Bern Watts Helmet Review

The Bern Watts helmet has been around for a while, and for good reason – it offers quality head protection, fits well, and looks great. The current version of the helmet, the Bern Watts EPS MIPS, will be reviewed here. It brings all of the modern technologies from today’s helmet industry into a visor-style model that will have throwback fans smiling. It’s a great option that will keep you safe and stylish out on the slopes.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, Backcountry
  • Best for: Skiers of all types who want a helmet that holds up in terms of both safety and style.
  • Pros: A lightweight, comfortable helmet that has a fairly snug profile without compromising any protection. A few features that add to the overall value.
  • Cons: The visor style helmet is a particular look that might not be ideal for every skier. Some of the extra functions, such as the interchangeable liners, are sold separately. You’ll have to spend more money to access everything it offers.
  • Alternatives: Giro Ledge MIPS, Smith Maze MIPS, Bern Macon 2.0 MIPS

Why Trust Me

I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I conducted in-depth research on the Bern Watts EPS MIPS helmet to properly assess the functionality, protection, and comfort it provides. Below is my detailed review.

Detailed Review

The Berns Watts EPS MIPS helmet provides everything you would want in a top of the line skiing helmet. The EPS MIPS construction makes it stand out in terms of safety, but it’s also comfortable thanks to the thin profile that keeps it lightweight and effective. The visor look is not for everyone, and the helmet is priced at the higher end of the spectrum, but if it’s what you’re looking for, the Watts is a solid all-around choice.

Construction and Safety

Berns did a great job with this helmet’s construction. It blends all of the elements of modern safety technology in a package that still manages to stay thin and lightweight. That results in a helmet you can easily wear all day long and gives you the peace of mind that you’ll be fully protected from any mishaps or accidents that might occur along the way.

The outer shell is made with a lightweight ABS plastic that helps deflect initial impacts without being too thick. Underneath that, you get a layer of EPS foam that does a great job of absorbing impacts while diffusing the energy away from the point of contact. These two layers provide an effective means of protection without adding a lot of bulk or weight to the overall design.

The helmet also uses MIPS technology, which adds another element of modern impact protection. MIPS, which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, was developed to protect the brain during hard impacts. It allows your head to move a bit inside the helmet when you fall, which can limit rotational movement and better cushions your skull. That protection is a huge bonus.

Comfort and Fit

The lightweight and thin shell construction elements built into the Watts make it comfortable. They also provide a fit that most skiers will appreciate. It has a small profile that doesn’t take up too much room, which is particularly nice for skiers who don’t like bulky helmets.

The model also features a Boa adjustment dial that gives you the ability to perfectly adjust the fit around your head. The Watts runs pretty true to size, but Boa gives you precise calibration so the helmet won’t slide around or move out of place. Even a little bit of precision can go a long way, and this dial lets you get things set up pretty darn near perfect.

The earpads and chinstrap are also very comfortable. Both fit snugly around your jaw and chin. The strap is easy to adjust and the liners are interchangeable if you want extra thickness or a little more warmth. Just know that these liners are sold separately, so be prepared to make that extra purchase.

Ventilation

The Watts comes with excellent ventilation that goes a long way toward keeping you comfortable while you’re out skiing. Altogether, there are 11 ventilation holes built into the helmet, and they are effective in location and design. For skiers that go hard and tend to build up a lot of extra body heat, proper ventilation is a must.

This helmet offers plenty of airflow to keep you cool and prevent moisture buildup from lingering too long on your head. If you run cold, this helmet actually might have a little too much airflow. You can easily fix that by wearing a beanie underneath, but you’ll want to make sure that you have the correct size to pull that off.

Additional Features

There are a handful of additional features here worth mentioning, as they all add to the overall design. First, the visor’s built-in design. Though I’m not a huge fan of the style, it does give you an added element of safety and can keep snow away from your face and goggles.

The helmet also comes in a variety of shell sizes. That allows you to get the best of safety and comfort for your head. This isn’t necessarily a feature, but Bern provides a way for you to customize the fit just right. That can be a Godsend in some situations. In addition, the precision works with the unique Sink Fit quite well to give you a full cohesive system.

