According to Pfanner marketing the word Protos is ancient Greek for 'first'. Those with serious helmet envy tell us Protos is the truncation of two words: Professional Tosser! On first sighting of this new helmet Treetools would have to disagree with the naysayers.
Pfanner have gone to a lot of bother in pre-marketing the Protos. Their photography of the helmet is superb and the brochure reeks of money (being spent). As a result, Pfanner's promotional strategy could have easily been a case of 'over promise and under deliver'.
Gladly, Treetools can report this is not so.
The Protos is very lightweight, yet solid, and nowhere near as bulky as you might think even though it can accommodate the ear protection inside the helmet.
Lost in translation
For all the marketing we still had trouble figuring out whether our Protos Integral sample was a 'Forest' helmet or the 'Arborist' version. As it turns out the difference lies in the addition of the chin strap, supplied separately (you install it yourself).
There are two chin strap options; one for 'Arborist' and one for 'Forest'. When you order the 'Arborist' helmet from Treetools the correctly spec'ed chin strap will be supplied.
But the Protos brochure clearly shows two different part numbers and the 'Chin Guard' product description does refer to EN 12492 (Arborist) and EN 471 (Forest). EN 12492 makes sense for the Arborist version, since that is the certification for mountaineering style helmets but Forest EN 471 certification is for hi-visibility? (and the chin strap is grey).
Installing the Protos 'Chin Guard' presented yet another challenge. The rear connection point was easy to find but the two frontal connection 'lugs' are well hidden beneath the internal cradle, obvious once you find them, but frustrating until you do - a quick reference to the user manual helps at this point.
Will the Protos be too hot for NZ?
Treetools has not had the Protos helmet in the field so we cannot answer this question conclusively. However, there appears to be plenty of room between the cradle and the shell for air to enter from the facial area and move across the top of your head, out through the vented rear - in theory, this air flow should be enough to keep your noggin cool.
I'm not paying NZ$350 plus for a helmet!
Well… don't be too hasty here; once you put the Protos on your head you may just change your mind about the expense! All the technology and tooling invested in this new helmet speaks for itself - the Protos does appear to represent good value for money.
Even the 'Professional Tosser' brigade might eat their words when the Protos Intregral is perched comfortably aloft!
Treetools sample Protos is in 'NZ Post' coloring but we'll have the full color range available early next year. The Protos Integral comes complete with drop-down mesh visor and low-profile SNR=26 dB ear protection.