Your climbing helmet plays a huge role in protecting you from head trauma, one of the most common climbing injuries around. But equally as important as wearing a climbing helmet is making sure that it fits properly so that it functions as intended and provides your head with the best protection possible.
Learning how to measure the head for a helmet will certainly be of help in this regard. Looking at climbing helmet sizing charts can also help, but taking actual measurements appear to yield better results. Below is a guide to help you do just that so you can find a climbing helmet that fits you just right.
Climbing Helmets and the Importance of a Correct Fit
Aside from the design and quality of the materials, the correct fit plays a huge role in how much safety your climbing helmet can provide. Remember the safety ratings on the labels of the climbing helmet? Yeah, they are only valid for perfectly-fitting helmets.
Climbing helmets that are too big for you will leave a gap between your head and the helmet’s liner. This will render the impact-absorbing liner useless and you’re going to be smacking your head against your safety gear. On the other hand, if the helmet is too small, you’re going to be very uncomfortable while wearing it. Not only will it be painful, but it can also distract you and cause you to lose focus, something that you never want to happen while rock climbing or belaying another climber.
All in all, finding the right fit is pretty important when it comes to climbing helmets. When a climbing helmet fits properly, it will be able to do its job and you don’t have to worry about any discomfort while wearing it.
With that, let’s take a look at how to find the perfectly sized climbing helmet. Below are steps to doing just that whether you’re buying from a brick and mortar store or online, from learning how to measure head for a helmet to test the helmet and more.
4 Steps to Finding the Right Helmet Size
Most manufacturers of climbing helmets will follow a standard sizing guide for their products. However, some have their own climbing helmet sizing guide (especially those based overseas) which is why you’ll notice that a helmet labeled “Large” in one brand may be a “Medium” in another. To help you avoid getting an ill-fitting climbing helmet, we’ve outlined the necessary steps below.
Visit a Reputable Sporting Goods Store
Visit an outdoor sporting goods store in your area and take a look at the different climbing helmets they have available. Sometimes these will be on display along with other climbing gear like climbing chalks and chalk bags, rope bags, and others. At other times, these will be displayed alongside other types of helmets like ski helmets, motorcycle helmets, and others.
If you don’t see one that you like on the shelf, you can ask the sales associates if they have any other stocks available. It may sound indulgent, but you’ll want to choose a helmet with a color and design that you like; otherwise, you may not feel like wearing it during your climbing adventures.
Try-On the Helmet
Once you find a helmet that you like, try it on and see how it sits on your head. Don’t adjust or lock the straps just yet. At this point, the climbing helmet must sit snug and firmly on your head. It should hold firm, but not too tightly that it causes discomfort. If it causes you discomfort in any way, consider asking for another helmet to try.
Testing the Helmet Fit
To test how well the helmet fits, move your head around from side to side and from front to back. If the helmet is the correct size, it shouldn’t move much while doing the test. If it slips off, that means that the helmet is a little too big for you.
Locking the Helmet
Try the locking systems on the helmet and adjust them if necessary. Try moving your head around again to see if it still sits nice and tight on your head. Try to feel the straps as well and if they’re cutting through your chin and jaws. If the straps feel too tight, make the necessary adjustments until they feel right.
Buying a Helmet Online
Online buying is all the craze nowadays, and there’s nothing wrong with buying climbing helmets online. But in the same way with rock climbing shoes, finding the correct size can be tricky especially since you can only find out if it fits you after you paid for it and it has been shipped to you. That said, here’s how you go about buying climbing helmets online to ensure that you get the proper fit, from how to measure the head for the helmet to placing your order.
Measure Your Head Circumference
Measuring your head remains to be the best way to determining what climbing helmet size will fit you perfectly. So, how to measure the head for a helmet and find the right size?
First, you’ll need to get a tape measure then wrap it around your head to get its circumference. Make sure that the tape is at the widest part of your head. Generally, this means that the tape measure will run across the center of the forehead (about an inch above your eyebrows), above the ears, and over the bump at the back of your head. Note the measurement in centimeters and not in inches because manufacturers use the former in their climbing helmet sizing charts. Also, if you have thick hair or plan to wear a beanie or balaclava under your helmet, you’ll want to add one centimeter to your measurement.
Although you can do this by yourself, having someone do the measuring will certainly yield a more accurate result so ask a friend or family member to help you out if possible.
Check Available Sizes
Now that you know your head’s size or circumference, check the online store where you plan to buy your climbing helmet. Cross-reference your measurements with the climbing helmet sizing charts which should be readily available on the site. Don’t just rely on the labels mentioned in the sizing chart but look at the actual measurements in centimeters.
Place Your Order
If you’re confident about the size and the reputation of the seller, go ahead and place your order. Be sure to read the terms and conditions as well, which should include any warranties, return policies, and others.
Notes for Buying Climbing Helmets Online
It is only recommended that you buy brand new climbing helmets online. As with climbing ropes and climbing harnesses, you don’t want to take chances on a used helmet since you can never be sure of its condition. Remember, a helmet is designed to protect your head so don’t skimp on condition and quality.
Globo Surf Overview
A climbing helmet is an essential piece of gear for any climber. But remember, it will only be able to do its job of protecting your head if it fits properly. So when buying a new climbing helmet, don’t just rely on climbing helmet sizing charts. Instead, learn how to measure the head for the helmet since this yields more accurate results and helps ensure that you get the correct size.