Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl Ecrin Roc helmet Review

The Ecrin Roc is a great multi-purpose  tough helmet that is great for institutions or group climbing situations.
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Mar 19, 2010
Price:  $95 List
Pros:  very durable. adjustable, full coverage
Cons:  heavy, bulky, expensive
Manufacturer:   Petzl
  • Comfort - 35% 6
  • Ease of adjusting - 20% 7
  • Weight/Profile - 20% 5
  • Ventilation - 20% 8
  • Ease of putting on headlamp - 5% 8
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Our Verdict

Discontinued Product

The Ecrin Roc is no longer available. The next closest option, and a good one at that, is the Petzl Elios. Check out our complete Climbing Helmet Review to compare current helmets.

This is an adjustable and ultra-durable climbing helmet that has been around for ages. It is not as light as newer models, but is still a great pick for rescue, caving and heavyduty climbing situations such as you find on big walls. Talk to any climber that has been on the scene for at least five years and chances are they have an Ecrin Roc in their closet somewhere. Additionally, due to the onesizefitsall design, this is a great helmet for groups or institutions.

Many colleges pick this bulldog of a helmet for group outings that range from cragging to ice. The Ecrin Roc fits most heads, is fast to resize and takes a beating extremely well. That said, most climbers will prefer a more comfortable, adjustable and cheaper helmet like the Petzl Elios. If you want the ultimate light weight helmet, check out the Petzl Meteor which won our Editors' Choice award.

Our Analysis and Test Results



The Petzl Ecrin Roc is the toughest Petzl helmet and the toughest helmet we tested. The suspension on the Ecrin Roc is comfortable, easy to adjust and for the most part the helmet stays put when you put it on. The Ecrin Roc has great adjustability. It holds a headlamp securely (although we still clip a light with a 'biner to the chin strap, as we do with all helmets).

Like all Petzl helmets, you can adjust the chin strap while wearing it. This is very nice at belays or on big hikes because it allows you to quickly and safely get more ventilation. Few other helmets manufacturers have chin straps that can easily be adjusted while you are wearing the helmet.


Throw on a bulky hat before wearing it and the Ecrin Roc is likely to slide back when you look up because it is pretty top heavy. This is a workhorse; it generally doesnt get a bunch of style points. We like to wear a sleek, lowprofile helmet and the Ecrin Roc is neither. We like our gear to be as light as possible and still get the job done right; the Ecrin Roc is not lightweight. If style and weight are your concerns, get a Meteor or Elios (that is, if Petzl helmets fit you well; all brands fit differently).

While the Ecrin Rock is highly adjustable, the adjustment wheels are not nearly as easy to use as the single wheel on the Elios or Altios. This is not a big deal, but if your fingers are cold it's annoying.

Recommended Use

The best application for this climbing helmet is for institutions or group climbs when the helmet is likely to get abused. It works great for being passed around a group and resized a bunch of times, or generally beaten on by users of most ages. "If it aint broke, dont fix it." These words ring true for the Petzl Ecrin Roc. Seriously, if you own this helmet and its in good working shape, theres no reason to upgrade to the modern, sleeker models on the market unless weight or image are really important to you.

Personal Stories

The Ecrin Roc was on Chris Van Leuven's noggin when he took his longest and most dangerous of all leader falls more than a decade ago and it didnt break. A friend of his was belaying his partner in Patagonia when he took a 300-footer and lived while wearing the Ecrin Roc. Point is, this helmet is tough.


The $95 price means that this helmet is not the most affordable on the market. The Elios, a helmet that most people feel is more comfortable and plenty durable, is $30 less. That said, the Ecrin Roc is super-tough and will probably last you forever.

Chris McNamara

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Most recent review: April 30, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Mar 22, 2010 - 04:58pm
Bill Becher · Climber · Westlake Village, CA

The Petzl Ecrin Roc has long been the helmet of choice for climbing schools and anyone looking for a super burly helmet. If you only climb rock on warm days, this may not be the hat for you. But if you also do mountaineering or ice climbing, you will like the quick adjustability of the Ecrin Roc - it's easy to expand the fit to wear a fleece beanie under the helmet on cold days and dial it tighter when you take the beanie off.

The helmet absorbs energy though a suspension system, so it can easily take multiple hits, not so for helmets that use energy absorbing plastic foam.

The Ecrin Roc is somewhat heavier than newer generation helmets, but then it also seems to cover more of your head than other models, which could be important in a glancing blow.. like on a pendulum fall.

The tabs work well to hold headlamp straps and you can buy a kit to plug the vent holes on really cold days, or just duct tape them.

This may be an “old school” helmet, but then I have an old head…


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   Apr 30, 2014 - 04:48pm
middle joe · Climber · oc

Great all around helmet.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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