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Hands-on Gear Review
Petzl Meteor Review
Cons: Less durable than hard plastic helmets, magnetic buckle attracts dirt and doesn't work well.
Bottom line: A great all-around helmet that won't weigh you down.
Weight in ounces (size 2): 7.8
Number of colors: 3
The Petzl Meteor is a great all-around helmet. It's lightweight and has great ventilation, and is comfortable enough for all day wear. This helmet was one of our previous Editors' Choice award winners, and it's still a mighty fine helmet. However, it was edged out this year by the Mammut Wall Rider, a hybrid EPP/hard-shell option. The Wall Rider was just a bit more comfortable and durable for the same weight. We felt the same way about Petzl's Sirocco helmet, and gave it our Top Pick for Lightweight award. Often, though, comfort comes down to fit, and if you get a good one from this helmet than it is still an excellent choice.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Petzl Meteor is a lightweight polystyrene and polycarbonate climbing helmet which is suitable for all types of climbing. It comes in two sizes: 1 (48-56cm) and 2 (53-61cm), weighing 7.8 ounces in the size 2. It's compatible with the VIZION eye shield for ice climbing.
The Petzl Meteor was one of the most comfortable climbing helmets in our test group and we gave it a high score for this category. Much of the comfort of any helmet is the result of the tensioning system along with the weight. If the helmet gives you a headache everytime you crank it down, or is so heavy as to make your neck ache, you're not going to wear it. This helmet is both lightweight, and had a great tensioning system. Instead of a knob at the back of your skull, there are two sliders that contract the headband without being annoying. The inside is lined with thin but adequate open cell foam padding that is covered in a slightly velvety material. This lining can be easily removed for washing if it gets really funky.
We weren't that impressed with the adjustability of this model. While the sliders at the back contract and open quickly and easily, they don't always catch in the right notch and we found ourselves fiddling with the back a bit during the course of the day. The V-yoke for adjusting the chin strap is adjustable, but requires you to work the webbing through the entire harness system, which makes it harder to get the perfect fit. Much easier is a sliding buckle that can adjust the V-yoke around your ears to the perfect spot, like on the Petzl Boreo.
Finally, there's the magnetic buckle. A magnet in each end of the buckle helps draw the two pieces together once they are in close proximity, making it easier to fasten it with one hand. The buckle is actually held in place by plastic tabs similar to the old style buckle Petzl used on the previous couple of Meteors. We can't really say we had much trouble with the old style buckle, and we can't really imagine too many situations where you would only have one free hand to fasten your helmet, so we aren't really sure what Petzl had in mind when they came up with this selling point. The downside is that the magnets also attract certain types of dirt, which can cause the clasp to only clip half-way (and a halfway clipped helmet is not good!). So, if you climb at a granite crag keep your helmet off the ground, as once it gets dirty it's hard to get the fragments out.
This helmet weighed in at 7.8 ounces in the size 2 that we tested. That's about the same as our Editors' Choice winner, the Mammut Wall Rider, but almost an ounce more than the Black Diamond Vapor and almost two ounces more than the Petzl Sirocco. If you're looking for the absolute lightest model out there, this isn't it, though we do think it struck a better balance between weight and durability than the BD Vapor.
We liked the ventilation that we got in this helmet, and it was on par with all of the other top rated helmets that we tested. Only the Black Diamond Vapor felt more breathable to us, as the vents in that model are huge.
The headlamp clips on this helmet are slightly smaller than the older versions, and they are bit challenging to find when the helmet is on. They were still easy to use once we located them, and they held a headlamp securely during our night test. As with all climbing helmets, we recommend that you attach your headlamp with the helmet off of your head to make sure that you get the strap properly seated beneath all of the clips, however, we've all tried to finagle one on without taking the helmet off first, with various degrees of success.
This helmet is composed primarily of polystyrene foam covered in a thin polycarbonate shell, similar to almost every half-shell bike helmet on the market. The polystyrene foam gives the helmet its structure and absorbs impacts. The purpose of the hard polycarbonate shell is to protect the foam from daily abuse and also to spread out the force of a sharp object impacting the helmet. About half of the climbing helmets in our test are lightweight foam helmets, the other half, like the Black Diamond Half Dome, are hardshell plastic helmets that are composed of a much thicker outer shell covering a smaller amount of impact absorbing material. Of the lightweight foam helmets in our test, the Meteor scored high for durability.
It held up fine even when stowed in our packs (which you're not supposed to do with the Black Diamond Vapor, apparently), and you can collapse the rear retention band into the helmet before you cram it in there. This prevents the band from being damaged and also keeps it from digging into unprotected foam on the inside of the helmet. The glossy finish seems fairly resistant to cosmetic scratches, and the lower edge of the foam is fully wrapped with polycarbonate shell material, which will increase the lifespan of the helmet.
The Petzl Meteor is an excellent choice for a broad range of climbing. From hard sport clipping to alpine accents, it offers a good balance of light weight, comfort, durability, and ventilation.
The Meteor retails for $100, which is comparable to many other foam helmets, including the Black Diamond Vector, Mammut Wall Rider, and the new CAMP USA Storm.
The Petzl Meteor is still one of the best climbing helmets on the market, but it was just shy of some of the newer innovations this year. If you're not sold on the looks of the hybrid EPP/shell helmets and want a lightweight foam helmet that will hold up to regular use, this is a great option.
— Cam McKenzie Ring & Luke Lydiard
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