Expert Review: Smith Vantage MIPS HelmetPublished on 09/10/2022 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the helmet, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
All photos courtesy of Andrew Keehn
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the helmet, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet is an extremely versatile, comfortable, and durable piece of protection equipment with advanced safety technology and stylish looks.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet
- Size: Medium
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 170lbs
- Head circumference: 57cm
- Goggles: Smith 4D Mag
- Experience: 25+ years of skiing
- When I bought this helmet: December 2021
- Days tested: 100+ days
- Where I’ve used it: Jackson Hole, Wy
- How I’ve used it: Resort, side country, backcountry touring/hiking
How it performs
What I was looking for
I had been using previous iterations of the Smith Vantage and my last helmet was over three years old so it was time to be replaced. The old Vantage also did not have MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System). The biggest things I look for in a helmet are fit, ventilation, adjustment, and goggle compatibility.
Why I chose this gear
The fit, goggle compatibility, and ventilation seemed to be the same as with previous versions and I have loved the way this helmet performs in all types of different skiing. The only other option I considered was the POC Obex BC as it was super light and ventilated. But, the warmth and fit while using headphones was lacking comparatively.
What I love about it
- Protection: So far every crash I’ve ever taken with this helmet, I’ve felt protected and nothing broke.
- Comfort: Straight out of the box the helmet can feel slightly snug at first and needs a day of wearing it to properly mold to your head shape and fit. After that, it is very comfortable and you forget it is on your head.
- Sizing: Sizing is pretty standard and good for the average-shaped head.
- Fit system: The 360-degree BOA system is extremely comfortable and eliminates pressure points.
- Liner: The liner must be properly aligned in the helmet or the rear flaps can fold over. Otherwise it wicks moisture well and does not get smelly.
- Breathability: The Vantage has the easiest vent adjustment of any helmet I’ve ever tried. You can easily open and close them with a glove or mitt on. There are loads of vents on this helmet and opening them up wide makes a huge difference.
- Ear pads: They are super comfortable and warm and there is no weird hole in the center. The ear pads are removable and work well with Airpods underneath. They also have the ability to put bluetooth speaker pods in the ear pads themselves.
- Goggle compatibility: This is the ultimate goggle gap eliminator. Very few goggles will be incompatible with this helmet because of the brim.
- Weight: It is very lightweight due to the Koroyd material used which has an incredibly high strength-to-weight ratio. Because of the low weight, this helmet is appropriate for backcountry usage.
- Durability: The material is of high quality and durable. The matte finish makes the paint last forever and hides lots of scratches and blemishes.
- Style: This is the classic all-mountain look that many brands try to replicate. The brim, and directional, sleek-look definitely make this look like a “skiers” helmet and you probably won’t see many park rats rocking this style.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Comfort: When wearing the helmet immediately out of the box, it can feel slightly snug at first. It needs a day of wearing it to really mold to your head shape and fit properly.
- Sizing: It does tend to run slightly smaller than Smith’s other models. Persons without oval-shaped heads may not like the fit.
- Liner: The rear of the liner can get folded under the wearer’s head if the two thumb holds aren’t held properly when putting it on.
- Breathability: Sometimes, with the vents fully closed, the helmet can heat up quickly.
- Durability: The clip that holds the goggle strap fastener is the only thing I’ve ever had break on my Vantage from 3 years back. Still, it lasted for the majority of the helmet’s life.
Favorite moment with this gear
I’m one of the few people that leaves my helmet on during a less well-known sidecountry zone at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and I almost never feel overheated with the vents fully open.
Value for the money vs. other options
Smith is certainly not cheap by any means. There’s definitely other options with similar features that may save you a few dozen dollars such as Atomic’s Four AMID Pro or Scott’s Symbol 2 Plus, but for the durability and length of use possible with the Vantage, the price is worth it.
If you desire a clean look, good protection, easily adjustable ventilation, and bombproof protection, the Smith Vantage MIPS is an awesome option to any serious skier or rider looking for a high-end helmet to take with them almost anywhere.