When the original Sirocco came out almost four years ago, it came in only one colour — bright orange — and had a unique look that resembled, ah, let’s say wrinkled skin. However, it was also very light, extremely durable and comfortable enough for all-day use, and soon became a common sight among winter climbers and summer craggers alike,

For 2017, Petzl has introduced a new Sirocco, with the same light weight and comfort that made the original such a success, but with a complete redesign offering better protection, more ventilation and two colours: black and white, both with that bright-orange protective insert on the very top (though that said, I can’t seem to find the white version available anywhere in North America).

Both my Sirocco’s are M/L, with the new one weighing in at 165 grams, 5 grams heavier than the original model. The new one sits a bit deeper on my head, and has slightly more coverage, especially across the back of the head. It feels a bit more secure, and less ‘floppy’ side-to-side. I always thought the Sirocco was a very comfortable helmet, and if anything the new one is even more comfortable, the lower rear section almost hugging the back of my skull (sort of like a toque, if that makes any sense).

The new Sirocco also ups its overall protection rating through the use of two different materials for shock absorption. The outer is the same, soft, expanded polypropylene that seems to bounce back from impacts and has proven extremely durable in the original orange. I’ve crushed mine into packs, have been hit by ice or rock countless times, and though it has the battle scars to prove it, the Sirocco has never let me down (and over the time I’ve had it, I’ve managed to crush a BD Vector and a Singing Rock Penta, while the Sirocco continues on).

There is a new insert, made of expanded polystyrene, on the inside, directly over the top of the head. Polystyrene is much more rigid, and will more effectively absorb and spread out the force of a large impact. Additionally, there’s a polycarbonate (aka hard plastic) insert on the outside, overtop the polystyrene. This combination should prove to be one very tough, but also very effective, helmet.

In addition to the improved fit, the new Sirocco also has much larger vents, and immediately feels much more breathable than its predecessor. The vents seem to suck in air on hot days, something greatly appreciated by someone like me who seems to sweat just standing still as soon as the temp goes over 25C. Looking at it top-down, the vents and connecting ribs are positioned in such a way that errant shards of ice shouldn’t be an issue, but of course time will tell — ice season is still a few months away.

Otherwise, the strap system appears identical, and as I’ve never had an issue with it, and it’s easily adjustable, it’s great to see that there were no changes made for the sake of ‘improvement.’ The headlamp clips now look similar to those on the Meteor III+, and are a bit easier to use. The rear bungee cord is also more secure, a nice change.

As with all helmets, if it doesn’t fit your head right and isn’t comfortable for you, it doesn’t really matter how light or advanced it is — try it before you buy it. A light helmet that you never wear is of no use to anyone.

That said, if the Sirocco fits your head, I very highly recommend this new, upgraded version: based on my experience with the original, it’ll serve you well for years to come.

Thanks to Petzl for sending me a sample to test out!

6 Comments

  1. Nice write up! Glad to see you back climbing again. Hope all has gone well with your recovery!!

  2. Is any improvement in the magnetic buckle? The buckle of my sirocco is constantly cover on “magnetic” dirt, and is problematic to close the buckle with all that dirt, and even is not so easy clean the buckle.

    • Buckle appears the same to me, no changes as far as I know. I’ve never had any issues with “magnetic dirt” — where do you climb?

      • i got the same thing with my meteor with the same buckle, in CO. I think some dirt / rock has metal content in it enough to be attracted to the magnet, super annoying. I might see if I can get the magnet out without damaging the buckle or research how to demagnetize things 🙂

        • Yeah, totally has to do with the rock and metal/mineral content!

          I think you should be able to pry it out… or if not, replace the buckle with a different type.