Mammut Wall Rider Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Easy to adjust, light, comfortable, durable plastic top piece
Cons: Not as light as lightest helmets, pricey, difficult headlamp clips
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Wall Rider is Mammut's top of the line helmet that competes directly with other lightweight EPP foam offerings, but without offering quite the same level of comfort or light weight. We found it to fit a bit shallower on the top of the head, and to be designed to a more circular shape, that for our head tester didn't fit perfectly. This issue caused more pressure points against the top and especially back of the head, lowering its comfort score. The caveat, of course, is that comfort is relative and so what wasn't as comfortable for us may prove to be far more comfortable for you, so be sure to try both on if you are in the market for a lightweight EPP helmet. While we have awarded this helmet our Editors' Choice award in the past, we currently feel that the heavier weight, slight dip in comfort, and difficulty with the headlamp clips, have dropped it down a notch from that perch. When considering the benefits of the Wall Rider, we are more inclined to throw down an the extra cash and purchase the Wall Rider MIPS, for its brain protection technology--the reason we wear helmets in the first place. It seems worth the extra money.
Much like the other foam helmets we have tested, this one relies on a couple of foam pad inserts Velcroed to the inside of the helmet to act as cushioning — one on top and one across the front of the forehead. These pads can be removed and swapped out or washed if desired, but we found them to be slightly less cushy than those in some other models. As we have already mentioned, for us the fit and shape of the helmet are not absolutely perfect, with slight pressure points against the back of the head where the unpadded foam rests against our skull. For many, this will be a very comfortable helmet, and for us, it isn't overly uncomfortable, but rather doesn't quite live up to the standard set by the other competitors.
This helmet uses a lightweight webbing harness system to hold the helmet securely in place on top of the head. The rear strap is adjustable with buckles on each side, so if you need to tighten it up a bit, you can do so in an even way that keeps the helmet perfectly centered. These straps and buckles are fairly easy to pull and tighten with the helmet on your head, as long as you know what you are trying to grab. The location of the chin strap along the v-yoke that goes around the ears is effortless to slide back and forth, and likewise, the chin strap itself is easily adjustable. This helmet does not have the adjustability range of those with a spinner wheel, or even one of the slider bar options, but is still fairly easy to adjust.
Our size large version of the Wall Rider weighed in at 8.5 ounces. While this is fairly light, it is over two ounces heavier than the lightest option in this review. Two ounces may not seem like much when you read about it, but try both on, and you can immediately notice the difference. Even tiny weight differences like this have an impact on a long multi-pitch or alpine route, and we lament the fact that despite using the lightest EPP foam available, this helmet is still not competitive with the lightest. Those interested in the Wall Rider MIPS should know that adding that technology only adds 0.5 ounces to the weight of the helmet, so comes at only a minimal price in weight.
This helmet has 16 rather large vents spread out on the sides and back, with a couple of vents in the front positioned directly over the temples. These two front vents, in particular, seem to help with cooling off the head, especially if there is a wind blowing. While you can certainly buy helmets that have even more ventilation if you choose, we still think it is one of the best at not heating up too much on a warm day.
There are a couple of features to note to attach a headlamp: two clips in the front with teeth on the bottoms, combined with the single elastic bungee and hook system in the back that latches over the top of the headband. This rear bungee is also designed to work well to hold ski goggle straps in place, making this a more versatile helmet for use while mountaineering or ski mountaineering. Our one complaint is that compared to the straightforward headlamp clip designs, found on most of the other helmets, the ones on this helmet are extremely tight, and take a bit more effort to slide the strap up underneath. This tension seems pretty unnecessary considering how effectively these clips hold a headlamp in place anyway.
The Wall Rider is made entirely of EPP foam, known for its resiliency to taking many blows without cracking. However, for gentle everyday abuse, this foam needs protection, and this comes in the form of a large hard plastic top piece that covers the entire top and front of the helmet, but leaves the foam on the sides and back exposed. Some care is needed to keep from unnecessarily damaging the exposed foam, but we like the solidity of the top piece for allowing this helmet to take multiple smaller hits without needing to be retired.
We should point out that our judgments on durability are only for daily wear and tear, and are not a statement about how well a helmet can take a direct hit from a rock or ice and be usable afterward. This helmet does meet EN standards for climbing helmets, however.
At retail price, this helmet is a bit more expensive than the majority of lightweight helmets, although still not the most expensive one you can buy. If you are looking for a lightweight helmet and this one fits you better than those options, then we think it presents a good value. In this price range, the helmet that fits your head the best is likely going to be the best choice.
The Mammut Wall Rider is a lightweight, comfortable, well-ventilated helmet that should serve as a great alternative to the lightweight Petzl helmets for those who don't like the way they fit. Despite being made of EPP foam, it isn't the lightest choice, and for us, it doesn't fit quite as comfortably as some others, but we still feel it's a good lightweight option that isn't prohibitively expensive.
— Andy Wellman