POC Helmet Buying Guide: A Four Way Comparison // Ski Technology
Here at SkiEssentials.com we field a lot of questions about skis. What ski is right for me? It’s a common question and one that we spend a lot of time answering. That said, we also have a lot of customers asking about other products and wondering which would be ideal for them personally. Recently we’ve had a lot of questions revolving around helmets, and specifically our selection of helmets from POC. Because of that we thought we would take some time to look at four different POC helmets and talk about what sets them apart from one another.
POC Receptor Bug Adjustable 2.0 Helmet:
The Receptor Bug has been around for a while now and is one of the most popular helmets POC has ever produced. You’ve probably seen a lot of them out on the hill, whether you noticed it or not. This version of the Receptor Bug features an adjustable sizing system that really lets you dial in the fit. Previous, non-adjustable Receptor Bugs were sometimes tricky to fit right, and required you to do some creative foam work. With this fit system, it’s really easy to get a comfortable, secure fit. What makes the Receptor Bug a relatively unique helmet is its Ventilated Double Shell Anti-Penetration system (referred to as VDSAP). In addition to giving the helmet a cool, distinct look, this double shell system does a great job preventing branches and other sharp objects from getting to your head. Are you the type of skier that uses your head to get branches out of the way when you’re skiing in the trees? The Receptor Bug is your type of helmet. It’s super durable on the exterior and the EPS liner provides the necessary shock absorption for hard, blunt impacts. As with most helmets, if you suffer a big hit, you should replace your helmet. Tree branches and other light impacts are fine, but if you hit something hard with the Receptor Bug you should ideally replace it. The Receptor Bug Adjustable 2.0 comes in at 550 g and ultimately is a great helmet for just about any all mountain skier, and especially those who are hard on their gear.
POC Fornix Helmet:
The Fornix is, overall, quite similar to the Receptor Bug, but it’s a little lighter. That’s partly thanks to the fact that it doesn’t use overlapping shells like the Receptor Bug. The Fornix comes in at 420 g and although it doesn’t feel quite as solid in your hands, it’s just as safe. If you’re that type of skier who uses your head to get tree branches out of the way, you’ll see more subtle dents and scratches form on the exterior of the helmet, but rest assured those are just cosmetic. Like the Receptor Bug it takes a hard, blunt hit to require a replacement helmet. The Fornix has an EPS liner, just like the Receptor Bug, but it also uses Aramid bridge reinforcements running through the helmet. This helps disperse impact energy over the whole helmet, which helps reduce traumatic brain injury during serious collisions. A Fornix helmet saved my life after a heavy collision with a tree, and I’m confident those Aramid bridges are part of the reason I’m here today. There is a fit adjustment system on the Fornix, allowing you to customize the fit of the helmet, as well as adjustable ventilation. In fact, the ventilation is noticeably better than the Receptor Bug, but you make the trade-off of not having that double shell. Like the Receptor Bug, any all mountain skier can use the Fornix, but it’s especially popular among skiers who value a lightweight helmet that will handle serious impacts. We see a lot of terrain park skiers using the Fornix, as well as competitive big mountain athletes, etc. It’s also a great helmet for alpine touring thanks to the weight and its ability to take big impacts.
POC Fornix BC MIPS Helmet:
The Fornix BC MIPS helmet uses the same design as the Fornix, but uses the MIPS protection system. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It does not stand for Multi Impact Protection System. We field a lot of questions about MIPS. People often think it means the helmet will take multiple big impacts, but that’s not what the acronym means (we get it, it’s kinda confusing). Rather, MIPS helmets protect better against rotational impacts. If you suffer a glancing blow to your head, the MIPS system allows the shell of the helmet to move independently from the liner of the helmet, effectively reducing the force to your head, neck, etc. This version of the Fornix also comes with the Recco avalanche rescue system installed. Recco does not take the place of a beacon, but it’s nice to have anyways. These changes to the helmet compared to the regular Fornix do add 30 g to the weight of the helmet, but it still comes in about 100 g less than the Receptor Big. Once again, you’re not getting quite the same durable exterior shell as the Receptor Bug, but the Fornix BC MIPS is arguably the safest helmet out of what we’ve discussed so far, especially for hard, serious impacts. It’s a real favorite among backcountry skiers, big mountain athletes, and those pushing the limits of the sports, but anyone can benefit from this extra safety features.
POC Skull Orbic X Helmet:
The Skull Orbic X offers a whole different style helmet compared to what we’ve looked at so far. Designed for ski racing, the Skull Orbic X is the only helmet we’re going to talk about that is rated for multiple impacts. The EPP liner is actually thicker in the front of the helmet too, so it will absorb frontal impacts better, which really comes into play when your bashing gates in a race course. The Skull Orbic X also uses a hard shell that extends over your ears, another safety feature that’s key for ski racing. The foam liner is detachable for cleaning, so your helmet won’t get too gross after a long season of racing. More importantly than ever, the Skull Orbic X complies to FIS regulations, which is now required for junior ski racers. Realistically anyone in a race course should have these safety features, but now they’re required. Your high school racer won’t be able to make his start without an FIS approved helmet. Now, you don’t need to be a ski racer to benefit from the Skull Orbic X. Again, this is the only helmet we’ve talked about here that’s rated for multiple impacts. We have a lot of customers asking about multiple impact helmets, and if that’s what you’re after, there aren’t too many choices out there. Also, despite having more hard shell exterior than the other helmets, and having that thick EPP liner, the weight of the helmet comes in at an impressive 500 g. It’s not going to weigh you down or tire you out like some older, more traditional race-style helmets. A high-speed groomer ripper would be well off with a helmet like this.
As with anything, if you have any questions about these helmets, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this article or contact our customer service department directly. Also, a few years ago we did a more in-depth review of the Fornix and Receptor Bug, and you can see some evidence of how the helmet saved my life, so we invite you to check that out if you’re looking for more information. Lastly, stay safe out there! Helmets are an important piece of equipment to keep you safe, but general common sense and calculated risk is important too. We are strong advocates for helmet use, but they don’t (unfortunately) make you invincible.