Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:02

Mammut El Cap Climbing Helmet tested and reviewed

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The Mammut El Cap is a billed as a hybrid. From the outside it is a hard plastic shell helmet but underneath there is a twin layered hard foam lining that gives the impact absorption of a moulded foam helmet. 

As it is predominantly made of plastic it does increase the weight of the helmet a little compared to some of the lighter foam options. The increased protection afforded by the plastic is worth it in my opinion.

The El Cap is well vented and I had no problem with any overheating. The balance between the plastic shell and insulation of the foam inside is just right so not to turn the helmet into a furnace.

It has performed well both on the crag and in winter.

It easily takes a thin beanie underneath for those cold ascents. Initially I thought that it might sit a bit high, due to its streamlined width, for a hood but no issues what so ever under the hood of a technical jacket.

The padding is minimal but is in all the right places. There were no problems with it causing any pain, even when it was given that little extra pressure from wearing a hood. They are also easily removed for washing if required.

The strap chin strap is easily adjustable and I found it easy to get the right set up quickly, I’ve had issues with other helmets where it’s constant adjustment to get it right but this worked out for me well.

The head clamps round well, it is a dual clip on a band. It is easily clamped around the head and released by pressing the relevant buttons. Due to it being hinged it will sit where you need it to for comfort. Also allowing it to be tucked away when not in use in a pack. Once it was closed in to the right size and the chin strap was secured the movement of the helmet was negligible.

There are 4 clips to hold on a headtorch for the late night descents, I haven’t used them in anger but having a test of them the rear ones seem quite flimsy and the front ones are a bit neat to get the band under. I wouldn’t like to be trying to get a band fitted to them at the end of a long cold day on the hill.

The styling of the El Cap is nice, the little skip is good. It’s also functional, even for its size it did deflect a small rock away from my face, to my surprise and gratitude.

I received my version before they put on the cool decals around the helmet. This version still has some nice touches.

My Thoughts…

The El Cap is comfortable, reasonably weighted and robust. I went on a mountain bike demo afternoon and used it as my head protection. Initially I had to confess to a group of mountain bikers I didn’t own a cycle helmet then explain I had brought a climbing one. When I put it on I didn’t get any stick, it actually received good comments on its styling.

The El Cap has done what it’s supposed to, it protected my head from falling debris and when I clattered it on a small overhang. It also helped when I came off the bike and I bounced off the ground.

All in all it performs very well in and out of its environment. And I would recommend it to winter, sport and trad climbers.

Features

Weight [g]:         350

12 ventilation openings for maximum comfort

4 headlamp clips

All-round, fully adjustable chin strap for ideal fit

Standard EN 12492

Ergonomic interior with comfortable padding

Height- and size-adjustable headband

Superlight and simple to adjust headband for quick fit

UIAA standard 106

Innovative 2K-EPS core to ensure maximum absorption

Robust hard plastic shell in a modern design