Singing Rock Penta
- Great headlamp attachment system
- Tricky to find and adjust cinching straps
- Difficult to adjust fit with gloves
The Singing Rock Penta is a comfortable, lightweight molded foam helmet with good ventilation, making it a well-rounded and versatile helmet for rock and ice climbers. The soft, nylon chinstrap and suspension system makes this unisex helmet attractive for both male and female climbers as it allows long hair to fit comfortably in the rear. Low profile headlamp attachment clips are effective and stay out of the way of slings and clothing while keeping your light in place.
The Penta was one of the most comfortable helmets tested and became a big hit with testers. The lightweight and lack of a plastic suspension system allow the Penta to fit comfortably without hard things jabbing into your skull. Simple but plush padding offers comfort on the brow and on the top of the head and is a little thicker than most helmets tested. The strap suspension system was popular with testers, particularly women with long hair who appreciated the way it allowed room for a ponytail to stick out the back and was flexible and soft unlike plastic suspension systems. A light, simple chinstrap lacks padding but didn’t cut into the skin and helped provide a comfortable fit.
The Penta features eleven spacious vents, spread throughout the sides and rear of the helmet. The breathability of the Penta was popular with users as the large vents allowed ample airflow and some generous spacing between the helmet and the head allowed users to feel comfortable while climbing and hiking.
Ease of Adjustment
Adjusting the Penta is fairly simple with two cinching straps on the back to compliment the chinstrap. Lightweight, slim buckles on the rear of the suspension system allow for effective tightening and loosening of the helmet to find the proper fit. While effective, it can take some practice to adjust the buckles and in particular, to find the straps when you’re trying to pull them tight to fit. It was close to impossible to find these straps with bulky gloves on while ice climbing.
Four large headlamp attachment points do a really effective job of holding headlamp straps in place. Built in next to the vents, they sit flush with the shell of the helmet, creating a sleek profile that keeps the clips from snagging on slings or clothing. The clips are easy to use and access, even with gloves on and were very popular with testers.
Testers found this to be a helmet that performed well in sport, trad and ice climbing. For sport climbing, the Penta’s lightweight and comfortable fit along with sleek styling and choice of four colors made it popular with testers. Trad climbers will appreciate the ample ventilation for long routes and when scrambling on approaches and descents. While the Penta may not be the warmest helmet on the market for long, cold days on the ice, it did fit well over hats and other headwear. The Penta is a unisex helmet but was the most popular helmet tested with ladies because of the way the soft webbing suspension system allowed for the spacious and comfortable fit over a ponytail. In terms of durability, the Penta’s hard polycarbonate shell held up admirably and kept the shell clean of dings and marks throughout the rigors of use. Additionally, the polystyrene foam is thicker and proved to be more robust than some of the thinner and lighter helmets tested.
At 205 grams (7.23 oz), the Penta was one of the lightest helmets tested and is comparable in weight to the Black Diamond Vapor.
How We Tested It
The helmets in this test were used for a minimum of 25 climbing days each while sport and trad climbing, both single and multi-pitch, in Western Colorado on limestone, granite, quartzite and a variety of sandstones. They were also used on objectives more farther afield such as the Utah desert and Sierran granite. They were also used for single and multi-pitch ice climbing in western Colorado and alpine climbing objectives in California’s Sierras and Elk Mountain Range of Colorado.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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