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dalius

Best Helmet for Side-Impact?

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I've got an kevlar HB brain bucket that I've been using for years in the alpine. It's a great helmet for top-impact, but would perform horribly in any side-impact situation.

 

Been looking into getting a new helmet that protects well against side-impacts, but can't decide on one. Which ones are your favorites? Why?

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I like something with foam all the way around my head due to some of the info on this site:

 

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/Feature.aspx?id=1534

 

Beacause i have a hugh head this means a bd tracer since it is the only helmet i could find that fit.

 

However the new dual rated (bike and climb) petzl seems like it might be actually certified for off center impact ... if only it came in a large.

 

 

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The Wild Country 360 is a baller helmet for side impacts (and everything else), I just got one to replace my beloved but falling-apart Edelrid Shield foam helmet.

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LePiston, I'd have to disagree on the MSR and HB El Cap. I have an HB El Cap, Kevlar, and the problem is that it's a traditional hardshell with a web cradle, horrible for side/front/back impacts.

 

RyanB, Thanks for the link to that article. Here's a link to their more extensive article on helmets in general... BMC Helmet PDF They advocate foam/soft shell over foam/hard shell for off-center impacts, though not sure I see the logic. I guess the Tracer and the Meteor III would qualify as foam/soft shell. WC360 and Metolius Safe Tech the latter.

 

The BD Tracer looks like it would perform, looks like a bike helmet. Wonder how it compared to the Petzl Meteor III. I've tried that one on - it was super comfortable. I can't find any info on the Petzl bike/climb helmet you mentioned.

 

Wild Country 360 does look baller, Metolius Safe Tech too. What's the comfort on those? The Wild Country 360 looks like it may impede head mobility.

 

Guess I'll have to hunt the helmets down and try 'em out.

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Perhaps I was unclear what you meant by side impact protection. Are you referring to the cradle and padding, or the shell? I haven't had a sideways head impact, but my thought was that a firm brim extending laterally would protect your head more than a helmet from which my face and jaw are flush in a fall. I had my BD Half Dome break on the side on a bushwhack descent...not a fall. Is there any UIAA or CE tests of side impact? True, the shock absorbing capacity of the padding and cradle are vital...I was thinking only of the helmet shell protection.

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LP- I'm referring to the whole package, the entire helmet.

 

The problem with the hardshell/web cradle helmets is that a side/front/back impact would transmit almost the entire force to the noggin - the suspension system in the helmet wouldn't absorb anything. The hard shell helmets work by providing space in between the shell and your skull, via the webbing cradle, so that in an impact the shell won't make contact with your skull. Rather, the suspension system will absorb and spread the load. The suspension systems in these helmets are anchored in several corners of the helmet - only useful in a direct top-impact. Any other impact would only minimally protect you. The El Cap may stick out a bit during regular use, but during side impact, I'm sure the shell would smack against your skull instantly. While the shell may provide some protection, I don't think it's much.

 

I think the only true protection would be something closer to a bike helmet, thus the foam/shell combo helmets mentioned above.

 

I can see a foam helmet possibly break if smacked hard enough against a rock or something, like in a bushwack. They are more delicate. But so are motorcycle helmets - they can protect you against deadly impact, but should not be used if ever dropped. Don't know about any CE or UIAA tests for off-center impacts. The BMC article linked above hinted at there being none.

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