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Product reviews/11/22/2023

For clever minds: Black Diamond Vapor in the test

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What's special about the Black Diamond Vapor? It's ultra-light, comfortable, well ventilated and looks good to boot. Whether you're via ferrata climbing, rock climbing or bouldering, this helmet not only keeps you safe, it also gives you a lot of style.

What can the Black Diamond Vapor do? Andrea knows. He tested it for the Italian sports magazine Now readers can also benefit from this, because we are publishing the Mountainreview tests, which were previously only available in Italian, in German, English, French, and Spanish. - these are real practical tests by ambitious (hobby) athletes who spend every free minute in the mountains. The tests are hands-on and relentlessly honest, by mountain lovers for mountain lovers. The "Consumer Experts" run, hike, ski or climb and test current equipment for its suitability for the outdoor lifestyle.

All tests are completely independent and reflect the personal opinion of the testers. We take tests of products that have performed well or very well and are also of particular interest to our readers from the point of view of the editorial team.

Curated by Andrea from
If there was a triathlon that combined climbing, cycling, mountain biking, running, downhill skiing and high altitude sports, that would be his sport. In the meantime, he enjoys anything that gives him time off. For him, mountain equipment must be light, stylish and sustainable and must tell of his adventures.

Overall rating of the Black Diamond Vapor

The Black Diamond Vapor 2023 is the further development of the predecessor of the same name. The helmet promises to be lighter, more breathable and more comfortable than the previous model. This is the ambitious goal that Black Diamond has set for itself.

Technical characteristics of the Black Diamond Vapor


170 g (size S/M)

Other features

18 air inlets


High-strength XPS shell made from expanded polystyrene


Central protection made of polycarbonate and Aluula foil


Adjustment system around the head, based on a lightweight and soft webbing strap


Available in three colors


Compared to the previous version, the weight in size S/M drops from 200 g to 170 g. A decent improvement, even though Black Diamond states 155 g on their website.


The construction of the new Vapor resembles the construction of other helmets available on the market. The polycarbonate side cover has been removed, leaving the sides of the XPS bare. This decision slightly reduces the abrasion resistance of the side part of the helmet, but this is done in favor of weight.

The lack of a polycarbonate side cover means that the helmet weighs less - but it is still safe.
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In Europe, the EN 12492 standard applies, which states the following in terms of helmet safety:

  • Flat impacts in all directions must not exceed an impact force of 10 kN transmitted to the head.
  • The top center must not be penetrated by a 3 kg conical firing pin dropped from a height of 1 meter.

Once these aspects are understood, it seems clear that the removal of the side cover does not formally cause any safety-related issues. What is critical is to prevent penetration into the center.

Black Diamond reinforced the polycarbonate film with a thin sheet of Aluula, replacing the previous carbon and Kevlar reinforcement. Aluula is a composite material based on a network of UHMPE threads (Dynema type) welded together and molded between two plastic films that protect them from delamination and UV rays. In this way, a central film is obtained with the mechanical strength of steel and the lightness of fabric.

Adjustment system of the Black Diamond Vapor

Compared to the previous version, the helmet's adjustment system no longer has the two plastic side tension straps. Instead, it uses a soft, more comfortable webbing that is tightened with a buckle.

The closure is similar to that of backpacks or climbing harnesses, making it a familiar gesture for those who need to adjust their helmet on their head.

The comfortable webbing contributes to the comfort of the Black Diamond Vapor.
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A little curiosity: in the three different editions of the Black Diamond Vapor, the logo has been reduced in size. The look is a bit more elegant now, in my opinion.

Test mode

I tested the Black Diamond Vapor helmet while ice climbing, as well as on rock routes and in climbing gardens.

The Black Diamond Vapor was put through its paces.
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Practical test of the Black Diamond Vapor

If, like me, you replace your old Black Diamond Vapor with the new one, you won't get any surprises: as soon as you put it on, you feel right at home. The rear adjustment system with the pull strap is very comfortable and stable.

Ice and high mountains

As for ventilation, the new Vapor has 18 air intakes, compared to 21 before. However, the individual louvers have become larger for this purpose.

The Black Diamond Vapor is well ventilated, comfortable and safe.
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On ice, I have to say that this helmet is so well ventilated that it's almost a bit cold, so much so that covering it with a hood almost becomes mandatory. The good thing is that it fits well under any hood thanks to its compact shape.

Multi-pitch routes

On multi-pitch routes, I really appreciated the lightness and ventilation: you forget you have it on your head: It's never hot or uncomfortable. For the same reason, I would recommend it for via ferrata.

The strap closure does not create any annoying edges. You forget that you have it on after climbing, when you walk back home.

Via ferrata and trad

When climbing, however, the Black Diamond Vapor really surprised me: it didn't feel like it was on my head, and it never interfered with my vision.

Hard to measure, but I had the impression that Black Diamond engineers managed to reduce the volume of the helmet even more. This not only improves the look, but also the performance: when climbing on the slab, you have to lean heavily on the wall. In tricky balance passages, it is crucial that the helmet does not interfere at head level. The same applies when climbing in off-width cracks or chimneys.

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