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Verdict: 
Hi-viz waterproof that fits and works without compromise for racers; the eye-watering price is borderline justifiable
Weight: 
263g

POC's Essential Rain Jacket is pretty much the pinnacle of hi-viz cycling kit thanks to its fit and performance but at £250 is it also the most expensive.

The Essential is by far the best waterproof jacket I've worn for training and hard effort riding. For a start it's breathable. The Achilles' heel of most waterproofs is dealt with by laser cut ventilation holes under the armpits. They may be small but there is a decent number of them and they really work expelling heat from the warmest area of your upper body. Hard interval sessions wouldn't see you sweating any more than if you wearing a long sleeved jersey in temperatures below 10°C.

The POC is a three-layer waterproof. The outer layer of fabric has been treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to give an added layer of water resistance. Next up is a membrane that keeps water out but has holes small enough to allow sweat out as vapour. Finally you get an internal layer for comfort. This one feels really soft against the skin and is a pleasure to wear for long rides. The seams are taped to keep the water out.

Keeping water out versus breathability is always a compromise which is why garments are graded in a water column test to assess their waterproofness which is measured in mm. The POC is rated at 10,000mm which means it should keep out the majority of rain and road spray unless it's heavy enough to overwhelm the outer layer and membrane. So far that hasn't happened and it's seen some pretty torrential downpours.

For me though the most outstanding part of the Essential Jacket is the fit. Starting at the top there is a high, close-fitting neck complete with a zip buffer to avoid any irritation. The arms are pre-bent at the elbow which means when you're on the tops or drops there is no bunching or creasing of material at all. The sleeves are also cut long with the top of the wrist being a good couple of inches longer than the bottom to keep a decent overlap over gloves. Adjustability is taken care of by Velcro straps.

The main body is a racer's cut being narrow and with no excess fabric whatsoever. The front finishes at the waist to avoid bunching of the material here, while round the back is a dropped tail to provide some backside coverage from road spray.

There is a rear zipped pocket big enough to chuck in a few essentials; a mobile phone, tube and multi tool for instance.

Zink Orange is the only colour option and to say it's bright is an understatement. It certainly stands out on bright and dull days alike and being orange rather than the usual yellow means it stands out even more. Should you use it in the dark there is a reflective POC logo on the dropped tail.

Okay we've ascertained that it's a brilliant jacket, but it's £250. Everyone who commented on it recoiled in shock once the cost was mentioned. "Two hundred and fifty quid for a hi-viz jacket!?"

It's not alone at this price point, though. The likes of Assos, Rapha, Castelli and Sugo all offer waterproofs at this price, and even a bit more.

I ride daily through the winter in all weathers, so for me the Poc Essential would be worth the long term investment especially if you can find it at a discount. It's a beautiful jacket to wear with no compromises and the beauty of riding hard, then stopping and not being soaked in cold sweat is a very nice feeling overall.

Verdict

Hi-viz waterproof that fits and works without compromise for racers; the eye-watering price is borderline justifiable

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Poc Essential Rain Jacket Zink Orange

Size tested: Medium orange

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Poc market the Essential Rain Jacket as a waterproof jacket for the wet and cold. It's pretty much the best waterproof and the high visibilty of the orange colour is a bonus.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

*3 layer laminated DWR treated fabric. 10 000 mm water column

*Lazer cut ventilation holes for breathability

*Fully taped seams

*Waterproof zippers

*Velcro closure at wrist

*My Info-zip pocket for personal information and cell phone

*Reflective logo at back.

SIZES: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

COMPOSITION: 100% Polyester

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Brilliantly put together.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Impressive performance in the wet keeping the rain out while being breathable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Looks and feels like its going to last a long time.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

On par with the opposition.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Feels great on and fits really well too.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Subjective but I think it's worth the money in relation to other stuff on the market. That doesn't mean it's great value for money though.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Brilliantly on all fronts.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Fit, comfort, waterproofing, breathability, colour - I think that's it.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is high.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but only just due to the cost.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

The Poc Essential is quite simply brilliant. I've worn one hell of a lot of waterproof jackets over the years and this is the first to get everything as close to perfect as possible. Obviously that comes at a price though but value and cost mean different things to different people so in my eyes this is worth the outlay just, its right at the limit of what I'd pay for near perfection.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

29 comments

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Gordy748 [110 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

That trumps Rapha for price, does it not? Surprised about the cuffs, I'd have thought elasticated ones would be included at that price.

