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Singing Rock Penta Review

A lightweight and inexpensive helmet that will provide great value if it fits.
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Price:  $63 List | $38.47 at Amazon
Pros:  Very affordable, light, well ventilated
Cons:  Minimal adjustment possible, comes in only one rather small size, headlamp clips seem fragile
Manufacturer:   Singing Rock
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 25, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Adjustability - 20% 3
  • Weight - 20% 9
  • Ventilation - 10% 7
  • Headlamp Attachment - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Singing Rock Penta is an extremely affordable helmet that is also very lightweight, as it's made entirely of EPS foam with a thin polycarbonate shell to protect it on the outside. It is fairly comfortable, provided your head is shaped similarly to its foam mold, and also offers great ventilation. The Penta is a great alternative to most other budget helmets that are almost all made of ABS hard shell plastic and are thus quite heavy. That said, it has the notable downside of being designed as "one size fits all," while also offering very limited options for adjustment. We find its single size to be quite small. If this helmet fits you well, then it would be hard to find a better value.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Singing Rock Penta
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $38.47 at Amazon$104.89 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$139.95 at REI
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$34.99 at Backcountry
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$99.95 at REI
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Pros Very affordable, light, well ventilatedSuper light, very comfortable, great ventilation, versatile for use while ski mountaineering, protects all sides of headLightweight, great ventilation.Lightweight, easily adjustable with slider bar, not as expensive as Sirocco, well ventilatedFully adjustable harness, rigid plastic rear adjustment band, lightweight, excellent headlamp clips.
Cons Minimal adjustment possible, comes in only one rather small size, headlamp clips seem fragileNot as durable as ABS options, expensive, less easily adjustable, magnetic buckle not for everyoneFragile, chin strap doesn't adjust forward, removable headlamp clips are easy to lose or forget.Magnetic buckle collects dirt, not as cheap as BD Half DomeNot as well-ventilated as other lightweight helmets.
Bottom Line A lightweight and inexpensive helmet that will provide great value if it fits.The lightest, most comfortable, and most enjoyable climbing helmet to wear.A comfortable and lightweight model for sending days but not heavy use.A great value helmet that strikes a balance between low weight and affordabilityA comfortable and lightweight helmet with good adjustability, but not very durable.
Rating Categories Singing Rock Penta Petzl Sirocco Black Diamond Vapor Petzl Meteor Black Diamond Vector
Comfort (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Adjustability (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ventilation (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Headlamp Attachment (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
5
Specs Singing Rock Penta Petzl Sirocco Black Diamond Vapor Petzl Meteor Black Diamond Vector
Measured Weight in Ounces (largest size) 7.2 oz. 6.1 oz 7.0 oz 8.5 oz 8.6 oz
Shell Style Polycarbonate shell, EPS foam EPP and EPS foam, polycabonate top piece EPS foam with Polycarbonate EPS, Polycarbonate EPS foam with Polycarbonate
Number of Sizes 1 2 2 2 2
Number of colors 4 1 4 3 4
Warranty not disclosed 3 year 1 year 3 year 1 year

Our Analysis and Test Results

Singing Rock is climbing gear company based in the Czech Republic. The Penta is an EPS molded helmet with a light "eggshell" of Polycarbonate plastic covering it to offer protection for the foam. It comes in at least four different colors, but only one size, which they claim will work for head sizes ranging from 51-60cm. This is slightly smaller on the high end than most helmets, which also tend to be broken down into two different, overlapping, size ranges. It has a minimal and not very adjustable webbing harness system that helps to keep the helmet light. We found that this helmet needs to fit out of the box to be comfortable, and that you will need to have a smaller head for this to work. Think of it as a size "small," when comparing it to other models, and if you can't wear a size small, then don't consider this one. Our male head tester found that it sat on top of his head like a top hat, while his female partner thought it fit perfectly and was her favorite of all test models of climbing helmets.

Performance Comparison


The Penta is a very affordable and lightweight foam helmet that comes in "one size fits all " yet fits quite small. We found that it fits most women's heads better than the male heads that we tested it on. If it fits  then it presents a fantastic value. Elizabeth on a crack at Trout Creek  OR.
The Penta is a very affordable and lightweight foam helmet that comes in "one size fits all," yet fits quite small. We found that it fits most women's heads better than the male heads that we tested it on. If it fits, then it presents a fantastic value. Elizabeth on a crack at Trout Creek, OR.

Comfort


The fit of this helmet is relatively small and tends toward a round shape rather than oblong. The shape compared to the shape of your head is critical to consider, because this is a molded foam helmet with very minimal possibilities of adjustment. Two different testers had drastically different opinions when it came to the comfort level: one felt it was way too small, creating a lot of pressure on the front and back of his head. A female tester felt it fit perfectly and was more comfortable than any other helmet she had worn. Like all helmets, this one has soft cushioned inserts on the inside that pad your head against the foam, although there is only one on the top and one along the forehead.

Front view of the Penta. Its single size says it is good for 51-60cm  which is smaller on the top end than many other helmets available. If it fits well  as it does for Elizabeth  then it provides good coverage over the forehead.
Front view of the Penta. Its single size says it is good for 51-60cm, which is smaller on the top end than many other helmets available. If it fits well, as it does for Elizabeth, then it provides good coverage over the forehead.

The side view of the Penta  which also covers the back of the head nicely when it fits correctly.
The side view of the Penta, which also covers the back of the head nicely when it fits correctly.

