POC Goggle and Synapsis Helmet Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 27, 2010      

I hardly ever ski without my helmet — at the resort or while backcountry skiing. That is partly to keep my parents happy, but I also just feel more comfortable while I’m skiing with a helmet as opposed to just a beanie (maybe that’s a bad thing). I had my last helmet for quite a few years; the vents had to be closed with a multitool and the earflaps recently fell off. Time for a new head shell. Luckily a POC Synapsis helmet and Iris X goggles showed up at my doorstep. My roommates here in Bellingham immediately dubbed it the “space helmet” and they are right, it is white with chrome inlets and looks like it should be going a million miles an hour.

POC Synapsis helmet and Iris X goggles

POC Synapsis helmet and Iris X goggles. That is Mt. Larrabee on the right, and American Border peak on the left.

At 11.2 oz, the Synapis is one of the lightest certified ski helmets out there, and that’s with the visor. Most other helmets weigh in at around 1 pound, even some climbing helmets. POC accomplishes this by using bicycle helmet type construction, only with a ballistic nylon liner that adds durability for multiple impacts (bicycle helmets are typically good for one whack). The Synapis shell does feel slightly heavier duty than my old ski helmet, which got scratched and dented pretty quick just from everyday use. Time will tell how effective this is, but it sure saves weight.

The POC helmet is also smaller than my old helmet so it fits in my pack nicely. Although it only has two small vents, the POC hasn’t been too hot while skiing downhill. As for the uphill, even helmets with loads of venting are way too warm for most backcountry skiing hikes, so in my mind that isn’t a big issue. The POC vents can be closed with a small velcro flap inside the helmet, although the helmet has to be off your head to do this.

I paired POC Iris X goggles with the Synapsis helmet. The Iris X lenses are nice and big, with an emphasis on creating a large field of vision which is awesome for backcountry skiing. Interestingly, there are none of the common vent holes in the top of the lens. Instead the venting is built into the goggle frame. The only time I have had the goggle fog up is when I store it in its case without drying them out. As with everything POC makes, the goggles are super high tech. The inner lens is less impact resistant than the outer lens, but is more fog resistant, and the outer lens is super strong and impact resistant. The bright blue mirror lenses are great for photos as well. The lenses are also removable, which is always a nice feature.

As always, the editor here at WildSnow.com is harassing me to find a downside to this gear. He doesn’t want us publishing what he calls “puff.” Okay, one thing that comes to mind is the street price on the Synapsis helmet: at $150.00 a bit pricey. But saving ounces on your head is kind of like saving them on your feet — you can really feel the difference. The padding on the inside is pretty minimal; although it feels comfy to me, it might not work for someone with a differently shaped head. Only downside I could come up with for the Iris X goggles is they might not fit other brands of helmets that well, so be sure to have a good return option if you buy them mail order and are not using a POC helmet.

Though I didn’t use a helmet on Denali this spring, I did use the POC Iris X goggles. While Lou Sr. seemed to constantly be fighting fogging in his “goggles with no name” my POCs stayed clear and true. ‘Nuf said.

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16 Responses to “POC Goggle and Synapsis Helmet Review”

  1. Kelly August 27th, 2010 10:33 am

    Louie – nice looking helmet and specs on their website. Just curious how you deal with the visor getting in the way when you want to take your goggles off temporarily?

  2. Louie August 27th, 2010 11:45 am

    Having the visor did take some getting used to, i usually just slide the whole helmet up a bit if i only want the goggles off for a second. If i want them off longer i just take them completely off. Some people with visored helmets put the goggle up on the front of the visor, but i’m concerned that will scratch the inner lenses.

  3. Pete Anzalone August 27th, 2010 3:30 pm

    What are those peaks in the background?

  4. Louie August 27th, 2010 3:38 pm

    American Border peak on the left, and Mt. Larrabee on the right, I added that to the caption.

  5. SteveG August 27th, 2010 3:56 pm

    Although I was raised in the era of Lisa Simpson car seats and metal dashboards, I wear a helmet. Saved my day twice when bonked in the parking lot by a shoulder held swinging ski and once when I nicked a tree branch in a glade. I use a non-visor Carrera something or other that I’ve retro-fitted a Bell snap on Visor. The visor is for some sun shade and so I don’t look like a pumpkin in a 1930’s football helmet. It’s light as a feather, warm as a beanie and a cool as a mesh trucker cap. That said, I know if I pile drive a tree/rock at 20 mph, I’m toast. IMO, the most dangerous fall is a backwards pratfall in the lift line or on the bunny slope. A high angle direct blow to the back of the head can be a life changer/ender.

  6. Skyler Mavor August 27th, 2010 6:39 pm

    POC Helmet: Proven tool for exploring the depths of space.

    Wait, you beat me to it 🙂

  7. Mark W August 27th, 2010 11:18 pm

    Helmets are somewhat like shoes: they virtually all fit differently. I’ve tried many brands and sizes with none quite the same. Thanks for the review.

  8. Caleb August 28th, 2010 11:17 am

    Way to freek me out Louie. I saw the photo of mt Larrabee and immediately thought thats what it looked like right now. It wasnt til I read that you used the goggles on Denali that I realized these items didnt just recently land on your doorstep. I guess I can unpack the car of all my skiing stuff………

  9. SquakMtn August 29th, 2010 10:21 pm

    I have to agree with Mark W; helmets are like ski boots with their many different lasts. For example, my head is very long front-to-back but relatively narrow leaving an oval profile. For helmets with a round fit I need a size 7 7/8 to get my noggin in and then they flop side-to-side, whereas with oval fit I need only a size 7 1/2 and it fits snugly all around. I finally got around the fit hassle with the CAMP Pulse helmet that has an adjustable fit band like a bike helmet and it only weighs 12.5 oz. They just came out with the “Speed Ski and Climbing” helmet with a ridiculous weight of only 7oz! Light is right…if it fits

  10. See August 30th, 2010 8:57 am

    I was intrigued by the “ballistic nylon liner (that) adds durability for multiple impacts,” so I checked out the POC website. As near as I can tell, the nylon liner is an aramid layer between the thin outer shell and the EPS body of the helmet. The POC website diagram and text seem contradictory, but this makes more sense than having a “hard” layer inside the EPS layer.

    Also, I wear a helmet when climbing in situations where rockfall is an issue, so limited ventilation would be a problem under these circumstances.



  11. Feldy September 1st, 2010 1:10 pm


    When you say the goggles don’t fog, how frequently do you have problems with fogging? I fog _sunglasses_ even descending sometimes if I’m hot from the climb. The only goggles that don’t instantly fog for me when earning my vert are Smith Turbos. Wondering if this is a non-moving part option.

  12. Louie September 1st, 2010 4:57 pm


    I don’t have many problems with fogging goggles, only if it is warm or I’m hiking. The POCs did fog less than any other goggle i’ve tried, but i haven’t tried any with fans.

  13. Beau Lambert September 11th, 2010 9:17 pm

    Hey would you consider doing a ski wax review? Let me know so you can get set up. Thanks.

  14. Lou September 12th, 2010 8:04 pm

    Beau, sure… use contact link in menu above. Lou

  15. Espen January 14th, 2012 2:56 am

    I have a question with respect to this helmet (or actually this years 2.0). Does it carry a low profile like the Sweet Rooster? I’ve tried all the other Poc helmets and they are very thick and look a bit bulky in comparison. Is the Synapsis 2.0 similar in construction?

  16. Michael January 6th, 2016 10:44 pm

    How do you attach the visor to the synapse helmet?

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