Avatar
Username [242 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Gordy748 wrote:

That trumps Rapha for price, does it not? Surprised about the cuffs, I'd have thought elasticated ones would be included at that price.

I prefer velcro. At the start of a ride on a cold morning you can strap them down to make them completely draught-proof, once things warm up you can open them for a bit of air flow.

As someone with skinny wrists I've never found an elasticated jacket which is draught-proof.

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Username [242 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Frustratingly this is USD $200 on Amazon.

£125 is just about the price I would pay.

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carytb [136 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Is there a competition amongst high end kit makers to see who can charge the most for cycling clothing?

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crikey [1251 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

I've worn one hell of a lot of waterproof jackets over the years and this is the first to get everything as close to perfect as possible

This is the interesting bit and one that would make me consider this as an option.

Question; how small does it pack up? Is it possible to use as a waterproof and then take it off mid-ride?

One of the issues with any waterproof is the lack of insulation; it's easy to be warm and wet, it's a lot trickier to stay dry and regulate your temperature appropriately.

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The _Kaner [1194 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Still less than half the price of the Paul Smith effort...

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StoopidUserName [657 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Gordy748 wrote:

That trumps Rapha for price, does it not? Surprised about the cuffs, I'd have thought elasticated ones would be included at that price.

It's. £50 more than he rrp of the rapha rain jacket that everyone recently bought for £140 in the sale  1

I got no problem with paying this sort of price for a jacket if the breathability works (people who don't run hot will not understand) but I hate Fluoro colours so wouldn't go for this one even if I could justify the price

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Kadenz [112 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I love the very bright colour and the fact that it's hi-viz - I want to be seen and thereby help minimise the risk of getting hit while out riding.

I especially like the fact that it doesn't have any of the ugly black sections that so many cycle clothing manufacturers like to add to hi-viz kit.

The sleeves look a bit short, though.

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Mackadoo [16 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I like it, wonder how it compares to the Rapha Rain jacket?

btw this jacket can be had from Merlin Cycles for £187 atm

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localsurfer [202 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

You could buy a wetsuit for less than that.

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Flying Scot [1005 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Sorry, but a 250 quid kagoul isn't essential, it's a luxury item, and one that doesn't even sat Paul Smith on it.

I've seen those sleeves before....on a decathlon jacket, which is very similar, not orange, but about 35 quid.

I'm not understanding this brand, I don't like Rapha, but I understand what they're trying to do, it's just not for me.

Poc seem to want you to look like something from a Gerry Anderson show.

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phazon [32 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
localsurfer wrote:

You could buy a wetsuit for less than that.

Thanks for that. I'll get one for my ride to work

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phazon [32 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Flying Scot wrote:

I've seen those sleeves before....on a decathlon jacket, which is very similar, not orange, but about 35 quid

You're effectively spending 35 quid on a bin bag. It's the material that makes the difference in these cases, and what costs the money. If the Dacathlon jacket is enough for you, or what your budget allows, then it will serve a purpose and all is good. If you want to ride hard, and stay dry both from the rain and excessive sweat, you need better materials and so need to spend more. Whether this POC jacket works or not I can't say, but the equivalent Rapha and Castelli jackets do, and that combined with the durability justifies the cost - in my humble opinion.

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Quince [380 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Not at this price, no. Sorry.

I'd want to be paying at least £500 before considering even opening my wallet. I'll take my considerable wealth elsewhere, thanks.

(Sorry, ExpensiveRainJacketGate might be getting a little overdone. I don't actually have any strong opinions on Rain Jackets.)

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Flying Scot [1005 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
phazon wrote:
Flying Scot wrote:

I've seen those sleeves before....on a decathlon jacket, which is very similar, not orange, but about 35 quid

You're effectively spending 35 quid on a bin bag. It's the material that makes the difference in these cases, and what costs the money. If the Dacathlon jacket is enough for you, or what your budget allows, then it will serve a purpose and all is good. If you want to ride hard, and stay dry both from the rain and excessive sweat, you need better materials and so need to spend more. Whether this POC jacket works or not I can't say, but the equivalent Rapha and Castelli jackets do, and that combined with the durability justifies the cost - in my humble opinion.

I wasn't comparing it to to the decathlon jacket, other than the sleeves!

150 quid buys a good jacket, I have cheap, I have dear, the dearer stuff is often better.

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KiwiMike [1421 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

> Cheap
> Waterproof
> Breathable

Pick two.