The inside of the helmet is padded with a small removable felt pad on the top  and a sweatband across the forehead. The minimalist webbing harness is lightweight but offers little opportunity for adjustment if your head is not shaped similarly to the helmet.
The inside of the helmet is padded with a small removable felt pad on the top, and a sweatband across the forehead. The minimalist webbing harness is lightweight but offers little opportunity for adjustment if your head is not shaped similarly to the helmet.

Adjustability


As we've already mentioned, this is among the least adjustable helmets you can buy, so the initial fit is critical. The harness system is made of lightweight webbing and is adjustable in the back by two buckles. This tensioning band can also be moved up or down to accommodate head shape or hair. The v-yoke straps that go around the ears and attach to the chin strap are sewn in place and cannot be adjusted at all. Likewise, the chin strap itself is sewn directly to the v-yoke, and so its position is also fixed.

These yellow straps are the only method of adjusting the fit  and they are primarily for snugging it up so the helmet doesn't move around on top of the head. Pulling either tab is fairly easy with the helmet in place.
These yellow straps are the only method of adjusting the fit, and they are primarily for snugging it up so the helmet doesn't move around on top of the head. Pulling either tab is fairly easy with the helmet in place.

The chin strap is sewn in place on the v-yoke straps  so there is little room for adjustment. If the helmet doesn't fit perfectly as is  then the straps can pinch the ears  or the chin strap can apply pressure to the throat.
The chin strap is sewn in place on the v-yoke straps, so there is little room for adjustment. If the helmet doesn't fit perfectly as is, then the straps can pinch the ears, or the chin strap can apply pressure to the throat.

Weight


We tested the only size that is available for this helmet and found that it weighed a mere 7.2 ounces on our independent scale. It is remarkably light, ranking up there with the very best and most expensive in this review, which also happen to cost a lot more. We have found that the lighter a helmet, the more enjoyable it is to wear over a long day, so the minimal weight is a big bonus for those interested in the Penta.

7.2 ounces is very light for a climbing helmet  making this one of the lightest choices in our review  and even more impressively offering budget purchasers a lightweight foam option.
7.2 ounces is very light for a climbing helmet, making this one of the lightest choices in our review, and even more impressively offering budget purchasers a lightweight foam option.

Ventilation


Like most EPS foam helmets, this one is fairly well ventilated. It features four very large vent holes on each side, with another three large vents on the back, for a total of 11. On the inside, the shaping of the foam is such that there is often a gap between the head and the foam, allowing for a bit of airflow. While not the single best ventilating helmet you can buy, it is never-the-less above average.

This photo shows the large ventilation holes on each side of the Penta which do a good job keeping the head cool and allowing for interior air flow while climbing.
This photo shows the large ventilation holes on each side of the Penta which do a good job keeping the head cool and allowing for interior air flow while climbing.

Headlamp Attachment


The Penta uses the same design as most helmets for attaching a headlamp, comprised of four plastic clips on each corner that hold the headlamp's band in place. These clips are recessed into the shell plastic so that a smooth outer surface is maintained. Because they are recessed, we found it necessary to take the helmet off to put our headlamp on, not that big of a deal. However, the clips themselves are a bit flimsy and don't hold much tension; it is easy to over bend them, and our testers thought they feel potentially prone to breaking off.

A headlamp can easily be attached by sliding it up and under the recessed white clips  as you would on most climbing helmets. This seems secure and is easy to do  although the clips feel perhaps slightly fragile.
A headlamp can easily be attached by sliding it up and under the recessed white clips, as you would on most climbing helmets. This seems secure and is easy to do, although the clips feel perhaps slightly fragile.

Durability


The Penta is coated on the outside with a thin polycarbonate shell that protects the fragile foam beneath. This shell even extends under the edges of the helmet, to further protect it while resting on the ground. It has proven to be quite durable over our test period, and is free of any dents or nicks, while we did nothing to baby it. It performs much the same as the PC shell covering Petzl helmets and is not prone to excessive denting like Black Diamond PC shell helmets. While one must always be sort of careful to protect a foam helmet, this one is fairly durable.

Value


The Penta is among the least expensive helmets you can buy, even more affordable than our Best Bang for the Buck winner. We think it provides excellent value considering it is made of light EPS foam, yet comes as a bargain price. The giant caveat, of course, is that relatively few will find that it fits perfectly enough to be worth buying.

The light blue of the Penta sticks out against the grey skies and tan and green columns at Trout Creek  OR. If the Penta fits  you cannot find a better value in a climbing helmet.
The light blue of the Penta sticks out against the grey skies and tan and green columns at Trout Creek, OR. If the Penta fits, you cannot find a better value in a climbing helmet.

Conclusion


The Singing Rock Penta is a very affordable helmet made with lightweight foam. It only comes in one size, and is not very adjustable, so one must be sure that it fits comfortably before committing to a purchase. If you are lucky, then the Penta can be a fantastic value purchase, while the majority are likely to find that the fit is too small, eliminating it as a choice for consideration.

The best helmet is the one that you will wear whenever you are out climbing. The Penta fits fairly small  but offers awesome value for a lightweight EPS foam helmet.
The best helmet is the one that you will wear whenever you are out climbing. The Penta fits fairly small, but offers awesome value for a lightweight EPS foam helmet.


Andy Wellman