The POC Obex BC Spin helmet is a high-end ski and snowboard helmet from the Swedish brand POC. POC is in my opinion one of the best brands when it comes to making very good protective gear.
I was therefore stoked with the opportunity to review their latest helmet, one of the most versatile helmets I tested from POC to date. I also used the POC Opsin Clarity Comp Ski goggles in combination with the helmet. I’ll be reviewing the goggles seperately.
I used the helmet in Austria for an intensive week in which the weather changed from day to day. Temperatures from 5 above to 5 below zero celsius, wet snow but also wonderful fluffy snow showers and also days with wonderfully dry, sunny and fresh weather.
The POC Obex BC Spin
BC stands for Backcountry and SPIN stands for the Shearing Pad INside system in the helmet. This technology ensures that the opposing lateral forces in the event of impact (shearing) are absorbed. And what does that mean? You do not fall from stand still, but generally when traveling at speed. So if you are going fast and suddenly stand still due to impact, your brain can move back and forth in your skull cuasing majoy injuries. The SPIN system, not unlike the MIPS, ssytem counter the negative effects of these lateral/oblique forces.
The helmet is available in white, gray and black but also a white with an orange panel on the top. For visibility on the mountain from above, that is helpful.
Although you can of course use this helmet perfectly on the slopes, there are a number of elements on the helmet that explain the extra BC in the name. (For those who don’t know, Backcountry stands for everything out of bounds: freerirden, skitouring, splitboarding, etc.). There are the excellent functioning adjustable ventilation openings in the helmet, the pleasant well fitting ear pads that offer space for in -or on/ear communication systems.
But especially the NFC Medical ID chip that is incorporated in the helmet. The idea behind this is that you can upload your medical data via the twICEme smartphone app to an NFC chip that is embedded in the helmet. If you do have an accident in the mountains and emergency services arrive, they could theoretically read your medical data and act accordingly.
Secondly, the use of NFC equipment is not widespread with emergency services at the moment. Finally, there are of course also privacy issues. The app’s terms and conditions state that data is only stored locally on the smartphone, but if emergency services should be able to read the data, people with less positive intentions should also be able to do that easily. But again the idea is of course very good and I do hope it will catch on and save lives.
But lets look at the protection that the helmet offers in the first place. If we look at the use of materials in combination with the SPIN technology, it is a very good helmet when it comes to absorbing and spreading impact throughout the helmet. The aramid panels that are used in the EPS liner help distributing the force of impact. EPS is single impact material and does not recover after it is deformed by impact. So after a major crash it is advisable to replace the helmet.
I toke a few head-over heels tumbles while riding freeride lines, but I don’t feel like I smacked my head into anything. I also carefully checked the shell of the helmet and found no cracks or traces of impact. Note that these traces are not always visible. If you do feel that you have taken a thump to the helmet, then you are better off being safe than sorry.
The helmet was exceptionally comfortable to me. The ear pads (which you can also remove if you want) fit nicely over my ears, the SPIN padding sits comfortably on my forehead, and with the adjustment dial on the back of the helmet the whole fit can be adjusted to size. The system that holds your head in it is made of relatively light plastic and is mounted under the SPIN padding in the EPS liner. On a number of occassions I experienced that, when taking off the helmet this system would detach from the liner. I could fix it easliy back, but that is a point of attention.
In the first place, the POC Obex BC Spin is a very good and strong helmet that is perfectly capable of absorbing impact on and off-piste. The helmet is exceptionally comfortable, easy to adjust and with good ventilation, it is also comfortable in warmer conditions. With a price of € 250, it is not a cheap helmet, but as we have said before, you should not save money on your brains.