The POC Pro Thermal Jacket offers a really pleasing balance of wind protection and breathability, and its DWR (durable water repellent) coating does a very impressive job of beading away rain. Basically, this is a warm windproof that can handle showers, rather than a serious 'thermal' jacket – but while it's definitely warmer than an uninsulated one, the lining's performance is badly compromised by the overly large sizing. This helps to keep it out of our best cycling jackets buyer's guide.
Windproofs with little or no water resistance are of extremely limited use in the UK, so the effectiveness of the fluorocarbon-free DWR coating here is a real result. The thin, scrunchable fabric looks the kind to almost immediately soak through (at least to me), yet it can take almost an hour of chilly on-off showers without letting in so much as a drop.
The thermal part of this is also nicely done. The lining of fluffy squares covers the front panels, the tops of your arms, your shoulders and two-thirds of the collar – just the central third of that is bare.
It's an effective style of insulation that can still breathe well via the unfluffy (honestly, that's a word) squares, though it works much better on the arms than the chest for reasons I'll get into shortly.
The back of the jacket is left unlined and free to breathe, and there are vents at the armpits too. I found it comfortable enough to happily do entire rides without any need to pack it away.
Okay, I think that counts as 'shortly' – the reason the chest isn't so warm is that, if you follow POC's size chart, the insulation ends up a significant distance from your body and unable to trap heat. This jacket feels a full size larger than labelled.
For 99-104cm chests POC recommends a Large, which is what I (100cm chest) tested. But it's much too big – I can wear this over a chunky winter jumper and it's still not tight. Over a jersey it just hangs wavily all across the front and flaps at the shoulders at speed, while the sleeves seem unnecessarily wide as well.
I could probably fit a baguette up each side and still have space, so roomy is it, and no, that's not weird.
To get the proper slim fit shown on POC's own models I'd need at least a size Medium, which I'm confident would fit far better and consequently feel warmer. Unfortunately, we were unable to get one to test. As an aside, I was also unable to test a pair of POC gloves alongside this because they were one or two sizes smaller than labelled... I could barely get them on. Unless I've been very unlucky it seems POC has some issues with sizing right now.
Across your back lies a large central pocket flanked by two smaller ones that wrap a fair way around your sides. Because of the direction the zips run, the puller of the one on your right is perfectly placed, while the left one is tucked right behind you and awkward to locate. It's a shame they didn't stitch the lefthand zip in the other way around so both pockets are easily accessible, as the righthand one is very useful.
The zips all have string pulls tied to them, which help when you're wearing gloves. The main zip is two-way, though oddly the pullers don't match at all, and the one you'll use most is the smallest. Strange.
That large central pocket is also a stuff sack, and while the jacket's fluffy lining naturally means it doesn't scrunch down as small as many, the sack has two bright orange (and very reflective) poppered straps for attachment to your frame. The big white POC logo is reflective, too.
Consequently, this thing is more visible when packed on your bike that when you're wearing it: then it just shows a white POC logo on the tail and two decently sized tabs on your sides. On the front there's a small logo on one shoulder. Still, it's pleasing to see this available in colours brighter than black (there's blue, a light yellowish-brown, and this 'Granite Grey' that's more like an off-white), though of course you can still get black.
The waist is elasticated but has no gripper, and in my recommended size sits fairly loosely – the whole jacket has a tendency to rise up slightly and flap noisily at the shoulders. It's a good length, though, so I never felt any draughts around my lower back despite this. It's quite possible sizing down would create a better fit and less lifting despite a (presumably) shorter tail, but unfortunately I just can't say.
The cuffs also rely on a section of elastic for sealing, which I found worked reasonably well, if not brilliantly – the overly wide sleeves don't help as they can be dragged back by the wind. A slimmer fit would help here, too.
At £180 this is up there with similar premium offerings, though there aren't that many that are packable, insulated, water-resistant and windproof. This is ticking a lot of boxes. The Pactimo Men's Alpine Thermal Jacket is £180, for instance, but while it's light and warm Neil found the DWR poor. Alternatively, the Pearson Test Your Mettle Cycling Insulated Jacket is excellent if not particularly packable, and is £145... or was when Neil tested it. Now it's £85.
You can get excellent protection for less elsewhere too: for instance, the Galibier Grandtour Jacket that Josh tested is a warm and fantastic windproof at £82.34, if not packable either, while the Altura Airstream Windproof that Stu reviewed is packable with a good slim cut and perfect sizing for £60. That has no insulation, but for £120 less than the POC you may not mind.
This is a good packable windproof with some useful extra warmth and very impressive showerproofing from its DWR, but the sizing is really off – it's probably warmer than I found it when it actually fits right.
Windproof, protective and impressively showerproof, but dodgy sizing undermines the insulation's effectiveness
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Make and model: Poc Pro Thermal Jacket
Tell us what the jacket 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 says: "Stay warmer where you need it most with the Pro Thermal Jacket.
"Constructed from a windproof material and featuring panels of an innovative insulating inner liner with octagonal yarn fibers that are more efficient at trapping heat, the jacket gives warmth without overheating. Open ventilation on the side panels further help control temperature regulation, and a fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment supports protection from the rain.
"The packable jacket fits into its own pocket and can be secured to a bike, making it the ideal partner for changeable conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Lightweight windbreaking material with a fluorocarbon free DWR treatment for protection from light showers.
Innovative octagonal insulating yarn fibers are more efficient at trapping heat and ensure the jacket gives warmth without overheating.
The jacket can be folded into its own packet and secured to a bike using the attached straps.
Open ventilation in the side panels supports temperature regulation.
Reflective pocket cords and POC logo make it easier for others to see the rider in low light.
Zipped pockets give security for ride essentials.
Elasticated sections on the waist hem and cuffs ensure the jacket stays comfortably in place for the duration of a ride.
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Rate the jacket for performance:
It's good, but would probably be better if the sizing was right.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
Surprisingly good for DWR.
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
Rate the jacket for fit:
It's well shaped, it's just the sizing that's off.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
It's big, baggy and flappy – it feels a size bigger than claimed. I can fit this over a chunky winter jumper with room to spare. I'm a size large according to POC's chart, but would absolutely size down were I buying.
Rate the jacket for weight:
Insulation inevitably means it's not the lightest, but it's fine for what it is.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Breathes well and keeps wind and rain at bay.
Rate the jacket for value:
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It keeps all but the coldest and fiercest wind out, breathes well, and the DWR coating repels rain impressively. That means it's usefully warm, but it should be warmer – the insulation needs to lie against you to work, but the overly large sizing means large gaps over most of the chest.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Good windproofing, impressive DWR, well-judged collar, handy zipped pockets, comes in colours other than black.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Feels a size larger than the label claims, flappy at the shoulders.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are plenty of premium jackets like this from £150-£250, so it's certainly not an outlier in that sense. However, you can get most of the performance for considerably less money (£60-£80) from less fashionable brands.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Maybe, but I'd size down.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, with a warning about sizing.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The only major problem with this is the sizing, and while I suspect that sizing down will get you the slim fit it needs to work at its best, I can't actually say for sure - we couldn't get a smaller one to test. As-is it's good, however: protective, breathable and impressively resistant to showers.
Age: 48 Height: 183cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,
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