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Gear Review: Mammut El Cap Helmet

An hip and multifunctional helmet for all uses.
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[most versatile]

With a small visor and a low-profile design, this brain bucket appealed to testers who might otherwise have skipped a helmet altogether. It will certainly be popular with everyone else. The narrow lid sits close to your skull, which means you won’t be bumping your noggin just because your helmet sits four inches straight up. That also means it fits easily under most shell hoods for nasty conditions. It’s fully certified for climbing use, but it’s reminiscent (in appearance) of more stylish snowboarding helmets—due in part to the rear of the helmet, which drops down more than other lids to add protection for the back of the head. Twelve vents allow plenty of airflow, and the mini-brim kept sun and snow out of the eyes on steep snowfields without the need for a full ice shield. The suspension system is easily and fully adjustable, so it stayed on during big falls but could be loosened (with two hands) when our tester was belaying in Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon. Plus, a beanie fit underneath without cutting off circulation when we took it up to the high mountains. The El Cap fit a wide variety of head sizes and shapes, and on all it sat comfortably in the ideal spot on the noggin—not too far back and not too far forward. Weight check: It’s a tad heavier than other ultralight models. $70; 12.3 oz.; mammut.ch

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