The Petzl Elia is an innovative lightweight climbing helmet designed around the needs of women. The new Omega cradle system is tailored specifically to female head shapes whilst a redesigned adjustment system allows the helmet to be worn more comfortably over long hair and ponytails. The fit system folds back into the helmet for carrying ensuring that you won't damage the Elia in transit.
The foam padding inside the Elia is all removable for washing and to adjust fit, this makes this the most comfortable womens-specific helmet on the market and an ideal choice for cragging as well as mountaineering.
I bought this helmet for climbing Via Ferratas in the Alps. On the approach the helmet was reasonably light, without being so light that I was worried about it getting damaged in my rucksack. The pony-tail friendly design works as advertised, and the whole helmet was easy to adjust; it has none of the annoying tendency to slide around on my head that is present in some other designs. I wore it on south facing limestone cliffs and found that the ventilation holes worked well. If I lost it, I would go and buy another one.
I bought this helmet with high hopes as a long suffering pony tail-wearer but the scooped design seems like a gimmick, as for me at least it was impossible to get a proper fit. For reference - I have a medium sized head, but this seems to be able to slide around no matter how tightly I cinch it down. leave it adjusted to your size as the marketing videos suggest, you have to open it up to it's biggest size and then tighten it down in increments. The chin strap design is pretty fiddly as well. I'm glad that someone has tried to design a helmet for pony tail wearers but the design needs refinement I think. Worth mentioning that it sits pretty high on the head too.
I brought this 1.5 years ago, and used it for climbing, ice-climbing and caving. And yes, I am a man, buying a woman's helmet.
But wait, it has a explanation: I have a ponytail! And for that, the helmet is good, it works like a charm.
The only bad thing with it is that it could have an ice visor fastening, and the back could be easier to set. It has a tendency to drift upwards.
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