George Stuart-Ranchev

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  1. Just got the Cookie G4 and wanted to post a quick review for anyone interested in it either because of its larger size compared to other full face helmets or simply because it’s a new product on a small market. Anyway, the G4 XXL is the only full face on the market (including the Tonfly TFX) to include 62cm/24.5” heads. Which may not seem like a big deal to most skydivers, but to the small community of skydivers that have XXL/XXXL heads there aren’t many helmets that properly fit. The G3, KISS, Tonfly, Aero and Dynamic only go up to 24”, which in my experience means they don’t fit at all or fit with major drawbacks to form and function. Suffice to say the G4 fits well, it’s a bit tight around the temple area but, based on experience with the G3 loosening up after a few jumps, I’m not worried in the least. I’m actually really psyched as nothing else on the market has fit me, I was truly afraid I’d have to jump an open face forever (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The helmet has a very premium-feel to it right out of the box, even comes with a full manual and numerous references to the safety ratings it seems to be pioneering. The mesh inner is very comfortable, the adjustable vents work well and it’s a much quieter experience than the G3. It has much nicer integrated pockets for audibles insofar as they’re larger and have different openings. The liner too is replaceable and there doesn’t seem to be any glue holding it in place anymore. It looks like it has improved ventilation and an anti-fog coating that’s better bound to the plastic, which should hopefully nullify the problems the G3 had with fogging issues after a few months of use, though obviously I haven’t had enough time to properly comment. Lastly, despite a camera mount voiding the warranty, the liner on the top of the helmet has a flap so you can easily drill a roller mount or GoPro mount in. The biggest improvement over other helmets on the market, however, is the inclusion of actual safety ratings specific to skydiving. It’s not going to save your noggin if you hit the earth at terminal (though it would probably help). But meat missile collisions or knocks inside/outside the plane should definitely be safer. Especially compared to something like the Aero or Dynamic, which have millimeters of padding beneath the carbon fiber shell (I’ve had enough bad run-ins with Bonehead to actively dis-encourage their use), which won’t do anything at all in case of an impact. Like motorcycle helmets, you’re recommended to ditch the helmet if it’s involved in an actual collision though, as the shock absorbing material deforms and loses it’s elastic properties. All in all it looks like the G4 is a sizeable improvement (pun intended) over the G3, with all the little flaws seemingly fixed. After using the G3, Kiss and Aero - and being less than impressed with the latter - I’d highly recommend this helmet for new buyers (unless the safety rating or size is that important to you, I wouldn’t say it’s worth the $439 to ditch your current helmet though). Here are some quick pictures of the unboxing: and here are some pictures of the front vent:
  2. The Ares II has precisely the same software, features and barometric hardware as the Viso II+. It differs insofar as it has a toughened scratchproof glass screen versus plastic, and the screen is ~120% larger than on the Viso II+.