Neither a jersey nor a jacket. The POC Mantle is a hoodie that sits in the middle for days when you’re not sure what to wear.
I bought a Mantle as I like having flexible kit that can be thrown on fast and used for different conditions so this looked like an ideal top layer. The question is… has it been?
Made from recycled polyamide it’s a really interesting fabric. A little stretchy but with structure, DWR treated on the outside and with raised furry POC ‘O’s on the inside, it’s thermal, windproof and water repellant. No stranger to the POC brand having worked with the talented team there in the past, I was sure this item would be no different to the others (too many?) I own but none I think are as versatile as this.
Beyond the technical aspects of the hoodie it should be pointed out that the quality of construction and attention to detail make this a pleasure to wear. Getting a technical hoodie right can be an exercise in balancing compromises. Do you want a full zip? Quarter zip? How close fitting do you want it and how much room for other layers…? They are kinda never the right thing but you just make do with the compromises and get on with it. The Mantle is almost perfect in giving a blend of technical performance, comfort and wearability but there are some negatives to my experience for balance.
Firstly, the logo print on the rear has started to peel/break down at the edges. No deal breaker but does make it look tatty early in it’s life span – I can live with it as I’m not looking at it but still it could be better. Second, and I don’t blame the Mantle for this really, is that it doesn’t work well with a merino base layer. Something to do with it’s breathability doesn’t allow vapour to escape fast enough and wets the merino through really fast. I’ll take part of the blame on this one as I’m known to be a profuse sweater but if you live somewhere colder and like merino then you may want to look for something else. In the end I found a POC mesh vest base layer and Rapha Explore Long Sleeve to be a great combination with this but also a few seasons old POC long sleeve base layer too. For my typical short rides, this isn’t a big issue but if you were out for the day/weekend then you may want to think about the overall layering with this in mind.
When it’s combined with the right base layers it’s a great thing to wear. Supple and quiet, comfortable and well fitted, it treads a broad line in between an outer shell and a long sleeve jersey. Although described as thermal, I wouldn’t class it too heavily as such – to me it feels like an all round autumn/winter outer that isn’t overly warm. For contrast, I also just bought a 7mesh Chilco which is ostensibly the same as the Mantle but quite different in how warm it keeps you. This hasn’t done the miles the Mantle has but will feature in a couple of months.
A useful feature of the Mantle is the glasses holder with orange stitches either side – used when the weather changes or you need to check your phone. The hole is large enough for even the deepest of arms so everyday glasses are no problem. The sleeve cuffs have stretchy lycra panels which make them fit neatly at the wrist and make the opening so comfortable you never notice them. There’s a rear zippable pocket (zip opens left to right so favours right handers) which I tend to use for keys rather than a phone but you can use it for stuff like a bank card or an Outdoor Provisions Nut Butter sachet. The hood will fit under your helmet should you want to use it that way but I often found that it was nice to use it like a buff and keep your neck warm when the wind is at an annoying angle.
The Mantle has a water repellency rating of 15,000mm water column and a moisture permeability of 30,000gsm/24hours. I can’t test these and I don’t feel the need to – water beads off in a light shower and if you observe what I said about base layers then all should be well. It’s been worn in light to persistent rain and I didn’t feel the need to break out the waterproof jacket I carry as back up even after 30 mins of Deeside liquid sunshine. The material is strong and resilient to scratches from branches, washes well and dries fast and it feels like it will be around for a significant amount of time.
I went with the black version in a medium but there is a really nice deep green version available too. Size run is S through to XXL. For the woman’s version there is a choice between red and black and size runs from XS through to XL note the zip runs at an angle on the left side rather than straight as found on the mens. The size and fit are as expected from a medium and I would recommend you stick to your normal size.
Overall I love wearing the Mantle and it’s ideal for a range of off road riding so should see good use throughout the colder 6 months of the year. It could be more ‘thermal’ for some so it won’t get full marks but it’s pretty close to being perfect nonetheless. See on POCSPORTS.com
Last modified: 12th December 2022