When we check the WeighMyRack database for the most wanted and owned climbing helmets by WeighMyRack users we find the top 3 models in each category are…

Most Wanted Climbing Helmets

  1. Black Diamond Vapor (retired but still available)
  2. Petzl Sirocco
  3. Black Diamond Vector (retired but still available)

Note: At some point in 2024 we expect the retired version of the Vapor and Vector to be impossible to find in which case the Sirocco will be #1, Petzl Meteor #2 and the Mammut Wall Rider as #3 most wanted helmet.

Most Owned Climbing Helmets (available today)

  1. Black Diamond Vector (retired, still available)
  2. Black Diamond Vapor (retired, still available)
  3. Black Diamond Half Dome

Below we dive into why these are the most wanted and owned climbing helmets from WeighMyRack users.

Black Diamond Vapor – #1 Most Wanted AND #2 Most Owned

Sitting in the top 5 lightest helmets currently available (and at #2 on the sexiest helmet survey list we did a while back), the Black Diamond Vapor has long been at the top of the most wanted list on WeighMyRack. With some of the most air vent holes of any helmet on the market, the Vapor does a great job at letting your head breathe, making it great for protecting your dome while you sweat it out on a hot day of trying hard at the crag.

Currently at $139.95 the price is a bit steep compared to other helmets in its class, owing at least partially to the use of a costly sheet of Kevlar in the crown to both minimize weight and mitigate punctures.

The Vapor also comes in a ‘women’s’ version which is actually the exact same helmet that only comes in S/M and in pink or Hazel Findlay signature Ice Blue.

The Vapor can last a long time when taken care of properly. If you throw this helmet in your bag under a trad rack, expect it to have some surface dings when it comes out. If you also sit on your bag, with the helmet inside, you could certainly risk puncturing the helmet with a nut tool, cam edge, or even a quickdraw. All this to say: if you’d like to be able to toss your gear around wherever and whenever you’d like, you’d be much better off with the #3 Most Owned Half Dome.

IMG_9261 1

The Vapor sits low on the head which adds to it’s sleek look. It is rated as the one of best looking helmets out there whether you’re climbing in your home crag or high above the valleys of Potrero Chico, Mexico, as seen above.

Where to buy the Black Diamond Vapor

Where to buy the Black Diamond Vapor Women

Sold out from our retailer partners.

Petzl Sirocco – #2 Most Wanted

In 2022 we were surprised to see this as the 2nd most wanted helmet (vs #1) as typically, WeighMyRack users want the lightest products most. When we dug into the data, we found that if you combine the number of wanted current Sirocco’s with the number of wanted retired Sirocco’s (the previous all orange version) this Sirocco family would be #1.

As it stands in 2023, the current model of the Sirocco is no longer the lightest, a title Petzl Sirocco held for YEARS. The throne now goes to the updated Black Diamond Vapor which is 5 grams lighter at 155g.

The bulk of the Sirocco is made from mega-light (though less durable) EPS foam, with an internal puck of EPP and a partial polycarbonate cap. With this fairly revolutionary construction method, Petzl was able to make an extremely light and comfortable helmet without compromising its ability to absorb impacts and meet UIAA certification.

The Petzl Sirocco helmet in action
The Petzl Sirocco keeping Andreas cool and protected while belaying

It should be noted that with this light construction method, the Sirocco can easily be a “1 and done” impact helmet, that needs to be handled and stored more delicately than more ruggedly built models in similar price range like the Grivel Stealth that includes a polycarbonate shell and is 38 grams heavier.

Buying Options for the Petzl Sirocco

Black Diamond Vector – #3 Most Wanted AND #1 Most Owned

Rounding out the most wanted list is the Black Diamond Vector. Even though it barely makes it in the 30 lightest helmets currently available, it has a lot going for it which means it ALSO tops the list as the most owned helmet by WeighMyRack users. When you compare it to other sub-$100 helmets, it is highly available and also quite good looking, making the bit of extra weight much less of an issue for many climbers.

Indeed when you compare the weight savings to its ultralight cousin the Black Diamond Vapor (#1 most wanted and #2 most owned), the $50 difference for a savings of 45g seems better spent elsewhere unless you’re seriously counting your grams over pennies.

The Black Diamond Vector looks good
The Vector sits a little higher than the Vapor on the head. Brad still looks great rocking it in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. Osage, Quapaw, Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Kaskaskia, and Kickapoo territories.

Its thin polycarbonate shell also offers a bit more durability than other mid-light, mid-priced models that forego this coverage for weight. All of this adds up to the Vector being very well balanced in price, weight, and longevity, so it’s no surprise to us that it sits on both of these lists of our discerning users.

Where to buy the Black Diamond Vector

Black Diamond Vapor – #2 Most Owned

Making a second appearance on todays list as the #2 Most Owned helmet is the Black Diamond Vapor. There really isn’t much more we can say about the Vapor that we haven’t said above, except to suggest that the reason it is second on the Most Owned list (instead of 1st) is likely the higher price, and perhaps the fact that it is slightly less durable than the Vector.

Buying Options for the Black Diamond Vapor

Black Diamond Half Dome – #3 Most Owned (currently available)

Black Diamond has had a solid hold in the helmet market for a long time and one of the reasons is the price and availability of the Black Diamond Half Dome. This helmet is bomber for somebody who wants a helmet that will last. It can take multiple hits (as long as the shell isn’t cracked) and doesn’t care if you toss it on the ground or even if it happens to land on a pointy rock. Instead of denting like the Vapor or Vector, this helmet may scratch, but these scars are often worn pridefully and rarely compromising.

It is worth noting that the Half Dome Women’s version (their language not ours) is actually made differently. It has a different internal harness system to be able to accommodate a low ponytail. This harness system also means the one size fits all maxes out at 22.8″ (58 cm) versus the Men’s version which maxes out at 25″.

Buying Options for the Black Diamond Half Dome

The Half dome in action
The rugged Half Dome (the older version worn here in grey by the belayer) has long been the go-to for those looking for a durable, inexpensive brain container.

Bottom Line

The Most Wanted helmets tend to be lighter, like the Sirocco and Vapor and/or are some of the better looking helmets. The Most Owned helmets tend to be those that are readily available at all the climbing shops, like the Black Diamond collection which dominates this list.

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WeighMyRack Team

WeighMyRack Team

Most posts are a team effort. Whether one person's name is on the front, there's always multiple behind the scenes. From research, collaboration on ideas and concepts, writing, editing, it takes multiple perspectives to bring you accurate and unbiased gear knowledge.

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