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Smith Mission MIPS Review

Equally at home on the skin track as the resort, we reached for this friendly-priced helmet frequently on ski tours
Smith Mission MIPS
Photo: Backcountry
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $130 List | $130.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Protective features, lightweight, adjustable ventilation, versatile
Cons:  Earpads are challenging to remove, dial hard to use with gloves, style
Manufacturer:   Smith
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 8, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Ventilation - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Goggle Compatibility - 10% 8
  • Style - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Smith Mission MIPS is a stand-out helmet. It covers front and backcountry use in a versatile and relatively low-priced package. It's what we want in a resort helmet but at a backcountry-friendly weight. Its impressive weight, protective feature set, and price set it apart from the rest. The easy to carry package contains MIPS and Koroyd to help with rotational impacts and absorb more energy than EPS. It also has user-friendly amenities like an adjustable dial fit system and adjustable vents. This helmet is great for most skiers and snowboarders. We recommend it to those looking for one helmet that can meet their protective and functional needs, whether riding chairs or traveling in the backcountry.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Smith Mission MIPS
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Smith Mission MIPS
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $130.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$156.00 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Protective features, lightweight, adjustable ventilation, versatileComfortable, warm, vents well, style points, compatible with most gogglesToasty, comfortable, really well-builtComfortable, warm, well vented, great hearing ability, easy to adjustGreat interior fit, stylish look, warm
Cons Earpads are challenging to remove, dial hard to use with gloves, stylePriceyExpensive and a little heavyRuns a bit small, heavier than mostEar flaps can be noisy
Bottom Line One helmet for your resort and backcountry endeavorsA top shelf helmet for the die-hard skierExpensive but worth itThis innovative helmet is full of new safety tech and styleA high-quality helmet at a more moderate price point
Rating Categories Smith Mission MIPS Smith Vantage MIPS Smith Quantum MIPS Scott Symbol 2 Plus D Giro Zone MIPS
Comfort (25%)
8
9
9
9
9
Warmth (25%)
7
8
9
8
7
Ventilation (20%)
7
9
9
9
7
Weight (10%)
7
6
4
5
6
Goggle Compatibility (10%)
8
9
8
8
8
Style (10%)
7
9
8
8
8
Specs Smith Mission MIPS Smith Vantage MIPS Smith Quantum MIPS Scott Symbol 2... Giro Zone MIPS
Measured Weight (in ounces) 16.9 oz 17.7 oz 21.0 oz 19.8 oz 17.9 oz
Adjustment System Adjustable Dial Fit System Boa Fit System Boa FS360 fit system RAS 2 system In Form 2 Fit System, Vertical Tuning
# of Vents? 18 20 22 44 14
Number of Sizes 4 3 4 3 3
Removable Ear Covers? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Goggle Attachment? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visor? No No No No No
Audio Compatibility? No Yes Yes No Yes
Certifications ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B EN1077:2007, Class B, EN12492:2012 CE EN1077

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Smith Mission is the first helmet we would grab if we were heading ski touring for a common objective. Its lightweight makes it a breeze to carry in the pack, and the MIPS and Koroyd construction provide the protection we would prefer in a resort helmet. It's a slick balance that makes this a great quiver of one helmet for skiers and riders who like to mix it up between resort riding and touring. Overall the helmet's feature set is impressive but even more so when you see the price.

Performance Comparison


Koroyd is an energy-absorbing welded tube structure designed to...
Koroyd is an energy-absorbing welded tube structure designed to reduce forces to your brain. This is an insert on the side of the Smith Mission.
Photo: laredo

Comfort


The Smith Mission is one of the most comfortable helmets in our review. Along with other Smith products, this model fits a variety of head shapes very well. The helmet is hardly noticeable when skiing downhill, and the adjustable dial controls a harness to snug up nicely to the back of your head.


Our testers found the helmet to be pressure point free. The fit seems between an intermediate and long oval and provides a versatile fit. The Mission is an in-mold style helmet and exhibits many of the pros associated with the construction method. In-mold helmets are often lighter. The Mission benefits from this construction style to provide a comfortable and discreet feeling when riding. The adjustable dial provides about 5 cm of adjustment to sit on the back of your head. The harness itself has an ergonomic curve and a centimeter thick pad, which provides a comfortable yet secure fit. The dial used to control the fit is accessible but challenging to use with gloves on due to its shape and resistance.

