The Grivel Stealth helmet is modern lightweight foam helmet. I took the helmet out for some winter cragging in Squamish and spring Skaha cragging.
Below are my thoughts on the helmet and a summary of feedback I recruited from many local climbers on fit, function and appeal of the helmet.
Construction: The Stealth has a polycarbonate shell co-molded to an injection foam interior. The polycarbonate shell provides durability and protection against sharp objects while the injection foam provides impact absorption.
I prefer foam helmets over hard shell ABS helmets for fall protection because they provide better shock absorption on the sides, back and front of head.
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Fit: The one size fits all Stealth does indeed fit a broad range of head sizes from small to large. It comes with extra padding to help the helmet fit more securely on a smaller head. It does not fit as small as size 1 Petzl or as large as size 2 Black Diamond, but will fit most people.
If your head size is within the size range of this helmet, 53 to 61 cm, the Stealth will provide good coverage top to bottom including your forehead, temples and around the back to just above the occipital bone.
Durability: Lightweight foam helmets have the disadvantage of not being as durable as more traditional hard shell helmets. Ultralight helmets need to be treated with care.
Even after many trips I have never crushed a helmet in my pack or baggage, but I make sure my helmet is packed carefully in the middle of my luggage or at the top of my backpack.
Weight: At 190 grams, the Stealth is one of the lightest helmets on the market. Other sub 200g helmets are the Black Diamond Vapor 199g, Mammut Wall Rider 195g and Petzl Sirocco 165g. Ultralight helmets feel ultralight.
If you are the type of person that wants to “feel” like you are wearing something more substantial than a bike helmet for climbing, then none of the ultralight helmets will be for you. Since I want to forget that a helmet is on my head and I want the lightest, lowest profile helmet possible I liked the feel of the Stealth.
The Stealth is light and lower profile than other helmets I have owned, such as the Black Diamond Vector, Black Diamond Half Dome, Petzl Elios and Petzl Elia. It is also lower profile than the Petzl Meteor and Edelrid Shield. It feels light and airy on the head and it is low profile enough that I can easily pull multiple hoods over my head for cold weather climbing.
Strap system: The Stealth uses a simple webbing strap system to secure the helmet on the head. The strap system is one of the best and worst parts of this helmet. The cinch system is one of the best features.
The yellow webbing straps at the back can easily be pulled down to sit below the occipital bone and cinched tight making the helmet completely secure even without the chin strap clipped. Incidentally the positioning of the straps would allow for wearing a pony tail with the helmet and the strap system is way more secure than most helmets marketed as pony tail compatible/women’s.
The cinch system is easy to tighten and loosen even with gloves on and I found it easier to use than comparable ultralight helmets that use tiny straps and buckles hard to manipulate with gloves. One issue is that the position of the chin strap is fixed so when the yellow straps are tightened to secure the helmet this pulls the positioning of the chin strap back and the chin strap can dig into your neck a bit.
I passed the helmet around to people who would normally fit smaller to larger helmets and each person had the same issue with the chin strap cutting in to their neck.
Headlamp attachment: The headlamp clips are fiddly. When wearing gloves it is hard to pry up the clips to insert your headlamp strap.
The clips are attached to the webbing and not the helmet so you can pull the entire clip out of its “seat” and then must pull the webbing straps on the inside to pull it back into its “seat.”
I prefer headlamp clips that are attached to the helmet and I think other brands have come up with systems that are easier to manipulate when wearing gloves.
For example, some helmets have positioned headlamp clips next to ventilation holes so you can hook a gloved finger behind the clip to pull it up to slip your headlamp strap underneath.
Design: Unmistakably Grivel, this helmet screams technical alpine, which may or may not be to your style.
– Katy Holm is based in Squamish, has been on expeditions to remote peaks around the world, was the climbing product manager at MEC and made a one-day free ascent of Moonlight Buttress V 5.12d with Jasmin Caton.