One of the first bits of kit a newbie trad climber will buy is a lid. Gotta protect the melon.
As with most climbing gear, it’s very easy to spend a lot of money on a helmet. On the market, you can find an overwhelming amount of designs, materials, colors and fancy adjustment mechanisms. I myself have a particular Mammut lightweight lid on my wishlist (keyword: wish). However, for many people out there; beginner climbers, students, weekend warriors, or anyone on a budget, really, these things are unnecessary.
What we want is an affordable, comfortable, durable, simple-to-use helmet that looks alright, too. Many of these words depend on where you stand: how much is affordable, comfort is personal, etc.; however, I believe I can suggest a solution that is worth everyone’s consideration.
Enter the Half Dome Helmet from Black Diamond … a model that’s been around for a while, and has seen consistent improvement with each update. Nothing about this helmet is a fad, super fancy, or unnecessary.
Its features include:
- A solid shell that looks surprisingly good
- A few vents for breathability
- A variety color options
- An idiot proof wheel adjustment system
- Comfortable fit
- Headlamp clips
- Considerably lightweight (just 10 or 11oz, depending on size)
So we have a lid that has everything you need, and nothing you don’t—all for the cost of a pub meal for two. A quick internet search finds it in the range of about $40-50, so obviously, it’s worth at least considering.
As for not being female specific: once you’ve been around climbing gear for a while, you realize that there is very minimal distinction. For some brands “female specific” means pink, for others, it means a ponytail hole that some might view as unnecessary or unfavorable for the fit.
Note: yes, I’m a bloke. No, I don’t have ponytail. Yes, I’ve climbed with women. In fact, I work with a few. All of whom steer clear of the women’s helmets because they claim to never fit. One of the aforementioned female outdoor professionals just this week tried on my lid and then bought her own.
My lid has been with me for at least three years so other than a few scuff marks, it’s in perfect working condition. I’ve used it for trad climbing, sport climbing, scrambling, winter mountaineering (it fits over a wooly hat), teaching, and has been shoved in many bags, car boots, and even dropped a time or two. It will still keep the gray gooey stuff where it’s meant to be.
So there we have it, the Black Diamond Half Dome: a helmet worth considering, whoever you are.
Black Diamond Half Dome
Explore MoreRelated articles you'll love
Today’s Best Rock Climbing Gear Deals
200+ rock climbing videos
Strategies for Safer Rappelling
How to Tie Rock Climbing Knots
Gear You Ought to Know: Sterling Rope’s Hollow Block
The Best Way to Belay from Above
How to Build Your First Trad Rack
Climber Confessional: A Lesson in Backing Up Your Systems
How to Rappel if You Drop Your Belay Device
Climbing Rope Management During Rappel
10 Dos & Don’ts of Multi-Pitch Climbing
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Daisy Chain for a Personal Anchor
Get daily updates by Liking us on Facebook
Free rock climbing PDFs on technique, training, knots, and more