Petzl dominate the tree climbing helmet market in New Zealand with the Vertex range of helmets. The Vertex Best outsells the Vent at least 3:1 (certainly at Treetools). Many companies have written the 'Vertex Best' into their Best Practice procedures and are moving away from the Vent as standard equipment. The holes in the Vent cause all the angst for companies. The Vent does not meet the optional requirements for the EN 397 standard regarding electrical insulation and molten metal splash. But… employees prefer the Vent - the holes make the helmet much cooler to wear in summer.
Helmets and boots are very similar - just as one boot style will not appeal to everyone, there is no one helmet to suit all climbers. With this in mind Treetools will stock the new Stein 'Kask' Plasma helmet in 2010. We have not seen this helmet (in the flesh yet) but we are told by Stein Safety one of the features is the superior adjustment system and comfort (over the Vertex models). The 'comfort' comes from additional padding under the helmet lid. Some European climbers have complained on Arbtalk that the padding makes the helmet too hot to wear - (but it's bloody comfortable!).Treetools will have the Stein Plasma helmets out in the field by mid February so New Zealand climbers will be able to decide for themselves. The Stein Plasma will compete with the Petzl Vent (as opposed to the Best) due to ventilation holes (making them both the same class of helmet). Like the Vent we believe the Stein will more than likely appeal to individual climbers looking for a better fit and comfort and improved adjust ability (and style!).