The Petzl Meteor is newly redesigned for 2019 and is our Best Bang for the Buck winner for lightweight helmets. While its price tag is still significantly more than our other Best Buy winner, the Meteor weighs considerably less and is far more comfortable. The Meteor features a combination of EPS foam wholly covered with a thin polycarbonate shell that improves day-to-day durability. This combination is both lighter than heavier ABS shell helmets, while more affordable than the even lighter EPP foam helmets, offering the perfect compromise for someone who understands that light weight is all important in helmet design, but is still concerned about how much they spend. Numerous helmets fit this description, but in our testing the Meteor performs better than the rest, making it the best value choice for a lightweight helmet. Whether rock or ice climbing, in the alpine, or even on skis, this helmet will serve you well.
Petzl Meteor Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, easily adjustable with slider bar, not as expensive as Sirocco, well ventilated
Cons: Magnetic buckle collects dirt, not as cheap as BD Half Dome
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Meteor is made entirely of molded EPS foam covered in a shell of polycarbonate plastic to protect it from the outside. It uses a plastic slider bar adjustment system in the back which is both simple and convenient and provides a broader range of adjustment than the super minimalist webbing adjustments found on most of the pricier, and lighter, helmets. This helmet suits both climbing and ski mountaineering, with a rear elastic bungee that can hold a headlamp strap or ski goggles, and with CE certification for ski mountaineering use. It also has attachment holes pre-drilled for either of Petzl's two visor options to be added on, a nice feature for ice climbing that some ski-mo racers also use. We want to recognize this helmet specifically because it is a more affordable option for those who don't want to lug around and wear an overly heavy ABS style helmet, but we also must point out that it's still not that less expensive than our best overall award winner. If you can find the extra bills, we would still sooner recommend the Petzl Sirocco.
The Meteor sits on top of the head cushioned by a couple of foam pads, one on top and one across the front of the forehead. In the rear, the head is held in place by the adjustable plastic slider band, discussed more below. The helmet is deep and elongated, but we still felt some contact between our head and the inside of the helmet in places where there isn't padding, in particular in the back of the head. We also bought a large version of this helmet but found that for our head testers particularly large head, it is only comfortable when maxed out adjustment wise, so people with especially large heads might be wary and make another choice.
There is no doubt that this is a comfortable helmet, but we have to get nitpicky to differentiate grading between all these great options. There are a couple options that are slightly more comfortable. How a helmet actually feels on your head has a lot to do with head shape, and so don't take our word for it. Some may find this to be the most comfortable choice of all, and others may find it un-wearable!
This helmet is more adjustable than options which use nothing but light webbing to hold the helmet firmly in place on the head. One can adjust the Meteor by tightening or loosening a sliding plastic band across the back of the head. There are adjustable sliders on each end of the band that click into tiny notches as you push them together to tighten, or slide apart to loosen as you depress orange release buttons.
This system is easy to use with the helmet in your hands or on your head. It also provides an extensive range of adjustability, so it makes an excellent choice for more than one person using the same helmet. However, we bought a large size helmet, and one tester couldn't tighten it at all because it was already max size for his head, so people with extra large head sizes may not find the adjustability very helpful. This system is also sort of easy to over-tighten, leading to a headache after a couple of hours, so be sure to fine-tune the fit, so it's snug but not applying pressure. In addition to the rear adjustment, the v-yoke slings that go around the ears are easily adjustable, which isn't the case with the Black Diamond helmets, as is the chin strap.
Our large size Meteor weighed 8.5 ounces on our independent scale, roughly average among EPS foam helmets.
This weight is relatively light, but nowhere near as light as the very lightest choices available. That said, its EPS and polycarbonate construction is still over four ounces lighter than the ABS plastic choices, which may not seem like all that much on paper, but is quite significant when on the head.
With 21 ventilation holes spread out over the front, sides, and rear of the helmet, the Meteor is one of the most ventilated helmets that you can choose.
In particular, there are two large and wide vents on the front of the helmet, a location that seems to have a greater bearing on how cool one feels while wearing it, as it allows wind or air to enter over the forehead and pass out the sides or rear of the helmet.
We found the headlamp attachment system on this helmet to be one of the best. It features two low-profile orange clips with small teeth on the front that are relatively flexible and easy to slide a headlamp strap up underneath. On the back of the helmet is found a single V-shaped elastic bungee held in place with a small hook that closes over the top of a headlamp strap, and can hold ski goggle straps in place.
We like this versatile system, which holds both ski goggles and headlamps alike.
We can't comment on the long-term durability of this helmet, or how durable it is when taking a long fall where you hit your head or when a rock lands on the helmet. However, this helmet does meet both CE and UIAA specs for climbing helmets and is also CE certified as a ski mountaineering helmet. We can say that its polycarbonate shell, designed to protect the EPS foam beneath from daily abuse, is thick and sturdy, and doesn't show a single blemish after our testing period.
Compared to the polycarbonate shells found on Black Diamond helmets, which become very easily dinged and dented from just setting them on the ground, the shell of this helmet seems much harder and more durable. We didn't feel the need to be overly protective about babying it in our pack or when setting it on the ground. Be aware, however, that EPS foam can crack and break when absorbing the impact from a blow, so be sure to carefully check your helmet if something happens to it, and retire it after sustaining a significant impact.
This helmet is not cheap, but is right around average for a lighter weight EPS foam helmet. There are several other helmets in this review that have a similar design and price. However, among these, we feel the Meteor is the best, and so think it presents solid value.
The Petzl Meteor wins our Best Bang for the Buck award for lightweight helmets because it offers good value while still cutting down on weight as much as possible. While it is more affordable than our Editors' Choice winner, it's also heavier and scores a bit lower in our overall ratings. If you need a new helmet, want something light, but don't want to buy the most expensive one you can find, then the Meteor is an ideal choice for you.
— Andy Wellman