Thankfully, climbing helmets have evolved quickly over the last decade and there really is a large and varied range out there.
Into this mix comes the Black Diamond Tracer Helmet. I’ve been wearing this out on the crags and the first thing you notice is the design. It’s very sleek and aerodynamic looking and will certainly appeal to those climbers who (crazily) don’t wear a helmet because it ‘looks stupid’ (so does a hole in the head).
Smart design features include the 14 vents on the helmet that reduce weight and allow air to move freely around the head (keeping the humid, sweaty feel of old helmets at bay). The top vents are covered with a fine mesh that will stop small stones or debris filtering into the helmet.
Fitting and Weight
It’s also very light. At only 260g for a size medium (weighed independently – Black Diamond state 245g for a medium...not too much difference), it’s one of the lightest on the market today. The fitting aspect is always an important part of any helmet. For the Tracer, one easy to use micro-turn-dial at the back of the head allows super quick adjustments to be made. Fantastic for when on a multi-pitch and you want a little more volume when belaying / or if you want to put a hat on etc..
The golden test for a helmet is ‘Do I actually notice it when climbing?’ On this test the helmet passes with flying colours. The only thing I really noticed when climbing was the chin strap, but this is a common occurrence with most helmet designs so I can’t fault it too much. The helmet felt secure on my head and it never slipped onto my eyes or side to side, allowing me to focus on the climbing instead of the helmet.
Luckily (maybe not for this review) I’ve not needed to really test the strength of the helmet as nothing has dropped on it yet, but it does feel like a solid helmet and I’m happy to wear it on any type of climb without worry.
I’ve only worn it while on rock, but a friend has used it dry-tooling in Europe and found it to be a good solid helmet that protected him from falling ice debris.
Summary: An excellent addition to the range of helmets out there today. Light, sleek and difficult to fault, the Tracer further reduces the excuses of not wearing a helmet. Suitable for Rock and ice, though maybe not mountaineering.
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