Just looking at the amount of D3O protection and where it protects. I’ll call this the holy grail of body protection. Only area that is not too well protected is the chest, but otherwise arms and the whole back and even under your arms near your rib cage is well protected.
Combine it with low profile, snug and breathable materials, this would definitely protect you very well and still be comfortable enough that you won’t notice that you are wearing it.
Price wise I give it a 2 as it cost quite a lot to purchase this, and the money can be used towards more important gear like your snowboard gear.
If you just need a breathable, light weight and strong back protector, the POC Spine Ergo Back Protector will do the job. The shape is ergonomically made to fit the curve of your spine. With two eleastic shoulder straps and a velcro wasit strap to secure it.
I was looking for this online for quite a while and was hesitant of purchasing it as I was worried that the fit was may not be right. So happened I was taking a vacation in USA (2013) and I dropped by Lake Tahoe for a few days with my friends during mid-April (1 week to end of season), and I saw it on sale in one of the shops in "The Village". I tried it on and immediately got it as it fitted very nicely and the quality of it was very sturdy.
I personally feel that having a spine protection is one of the most important protection to have besides your helmet, after all if you injure your spine, you will be in a lot of pain and in the worse case scenario be parallsed even. There are so many scenarios that I can think off where it will defenately protect you:
- While sitting down on the ground, a skiier or snowboard crashes into you from behind (especially in the green slope where all the beginners are)
- Slip and fall on your back due to icey terrain. Happend to me when I got out of a SUV
- Perform a box or rail trick and landed wrongly on your back
As a CASI snowboard instructor, I find it to be a great tool to help with a person's posture when you are snowboarding as it sort of restricts the range movement of the upper and lower torso so that the whole body can move as one during turns. It is also helps the snowboarder to know if he/she is having a straight back during knee flexing.
They currently don't sell this older version, but you can consider the new version the POC Spine VPD 2.0 Back. This has the newer impact absorbing material and at the same time more flexible to conform to your spine shape.
As a POC fan, this is my first body amor. I got this because it protects your spine, shoulder, elbow and chest areas. Plus it has a velcro strap to hold it around your waist. Now the reason I got this is because I had a few bad falls in all this areas that left me stun on the slope for 10mins before I was able to move. Here are some crazy scenarios that you might not have thought off. Whether you get this is totally up to you. If you think you fall a lot, then do get it. I kind of stop using this because my skill level has gotten up that I hardly fall much, but I will always make sure I wear a spine protection as a bare minimum for my upper body. You can check out review of POC Spine Back.
Chest - I was wearing my GoPro using my chest harness and fell flat on it during a fall. I was totally winded and thankfully I did not crack my ribs or anything serious. Of course from that moment I never wore a chest harness when I snowboard. I also had a good friend who bruised his ribs because he caught an edge and fell flat on his chest. He had to take pain-killers to get rid of the pain because with every breath he took he was in pain.
Shoulder - When you finally learn not to fall flat on the slope, you will learn to roll to absorb the impact, by tucking your head and curling up so that you roll into your shoulder and around your back. It still stings sometimes and there might be a chance that you hurt your shoulder or even a dislocation. According to anatomy, our joints are the weakest because there’s not much muscle around it except tendons holding them in place.
Spine - The most important piece to protect. I don’t need to explain much as you would know how much pain you will be in if you hurt your spine with the worse case scenario of paralysis
Elbow - Great place to have guards, especially if you are using them to protect your face when you go through some branches. They also help you in case you fall back and land on your elbows.
Overall this is an excellent Jacket, POC has two versions, mine is the DH version, which gives it an extra plastic protector on the elbow guards compared to the none DH version. Also wearing it helps insulate you from the cold and sorts of act as a mid layer. Hence I usually just wear my thermal compression, then the POC Spine VPD 2.0 DH jacket, followed by my outer layer. If it gets really cold, like under -25C, i will just add an insulating or fleece mid layer on top of it before my outer layer.
That being said, according to a Norwegian saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, but wearing bad clothing”. And I tend to agree as you just need to make sure you have the right kind of clothing for the right weather.
- 3D molded VPD 2.0 back protector that outperforms the highest level of the motorcycle standard EN 1621-2 Level 2
- 3D molded VPD 2.0 shoulder and elbow pads
- Flexible low friction hard shell elbow cap
- 3-ply comformable VPD 2.0 chest protector
- Asymmetric zipper for optimal chest protection
- Removable and flexible waistband to keep the jacket in place, further improving the protection
- Crash retention strap (CRS) that prevents the protector from sliding out of place
CERTIFIED EN 1621-2 Level 2 (Back), EN 1621-1 (Elbow & Shoulder)
SIZES XS/S, M, XL/L