This helmet can also be used for other sports that may or may not be snow-related. The Watts is bike light compatible with Portland Design Works lights so you can also use it riding your bike around the neighborhood. It’s also audio compatible with drop-in style audio ear pads. However, those are sold separately.

Price and Value

This Bern Watts EPS MIPS is on the higher end of price ranges for a ski helmet, but is still more affordable than some other top of the line options. With that in mind, and considering all of the protection and comfort this helmet has to offer, I give it a great value rating. There are other budget helmets available, but if you want an option that’s worth every penny, this is a good way to go.

What I Like

Overall, I like this helmet’s fit and feel. The thin shell profile makes it easy and comfortable to wear all day long. I’ve worn some helmets that offer plenty of protection but feel like you’re carrying a bowling ball around on your head. That’s far from the case here. In fact, you’ll barely notice that you are wearing it at all. The chinstrap and earpads also offer another level of comfort that ties the whole thing together.

Even though the helmet has a thinner profile than some in the same niche, it doesn’t sacrifice any safety considerations. The built-in MIPS technology is what you want and need out of a high-end helmet. The EPS foam and ABS shell also add plenty of impact protection and all of that comes together to make the helmet truly focused on safety.

Ventilation also stands out for me with the Watts helmet. I like to have quite a bit of airflow with my headgear because I tend to work up quite a bit of sweat. The 11 ventilation holes built into this helmet are well-placed and effective.

What I Don’t Like

I don’t like visor style helmets. Something about the look just doesn’t do it for me. I get that may add an extra degree of safety when considering face protection, and it also can keep snow away from your goggles and face. However, I find the visor limits a little bit of visibility and adds just a touch of unnecessary weight. I prefer a more round and basic style helmet, but that’s just me.

I also don’t like the fact that you have to purchase additional inserts or audio compatibility separately. It would be nice if the company would include at least one set of extras here, especially since you’re paying a high-end price for the helmet. The ear pad inserts are easy to interchange, you just have to get your hands on them first.

The Alternatives

If you’re looking for an alternative helmet to the Bern Watts EPS MIPS, there are plenty of other options out there. Check out some of these recommended favorites:

  • Giro Ledge MIPS – This is more of a budget MIPS helmet that works well if you’re looking for a good alternative to the Watts but don’t want to sacrifice the peace of mind that modern safety construction provides. The helmet also has stand out comfort and ventilation, as well as a simple-but-sleek style that will easily blend it. It’s available in many different colors too.
  • Smith Maze MIPS – The Maze is one of the top helmets on the market and a definite recommendation for any skier who wants the best of the best. This model is lightweight but full of safety features that will protect from even the hardest impacts. Excellent ventilation and a lot of additional features make this well worth the price, but it is expensive.
  • Bern Macon 2.0 MIPS – This is another good option from Bern that’s perfect for anyone who likes the fit or feel of the Watts but doesn’t want a visor style helmet. It’s another lightweight option that comes with MIPS technology for added safety. It also shares many key features with the Watts. It does have a unique style and look to it that might not be for everyone, however.

FAQs

Do you need to get a specific audio compatible earpad insert to work with the Watts helmet?

No. The interchangeable ear pads are compatible with a variety of different audio compatible earpads. Just check with the manufacturer before purchasing so you know they will work.

What safety certifications does this helmet have?

The Berns Watts EPS MIPS meets CPSC, EN1077B, and EN10778 safety standards and certifications.

What sizes of this helmet are available?

This helmet is available in a range of sizes for men, women, and kids. You can find specific sizing charts on the links to the product above or at the Berns website.

Final Verdict

The Berns Watts EPS MIPS is a trusted and true skiing helmet that offers a lot of serious comfort and protection. It’s lightweight, but still highly protective. That makes it one of the top helmets out there in those categories. The visor style might not be for everyone, but the way the helmet feels and fits will satisfy even the pickiest of skiers.

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