Grivel’s Stealth Helmet has a low profile, feather weight, good coverage, and a comfy fit.
The best climbing helmet is one you don’t notice you’re wearing. Among the lightest, most cutting-edge of new helmets, Grivel’s Stealth weighs about seven ounces and offers a unique polyhedral design that makes it a strong, durable option for all types of climbers.
I tested the Stealth over two months on dozens of pitches throughout the Southwest. And Thad Ferrell “borrowed” it for a month of ice climbing. We hammered the hell out of this all-arounder, but it’s still as shiny as a gold coin.
Grivel Stealth Helmet: Materials & Performance:
Both Thad and I agree the helmet feels burlier than its foam-only counterparts. The polycarbonate hard shell is co-molded on a layer of expanded injected, polystyrene foam.
According to Grivel, the hard shell prevents dents and punctures to the inner foam, while the softer polystyrene foam protects the head from shock and impact.
Obviously, don’t abuse it. But you don’t have to baby it.
Fit & Design
The Stealth stands out because of its numerous flat (and very shiny) panels that go every which way. This unique polyhedral shape, along with the simple strap system, allow it to sit a little lower on the head and have a more form-fitted feel than other helmets.
According to Grivel, the sharp angles actually provide a more rigid and higher-strength helmet than the standard rounded grooves of molded helmets: “Think of folding a piece of paper and then trying to bend it again, but this time against the previous fold. It will be more rigid than before and harder to bend/break.”
The sides and the backs of the Stealth extend farther than average, so you have added protection should you fall and hit either your temple or the back of your head.
This one-size-fits-all helmet tucks in nicely under a hood and can be easily adjusted when the helmet is on. However, I recommend this helmet for people with medium-size to large heads; it doesn’t fit pinheads well.
Both Thad and I love the Stealth’s minimalist strap system, which easily adjusts (with or without gloves) when the helmet is on or off. We prefer this system to mechanical ratchets and roll-dial adjustments that break from too much abuse.
The design harks back to older-style helmets that utilized simple adjustment systems, such as Petzl’s Echrin Roc Helmet. But, the straps on the Stealth are “a little bit better” because they’re narrower and more pliable.
The straps tuck away into the helmet for easy packing.
Though sturdy, the headlamp clips are tricky to use because they’re tightly integrated into the helmet straps. Grivel designed the tabs at the bottom of the clips to catch the headlamp strap and keep it from sliding out, and attaching the clips to the webbing harness ensures that as long as the harness is tightened on a person’s head, the clips won’t come loose.
Subsequently, you must push the webbing from inside the helmet in order to loosen the clips. This makes it impossible to put a headlamp on when you’re wearing it or if you’re using gloves to attach the headlamp.
However, Grivel purposefully designed the clips so you’d have to remove the helmet and turn it upside-down to put the headlamp on; it’s easier than trying to stretch the headlamp over the curved dome of the helmet, the brand argued. This makes sense to me; I usually take my helmet off when attaching my headlamp because I’ve too often banged my forehead when the stretched headlamp doesn’t quite latch the clips and slips off the front of the helmet.
I can’t vouch for the company’s claims that the Stealth “provides the best airflow ever made,” but it does have great ventilation with 16 vents.
Looks dorky on pinheads, but “great” on people with “huge” heads (according to Thad).
Grivel Stealth Climbing Helmet Review
Grivel built a cutting-edge new helmet that takes people some time to get used to, but excels in all realms of climbing.
Gear: Grivel Stealth Helmet
Available Online: Grivel
Price: $100. It’s $30 to $40 cheaper than the Black Diamond’s Vapor (6.5 oz.) and Petzl’s Sirocco (sub-6 oz.), but on par with the Mammut Wall Rider (6.9 oz.)
Where To Test: The mountains
Availability: Released winter 2016
Sizes: One size fits all. Adjustable 54-62
Interesting: The shiny panels of this helmet refract rays of sunlight onto everything, which is entertaining if, for example, your neurotic dog is obsessed with flashes of light.
Grivel Stealth Tech Specs
- Weight: Varies. Grivel claims it weighs 6.7oz (190g), but others weigh it in at between 6.9 and 7.4oz.
- Materials: Polystyrene foam + polycarbonate
- Front Lamp: Yes
- Two colors: Titanium and yellow
- Headlamp clips
- CE & UIAA Certified
Awesome features: I don’t notice I’m wearing it. It’s ultra-ventilated, super comfy, and the minimalist adjustment system is simple to use.
Flaw: Headlamp clips are a bit of a pain.
First impressions: Funny looking and super lightweight.
Who should buy it: Rock, ice, and alpine climbers.