The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Petzl Meteor III Helmet: Faithfully Lightweight
Posted on: July 14, 2008
Weight: 235 grams (8.3 ounces)
This past winter in Patagonia I was fiddling with my helmet straps a few pitches below the summit of Poincenot. Forgetting to buckle up the chin strap, I started climbing again. Predictably, the helmet fell off and rocketed down a chossy gully. Back in camp, I scrounged up my spare helmet, an older Petzl Ecrin Roc, for the next adventure into the alpine. At 445 grams, the Ecrin Roc was by no means lightweight, and moving my head felt like exercise.
I picked up the Petzl Meteor III from the Moab Post Office in April and promptly took it to the tottering towers of River Road to climb Dolofright, Infrared, and Iron Maiden. At 235 grams the Petzl Meteor III is extremely lightweight, and throughout the day I had to tap my head to make sure the helmet was still on. The day was warm, and though my shoes threatened to slide off the creaky sandstone, my head stayed cool and dry. I was impressed.
Since then the Meteor III has been my faithful companion on long routes in Squamish as well as when teaching anchors on the Smoke Bluffs. Squamish in the spring can be unbearably humid, and this spring was no exception. Yet, the Petzl Meteor once again amazed me with its outstanding ventilation. The polystyrene impact liners are not only comfortable, but they also help the helmet stay firmly anchored to my head, never shifting or slipping sideways. Also, the helmet adjustment slides back into the helmet for easy storage and therefore doesn't get caught on anything.
Durability is however an intrinsic problem with any lightweight helmet. My spare Ecrin Roc has taken volleys of small stones over the years, but remains sturdy and strong. The same can't be said for the Meteor III, and such helmets need to be retired once hit by a big stone. I would therefore stick to a heavier helmet in places exposed to lots of loose rock and save the Meteor for areas offering more solid features.
The Meteor III is the best helmet I have ever worn, and it's so light and comfortable that I no longer have any excuses to leave my helmet behind on any adventure, local crag or big alpine route alike.
Pros: Light; comfortable; breathable; cool orange racing stripes for speed.
Cons: Durability is questionable, but hey, that's just the trade-off with lightweight helmets.