Field Tested: Petzl Sirocco

I only really expect two things from a helmet: be comfortable, and pass whatever UIAA tests there are to ensure it protects my head. Beyond that, light is good, and well ventilated is also a benefit. And don’t underestimate the importance of looks — in the shop, we sell more helmets based on how cool they look and what the colour scheme is than based on fit, no matter how much I stress the importance of the latter.

REV_Sirocco-1You can’t argue that the Sirocco is highly visible…

The Petzl Sirocco ticks pretty much all those boxes.

Comfort is a very subjective thing – what fits my head might not fit yours. For me, the Sirocco is an almost-ideal fit. It sits low down on my head and doesn’t wobble around. The straps, though narrow, are comfortable and well-placed. Add in the ultra-low weight of 165-grams for my size 2 (large) and you have a helmet that I often forget I’m even wearing.

Though the Sirocco doesn’t look it, it is a very tough helmet. As proof, all you need to do is watch Petzl’s video. I’ve been using it for over two months and it has barely a scratch on it, despite being hit on numerous roofs and having been pelted by various rocks. I recently took a fist-size rock square to the top of my head, and it was the softest, most gentle impact I’ve ever experienced — I attribute this to the soft, elastic foam from which the Sirocco is made.

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As far as weight, this is (for the time being, anyway) the lightest helmet in the world: the size 1 (small) weighs a scant 150-grams.

Though the vents aren’t as large and well-spaced as those of, say, Petzl’s Meteor III+ or BD’s Vapor, the Sirocco remains sufficiently well-ventilated that I haven’t noticed any excessive heat or sweat build-up (and I sweat a lot!)

The minimalist headlamp clips work well – there are two small clips on the front and an elastic-band strap on the back. (I’m not sure what else there is to say about this!)

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The magnetic-buckle is perhaps the only slightly-gimmicky part of the package. Basically, the plastic buckle has two small magnets in either end that are meant to draw the buckle together and make one-handed clipping easy. Most of the time, this system works well. But, sometimes, the magnets snap together without actually closing the buckle.

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Finally, a review of the Sirocco cannot be complete without at least a mention of its unique look. Yes, it is a bright hunter orange. Yes, it looks dorky. Yes, its shape is a little odd. Did I mention it’s bright orange? Though I guess the bright orange is a plus for visibility. But, all that said, I’ve found that I just don’t really care once the helmet is on my head.

It’s comfortable, protects my head, seems to hold up well to various knocks, is extremely light, ventilates as well as I need it to and there’s really not much else I want out of a helmet.

Pros: comfortable, light, resilient, unique look

Cons: unique look

Overall: A great helmet!

Note: I purposefully don’t put prices for helmets in reviews as I consider them to be too important an item to skimp money on – buy cheaper draws or something. Buy the helmet that fits best, because that’s the one you’ll wear, which is the important part of owning a helmet anyway.

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