Bern Watts EPS Helmet Review
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The Bern Watts EPS has set the standard for many years and continues to shine in the ski/ride helmet category. We’ve been testing out the helmet during some early season turns in Steamboat Springs, CO.
Bern Watts EPS Technology and Safety
The Bern Watts EPS features a no nonsense brim design that transitions seamlessly with Smith Optics, Oakley, Native Eyewear, and K2 goggles. The brim offers a barrier and the first point of contact during a face plant. However, it does eliminate some of the venting properties that many goggles utilize along the top frame. I would trade a bit of condensation, which has rarely happened, for the style and safety that the brim offers.
Like many other helmets in the market, the Bern Watts EPS features Thin ABS Hardshell paired with single-impact EPS hard foam. The combination of shell and foam offers excellent protection and meets the safety requirements laid out by the American Society for Testing and Material (ATSM) for the ski/snow industry. The Bern Watts EPS can also be used without the winter liner for skate and bike use. Once again, Bern has you covered as the helmet meets the safety requirements set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Please note that the EPS foam is designed to protect your noggin from one single impact; you will need to get a replacement after a crash.
The Bern Watts EPS weighs in at around 17 ounces (depending on the size and including the winter liner), which is pretty average for a ski/ride helmet. The Watts EPS can be used with or without a liner; with winter in full effect, I have yet to use the helmet without a liner as there are 7 upper vents and 4 rear vents to keep you cool. For temperatures below freezing, or on days I will be cruising groomers, I throw an extra beanie underneath for added warmth due to the inability to close off the vents. The liner features cozy ear flaps, an upgrade from the former models, which were lacking in this area. The liner can be snapped in and out in about 20 seconds and washed as needed.
Fit and Style
Bern utilizes a “Signature Shape”, which creates a lower profile helmet. In a side by side comparison to a Smith, Native, and Giro helmet, there is a noticeable difference in the height of the helmet. From the side, the Bern Watts EPS really does look like a ball cap and less like a space helmet.
The Bern Watts EPS is available in a wide array of sizes, from XS to XXXL. Here is a size guide to help you get the right fit for winter or summer use. The helmet now features Crank Fit, a micro adjustment system to get a more custom fit. Turn it to the right at the helmet tightens starting at the rear. Turn to the left to loosen. This feature is an upgrade from the velcro closure system featured in the Watts EPS w/Knit. A removable goggle strap rounds out the list of features.
The helmet is available in a variety of color combos and matte vs shiny finishes. It is priced as a bargain as this helmet can be used in all seasons. For summer, add the Summer Comfort Liner. And if you have to ski or ride with tunes, simply purchase the Bern Watts EPS and add in the EPS Audio Knit or go big with the Watts EPS w/ OT Wireless Audio. The numerous options and versatility of the Bern Watts EPS should make the helmet a contender for all of your seasons’ adventures. For more info or to purchase, visit www.backcountry.com or www.amazon.com/bern.