The certified multisport helmet has long been a Holy Grail in the outdoor world. KONG, an Italian company, comes close to the perfect multi-use hard hat with its Scarab Helmet, a lid certified by various agencies as safe for mountaineering, cycling, water sports, and equestrian activities.
The helmet is lightweight and durable. It weighs less than a pound and most resembles a helmet a rock climber might wear. The Scarab works for biking, kayaking, or rappelling, so it can save a multi-sport athlete money by eliminating the need for buying multiple helmets.
The helmet costs about $150. Overall, it's a fair deal when you consider one good helmet for cycling or climbing can cost more than $100. But the trade off is in the Scarab's functionality across the disciplines. For example, though it's safe and certified to protect your head in a bike crash, the helmet will not fit or vent like a svelte Lazer or Giro, which are specifically biking brands.
In my tests, the Scarab was a good overall performer. While it fits and feels most like a climbing helmet, it's easy to forget what helmet is on your head when you're on a bike or in a boat. Over two days, I rode more than 150 miles on a mountain bike in spring-like weather with this helmet on. At no point did it feel compromising or too hot.
Road bikers and anyone riding in warmer climates might want more vents. Also, the Scarab is not super aerodynamic, so riders looking to milk every advantage will want to go with a more cycling-specific tool.
But as a one-stop shop, the Scarab is commendable. It rides the line on performance, fit, safety, and functionality with aplomb--from the side of a mountain to the back of a horse.
--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.