Petzl’s Elia Helmet: Ponytail Perfect, Women Approved

Rock climbing at Tieton sporting the awesome Petzl Elia helmet. Photo by Bambang W P Sasongko of Genevieve Hathaway.

Petzl has done it.  Created a helmet that is actually designed for women with women in mind!  We’re talking – fits our smaller heads; super easy to switch between hat, beanie, ponytail mode; and comes in a variety of cute colors (just the icing on the cake; it was one of those girl moments).  And to top it off, it’s super light weight and uber comfy, you may just forget that you’re wearing it at the end of the day. Yes, boys… eat your heart out!  (I know a number of guys that drool over this helmet.)

Let me back up a little. I love Petzl gear.  Headlamps, crampons, biners, ice tools; they just make great gear.  Both their Elios and Ecrin Ros helmets are known to be top notch helmets.  I have tried a number of different brands of helmets, but never had the opportunity to try a Petzl helmet.  The previous helmets I had worn were decent, got the job done (though not with great ease); but I never fell in love with the any of them. There was the typical adjustment dial in the back (which so many climbing helmets sport) that always seem to snag my rebellious curls, or the “how do I fit my ponytail through the plastic strip/dial in the back” moment (which usually involved taking out said ponytail, sliding hair through slit and retying ponytail on other side while your male climbing buddies all anxiously tap their feet), or the sliding around because no matter how much I cranked it down or played with the adjustments the helmet was either a little too big for my head or the shape of my head didn’t quite fit the standard the helmet designer was looking for and so it wouldn’t sit snugly.

Then Petzl (somehow reading my and many other women’s minds out there) came out with this gem of a hard shell

Elia helmet. Photo courtesy of Petzl.

helmet.  The Elia was just released in the last few weeks and already there is quite a buzz in the climbing community about this helmet. (A lot of people have heard about this helmet and are excited to check it out, and it earned a squeal from one kickass climbing partner of mine who found it fit her supposedly large head.)  Excited about the promise of a climbing helmet that fit well and was easy to adjust, I decided to roadtest this helmet at Smith Rock this past weekend and was blown away.

It delivered on every account and then some! It was super easy (and hair snag free) to adjust from sans hat to wearing my cap to my beanie.  There are slide knobs on the side that adjust the “headband system” (see picture), making it super easy and quick to adjust the helmet and more importantly once adjusted it fits comfortably snug on your head and doesn’t move around even when jostled by a knock on the rock wall. There was no fiddling with how to wear both my ponytail and helmet.  Whether your head is small or large  (as long as it’s between 52-58 cm) this helmet will fit you and fit you well.  The headband in the back has a notch at perfect ponytail height. The chin strap and webbing are all comfortably placed, easy to adjust and never got tangled.  The helmet sports good ventilation and is light weight at only 285 g.  The interior padding is very comfortable and removable.

Back of Elia helmet. Good view of headband system. Photo courtesy of Petzl.

The Elia comes in one sizing 52-58 cm and in the colors white, sky blue (this is the color of my helmet) and stone gray. It’s designed for rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering (though note it isn’t compatible with the VIZION face shield).

Welcome to my new favorite helmet.  Whether you are looking to buy your first helmet, retire your old helmet, or just own a helmet that is designed with us girls and our needs and feminine features in mind – you can’t go wrong with the Petzl Elia.  You can check out the Petzl Elia helmet at Petzl. com:

At Smith Rock playing on the Dihedrals. The helmet is so light and comfy (and cute) I was 100% engrossed in my climb.

~ by Genevieve Hathaway on March 31, 2010.

2 Responses to “Petzl’s Elia Helmet: Ponytail Perfect, Women Approved”

  1. I just ordered this helmet, and can’t wait for it to get here! I’ve been wearing an all-sport helmet to climb, and was miserable in the warmer months. It was so hot, I never wanted to keep it on. I’ll be climbing in the next couple weeks, so I hope it comes in time for me to try it on the rock! 🙂

    • Kristen, thanks so much for the comment!! You’re going to love the helmet! Once you get to roadtest it, let me know what you think of the Elia. 🙂

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