There were quite a few new and updated helmets and harnesses to check out at the Outdoor Retailer show this year. And while the changes mainly followed innovations in materials and technology there’s also a new player in the market that has some really nice equipment. Lets start with helmets and move on from there. If you haven’t checked out the other OR Reports from this year’s show they’re worth taking a peek at!
Mammut Wall Rider with MIPS:
While the MIPS system is commonplace in ski and bike helmets Mammut’s Wall Rider MIPS will be the first climbing helmet to offer the popular safety technology. For those not familiar with MIPS it’s basically made up of a thin sliding layer mounting within the helmet. In the event of a angled impact to the helmet this layer allows some torsional movement which means that some of the rotational forces are absorbed and redirected rather than being transferred to the brain.
The MIPS version of the Wall Rider Helmet is identifiable by the yellow headlamp clips. The helmet is 30g heavier than the original version and will cost about $75 USD more. Other features on the helmet remain unchanged.
Of course climbing helmets were traditionally designed to protect the wearer from a rock falling straight down. It’s nice to see that some companies also considering other scenarios such as protecting the head of a falling climber. I expect that this type of tech will become more commonplace in the climbing industry overtime.
On a side note, the original version of the Wall Rider will come in some new colors for 2019: white, aqua & blue.
Edelrid has decided to jump on the hybrid helmet bandwagon with the release of the Salathe. This ultralight (200g) helmet merges a foam injected EPP core with a small ABS cap. A design similar to that used on the Mammut Wallrider and the Petzl Sirroco. The Salathe has a little more venting than the competition so should be slightly cooler to wear but may also be a bit more delicate. It comes with front headlamp clips, a rear goggle strap and will be available in two sizes and one color: Edelrid Yellow/Green (oasis). MSRP $120 USD.
Petzl Meteor – Update:
While Petzl wasn’t actually at OR this year I managed to meet up with one of their Rep’s to chat about what’s new for 2019. While there are a few changes to the Reverso and the GriGri2 they’re quite minor and so don’t really need comment. The updated Meteor helmet, on the other hand, does deserve mention. Sorry for the stock photo, as Petzl wasn’t at the show I didn’t have the opportunity to actually try on the helmet and take my own photos.
Following the new Sirocco and Boreal the updated Meteor will have Petzl’s “Top and Side Protection” label. This indicates that the helmet has undergone some additional in-house testing not required of climbing and mountaineering helmets. The idea being that impacts to the sides, front and back of the helmet can easily happen in a fall and so protection in these areas is as important as top protection from falling rocks. The new version will weigh about the same as the current model (220g) but has a bit more more ventilation. The MSRP will be $100 USD, the same as the current Meteor.
Camp Armour – Update:
Camp has updated their popular Armour helmet for 2019. The updates are mainly focused on making this durable helmet more comfortable and simpler with a new fit profile, an easy-to-use size adjustment wheel and larger headlamp clips. Of course they also updated the color palate. The main structure of the helmet remains the same with a rugged ABS shell over some EPS foam. Not super light (315g for small, 370g for a large) but almost indestructible and inexpensive at $60 USD.
BD Solution Guide Harness:
Purpose built for the rigors of trad climbing, this new harness has been designed with durability in mind. Constructed of Super Fabric®, an abrasion resistant fabric that’s infused with tiny guard plates, this harness should stand up to some significant punishment! In case you were wondering, Super Fabric® is used in a variety of applications from bomb suits to motorcycle armour but you may recognize it as the fabric utilized on ice climbing boots. Seriously durable stuff!
Other features include 4 pressure-molded gear loops as well as a fifth, flexible rear gear loop. Non-adjustable leg loops and the same Fusion Comfort Tech used in BD’s other harnesses to reduce pressure points. A trad climbing workhorse this harness is likely to be clutch for anyone that loves OW’s and chimneys as much as I do. Of course this durability comes at the cost of some weight: 395g for the Guide vs. 330g for the original Solution (men’s medium). The Solution Guide will come in both women’s and men’s models with just one color per gender for now. A reddish color called Coral for women and a grey called Alloy for men. At a cost of $100 USD the Guide is about $30 more than the original Solution.
Ocun Neon Harness Line:
Ocun, the Czech Climbing Equipment Company is planning on making some big moves into the North American market for 2019. Trad climbers will recognize the brand from their popular crack gloves but they have quite an extensive line of gear from shoes, to ropes, pads, ‘biners and of course harnesses. Because they’re moving into NA they were at the OR Show this year which gave me the opportunity to check out some of their equipment. Included is a new line of Neon harnesses (in neon colors) aimed at the sport climbing crowd.
The Neon harnesses feature a soft, perforated micro-fiber material along the inside of the belt and leg loops that’s reminiscent of leather car seats. Very comfortable looking, this smooth and durable material creates part of a sandwich construction that also includes a ventilated padding layer and split webbing for structure.
The new Neon line-up includes 3 different models:
- Neon – unisex, non-adjustable leg loop
- Neon 3 – men’s with adjustable leg loops
- Neon 3 Lady – self-explanatory!
All the Neon harnesses come with 4 gear loops and are quite lightweight: 305g for the Neon and 360g for the Neon 3. MSRP is $90 for the Neon and $100 for the Neon 3.
Mammut Alnasca Harness:
Last but not least is the new Alnasca harness from Mammut. This ultra-lightweight sport climbing harness utilizes a split webbing design with Mammut’s Frame tech to distribute weight and improve comfort. The harness has 4 gear loops: 2 with molded plastic reinforcement and 2 lightweight fabric loops. The harness also has a very light-weight aluminum double plate buckle and a wear protector on the tie-in loops to increase the longevity of the harness. Well thought out, simple and elegant the Alnasca will be great sport and gym climbing harness. Unfortunately it only comes in black for guys and white for women, a bit of a theme with Mammut this year. The harness will weigh 295g for a medium and will sell for $120 USD.
There were also some cool ultra-lightweight harnesses over at Blue Ice but unfortunately I wasn’t able to swing by the booth at OR to check them out. Luckily Raf over at The Alpine Start wrote a great article that covers Blue Ice. Check it out here: http://www.thealpinestart.com/2018/08/07/summer-or-2018-climbing-gear/