Easy and effective adjustment to get the right fit.
Visor blocks sun and reduces brightness on a sunny day.
Durable hard plastic shell.
More protection than traditional shell helmets due to foam protection.
Adequate ventilation thanks to ten ventilation holes.
Comfortable padding throughout the interior of the helmet.
Visor can obstruct vision or be a distraction.
Rear adjustment can snag on back of helmet.
Minimal padding on the top interior of the helmet.
No padding on chin strap.
The Mammut El Cap helmet is a great all-day helmet for trad climbers looking for a fully-featured helmet. The El Cap is a hard shell plastic helmet with impact absorbing foam inside that is comfortable and well ventilated. The visor on the front of the helmet is one of the most noticeable features and reduces the sun’s glare. An easy push-button adjustment system allows for quick adjustment, and sleek headlamp attachment points keep a light fixed securely for night missions.
Comfort This is a comfortable helmet. The interior is adequately padded around the brim and minimally padded on the top of the head. The front of the helmet has ample, comfortable synthetic padding that worked effectively on hot, sweaty days. The chin strap lacks padding but was held in place thanks to good strap placement—they are split at the rear of the helmet by the rear adjustment piece. If the helmet isn’t tightly cinched, the helmet can move up and down and catch on the rear adjustment piece. The effect is slightly uncomfortable but it is easily fixed by properly snugging up the chinstrap.
Ventilation The El Cap provided adequate ventilation thanks to ten holes located along the sides and on the rear of the helmet. The inner foam has some small channels built in to help keep some space between the head and the foam to facilitate airflow.
Adjustability The El Cap was one of the easiest helmets for testers to adjust and find the right fit. Many current helmets feature a wheel ratchet system on the back of the helmet for adjustment around the head but the Mammut has a rear adjustment system with two tabs. Instead of turning a wheel, you push the tabs together or push the tabs to release them and make the fit larger. The use of this adjustment system took a little time to get used to but after a few uses, we came to really like it.
Protection The Mammut is a hard shell helmet with a foam insert. The foam provides for extra protection for impacts from above, similar to helmets like the C.A.M.P. Armour or Petzl Elios. The contoured shape of the hard plastic helmet also helps provide some protection for the back of the head and leaves room for the ears for comfort and easier hearing.
Weight At 12.3 ounces, the El Cap is slightly heavier than other hard shell/foam combo helmets we tested this year (fall 2012), such as the C.A.M.P. Armour or Singing Rock Kappa. However, it still represents a sharp decrease in weight compared to traditional hard shell helmets like the Petzl Ecrin Roc or Trango CPU.
Other Features One of the most noticeable features of the El Cap is the visor. At first, many testers described the visor to be a visual obstruction or distraction. However, all testers quickly got accustomed to the feature and found it didn’t get in their way or cause an annoyance, and it blocks the sun nicely.
The hard shell plastic proved to be durable and held up well during use. The helmet also features four headlamp attachment points that are streamlined and effective at holding a headlamp securely in place.
Value At $69.95 the El Cap is slightly more expensive than similar helmets such as the C.A.M.P. Armour or Petzl Elios. Considering the helmet performed well and was well liked by many testers, we think the price still represents a decent value for climbers looking for a high-quality hard shell and foam combination helmet.