CAMP Pulse Helmet — An Option for the Ski Alpinist

Post by blogger | November 8, 2007      

We’ve used ski helmets for climbing, and climbing helmets for skiing, but doing so has always seemed lacking. Ski helmets such as the Giro models are comfortable and light, but the shell doesn’t hold up to being banged around during climbs that involve rock scrambling. Conversely, climbing helmets such as the Black Diamond Tracer are superlight (only 9 ounces!) and cool on the head, but lack winter comfort features such as ear flaps and hand operated on/off vents.

Thus, enter the hybrid helmet — something we’ve been wanting for years. The CAMP offering in this area is their Pulse, a helmet that’s said to be the “first certified for skiing and climbing.”

Overall, a close look at this helmet gives you the feeling it’s been seriously designed for folks who ski and climb. Check it out:

CAMP Pulse ski and climbing helmet.
Today’s object at hand. Pulse Ski/Climb helmet, 13.7 oz, 354 gr (size 2).

While only an ounce heavier than our venerable Giro 9, Pulse offers features such as headlamp clips, solidly attached but easily removable ear flaps, front vent closure system and headlamp clips. For that extra ounce, you also get a windlass style size adjuster: If your head swells from that amazing huck you just landed, simply reach behind and twist for more room. Perhaps most importantly for true mountaineering use, the Pulse polycarbonate shell is noticeably tougher than the thin skin of the Giro. Goggle gap tests out to be about the same as a Giro, and the “winter kit” that provides ear flaps also includes plugs to close up the vent holes that the hand operated shutter doesn’t block (similar to the Giro system many of us are familiar with).

CAMP Pulse ski and climbing helmet.
We like the simple snap type goggle clip better as it’s quicker when dealing with goggle strap buckles and such, but the basic plastic clip on the back of the Pulse does work.

CAMP Pulse ski and climbing helmet.
Headlamp clips work fine.

CAMP Pulse ski and climbing helmet.
View of the size adjuster and removable ear flaps.

Shop for the CAMP Pulse ski/climbing helmet here.

Get the winter kit for the Pulse helmet here.


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24 Responses to “CAMP Pulse Helmet — An Option for the Ski Alpinist”

  1. Jordan November 8th, 2007 11:17 am

    Hey Lou,

    How do you think this helmet would hold up to rock fall?

  2. Eyesack November 8th, 2007 11:29 am

    What no more duct tape to hold on my headlamp on my ski helmet!
    I thought that was the new look at the resorts.

    Looks cool I think I am going to go get one soon, Lou make sure CAMP knows about all the guys who run out and buy the new stuff right after they see it on wildsnow! 😛

  3. Lou November 8th, 2007 11:47 am

    He he Eyesack, they do indeed know we’re a bunch of gear junkies over here.

    Jordan, this helmet is of the “self sacrifice” type of protective engineering wherein the crushable liner and shell deform when necessary. It’s thus going to get damaged by rockfall that would simply bounce off a hard shell helmet. Conversely, I believe these types of helmets provide MUCH better protection than the hardshell suspension style helmets, though they are hotter during heavy activity.

    I’m still not feeling like I can own only one helmet, though that day is getting closer.

  4. Jordan November 8th, 2007 1:10 pm

    Yeah I agree that would provide better protection, but I don’t see it being a summer helmet either.

  5. George November 8th, 2007 2:30 pm

    Now that’s what I’ve been waiting for! A helmet that can do ski-mountaineering, climbing, and snowboarding at the same time- sign me up!

  6. Lou November 8th, 2007 2:34 pm

    I’d agree it’s not a summer helmet. But definitly the one-rig for winter and early spring mountaineering.

  7. Barry November 8th, 2007 5:05 pm

    Very nice. What about for use on a sled? I know it is not certified for this etc, however, I figure if I’m only going about downhill ski speed – why not?

  8. maelgwn November 8th, 2007 5:07 pm

    “Pulse offers features such as headlamp clips, solidly attached but easily removable ear flaps, front vent closure system and headlamp clips.”

    Does this mean there are headlamp clips on the front and the back? Incase you want to use it as a bike helmet as well?? 😛

  9. Lou November 8th, 2007 5:11 pm

    I think using a ski helmet for sled depends on style. If you go hard you need a motorsport helmet that resists penetration as well as has face protection, otherwise a ski helmet works.

  10. Mike November 8th, 2007 5:27 pm

    Does Camp have a website? I would like to find local shops that carry this to try it on first.

  11. Sean Owens November 8th, 2007 7:51 pm

    Lou, I know this is off the helmet topic, but I just read a thread in June of you stating that you had an ankle fusion. After a bad motorcycle accident my ankle had to be fused completely. What brands, direction, or is there a boot that will accomidate me? Any help you have would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Lou November 9th, 2007 7:50 am
  13. Lou November 9th, 2007 8:13 am

    Sean, I don’t like to devolve the blog to my health issues but happy to make brief mention. I’ve only got the upper (talar) joint fused, which is the main one but leaves my sub-talar to still provide me with a few degrees of movement. I did to some extent have to re-learn how to ski with the fused ankle, as it happened back in the day when you still had to really use those ankles to get a ski to turn with any sort of power. Now, with shaped skis, it’s not so much of an issue for me and is sometimes even a positive thing as it gets me thinking more about the technical side of skiing and boot fitting. Key thing I’ve found is to use carefully built footbeds, and post under the heel of the footbed so your foot/shin are at the optimum angle. But that’s really true for any skier who wants optimal performance.