The earpads use low to medium density padding that fits tightly on the ears. Fortunately, the pads conform to the shape of your ears rather than squishing them. The surface of the pads has a soft micro fleece-like feel when wearing the helmet without anything underneath.

Despite the adjustable dial being very accessible, we found it hard...
Despite the adjustable dial being very accessible, we found it hard to use with gloves on.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Warmth


The Mission is a warm helmet based on its consistent lining, draft-free ear pads, and adjustable vents. The model scored quite well in our testing. Its warm but lightweight nature increases its utility for its ski touring recommendation.


The synthetic lining of this helmet is evenly insulated to provide similar heat retention of a medium weight skull cap. The liner has negative space to line up with the vents of the helmet. Ten of the helmets 18 vents can close to help lock in some heat if you need additional warmth. Adjustable vents are a large component of the warmth of a helmet. The warmth score was negatively impacted by the inability to close the two vents near the front side of the temples. These can allow for substantial air movement, especially while riding.

With a snug fit on the chin strap, the ear pads keep out any drafts from reaching your ears. Overall, this is one of the warmer helmets we have tested with all the hatches battened down.

Enjoying some warm weather in an already warm helmet.
Enjoying some warm weather in an already warm helmet.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Ventilation


This helmet offers efficient ventilation based on the number of vents and the time it took us to cool down in the lift line. The Mission is solid at dispersing heat and can help cool you down after high output activities. The main downside to the helmet's ventilation system is the vents' size and the difficulty of removing the ear pads.


This helmet has 18 vents in total. The ten located on the top of the head can open or close using a toggle near the back of the head. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we could cool down after breaking out sweating when wearing this helmet. On the same day, one tester had to frequently take other helmets off but was able to keep this one on. Granted, he would have preferred to ditch the helmet while standing in line, but in the name of gear reviews, it remained on. That being said, it was not the fastest venting helmet in our review. Its venting potential is limited by the small size of the vents.

The earpads are rather tricky to take on and off. The adjustable fit system is threaded through the earpads. To remove the pads, you have to disconnect the harness attachment point near the temple side of the helmet and feed it through. While it takes less than five minutes, it does limit the convenience of the model.

The Mission has plenty of vents to help you get rid of excess heat.
The Mission has plenty of vents to help you get rid of excess heat.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Weight


The weight of the Mission is one of the key reasons why it's one of the helmets we reach for first when ski touring. The weight of the helmet makes it favorable to carry and wear.


The scale put a size large at 16.9 ounces, which is relatively lightweight, especially in this price bracket and feature set. For a size Large with adjustable vents, MIPS, and ear pads, that is pretty good. While it may not be our first pick for weight-sensitive ski mountaineering ventures, we are happy to bring it out on big days in the mountains. It felt pretty featherweight on our head and had very little impact on our riding experience.

The best helmet will seem like it's not even there. The Smith...
The best helmet will seem like it's not even there. The Smith Mission staying in place through some g forces due to its low weight and solid fit.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Goggle Compatibility


The Mission has excellent compatibility with all the goggles we wore. We used two pairs of Smith and one pair of VonZipper goggles. Its low profile shape and neat brim line support each style well.


The helmet also has two vents upfront to direct cold air into your google to help prevent fogging. These vents also give the warm air from your googles an escape route through your helmet. The goggle retainer is a lightweight and flexible plastic tab to help keep the strap in place. A simple and well-tested design, it gets the job done and holds goggles in place.

A nice fit between the Smith Squad and Mission.
A nice fit between the Smith Squad and Mission.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Style


In our polls, the Mission was close to being cool and dorky at the same time. It routinely ranked in the middle of the pack. It has some aesthetic lines and aggressive looking vents that give this model a unique look.


Smith offers the Mission in six colorways. Some are poppy, and some are neutral. Pick whichever you like. The Mission had a way of splitting the crowd. If you like it, great. If you're indifferent, maybe the value could help overcome your apprehension.

The beauty of style is that it is unique to you!
The beauty of style is that it is unique to you!
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Value


Simply put, this is an incredible value. The Mission has some of Smith's premium features at their entry-level pricing.

Conclusion


Don't overlook the Smith Mission MIPS. It's lightweight and exceptional safety features make it a solid choice to take on the skin track and laps at your favorite resort. Even better, do both on the same day and stop for a warm meal on the way home with the money you saved by purchasing the Mission.

The mission earning its stripes through extensive testing.
The mission earning its stripes through extensive testing.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Isaac Laredo