Expert Review: POC OBEX MIPS Helmet · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the helmet which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
About this review: This review is my honest opinion of the helmet which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
The POC OBEX MIPS is a sleek, comfortable, and stylish helmet that will ensure not only that the most important organ is firmly secured within the latest technology in crash protection, but also that it looks good at the same time.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 POC OBEX MIPS Helmet
- Size: XL-XXL (59-62)
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Head circumference: 61 cm
- Goggles: POC Retina Clarity
- Experience: 25+ years
- When I bought this helmet: February 2022
- Days tested: 40
- Where I’ve used it: Park City, Utah, and Alaska
- How I’ve used it: Resort Skiing and Backcountry
How it performs
What I was looking for
There are three main factors I hold in esteem when looking for a helmet: the amount of protection, weight, and ultimately, how good it looks on my head. I ski nearly 100 days a year and am always due for a good crash, so protection is paramount. Weight is crucial mainly because I also ski in the backcountry and want a helmet light enough to heft around for hours. And lastly, looks—because let’s face it, aesthetics matter. We all want to look good.
Why I chose this gear
I have always been drawn to POC’s sleek lines and simplicity in their designs; their gear looks great and gets the job done without gimmicks or patented nonsense. On top of that, POC built its brand based on the claim that its gear offers the highest protection of any and all options on the market. My brain is pretty important to me, so I opted for POC’s engineered protection. I had also considered the Smith Vantage MIPS, but Smith tends to be more expensive for the same amount of protection.
What I love about it
- Protection: I have a motto when it comes to skiing: “If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough.” Based on this, one can probably imagine that I fall—a lot. The OBEX has proven to provide maximum protection through all my follies. It has stood between my head and packed powder, groomed runs, ice, and rocks. The addition of MIPS, the Multi-Directional Impact System, in the shell protects the brain from trauma caused by rotational injuries while the combination of ABS and Polycarbonate in the shell means the best of both worlds in protective material.
- Comfort: For 2022, POC updated the OBEX with a new EPS Foam Liner, resulting in a snug and smooth feel when putting on the helmet. They also eliminated the velcro straps used on the ear pads in the past model, meaning there are no dangling straps poking the head or neck. Overall, the OBEX slides comfortably onto my head and after a while, I hardly notice it is there.
- Fit system: POC has forgone the ubiquitous BOA dials for its own patented 360 degree adjustment system. The design is very user-friendly. Now, with one quick flick of the lone dial at the rear of the helmet controls, I can quickly and easily adjust the helmet around the entire circumference of my head. It is very neat and very handy.
- Liner: As stated above, POC fitted the OBEX with a new EPS Foam Liner. Coupled with the 360-degree adjustment system, gone are the days of custom fitting one’s own padding to the interior helmet. The liner fits snugly without any pressure points and, while thin, adequately wicks away perspiration. However, since the liner is not removable, it could present a problem in the future if there were to be any wear and tear on it.
- Earpads: POC redesigned the earpads on the OBEX, doing away with a velcro strap design that secured the earpads to the interior of the helmet. Often, the straps just worked to get in the way as I was putting my helmet on or, once on, scratched at my scalp, causing irritation. Now, the new design uses a plastic plug that I can easily snap into my helmet, but can just as easily be removed on hot days.
- Goggle compatibility: One of my favorite things about POC design is the seamless compatibility between their helmets and goggles—they are a match made in heaven. POC goggles adhere perfectly to the brim of the OBEX, meaning I don’t have to worry about the dreaded “goggle gap.” On top of that, the use of vents in the brim of the OBEX keeps my goggles fully ventilated and fog-free.
- Weight: While certainly not the lightest helmet out there, the OBEX comes very close. Polycarbonate, while more expensive, offers higher protection than ABS at a much lighter weight. So while the OBEX is on the higher-priced spectrum for helmets, it comes in at a very low weight due to its construction. I can wear it comfortably all day, whether at the resort or hiking in the backcountry.
- Durability: POC designed the OBEX with durability in mind, which is why they use both ABS and Polycarbonate in the construction. While Polycarbonate offers a higher level of protection, it is known to scratch easier. To remedy this, the OBEX is built with a Polycarbonate shell protected by an ABS top shell, resulting in both maximum protection and durability. Despite numerous impacts, my OBEX shows very few scratches on the surface.
- Quality of Materials: POC went all-in with the OBEX: EPS Liner, ABS, Polycarbonate, and MIPS. This helmet was built with all the highest quality materials, and it shows in the final product.
- Style: The OBEX is certainly more of a low-profile design. But with multiple color options and a stylish design, the OBEX looks good—real good.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Sizing: Sizing is one problem I have discovered throughout POC’s line of gear. POC likes their gear big—I mean, big. Their helmets run big (their goggles are huge!). As such, POC labels their helmet sizing a bit differently than other brands. They come in either an XS/S, M/L, or XL/XXL. It can be a bit confusing to have no middle ground. I highly recommend measuring the head to determine the correct size if one doesn’t have the option of trying it on first.
- Breathability: Breathability is one area where the OBEX could be designed with a bit more thought. It does have a simple design on the rear of the helmet allowing the vents to open and close. However, it only operates three very thin vents, meaning that on very hot days, my head still gets hot. While not terrible, there are other helmets on the market that offer more ventilation. Despite that, as stated above, brim vents keep my goggles well ventilated, which is a huge plus.
- Built-In Features: POC does offer Aid Communication Ear Pads for the OBEX, but they must be purchased separately. While I am yet to use them, I have spoken to others who have them, and they have all expressed that Bluetooth is finicky and unreliable. It sounds as if the technology is a work in progress.
Favorite moment with this gear
As cheesy as it is, every day in my OBEX is a favorite day. The helmet is sleek and looks good, it fits snugly with my goggles, and I can rip all day in the resort with it or just as easily slap it to a backpack and hike around the backcountry with it. It’s simply a good-looking helmet and I’m not ashamed to say it; I like to look good while skiing. On top of that, the integration of MIPS along with ABS and Polycarbonate construction allows me to ski as fast as I want and know I’m protected. You can’t really beat that.
Value for the money vs. other options
For a higher-end helmet constructed with some of the highest quality material on the market, the POC OBEX MIPS is a great helmet for the value. As stated above, the Smith Vantage MIPS offers the same protection at a higher price, while a helmet like the Giro Ratio MIPS is cheaper, but is built without Polycarbonate, resulting in a heavier helmet offering less protection. The OBEX is a well-priced option offering the highest protection for the head and brain.
The POC OBEX MIPS is a fantastic higher-end ski helmet offering maximum protection, luxury comfort, and high-end design in a well-priced package. While it is on the more expensive range of helmets, skiers and riders can wear it all day on the mountain confident that their head is safe and protected by the best.