    If my ankle was fully fused like yours it would probably be more of an issue, but it’s really not a big deal. One other thing, when compensating while hiking and such take slightly smaller steps and really work on learning how to walk with care so as not to put extra stress on that leg’s knee joint. Otherwise you’re bound for problems later on.

    Side note: I’ve been amazed over the years at how many people have one or even two fused ankles. It’s more common than most people realize.

  14. george laquian November 19th, 2007 4:05 pm


    My Pulse helmet just arrived, and my initial impressions are:

    1. It won’t be a duarble as my old Burton RED Expresso. The shell plastic is a micro hardshell like nyou get on Giro biken helmets.

    2. The goggle and headlamp positioning straps are well designed and placed, but poorly executed from a durability standpoint too- a night out in -20, and I’d lay money that they’ll get brittle in the AM.

    3. The ratchet on the headband works well, and is secure.

    4. Comfort of the shell interior is great- no need for additional adhesive pads.

    5. Most importantly, the helmet works well with my current goggles in terms of fit- no gap-itis with my Oakley A frames.

  15. Lou November 19th, 2007 4:52 pm

    George, thanks for your take! Is it a keeper?

    I’m pretty sure the shell plastic is more than a Giro bike helmet, but perhaps I’m mistaken…

  16. george laquian November 20th, 2007 3:49 pm

    It’s definitely a keeper in terms of a dedicated backcountry skiing/climbing helmet.

    I love the fact that it has a well-built ratchet suspension – it makes changeovers so much easier. Spacer pads only work if you’re going to wear the same head insulation every time you wear a helmet.

    I won’t even have to buy the winter kit module for it now- just layer with a lightweight balaclava and a neck gaiter for when you’re on the move, then slap on a windstopper cap at belays or lunch breaks, crank the ratchet open a couple of notches, and you’re good to go.

    I also appreciate that it has dedicated clips for goggles and especially for headlamps. I have used lots of duct tape, and aftermarket Petzl clips over the years to keep my headlamps on my ski-helmets in the backcountry, and this is a huge plus.

    I’ll just have to be gentle on the plastic clips when bashing through the trees I guess….

  17. AJ November 22nd, 2007 10:56 am

    Hi Lou,

    today I a saw a post on an Austrian website

    Dynafit has a dedicated ski/climb/cycle helmet too!

    pretty light at 320 grams, Recco, adjustable from 53-61 cm, removable (ear)pads, clips for goggle/headlamp, looks like a sweet setup

    it was developed in cooperation with the Austrian mountain rescue

    here’s the link, text is in German, just click on the pictures for a bigger image, “weiter” means the next picture, “zurück” is back

    enjoy thanksgiving!

  18. Chris November 9th, 2008 5:35 pm

    Can you elaborate on how the ear flaps are attached? I am thinking of replacing a Giro 9.9 (something like that!) with the Pulse, and the flaps on my Giro always seem to pop off. They are held in with 3 tiny plastic “dot” snaps. Does the Pulse have a better attachment system? Also the vent plugs don’t stay in my Giro anymore and I know one of these days I’ll lose them. Any thoughts on this aspect of the Camp helmet? Any fit problems you’ve noticed?

    Thanks, I know everyone values your comments before we plunk down our hard earned money!

  19. Lou November 10th, 2008 10:20 am

    Chris, the ear flaps are velcroed inside the headband, they don’t pop off as easily as the Giro (I’ve got that helmet too).

  20. tony December 25th, 2008 8:33 pm

    Are you still using this helmet? How is it holding up to general use abuse (not crashes or rock fall)? I have an old Dynafit helmet ski/climb helemet that is beat to hell after three years on my head and in my pack, though it was never subjected to rockfall or crashes.

  21. Lou December 30th, 2008 10:44 pm

    Tony, I’m still using it but have not given it the 100,000 mile test yet. It seems to be holding up fine. Worst abuse is being in my EU luggage, we’ll see if it survives.

  22. Pete Ingraham January 16th, 2009 7:48 am

    I ordered this helmet online and was disappointed by both the fit and the winter kit functionality (CAVEAT: I have not used this helmet in the field). The tension band does an adequate job of keeping the helmet on my head, but the fit is rather clunky. Given that this is the only helmet of it’s kind, I would have gone with it based on that. However, I opted to return it as the winter kit is pretty under-engineered: the insulated plugs neither friction into the holes nor adhere to the interior of the helmet – hard to imagine how they’d stay in without tape – swapping them out in the field would be awkward at best. The ear flap attachments interfere with the tension band and the chin strap (at least at my head size). There is so much slop in the closure mechanism for the holes on the front of the helmet (right over your forehead), that they only partially close.

    This might be a fine helmet for spring skiing, but for winter climbing, I can’t see it working that well as an insulator.

    My advice: wait for the next generation…

  23. Lou January 16th, 2009 9:35 am

    Thanks for the take Pete, apologies if my effusive blog misled you, I do like it and it works fine for my needs (am still using it, have it with me here in EU actually), but we’re all different…

  24. Pete Ingraham January 27th, 2009 2:51 pm

    No need to apologize. I always try to put reviews out there when I get new outdoor gear – despite all of the info on the web, it’s hard to get objective information about products. That said, I love your site and appreciate all of the reviews that you provide (including this one!).

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