Petzl - Sirocco Helmet (v2)

Petzl Sirocco in black, providing a good cover at the back of the head

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Recommended Retail Price: £100 from Petzl

The Petzl Sirocco 2nd E helmet is in the same line of helmets as our recently reviewed Mammut Wall Rider (unlined expanded polypropylene helmet). Unlined EPP helmets push the limits of the ultra-light helmet all whilst remaining highly resistant to impacts though at a sacrifice to cost and to some extent aesthetics. The first EPP helmet (Petzl Sirocco V1) was a big leap forwards with regards to how light a helmet could be. This was a fantastic innovation from Petzl but by being the first of its type out, the helmet suffered by being rather hideous looking, expensive and only available in a loud orange colour. Since then, Mammut released the Wall Rider which used a hybrid construction to reduce the volume of the top of the helmet and in doing so solved the "mushroom head" (or other euphemistic term) issue that had plagued the Sirocco. The Wall Rider also uses a more subtle colour scheme thus producing a good looking helmet that was functional and light.

Petzl Sirocco Version 1 with the classic mushroom head look

Petzl have now hit back with the Sirocco version 2. The new helmet weighs in at 170g for the larger helmet, which covers the majority of head sizes unless you are a child or have a remarkably small head, which maintains its status as the lightest fully UIAA compliant helmet on the market. The new Sirocco is available in the subtle colours of white or black with an orange EPS section on the top of the helmet. The helmet has three headtorch attachments, a single pull adjustment head strap and a magnetic lock chin strap.

From the onset, it is very noticeable that the helmet is very light. So much so that on a few occasions (including half way down a 100m rappel) this reviewer has panicked, thinking that they've left the helmet at home/in their bag. As well as being light, and possibly as a consequence, the helmet is very comfortable with no pressure points or edges which cause discomfort. At first, we felt that the magnetic chin strap was a bit gimmicky but since we've gotten used to it, we've grown to really enjoy it as a no faff solution, especially whilst wearing gloves. The price of the helmet is not quite as competitive as the competing Mammut Wall Rider at £75 but compared to the £120 of the BD Vapor it seems to be a fair price as it can more than often be found for about £70 in online shops. The new EPS on the helmet crown can also be noted as being useful for POV camera mounts, something that cannot be said about the helmets predecessor.

The Petzl Sirocco keeping the belay safe on Sula, Dun Mingulay, Mingulay

As with every item we review, there are a couple of niggles. Firstly, the magnetic lock, although a nice feature for most of the year, can become problematic in the winter months or if it gets filled with crud for whatever reason. The other negative point we've identified is that the Mammut Wall Rider arguably draws all the advantages of the Sirocco but still has a lower price point which, in our opinion, reduces the value for money offered by Petzl. 

All in all, however, a fantastic helmet which we would highly recommend to anyone looking for a hard wearing (it really is), lightweight helmet and is prepared to pay for that privilege.

Things we like: Innovative design; low-profile fit; ultra-light weight; robust.

Things we don’t like: Magnetic locks can be rendered useless by snow or mud, more expensive than competitors.