For more than 40 years, French outdoor brand Petzl, has been synonymous in the world of rock climbing, caving and alpinism.

In January 2018, Petzl launched their new BOREO helmet. An all-purpose design, the BOREO is suitable for climbing, mountaineering, caving, and canyoning. We thought we’d explore the underlying technology built into the BOREO that helps ensure our noggin stays protected when some sharp, heavy, foreign object decides to target our cranium.

Quite apart from the puncturing impact of something hitting our head, much of the lethal injury is caused by blunt force trauma. The longer it takes for the collision to come to a complete stop, the better it is for our brain, even if just a few milliseconds.

The BOREO is made up of three protective layers, each of which we’ve explained in more detail below:

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) or the outer shell. Designed to be tough, hard and durable, the outer shell will either deflect an impact or stop the object puncturing our skull. In addition, the outer shell holds everything together and on which accessories (headlamps, visors, cool stickers etc) can be attached.

Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS) foam layer. EPS is the foam you see in an Esky, the foam electronics are packed in, the foam that some drinks are still served in. EPS is lightweight and has excellent crushing capabilities. When something hits your helmet, EPS is designed crush, cushioning the blow and saving your brain. The thicker the foam, the more crushing can occur before the impact is transferred back to our head. Unfortunately, we don’t want to look like we’re wearing a mushroom on our head, so the thickness of the foam must be balanced with what is reasonable (and fashionable). The EPS used in helmets is a high-grade foam, utilising varying density of foam cells to maximise protection while minimising thickness. EPS does not regain its shape once crushed. If you sustain a major impact, you should replace your helmet.

Expanded PolyPropylene (EPP) foam layer. Similar to EPS (it looks exactly the same), EPP is designed to recover its shape after impact, albeit slowly. So that you don’t have go out and buy a new helmet every time you bang your head, EPP forms a protective barrier between the impact and the EPS layer. The EPP layer can absorb minor bangs and then recovery the shape, ready for the next minor impact.

The BOREO was made available in January 2018 with an RRP of $129.95. See your nearest retail stockist to get your hands on one.