it a top target for those on the tightest of budgets. However, we think it performs considerably lower than our Best Bang for the Buck award winner, which costs the same and is quite a bit more comfortable. With this in mind, we don't think it presents the best value.
The Mammut Skywalker 2 is a durable and easily adjustable hard shell ABS style helmet that may appeal to beginner climbers or those who climb infrequently. However, it is also hot, heavy, and uncomfortable, so it is not one we recommend over the many other top selections featured in this review, despite its affordability.
— Andy Wellman