Showers Pass Elite Cycling Cap
(one size) 34g £28
The Showers Pass Elite Cycling Cap is, as the name might imply, a top-flight model made from a highly breathable, highly water-resistant fabric. One designed to keep you temperate and dry. It’s well executed and in the last 600 changeable miles, I’ve only noticed it in the most positive sense. Stitched, rather than welded construction means it’s not totally waterproof and a single size might alienate some.
Pros: Highly weatherproof, very breathable, lightweight, comfortable fit, great peak, folds nicely, easy to care for.
Cons: Considerations rather than cons but stitched construction means it will eventually allow some rain inside, single size
In essence, we have a sophisticated three-layer Nylon material, which Showers Pass employs in their Elite 2.1 jacket. This translates as 30,000 for waterproofing and a similarly impressive 20,000 for breathability. A recipe for dry, temperate bonces at least on paper. The Elite’s an eight-panel design and these are stitched together. This is neat and uniform throughout, though no less than I’d expect.
Unlike taped models, this means water will eventually find its way in but before we get too carried away, taped seams are time consuming and difficult to execute in an aesthetically pleasing way. They are also vulnerable long-term to everyday indifference-being stuffed into jersey pockets, being a prime example. Machine (and to a lesser extent), hand washing can also take their toll.
The crescent peak is generous, though sensibly so and can be flipped up, should conditions, or style dictate. Tactile elastics run around the rim and should offer reliable tenure to most heads, although universal fit is always begging for someone to find an exception.
As I say, it’s a one size fits all and in real-terms a good bet for heads measuring 48-62cm. Ours fitted my 54cm bonce like the proverbial. No issues with blustery, hat snatching weather and while the elastic is secure, it’s not vice-like (which can all too often lead to pain around the temples and in some cases, even tension headaches).
Not that I’d be lending this cap (I keep an old but socially acceptable cotton standby for such contexts), but it seemed secure on heads of assorted sizes and shapes. That said; those at the smaller end of the scale might find the peak shields the eyes a little too well.
On a wider note, it slips unobtrusively beneath helmets of varying genres-from trail to road race and doing so has largely rendered waterproof seams a moot point. Oh, and should you feel the need to whip off and park in a jersey pocket, it’ll pack very small and emerge ready to wear.
Simply put, performance reflects the price point and specification. Afterall, Showers Pass came out of Portland Oregon, an area known for its cold, wet and overcast winters.
Ours arrived mid-January where the mercury had recovered from the sub-zero bitterness of earlier weeks. However, it was still chill and helpfully, soggy. Blessed with a thick thatch, I’ve found things temperate down to 3, maybe 2 degrees. Closer to zero and I’m reaching from my Belgian style cap.
To my surprise, at these temperatures it still did a decent job of holding back the worst of the wind chill. It kept persistent, wintry rain at bay for around an hour before this began to creep in through the seams-although at a very pedestrian rate. The more obsessional could always give it a quick blow-over using a product like Motorex Protex Waterproofing Spray but personally, I’ve never felt the need.
Beneath helmets, I was pleased to discover I could dodge most of this- just some trace dampness after two hours. In common with competitors, I wasn’t surprised to find the fabric wicked dry in around 20minutes, given a break in the cloud. Flat seams are what we’d expect, but another definite plus in the comfort stakes.
The peak has also kept sleet, snow, wind, rain and strong sunlight from my face and without compromising my vision-especially when checking right to left at junctions, or just glancing over my shoulder.
On the rare occasions the temperature has hit 12-13 degrees, the fabric has wicked almost seamlessly and in line with my own efforts. I’ve never returned with a damp, let alone soggy head, even when pushing myself hard for two hours.
These qualities also mean that funk and nasty niffs are kept to an absolute minimum. I gave ours three weeks’ daily service before popping it in the wash and that was more about assessing how well it responded to machine washing.
Not so much as a loose thread in 5 weeks and 600 miles. In terms of the machine wash, toss it in with your other technical kit at 30 degrees and minimal detergent. Now, every so often, a dash of DWR reproofing product and a tumble dry on very low heat will keep the elite’s properties at their best. Overdo things and don’t be surprised to find it fitting next door’s moggy.
Originally £35, the Elite has now been reduced to £28. I’ve had positive experiences with cheaper waterproof models. Prednas Ciclismo Lisboa Waterproof Cycling Cap which comes in four colours and features taped seams. However, despite this, it’s not waterproof in the belt n’ braces sense, breathability doesn’t match the Elite and its handwash only.
Showers Pass Atlas (pictured above) is like the Elite in performance terms and level pegging pricewise. It also features a retro-reflective map, which is a talking point and genuinely quite effective if you ride sans helmet with any regularity.
Seal Skinz Waterproof All Weather Cycle Cap is another design I’ve got along with, long term and it’s also a few quid cheaper. That said; the peak hasn’t been to everyone’s tastes. Gore Shakedry cap is a penny shy of £40 but pulls off the fully waterproof and breathable bit.
The Elite certainly delivers excellent performance and has charmed me with its well-blended qualities. There’s no doubt you are getting what you’re paying for. Nonetheless, its Atlas stablemate could pip it to the post. There are also some that may prove a slightly better fit for some heads and wallets.