This season POC is pulling out all the stops in order to make the safest backcountry helmet possible. In this article, we’ll explore the updated version of the Obex Backcountry (BC) helmet from POC.
The Obex BC was first released in 2019 and quickly became a top choice for the adventuring skier. The Obex BC with its sister models Obex and Obex pure have since been updated in different colorways and with updates to the safety technology. When choosing the ultimate helmet for the coming ski season it is a good idea to think about what is important to you and what your riding style is.
You should never cut back on cost when it comes to safety but some people are by nature more careful and might feel that an all-around stable choice will protect them well enough. We'll give you the information and let you be the judge of what you feel is the best fit for you! Let’s get on with the comparison, shall we?
The Obex helmet from POC comes in three different (main) versions:
Starting with the Obex Pure is the most straightforward of the three. A stylish and solid helmet for a reasonable price. With a PC (Polycarbonate) shell, EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) liner, and great ventilation this helmet is for anyone that is looking for a normal, no bells and whistles helmet that is incredibly comfortable and especially light compared to other helmets in the same category.
If safety is a priority but you are not the person to go look for the latest off-piste route. This helmet is a standard (but still really good) choice.
Secondly, the Obex MIPS version contains the newest addition of tech: MIPS®. POC's helmets have not featured the technology until really recently and the new Obex contains it! The MIPS technology is inspired by the human brain and mimics the brain’s way of protecting itself. It does so by giving the MIPS-equipped helmet a low-friction layer between the helmet and the head.
According to MIPS®, this can protect your head from so-called angled or rotational impacts that are said to be linked to head injuries. This should make the helmet better equipped to take all types of impacts
Other than the previously mentioned PC shell and EPS liner that is also seen in the Obex Pure. This model also has an ABS shell added to the top. This material is similar to polycarbonate in strength but while polycarbonate is flexible ABS is rigid, hopefully leading to added protection. ABS is also pleasantly shiny and scratch resistant which is a plus!
This model also exists as a wide-fit model. With exactly the same specs as the normal one but with a different fit that is more adapted for broader head shapes.
The Obex Mips should suit the kind of skier with a bit more experience that wants to add that bit of extra protection for their adventures.
Lastly, the best seller Obex BC MIPS is the full package when it comes to safety. And not to such a high cost considering the contents of it. The “BC” is for “Back Country” and this version contains all the bells and whistles with the addition of twICEme®, RECCO®, and armarid panels to the already fully specced previous versions of Obex MIPS.
Let's start with RECCO. This integrated feature can help you to be found if you get lost on the mountain. This tech has been around for a while and can help rescuers during search and rescue missions. The tech is integrated into the helmet and sends back a signal to rescuers equipped with the RECCO® reflectors if they are out looking for a person on the mountain.
Secondly, twICEme® makes it possible to store important safety information in the helmet. This info can be of great importance in case of emergency. Easily accessible safety information has been requested by some of the most well-decorated rescuers out there. The information that can be provided is for example: personal identification, nationality, any relevant medical info, insurance info, and more.
The technology is also developed in consultation with the world’s leading brands and together with rescue professionals across the world and makes all this relevant info available if something was to happen by tapping your smartphone on the twICEme® functional symbol.
Lastly, POC integrated yet another material in the BC MIPS model. In addition to the materials in the Obex MIPS, this model also has aramid plates integrated. This is the same material used to reinforce a plethora of things with everything from body armor and ropes to fishing reels and snowboards. Meaning you can be covered from top to toe in aramid, wearing a lined helmet while riding an aramid board!
As the name suggests, this helmet is designed for backcountry riders and its all-star list of features reflects that. So if you spend most of your time off-piste, are an aspiring backcountry skier, or just want extra peace of mind on the slopes, this helmet offers the most safety out of any on this list.
POC recently added a few more helmets to the OBEX range which build upon the core helmets.
The first, named OBEX Spin is the same as OBEX MIPS but with POCs own low-friction addition called SPIN or Shearing Pad INside. POC has made both the Obex MIPS and the Obex BC MIPS models available in SPIN versions as well. This technology has been tested to similar effectiveness as MIPS with maybe a few minor differences. One of which is the price, the Obex SPIN models are priced $20 lower than the MIPS equivalent, a price drop worth considering.
POC also added to the line-up an Obex model with their Integrated POC Aid Communication Headset to the OBEX MIPS and OBEX Spin helmets. This is an integrated technology that connects the aid communication to your phone, making it easier to call your co-riders or listen to music. It essentially works as a built-in headset.
The actual headset can also be bought separately as a standalone communication device and be integrated into the Obex Pure, Obex MIPS, and Obex BC MIPS. If you are already thinking of buying the Obex MIPS it is a bit cheaper to just buy the integrated Obex MIPS Communication version and the rest of the specs are unchanged from the Obex MIPS/SPIN models.
“Pocito” is POCs’ line of helmets targeted at kids. This helmet is like a mix of all three of the main models. The materials used and the build is based on the Obex Pure with a PC shell and EPS liner meaning it’s lightweight and sturdy. As the name suggests MIPS is also featured in this helmet, giving increased safety to rotational forces. From the Obex BC helmet, we see RECCO integration to help locate the helmet in an emergency situation.
This helmet also is compatible with the aid communication headset. It is only available in fluorescent colors and has a reflective material on all sides of the helmet helping with visibility on the slopes. This helmet is great for any young skiers out there!
The most recent addition is this collaboration with Norwegian two-time freestyle olympian Hedvig Wessel. This is basically the Obex BC MIPS model but with some very cool cosmetic changes. The overall print on the PC shell is a painting made by Hedvig herself, inspired by Stetind, Norway's national mountain. It also features several gold details, most notably a signature by the POC logo.
Like the Obex BC MIPS, this model has the same build and features RECCO and twICEme (with a golden functional symbol) for optimal safety that is olympian approved!
All of the Obex models have been specifically designed with POC’s Orb Clarity goggles in mind for a seamless and stylish fit. The Orb Clarity is POC's collaboration with Carl Zeiss and ZEISS Optics. Their collaborations resulted in some very stylish goggles that also let the wearer see everything with incredible clarity!
The Orb Clarity has a spherical or toric lens for a superior field of view and is built with a TUP (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) frame which is incredibly durable, flexible, and scratch resistant. It is very well-ventilated, especially together with the Obex helmet. The main innovation is the ability to quickly change lenses for different lighting and weather conditions.
Like the Obex MIPS helmet, these goggles also exist in a wide-fit model for improved fit on broader head shapes. Hedvig Wessel also designed a pair of Orb Clarity to go with her special edition helmet, all with the same motif of the mountain Stetind.
Great goggles for looking good and good looking (lol).
All in all, this is the top-of-the-range helmet when it comes to safety features. This makes it a great pick for the more adventurous skiers or just the person that wants that added feeling of safety.
If you are interested to learn more about the added safety of these helmets, go read more on POC’s website.