POC styles are among those pieces of kit that I find myself reaching for on a regular basis. I’m a fan of the stealth designs that favor a quiet combination of cut and technical fabrication. True to form, the POC Pro Thermal jacket, while looking minimal, is packed with features that ensure it punches well above its (light) weight.
Although it is described as a mountain bike-specific jacket, the slim cut, pocket features and tiny pack size make it versatile across other disciplines, especially gravel riding and bikepacking.
Design and specifications
The POC Pro Thermal Jacket is made from a windproof material with PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) protection on the outside. On the inside it utilizes strategically placed insulating panels through the front, shoulders and sleeves, which feature a raised diamond pattern of what are described as ‘octagonal yarns’.
The jacket has three zipped pockets in total, one on the back, which the jacket packs into, and one each side, all with extra long zip pulls. On the inside of the rear pocket, integral straps allow the packed jacket to be fixed to your bike.
The full length front zip is double ended, allowing for opening from the base for venting, and additional cooling comes from underarm ‘gills’ that allow heat to escape.
The cut is slim, (think XC whippet) and made for non-flap irritation when pedaling all day and the arms are shaped for the riding position, while elastic inserts at the side hem keeps it close.
The most surprising element of this jacket is its warmth. I’d usually expect to wear something this minimally light during the milder days of the transition seasons – late spring or early fall/autumn, but combining it with the POC Ambient Thermal Jersey, I’ve found it more than capable of dealing with frosty starts. The windproof performance of the material keeps much of the chill off, the spring of 2023 seems to be serving up more stiff breezes and howling gales than usual, and combined with a warm mid-layer the Pro Thermal means there’s no need to bulk up to keep warm.
Inside, the panels with the lofted diamond pattern are positioned for extra insulation and they make a real difference to the level of warmth. Even as the day, or the ride warms up there’s no feeling overheating. Moisture is efficiently wicked away, which the gills that are placed under the arms allow heat to escape. I’ve yet to feel out of balance no matter how hard I’m working, and for especially long climbs I open up the front zip from the base, for the reason alone a double ended zip is the first feature I look for on any jacket.
I like the slim fit of this style, it makes for a low profile performance that means you forget you’re wearing it. It suits my predominantly XC trail style of riding, which means almost constant pedaling and when any flap or rustle soon becomes annoying. If you favor a more relaxed look, consider going up a size. The curve of the sleeves means they can be close fitting, with no excess material needed to accommodate movement. Combined with a long back that’s kept close by stretch at the side hem, these are the details that underline a cut that is focused on an all-day ride comfort that is recognizable in its ability to be forgotten as you wear it.
Carrying a pack stuffed for any eventuality is not something I’m a fan of either. Anyone else that’s predisposed to traveling fast and light will appreciate not only the pack size that will squeeze into the rear of a jersey or attach to the bike, but the arrangements of the pockets themselves. The side pockets are positioned in such a way as to be very easy to get into when riding, the long zip pulls making then quick to locate and undo. Together with the rear zipped pocket they hold up even under weight of keys and / or phone and don’t pull the rest of the jacket down.
Surprisingly warm and surprisingly versatile, the POC Pro Thermal is an exceptional transitional jacket that I'd highly recommend.
Tech specs: POC Pro Thermal Jacket
- Price: $200 / £185
- Weight: 243 grammes (L)
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Granite Grey, Arogonite Brown, Dioptase Blue, Uranium Black
- Available from: Pocsports.com