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Climbing Helmets

Wild Country Rock Lite

Review of the new climbing helmet by Wild Country, the Rock Lite. Affordable, light-fit and easily adjustable.

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Helmets_WildCountry_RockLite_001.jpgWild Country Rock Lite| $89.95  ★★★★

“If you don’t wear your helmet, don’t come home!” Lisa yelled from the kitchen as I chucked my gear in the back seat and roared off for a session of bashing water ice with Jefe. “And I’ll know if you don’t wear it,” she added.I could see why Lisa warned the kids about talking to strangers and rode me about my bacon intake, but a helmet? I’m an old-school guy—if a knit cap isn’t enough protection, we just die.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of keeping “her” happy, I buckled on Wild Country’s new Rock Lite, an EPS (polystyrene) lid that at 9.17 ounces is among the lightest in its class. Polystyrene is what bike helmets are made of and works by basically shattering to absorb impact. Helmets of this ilk are excellent for protecting your noggin, but are only good for one hard blow, then it’s time to replace. Those of you who are prone to banging your heads often should get a more durable, but much heavier, plastic helmet.

Enough technical BS! A twist of the “Quick-Dial” at the rear of the helmet’s harness cinched it about my head. After making a few custom adjustments to the chinstrap, I was set. I wore the Rock Lite all that day, and, in fact, all winter and into spring. I’ll estimate that I logged about 50 days in it. Highlights included the fact that the helmet fit so well and was so light I’d forget I had it on (I drove home once while still wearing it), and that a set of flexible acetal hooks fore and aft easily and securely hold a headlamp or helmet-cam strap. Hearing was unaffected, as the helmet doesn’t cover your ear holes. I did often fumble, even barehanded, with the chinstrap buckle and webbing, but that’s a minor point on an otherwise excellent design. While I never hit my head, or was hit by rock or ice, the helmet is CE rated—it would do its duty if called upon.

I hate to say it, but Lisa was right. Climbing, ice climbing in particular, without a helmet is just dumb. All of the old excuses about helmets being heavy, ill-fitting and bulky don’t hold water anymore. Don’t leave home without one.



I gave this helmet five stars because it is light, fits well, adjusts easily and is priced about the same as other polystyrene-type helmets.

  • 9.17-ounce helmet is among the lightest.
  • Polystyrene design.
  • Secure attachments for headlamp or helmet cam.
  • Hearing is unimpeded.
  • Quick-Dial fits helmet to bare or covered head.
  • Optional: “The Shield” hard-plastic shell ($14.95), not tested, to protect the helmet from minor dings from small rocks and ice.