POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet

POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet

POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet

POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet

POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet

Size Tested: M/L (55/58cm)

Reviewer’s Head Diameter: 54.6 cm

Stated Weight: 450g

Features:

  • Aramid reinforcing bridges molded into helmet shell
  • Goggle vents and goggle clip at rear of helmet
  • Size adjustment system for fitting harness
  • Polygiene liner fabric
  • MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System)
  • 6 adjustable vents

Test Location: Canterbury, NZ club fields; Treble Cone; and Mt. Hutt Heli, New Zealand

Days Worn: 10

MSRP: $200

Skiers looking for solid, lightweight head protection should check out the Fornix Backcountry MIPS helmet from POC.

The Fornix Backcountry MIPS weighs 450g (claimed weight), features an adjustable harness fitting system, a supposedly more-hygienic Polygiene liner, and six adjustable vents. Perhaps most importantly, the helmet features the MIPS protection system to protect your head and brain from oblique impacts during a fall.

POC Fornix MIPS, Blister Gear Review.

Dana in the POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS

Style

The helmet is shiny black with white highlights. I like the look, but it’s maybe a bit more old school (think Boeri helmets of the past) than other modern lids.

It doesn’t have a visor, which makes flipping your goggles up on the dome easier. With my current helmet, a Giro G10 MX, I have to catch the bottom lip of the goggles on the edge of the visor to make them stay on top of my head.

Sizing

POC claims the M/L Fornix with its easy-to-adjust dial at the rear of the harness will accommodate 55-58cm. My head measures 54.6cm, so I’m right on the line between the XS/S (51-54cm) and the M/L (55-58). But I think the XS/S might provide a more precise fit and keep the helmet from rocking forward slightly when I’m wearing goggles or a helmet-mounted GoPro.

I was surprised that this helmet was slightly large for me, since I wear a POC Trabec Race MIPS for biking in the size M/L and it fits really well. This could be due to the radial dial that POC uses for fine-tuning adjustments on the Fornix—there’s definitely a point where you can’t  make the harness any tighter.

I tried on other helmets in the M/L size and I noticed that even though the medium Smith Vantage is said to accommodate 55-59cm, the BOA system on that helmet will close down to a much smaller circumference. It would be nice if the Fornix had that same feature.

Fit

Other than being a bit too big, the helmet is really comfortable. There are no pressure points, the harness doesn’t dig in anywhere, and it fits the shape of my head nicely.

Ear flaps that are too small or too firm are a pet peeve of mine, and the Fornix doesn’t have this problem. It has generously cut and soft ear pockets that are comfortable all day long. There’s thinner, more porous foam in the center of the flap so your hearing isn’t too impaired.

Ventilation

The Fornix features a sliding tab on the rear of the dome that opens six vents located around the top of the helmet. The vent-closure device pivots around a central point and is controlled by a small triangular tab at the back of the helmet.

POC Fornix MIPS, Blister Gear Review.

Tab to control vents

The vents don’t open or close particularly easily. This is partly due to the friction in the system, and partly due to the size and shape of the tab that controls the vents—it’s small and tilted to one side, and I found it very difficult to open the vents with gloves on.

I could close the vents with gloves on, albeit with difficulty. At the end of a day of freezing rain and snow the vents froze shut and wouldn’t work at all. Granted, this also happens with my Giro G10 MX. 

I normally run hot, so I usually have my vents open when I’m skiing or hiking. With the vents open, the Fornix does a good job of letting hot air escape. The six vents on the top of the helmet help with this, as do the goggle vents at the front of the helmet that help circulate the hot air up and out (more on those goggle vents below).

I did wish for a half-open setting for the top vents. I’ve found this useful on other helmets when fully open is a bit much (windy, cold, rainy conditions), but fully closed is too hot. The Smith Vantage definitely has the Fornix beat in this category—it has two sliding tabs to control front and back vents, and both tabs can be set to half-open.