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1961BikiE [418 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

£187.50 at Merlin. If it is as good as the review I'd consider it at the Merlin price. Seems to offer the performance unlike the Paul Smith stuff elsewhere on the site where I feel the price is more about the name.

My main concern about spending this sort of money on cycle clothing ( well apart from lack of funds) is one off and it could be big cash in the bin.

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johnnymcg259 [21 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

1961BikiE - similar happened to me - clipped by a car on Wed 29th, off i go, tumbling down the road......Castelli Gabba2 jacket - only a week old - ruined.  20

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Chuck [590 posts] 4 years ago
1 like
Username wrote:
Gordy748 wrote:

That trumps Rapha for price, does it not? Surprised about the cuffs, I'd have thought elasticated ones would be included at that price.

I prefer velcro. At the start of a ride on a cold morning you can strap them down to make them completely draught-proof, once things warm up you can open them for a bit of air flow.

As someone with skinny wrists I've never found an elasticated jacket which is draught-proof.

Same here, without gloves to fill the gap a bit I find a lot of elastic ones draughty.

Avatar
stuke [334 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
crikey wrote:
Quote:

I've worn one hell of a lot of waterproof jackets over the years and this is the first to get everything as close to perfect as possible

This is the interesting bit and one that would make me consider this as an option.

Question; how small does it pack up? Is it possible to use as a waterproof and then take it off mid-ride?

One of the issues with any waterproof is the lack of insulation; it's easy to be warm and wet, it's a lot trickier to stay dry and regulate your temperature appropriately.

The POC isn't designed to be a packable jersey and I reckon you'd struggle to get it down small enough to fit in a jersey pocket.

As far as use in the dry goes I found the jacket to feel more like a softshell than a waterproof and by tweaking my baselayer choice to the temperature I always stayed warm even when stopped for mechanicals or whatever reason

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russwparkin [45 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

i love this! take my money

my card no is 4929 4554 3421 0001 exp 01/16 sec code 129

send me a medium!

love love love it

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robthehungrymonkey [181 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I understand how people complain about the price of these brands clothing, but my recent experience with Rapha has changed that a bit.

I bought a rain jacket 2nd hand for my girlfriend (she wanted something she could commute in, but also where on her lunch break etc. and at the pub for after work drinks). We received it, thought it looked brand new, but after one ride discovered a small hole. She contacted Rapha explaining that it wasn't purchased new and what we could do to fix it (it was on the chest area, which was under a little more stress than the rest).

Rapha replied saying, "no problem, send it to us and we'll fix it free of charge" and they did. Amazing service, and well worth paying a premium for that alone.

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BikeJon [211 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

It seems just like the Gore Oxygen GT Jacket only much more expensive and (it has to be said) orange. I've ridden three times now in my Gore jacket in downpours and it's excellent. Lovely fitted cut too. I got mine for £150.

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6654henry [56 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
BikeJon wrote:

It seems just like the Gore Oxygen GT Jacket only much more expensive and (it has to be said) orange. I've ridden three times now in my Gore jacket in downpours and it's excellent. Lovely fitted cut too. I got mine for £150.

Agree - I have a Gore Oxygen GT and it's really very good. Tried on a POC jacket and it is nice but price tag is hideous!

Buy Gore.

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oddbydefault [83 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
1961BikiE wrote:

£187.50 at Merlin. If it is as good as the review I'd consider it at the Merlin price. Seems to offer the performance unlike the Paul Smith stuff elsewhere on the site where I feel the price is more about the name.

My main concern about spending this sort of money on cycle clothing ( well apart from lack of funds) is one off and it could be big cash in the bin.

The beauty of Rapha is their FREE crash repair service. http://pages.rapha.cc/service/repair-service

At least if you drop the cash, you can rest a bit easier.

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brummie_biker [10 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm sure Castelli Cafe were on about a cash repair service for Castelli items

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J90 [430 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
robthehungrymonkey wrote:

(it was on the chest area, which was under a little more stress than the rest).

Aye Aye.

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Valryfiets [28 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I don't see anything about this jacket that is better than the Mavic h20 vision rain jacket (which cost less than half this POC jacket). I'm definitely noticed in very dire conditions on my commute!

Here is the original road.cc review for comparison :

http://road.cc/content/review/48153-mavic-vision-h2o-jacket

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Kadenz [112 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The Mavic h20 vision rain jacket (including the hi-viz aspect) sounds great, but I can't find anywhere to buy it from.