Smith Vantage Helmet

Smith Vantage, Blister Gear Review/
Smith Vantage

Smith Vantage Helmet

Size Tested: Medium (55-59cm)

Smith’s Stated Weight: 500 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight: 479 grams

Features:

  • Hybrid SL Shell Construction
  • NEW Aerocore™ Technology featuring Koroyd®
  • AirEvac 2 Ventilation
  • NEW Adjustable Boa® FS360 Fit System
  • Low-Profile Dual Regulator Adjustable Climate Control
  • 21 Vents
  • Snapfit SL2 Ear Pads
  • Nanosilver Performance Lining
  • Removable Ultra-Light Goggle Lock
  • Skullcandy™ Audio Systems Available

Sizing: + Small 51-55 cm + Medium 55-59 cm + Large 59-63 cm + X-Large 63-67 cm

Certification: ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B

MSRP: $220 USD

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, Alta Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand; Las Leñas, Argentina; UT & NM backcountry; Stowe, VT; Wolf Creek, CO, etc.

Days Tested: ~30 in the 13/14 Vantage; ~100 in the  12/13 Vantage

The Vantage is the top-of-the-line helmet from Smith Optics, and it’s the best helmet I have ever used for these reasons:

1) Best-In-Class Ajustable Venting System

I believe the Smith Vantage has the best adjustable venting system on the market.

Smith Vantage, Blister Gear Review.
Jonathan Ellsworth in the Smith Vantage, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Having spent considerable time in the Vantage, I have little interest in going back to a helmet that doesn’t have adjustable vents. I spend too much time boot packing or skinning with a helmet on for that. And I may have missed something, but I have yet to find a helmet from any other manufacturer (Anon, POC, Pret, Protec, Bern) that has venting that is as adjustable, and that works as simply, as effectively, and as smoothly as the Vantage.

Smith’s addition of “Koroyd” (that green honeycomb you see above) is said to improve airflow, but having A/B’ed last year’s Vantage with this year’s Vantage, I can’t say I notice any improvement. But what I can say is that I would take either this year’s or last year’s Vantage over any other adjustable venting system on the market. It works beautifully, you can close both vents, open both, or open either the front vent or the back vent. I’ve never used a more customizable, smooth-working system.

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Smith Vantage, Taos, Blister Gear Review
Why hike Taos’ Highline Ridge? (Jonathan Ellsworth in the Smith Vantage.)

And it’s good enough that, while I found Smith’s Variant Brim to be a very comfortable helmet, I would definitely pay the extra money for the Vantage. (Smith apparently felt the same, and they have discontinued the Variant.)

2) The Vantage BOA Fit System

In ~130 days of use in two different models, the Vantage BOA Fit System has worked effectively and flawlessly. And when you’re ragdolling down a mountain (see below), “fit” isn’t merely a matter of comfort or style, but a matter of protection.

Smith Vantage,Blister Gear Review.
BOA Fit System and Goggle Lock on the Smith Vantage.

3) Goggle Lock

The goggle lock / strap is simple and effective. I’ve used other helmets that have done some weird things with goggle retainers. The one on the Vantage is lightweight, low profile, and it works. We’ll get to the ragdoll story in a minute, but know that my goggles stayed in place through about 14 cartwheels down the mountain.

 

NEXT PAGE: 4) Padding / Comfort / Fit / Sizing

7 comments on “Smith Vantage Helmet”

  1. Buying this helmet on line. Going for the medium as I wear a 7 1/8 hat or measure right around 56 cm. I was wearing a Giro Fuse in small. Good helmet but was maybe undersized on it as I could ever wear a skull cap or balaclava. The venting on that helmet was good with 3 way adjustment (closed/halfway/open).

    Hoping for better goggle/helmet integration (venting at the top of goggle). Seems this set up will do exactly that for when its crap weather and still keep venting well.

  2. Maybe a dumb question but…
    I assume that the ear pads are removable?
    Also, is the lining removable so that you can clean it?

  3. I’m looking to purchase this online, I have a 62cm circumference (right at the limit of a Large, according to Smith).
    Question, I have a short neck and I’m wondering about the back of it, does it go down low on the had, where it meets the neck? When a I look up, some helmets dig in a bit on the back where the adjustor is. I was wondering if this might fit well enough. I have a big noggin and a shot neck, I look like an ogre :) Thoughts, any reccos on what may bit best?

  4. I’ve used a smith variant for years, and now looking at this to replace. question is, I find myself with my goggles on my helmet often, and wonder how the brim works with that? I’ll probably use my I/O or new I/O 7 goggles to integrate.
    I don’t want the brim to shred the inner foam of the goggles, and I don’t like my goggles flopping around on my head either.
    curious…thanks.
    scott

  5. This truly is a great helmet. I use the IO/X goggle with this helmet and have no problem with my glasses fogging when I hike or ski. The airflow is very adjustable. If you decide to take the ear pads off, it is very simple but takes a few minutes to remove them. You have to unhinge the adjustable band system and lift the lining out of the helmet. Once you remove the ear pads you simply re-thread the adjustable wire. You don’t have to pull or pry out any parts to remove or re-install the ear pads. You won’t find a better helmet.

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