Helmets help protect the most important and perhaps vulnerable part of the body - the head. Find out more about how they work, how to choose one, and how to make an informed decision about whether to wear one or not.
Climbing helmets come in 3 different flavours - hardshell, foam and hybrids. In general, foam helmets are best for rock climbing, hardshell best for winter & alpine, whilst hybrids are good all rounders. For foam and hybrid helmets, the more extensive and deeper the foam, the better the protection. Some offer almost as much protection around the rim as on the top of the head. Hardshell helmets offer very little protection towards the rim, but are strong against top impacts.
Always secure the straps correctly and make sure the helmet is correctly worn to obtain maximum protection. The best helmet is the one that fits and is comfortable enough that you want to wear it.
Foam helmets especially are easily damaged when not on the head. Careless handling or transport can break or damage any helmet; take great care not to crush or sit on them. Putting stickers or writing on the shell can weaken and damage the helmet and can invalidate any warranty. Discard your helmet after any severe impact.
Check your helmet regularly for damage, and replace it if necessary. Remember a helmet won't make you invincible - but it might just make the difference.
WATCH: How to check a helmet for damage on BMC TV
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