POC Fornix MIPS, Blister Gear Review.

Dome vents

Goggle Vents

As I mentioned above, the Fornix MIPS also has twin goggle vents. The vents go directly through the front of the helmet, with a vertical vent coming up from the top of the goggle. Hot air from the goggles rises and is drawn back into the helmet, thereby eliminating goggle fogging. There does seem to be a need for this with helmets designed to eliminate “gaper gap.”

Goggle Fit 

The Fornix MIPS has a slight raised edge at the brow of the helmet that helps the goggles sit flush beneath it. The ear flaps aren’t overly bulky, so the straps of most goggles should go over them without bulging out.

My one issue was that the helmet pushed the goggles down over my nose a bit. This could have just been due to the fact that the M/L size was a bit too big for me and I couldn’t tighten the helmet harness enough to stop this from occurring. I was also using a large-framed Julbo goggle, so a smaller goggle frame would most likely have worked better.

Comments:

  1. I’m slightly skeptical about the usefulness of MIPS in ski helmets… it seems most useful in a fall onto high-friction surfaces (say, asphalt) which are more likely to ‘grab’ the shell of the helmet and apply those brain-shearing forces. On a low-friction surface like most kinds of snow, that’s much less likely to happen, no? Useful for a bike helmet, but the Fornix isn’t certified for that…

    • On slippery surfaces is good enough almost any helmet. The problem is that fatal accidents or serious consequences accidents does not happen on slippery surfaces but from the impact of with hard, static objects (trees, for example). MIPS tries to solve this type of accidents…

    • Hi Ru and dana,
      Ru: what you say is true, to some extent. Asphalt does have a higher coefficient of friction than snow. There are other forces at play to consider, though. One is that generally speeds involved in skiing are higher than in biking (almost certainly than in mountain biking, and generally higher than road biking, barring long, steep descents). So the force imparted to the skull in a deceleration from a higher speed will be higher. MIPS hopes to help with that braking force by allowing more rotation than a normal helmet. Also dand brings up another good point in that it’s not always the snow surface that is of concern – it can be rocks and trees. I ski the East now, and tree skiing is our bread and butter. If I hit my head on a tree after falling, I’d like to think that my helmet will be able to hit that higher-friction surface and rotate somewhat, giving me a better chance of not getting a concussion.
      Additionally POC, among other manufacturers, are making MIPS bike helmets. I’ve been using the POC Trabec Race MIPS helmet all summer. It’s a nice bike helmet and incorporates MIPS, which is important to me. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest argument against MIPS currently is the price penalty one has to pay for the technology. It doesn’t weigh much (20 grams claimed, though I haven’t taken it out of a helmet to weight it independently) and doesn’t add any bulk to the helmet (it’s a thin plastic slip layer). So if you can afford it, it could be worth it.

      dana

  2. I think Michael Schumacher’s recent fall and current condition may help elevate people’s opinions of the importance of MIPS. Lacerations are way down, but rotational TBI has not dropped with the widespread adoption of helmets in skiing.

  3. I tried to remove the ear pads, but it seems that they are nondetachable. Is there anybody having the same issue?

Questions? Comments? Tell us what you think.








Subscribe without commenting

Related Posts:

POC Receptor Backcountry MIPS Helmet

POC Receptor Backcountry MIPS Helmet

Feb 15, 2013
Array
0

The POC Receptor Backcountry helmet is heavy on safety features while still providing a comfortable, well-ventilated fit.

Smith Variant Brim Helmet

Smith Variant Brim Helmet

Sep 6, 2011
Array
2

The Smith Variant Brim is very good, not quite perfect. You'll have to decide for yourself how minor or major those shortcomings are.

Smith Maze Helmet

Smith Maze Helmet

Mar 17, 2012
Array
0

Said by Smith to be the lightest certified snow helmet, The Maze is super sleek, versatile, and comfortable, but it isn't heavy on features.