CAMP-USA Pulse Helmet
- In-mold construction
- Rotating size adjustment wheel
- Goggle and headlamp compatible
- EN 12492 / EN 1077 ski certified
Size 1: 52-57 cm
- Claimed Weight: 10.1 oz
Size 2: 58-62 cm
- Claimed Weight: 12.5 oz
- Blister Measured Weight: 13.1 oz
Reviewer’s Head Diameter: 57.5 cm
Days Tested: 16
Locations Tested: Squamish, B.C.
As I wrote in my first look of the CAMP Pulse, I wasn’t willing to lug my winter ski helmet up high peaks under a hot sun last summer. Instead, I’d use my Petzl Elios to protect my head, but the climbing-specific helmet isn’t designed for a ski accident.
The Pulse helmet, on the other hand, is one of the few combo climbing / skiing certified helmets on the market. When I was looking for an innovative piece of mountaineering equipment, CAMP delivered.
Sizing / Fit
The Pulse comes in two sizes—small and large or, in CAMP’s nomenclature, size 1 and size 2.
I realized I was between the two sizes after measuring my head at 57.5 cm, but I ultimately decided on the size 1 because:
1) I figured I would usually use the helmet in warm conditions, without a hat or liner.
2) I’ve had some difficulty keeping my size 2 Petzl Elios helmet snug, (partly because of the shape of the headband, and partly because of the range of the adjustment). The size 2 Petzl Elios doesn’t quite tighten enough, even though it is supposed to accommodate a 53-cm circumference.
But the size 1 CAMP Pulse turned out to be too small for me. Even when I cranked the headband open as far as possible, the helmet squeezed my head enough that I knew I’d likely have a headache after about half an hour of exertion.
Size 2 proved to be a far better fit. I can adjust size 2 to tighten smaller than my head, and it definitely opens up larger. When I’m wearing my mid-weight fleece hat under the helmet, I’m warm enough in temperatures around 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unlike my Petzl Elios, the Pulse doesn’t slide around on my head even when I’m not wearing a hat. I attribute this partially to the shape of the helmet (it seems to have a more oval fit than the Elios, which works better for me), and partially to the fleece liner inside the helmet.
Like the Elios, the Pulse’s ratchet system uses a dial at the rear of the helmet that you can turn to tighten or loosen the plastic headband. I found this system on the Pulse to work smoother and feel more secure than the adjustment on the Petzl helmet.
The chinstrap has a soft, removable piece of protective cloth—intended mainly for cold weather and to keep the extra webbing from flopping around.
Goggle / Headlamp Attachment
The Pulse has attachments to hold either a headlamp on the helmet or goggles. Unfortunately, the attachment arms on the front are very thin, and I broke one of them when I was putting the helmet in my backpack. These front arms also have a little foot that sits flush against the helmet—this can be difficult to lift when you’re trying to remove the headlamp band while wearing gloves.
I definitely prefer the headlamp attachment on the Petzl Elios since it’s easier to use, and its low profile reduces the chances of it breaking.
I’ve only used the Smith I/O goggle with the Pulse, and I haven’t had any issues with the goggle band slipping off the helmet (although there is a thin piece of sticky rubber along the inside of the Smith’s goggle band). The Pulse fits well with the Smith I/O goggles—there’s no dreaded gaper gap.
The venting system worked pretty well—I can feel a cool breeze when the wind is blowing toward me, and my head doesn’t get too hot even after a lot of exertion. I have been pretty comfortable wearing the Pulse during a 60-degree July bootpack as well as 30-degree skinning trips.
You can open or close the three front vents with a sliding plastic bar located on the forehead of the helmet. The bar is a low-profile plastic piece that opens and closes the vents as much, or as little, as you want, and I found I could easily work it even when I was wearing gloves. Ten additional vent holes are always open through the mesh of the interior lining.
The Pulse will definitely be warmer than the Elios, mainly due to its (removable) fleece / mesh lining—the Elios just has a foam interior.
The Pulse uses a light plastic shell over a closed-foam interior that’s designed to absorb any impacts. The shell plastic is made from a lighter, softer material than the hard shell of the Petzl Elios, and it already has some dents on the outside. Granted, I don’t think this will compromise the helmet’s safety at all.
The Pulse helmet is a lightweight, breathable option for ski mountaineers and backcountry skiers. Although I think some features (like the headlamp / goggle attachment) need revision, the dual climbing / skiing certification makes me more inclined to grab this helmet for a day in the mountains.