Want a single helmet with CE approval for cycling, climbing and paddling? Salewa's Helium could fit the bill, but will it fit your bonce?
Salewa Helium Helmet - First
Weight: 267 grammes (one
Polystyrene shock-absorbing liner with hard shell outer,
vents at front, side and rear, headlamp fittings, Neck-Fit
size adjustment system (available in one size only to cover
sizes 52-61), CE-approved for climbing, cycling and
Lightness and versatility
Not always as good as dedicated lids
The Helium has CE approval for use in climbing, cycling
and paddling, which makes it an ideal option either for the sort of person who dabbles in more than one of those activities and wants a single helmet for all (saving money), or for adventure racers taking part in an event which includes two or more of those activities.
The Helium is manufactured by Met, who are a well known
manufacturer of cycling helmets, and the construction is instantly
familiar: there's a hard, shock-absorbing ploystyrene inner and a harder outer shell. Note that the outer layer is quite thin, the real
protection comes from the polystyrene. Essentially it uses cycling
helmet technology and construction techniques.
It's quite a simple design. The Nexus quickly adjustable buckle is again a cycling-type feature, as is the Neckfit
system, which allows one size helmet to fit a wide variety of heads
by tightening or loosening the rear headband to suit.
You also get venting slots in the front, side and rear of the
helmet, though they're much smaller than those used for bike helmets,
presumably so the helmet can meet side impact test standards. Finally
there's a three-point headlamp fixing system.
The Helium's dead light at just over 250 grammes and we
found it reasonably comfortable, we say 'reasonably' because the
buckle, which is about an inch long, sat uncomfortably on the OM test
jaw bone, which was unfortunate. We also found the adjuster on the
rear cradle strap was long and flat and pressed uncomfortably against
the back of our head, so try before you buy.
Used for mountain biking we found the lack of ventilation compared
to dedicated, top-end bike helmets made the Helium a tad warm when
working hard. Having said that, the lack of vents in the top was
actually a bonus when it rained...
For climbing use the lack of ventilation is less of an issue and
obviously, large vents in the top of the head would compromise
protection from rock fall anyway. The low profile and light weight
made it an attractive option and the cycling-style strap arrangement
kept the helmet stable in use.
We wouldn't particularly recommend the Helium for alpine climbing
as it protects the user by absorbing impact forces and deforming or
even breaking. Fine for a swinging rock-climbing accident where your
head strikes the rock, but not good if repeated strikes are a
possibility as on a long mountaineering route.
We had no problems mounting a headtorch, but be aware that the
centrally-placed rear mount may mean you have to relocate battery
boxes with some lights.
We didn't use the helmet for paddling though it's approved for
We're not going to give marks to the Helium, mainly because if you
want a CE-approved multi-sport helmet, you don't have many, if any,
We did have comfort issues with both the buckle and the rear
cradle strap adjuster and we'd suggest you try carefully before
buying to make sure it's comfortable on your head.
On the positive side though, it's light, stable and easy to adjust,
plus it mounts a headlight securely and the internal padding - you get
extra stick-on pads - is comfortable.
The compromises made to get it throught the various European
safety standards mean it's less well vented than a cycling helmet and
it can get hot when working hard, that's less of a problem for
climbing and is really the price you pay for the Helium's
If you are after a helmet with multi-sport approval and are
prepared to compromise a little, then have a try on and see what you
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