With over 120 different helmets currently available for climbers, it seems like every climbing brand makes helmets nowadays. With so many models on the market, it can be tough to whittle down to a helmet that serves your specific needs. To help make finding and comparing helmets easier, we have created a ton of custom filters on our climbing helmets page, including some very specific features we’ve found are important to climbers that you won’t find filters for anywhere else.

In this post, we do a quick dive into each of the feature filters on WeighMyRack.com to get you better acquainted with all-things-helmet.

Helmet Fitting Features

Helmet Sizing Filters 1

The most important thing to research about helmets is how they fit. An improperly fitting or mis-sized helmet will not protect your head from all dangers. In addition to a sizing filter, we have filters for if a helmet “comes in 2 sizes” or has a “ponytail cutout” to help make it easier to find a correct fit for your dome.


About 40% of helmets come in 2 sizes, and this is largely thanks to Black Diamond and Petzl who make up nearly half of that count. Helmets that come in two sizes are scaled and designed to fit more head sizes.

In the past, some brands have made “Men’s” or “Unisex” helmets in one size and then a “Women’s” helmet that was smaller. This practice is still around, but now there are more manufacturers adding expanded sizes to include heads on larger or smaller ends of the spectrum. This filter is helpful for those with particularly small or large heads because helmets that come in 2 sizes cover a much broader range of head size. Some brands, including Petzl use size 1 (aka small) or size 2 (aka big), though some brands, like Black Diamond make the distinction as S/M and M/L.

See all Helmets that come in 2 Sizes

So far ponytail cutouts are only found in “Women’s” helmets. This cutout notch on the back of helmet accommodates a low hanging ponytail hairstyle and preserves the proper fitting of the suspension system on the head. An important note that those with larger hairstyles like braids, buns, or dreads that don’t typically sit on the lower rear of the head do not generally benefit from this feature. We definitely recommend trying this feature out in person before you buy.

See all Helmets with ponytail cutouts
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Brad (he/him) showing the pony tail cutout in action with the blue Petzl Borea helmet. You’ll note a low ponytail is still possible with other helmets, like the yellow Black Diamond Vector, but there is more pressure on the hair.

Helmet Certification Filters

Helmet Certification Filter 4

Though we only list helmets that are UIAA/EN certified for climbing, there are a couple of extra certifications, namely bike and ski, that some climbing helmets have for those who want to cover multiple sports with one helmet. Each of these additional helmet certification types have their own feature filter on WeighMyRack.

If you want to dive deeper into certifications, we have a post specifically about climbing helmet certifications and also a post about the broader CE and UIAA climbing certifications.

This is the EN certification for helmets used for bicycling and skating. From what we’ve found the major difference in testing EN 1078 involves a need for more head coverage on the sides and rear and for the helmet to pass a deflection or ‘roll-off’ test of the impact force. Since climbing helmets are tested more to absorb impact from above, adding a bike certified helmet is a great way to guarantee added protection, though at the cost of a heavier more expensive helmet.

Note: A dual bike certification is most common in kids helmets.

See all Dual Bike Certified Helmets

SKI CERT (EN 1077)
This is the EN certification for helmets used for downhill skiing. This test is simpler than the EN/UIAA one performed for climbing helmets in general, but increases the amount of force that a helmet must endure. Likely this is to simulate the faster speeds involved with downhill skiing impacts versus rockfall or climber accidents. This certification is becoming more common in helmets as SkiMo popularity increases and more climbers are venturing into the backcountry for skiing and snowboarding. We also wrote a post a while back on dual ski cert helmets if you want to go deeper.

See all Dual Ski Certified Helmets

As of this writing, only the ski company Movement makes triple certified climb, bike, and ski helmets. These helmets are expensive, heavier, and warmer, than most climbing-specific helmets, so generally speaking, they wouldn’t be our top choice for a summer rock climbing helmet. To find these helmets click both the bike and ski filter (or the button below for a direct link).

See all Triple Certified Helmets

Tech Feature Filters

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These features all point to particular technology that is pointed at a specialized use or type of climbing. Though some of these features may only seem like a ‘nice to have’ for the majority, other folks will find them a ‘make or break’ requirement.

Having a brim makes a great additional bit of protection against sun, rain and falling debris like small rocks or verglass (ice). The brims are still significantly smaller than wearing a hat with a brim under your helmet, but they are far less apt to get in the way while climbing.

See all Brimmed Helmets

RECCO® is a radio transceiver/receiver technology is used in locating someone missing or buried in an avalanche. This tech is becoming more common in climbing gear (more so in jackets) due to the recent increased popularity of backcountry ski mountaineering. Though they are more often sold as something to add onto the helmet than being built into one, some manufacturers have begun to build them in for a small price.

Update: In 2022 there are suddenly no more RECCO® helmets being manufactured. WeighMyRack.com is updated more often than this post, so you can click the button below to see if anything has changed…

See if there are any helmets with recco reflectors

MIPS Stands for Multidirectional Impact Protection System. This technology is designed to reduce the amount of force that makes it from the impact through the helmet to the brain. This is accomplished by adding a low friction cap between the liner and the helmet, allowing the shell to deflect around the head rather than transfer the impact directly to the skull. Many bicycle helmets include this feature and it is starting to be applied to sports like skiing, motorcycling, and climbing. Because the technology does a pretty good job at reducing glancing blows during testing, many MIPS helmets are also EN1078 (bike) compliant.

See all helmets with MIPS

Face shields are a part of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) that is great to have when when drilling, developing and cleaning particularly dirty remote routes. Some countries and regions also require any professionals who work at height to have eye protection, which often includes route setters in gyms. In the US, OSHA doesn’t recognize setters yet, so eye protection is ‘recommended but not required’ in the US for now although many gyms require eye protection. 

Face shields also used to be touted as recommended eye protection while ice climbing. Today glasses and goggles are primarily used instead. It is still totally reasonable to use a face shield to ice climb and a shield could also protect expensive prescription glasses.

See all helmets made to accommodate face shields

Helmet Features – Is There More?

Whether for fit or function, you deserve a helmet that will treat you right.

We’ve tried to add the most helpful features a helmet could have and make them all filterable. If you can think of a filter that you wish we had, let us know via our contact form (straight to Alison’s inbox) or a comment here in this post.

We’re always looking to improve. Even while working on this post, we realized that the Features filter was configured incorrectly and fixed it. (Yikes!) But really, it’s your feedback that makes it possible to get to the next level.

Helmet Future Ideas 6