SHOWERS PASS MEN'S ELEMENTS JACKET
399g Medium (As Tested) £129.99
The Showers Pass Men’s Elements Jacket is aimed at mountain bike audiences but by my reckoning is a great choice for general riding. Good enough that its trumped a favourite as my go-to.
Pros: Excellent waterproofing and breathability, cut and styling work with technical and street clothes alike, extremely retro-reflective technology, great layout.
Cons: Pockets aren’t waterproof in the hell 'n’ high water sense.
This is reassuringly high throughout. The main fabric is a 2.5 layer Nylon/Spandex mix (93%/7%) laminate with waterproofing and breathability ratings of 15,000 apiece. Seams are fully taped, Velcro cuffs make for easy adjustment, while keeping the weather outside.
Talking of which, a lot of laminates can sweat, i.e. become damp on the inside, which can detract from their waterproof and breathability. Showers Pass acknowledge and have dodged this bullet, using a thin, but durable lining. The outer fabric of our Titanium Light grey is 3M Scotchlite, so a tasteful grey by day, bright silvery white when graced by vehicle/street lighting. “Nightride”- a blueish/green is the alternative colour, for both the men’s and women’s version.
A light loop around the collar continues this theme. I was also pleased t discover the shoulders feature a contrasting, yet equally subtle dark grey reinforced “scuff guards” to prevent abrasion from rucksacks and other, rider mounted luggage.
As I’d expect from this price point, there’s a lined, breathable collar to prevent cold, wet stuff from creeping inside and there are long, “pit-zips” should the inner climate turn a little toasty. The Elements also features a detachable hood, which is another nice touch. A strange remark, coming from someone who traditionally gravitates away from hoods.
I was more surprised to learn that the hood is designed to fit OVER, rather than beneath helmets. It's easily parked in a pocket, when not required. The pockets? There are lots and they’re all really well designed. I default to the breast/nelson type, so was initially disappointed but there are four, very sensible stash points. Zipper tags are the perfect size for easy access/adjustment, even wearing full finger winter gloves.
Two generous hip pockets for parking the hands when mooching around-phones, keys/energy bars when riding. There’s also an audio port, which is another nice touch. Rounding off the pockets, while the external are sheltered under a flap, they are not waterproof, in the literal sense. I’ve had no issues in very heavy rain but riders in wetter countries may say otherwise. Two toggle cords ensure easy adjustment.
I stand 1m81 and nudge 70 kilos and found the medium just right, even taking my proportionally short torso into account. Roomy enough for winter weight base and mid layers but without billowing like a builder’s tarp. The cut is great for most riding styles- close enough for fast paced road, gravel and MTB work, yet easily tailored for a more relaxed style sans bike, or riding in street clothes. Ditto the drop tail. The lining ensures the fabric slides with you, so no issues when alternating between nose on the stem to tops and drops.
I acquired our sample in the fag end of October just in time for a prolonged spell of wet and sometimes stormy weather. Two-
three hours in driving rain and the jacket kept wet firmly on the outside. Sans hood, the soft, thin pile fleecy collar did its thing, keeping me warm and stopped anything trickling inside, whether from the sky, or running from my helmet.
The same went for the cuffs, which offered excellent, weather blocking seal with all my gloves that see regular service. Mucky rides along wet, greasy lanes on my fixed gear cyclo crosser simply served to reinforce its weatherproof credentials. The drop tail offering excellent protection to my lower back and even when the wind’s been howling, nothing got scooped inside.
Rain simply beaded up and rolled away. The hood is a good idea and moreover, well-executed design. I haven’t experienced the shock of staring into the fabric when scanning left to right at a junction. Compatibility seems good with those in my collection. That said; force of habit has meant I’ve largely left ours off.
Internal moisture management is similarly impressive. Even at a steady 20-23mph, temperatures in the early teens, there’s only been some very trace misting, which said more about the polyester/polyamide base and mid layers I was wearing. When the mercury slid to a notch above freezing, with pit zips half-mast I was still surprisingly comfortable. Long story short, never felt wet, chill, or boiled in the bag.
Usual MO, pop in the wash at 30 degrees, minimal detergent will do the business. Hang out and allow to dry naturally, or pop in the tumble drier on a low heat. If you’ve just returned from a torrentially wet ride, hang it over a chair to let it breathe a bit, don’t scrunch it up and shove it in a cupboard/drawer.
£129.99 isn’t cheap but the standard of performance means I’d spend the extra, even over the DHB Flashlight Force. Pro-Viz Mens Reflect 360+ Jacket is a tenner cheaper. The retro-reflective technology is a notch higher than anything else going but the fabric’s waterproofing and breathability lag behind some at 10,000 apiece, which is apparent if you take your commutes at race pace. Neither feature a hood, either.
Altura Night Vision Typhoon is another 2.5 layer model, with 15000 ratings for breathability and waterproofing, it also features a detachable hood and sensible pockets. It also gives change from £100. Its Thunderstorm counterpart is a more direct rival price-wise and the Showers Pass Elements would get my £129.99.
I’ve been very impressed by the levels of comfort and performance offered by the Showers Pass Elements. Comfort and performance is that bit higher than those with a commuting bias, yet will do this and generic outdoor duties with comparable finesse.