Smith Vantage MIPS Review
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Smith Vantage MIPS
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|Pros||Comfortable, warm, vents well, style points, compatible with most goggles||Magnetic buckle, ventilation, protection features, style, BOA-adjustable fit||MIPS Spherical, adjustable vents, microfleece liner, secure fit||Protective features, lightweight, adjustable ventilation, versatile||Affordable, adjustable vents, MIPS, adjustable dial|
|Cons||Pricey||Non-adjustable vents, price||Expensive, heavier weight, slightly bulky||Earpads are challenging to remove, dial hard to use with gloves, style||Heavy, larger profile|
|Bottom Line||Deemed best of the best by our testers, there isn't a better combination of performance available from any model we have tested||A lightweight, comfortable, and feature-rich skate-style helmet that is great for those who traditionally prefer not to wear one||Giro blends comfort, warmth, and protection into a resort-focused helmet for avid skiers and riders||Equally at home on the skin track as the resort, we reached for this budget-friendly helmet frequently on ski tours||Equipped with MIPS, adjustable vents, and an adjustable dial, this model has high-end features and strong performance at a stellar price|
|Rating Categories||Smith Vantage MIPS||Anon Logan WaveCel||Giro Tor Spherical||Smith Mission MIPS||Giro Ratio MIPS|
|Goggle Compatibility (10%)|
|Specs||Smith Vantage MIPS||Anon Logan WaveCel||Giro Tor Spherical||Smith Mission MIPS||Giro Ratio MIPS|
|Measured Weight (in ounces)||17.7 oz||17.1 oz||22.2 oz||16.9 oz||21.7 oz|
|Rotational Impact Protection System||MIPS||WaveCel||MIPS Spherical||MIPS||MIPS|
|Adjustment System||Boa Fit System||360° Boa Fit System||InForm 2 Fit System||Adjustable Dial Fit System||In form dial|
|# of Vents?||20||10||16||18||10|
|Number of Sizes||3||4||3||4||4|
|Removable Ear Covers?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Certifications||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B||CE 1077B & ASTM 2040||CE EN1077||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 Class B||CE EN 1077|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vantage is Smith's top-of-the-line snowsports helmet. In our test, it performed at the top of nearly every category.
Fit and Comfort
As with most Smith helmets, the Vantage fits a wide range of head shapes, and we found this to be true during our test. The easy-to-adjust BOA wheel system makes it easy for this helmet to form comfortably to most head shapes. Adjust at ease without needing to remove your gloves. We found no problem with the earpieces of the Vantage pressing too tightly against our ears, and during several days on our favorite skis noticed no hot spots. It ranked among other top scorers.
The padding inside the helmet provides an excellent cushion inside the helmet's shell. This helmet comes in 3 different sizes, which makes it pretty easy to find a size that fits. It is also offered in a "Round Contour" fit that Smith claims to "better match rounder head shapes".
The Vantage scored high in the warmth rating metric. On the coldest days, we could feel a little air passing underneath the earpieces. This flaw is the only one we found, but it is hard to correct without the ear pieces being too tight and causing discomfort. And on those single-digit days, our testers were able to layer a thin beanie or buff under the helmet without any issues. On warmer storm days, however, our testers were able to wear the helmet with nothing on underneath, knowing that most other helmets would have required a light beanie or buff to stay warm.
This helmet was one of the warmest that we tested when all the vents were closed, with a snug fit and tensioned earpieces. If this is a problem and you do end up sweating, the antimicrobial lining will keep the helmet fresh after consecutive days on the hill.
This helmet has one of the highest scores for ventilation in our test group. Twenty-one vents that open and close make it easy to create climate control for your head. The placement of the vents is ideal, optimally creating a flow of air through the helmet. Smith achieved this by dividing its vents into three groups with two different sliding closure mechanisms. The vents near the front and crown of the helmet open and close by one slider, while the vents in the middle and back use a separate slider. The vent sliders on the Vantage were smooth like butter, unlike other models that felt, well, a little janky.
The ability to open and close different sets of vents sets the Vantage apart from several competitors, though, in the last year, many manufacturers have followed suit. As we mentioned above, the Vantage's sliders' action is much smoother and easier to operate than every other helmet we tested, which makes a big difference on the ski hill.
This criterion is evident in that choosing a helmet/goggle combo that works well and creates an excellent seal is essential. If you're in the market for both a helmet and goggles, it makes sense, if given the option, to choose products from the same company. Although we skied the Vantage with Smith goggles primarily, we found that its shape was conducive to a good fit with goggles from other companies. It earned one of the highest scores in the group.
The goggle strap holder, which keeps your goggles attached to the helmet and keeps them in place, is simple and easy to use. It does its job without a hiccup.
Weight and Bulk
This helmet remains in the middle of the road in weight among our test group. Which is impressive for all of the features it offers. 21 closable vents, removable earpieces, MIPS, and the BOA adjustment system usually pack on the ounces. The fact that it remains relatively light, combined with its sleek shape and appealing lines, proves that Smith can produce when it comes to top-of-the-line engineering. Speaking of engineering, the Vantage and other Smith models are the only helmets we tested that utilized Koroyd, a material made of stacked, vertical tubes designed to crumple during impact. All these features add a bit of weight to the Vantage, but whether or not you could tell the difference while wearing it is up for debate.
At 17.7 ounces, we don't find this helmet to be out of the question for backcountry use. Sure, it's not the lightest and isn't an ideal option for ski mountaineering, but for most single-day ski tours, we have no objection to packing the Vantage in our backcountry kit.
The Vantage has pleasing lines and a sleek, defensive look. We have tested many colorways of this product (black, green, and most recently, matte gray), and the striped, woolen earpieces were a big hit among reviewers. The Vantage comes in a wide variety of colors, from understated earth tones to louder two-tone color schemes; Smith has you covered no matter your style. Thanks in part to its broad appeal and versatility, it scored well in this metric.
Its small visor did not bother our testers at all; goggles stayed in place well when put up on the helmet's brim, and the visor added a subtle style change.
Should You Buy the Smith Vantage MIPS?
If you spend a ton of time skiing and can afford it, you'll probably feel that throwing down for the nicest helmet out there is worth it. It's well built and has all the bells and whistles, and if taken care of, it will last you a long while. When considering spending this much money, it's important to remember that one crash can render any helmet ineffective, requiring replacement. Still, in a helmet with this many protective features, it only takes one impact to know where your money went.
What Other Ski Helmets Should You Consider?
Through testing a wide variety of helmets, we have realized that you get what you pay for. Whether you're holding this helmet or wearing it, you can tell the utmost thought went into the design and production. The Smith Vantage is purely a great helmet, without any real drawbacks in design or performance. For several years running, this helmet has been a testers' favorite. However, we understand that it is not everyone's cup of tea, whether for activity-specific reasons or because of the price. Backcountry users may prefer a lighter helmet with a different feature set, in which case the Salomon MTN Lab is an excellent choice. If you want to protect your noggin but have a limited budget to work with, the Smith Mission MIPS does so without sacrificing all the cool features. We recommend the Giro Ratio MIPS for even tighter budgets.
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