Simond Rock Helmet Review

Purchased From: Decathlon

Price: £19.99

Period of time used: 13 months (Climbing outdoors 3-5 times a week)

Another Simond review? Well truth be told I use a lot of kit and equipment brought in Decathlon for the simple reason that much of the equipment there is good quality for a cheaper price, as well as being available nearly everywhere in Europe. Admittedly it is not as high quality as some of the more expensive brands, however the majority of equipment I’ve had from there has lasted well and done its job, and that is true of this helmet. At half the price of most others on the market this is an extremely good deal for what is essentially a basic climbing helmet. For those who are weight aware, my large helmet comes in at 360g, which is average compared to similar models.

Robustness

I have used this helmet sport and trad climbing, as well as when Climbing in the Alps and doing Via Ferrata. As Have spent the last 11 months doing nothing but this on a weekly basis, this helmet has been through the mill a little! The plastic shell outer has taken a couple of hard hits, when I have stood upright, unawares of the overhanging rock above, and smashed my head. Sounds dumb but after long days in the alps, concentration does tend to waiver. Apart from these hard hits, the lid has took the brunt of a few small rocks falling and general knocks against the rock that inevitably happen when Climbing, and so far it has scrapes and knocks, but is still in one piece. I have always brought plastic helmets over moulded ones, as I seem to bash helmets around a bit more, whether on the rock, at the foot of the crag or just stuffing it in the bag, I don’t overly respect this vital piece of safety equipment, I’m not sure why, but they do get a tough time from me!

The failings on the robustness side come in the form of the foam inserts in the helmet. When new, this foam is covered by a nice black material, that is comfortable, however over time, each and every piece of the black material has come off. The final piece is hanging on at the back of the helmet as seen in the pictures. Another problem with the foam is that much of it has come apart from the plastic crown that it is supposed to be protecting you from, and therefore when I wear it now, my forehead is permanently rubbing on plastic rather than a nice piece of foam. This is ok for me, as I’m not overly fussed, however others might not be as happy with this.

Everything else is working perfectly fine from a robustness point of view and apart from the foam, the helmet is performing well so far.

Features

This is a basic helmet, plastic outer, hard foam inner, with a plastic adjustable crown and simple chin strap mechanism. Nothing on this helmet is innovative, and that’s the beauty of it, simplicity. The outer shell is solid as stated in the robustness section, and has various air vents; four large on either side, three smaller slot vents below these, and four more mid sized holes at the rear. As well as this, on the rear and front sides are head torch attachments, these have worked well for me on early alpine starts, so much so, that I have just left the head torch in place all day, without even realising it’s there. There is a peak at the front of the helmet that does an ok job of averting the sun, and in some cases the wind when facing head down in bad weather.

Inside the helmet is the plastic adjustable crown, this is adjusted using a simple dial at the rear clockwise or anti-clockwise for tighter and looser fittings that fit a range of sizzles from 54 to 61cm. I’ve got a bit of a fat head, and it would have been nice to have a couple of extra cm, as when I wanted to wear a woolly hat underneath it gets pretty tight, I can get away with a buff, but that’s it!

There is the foam inserts that protect your head from the crown, and I have covered the problems with these in the robustness section. In short when in place they work as they are supposed to, when not, well… The final feature is the chin strap, it’s very simple with a cross section at the rear that joins another section at the front. On both sides these come together at a slider that enables you to adjust the straps around the ears. Finally there is a pinch buckle that connects under the chin, with an adjustable strap. Again, it might just be my fat head, but this adjustable strap is just not big enough, it’s just about right at full extension when not wearing a hat, however when wearing a hat I can’t do up the chin strap without strangling myself.

The Fit

Initially the fit was spot on, compared to other helmets I have worn this was not the most comfortable, however for the price it was good. As previously mentioned, the foam inserts have come loose and the material surrounding the foam has come off, leaving exposed plastic, which over a long day of climbing can be uncomfortable. The chin strap and plastic crown are again a problem, for any Climbing where a hat is not needed it’s great, however as soon as I’m cold and need to wear a hat the helmet is not big enough, the crown is tight, and the chin strap is too small even at full extension. Again this is a personal problem, however if you suffer with fat head syndrome, this should be a consideration before buying, put a hat on in store and see if it’s comfortable.

Conclusions

‘You get what you pay for’, is the conclusion for this one. It’s cheap and therefore not perfect and in some aspects, corners have been cut. An extra 2 cm of chin strap would have made this review more positive in many respects, as this is the main issue for me. In general though, this lid has done its job, and is still in good shape. I used my last helmet (Grivel Salamander), around the same amount and the rear adjustment strap broke, and was therefore put on the scrap pile. When this helmet reaches the scrap pile I wouldn’t buy another out of choice due to the chin strap, however if this wasn’t a problem I certainly would.

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