Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket
Review: Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite JacketBy Scot Jarchow | Published Apr 23, 2017
Last December Showers Pass sent us one of their new Hi-Vis Elite Jacket with Red LED Beacon Lights to give a test drive. We quickly put this thing through the ringer, and we are happy say we love this rain jacket! We literally tested their rain jacket in everything from near whiteout conditions to torrential pineapple express downpours and nearly every rain condition in between! Ridden after dusk in the misty weather, the showers pass jacket kept me dry and warm on the inside, and people could see me! It is very visible in the dark, thanks to the LED lights and reflective material! I used it in the rain day after day, day after day, day after day, day after day, etc. etc., etc., Dang it never stopped raining in Portland this winter! It has rained over 150 days since October 1st.
Here is why we loved the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket with Red Led Beacon Lights. Let’s start with a little technical information about this jacket. Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket is made of 3 fabric layer construction with brushed lining for maximum weather protection and warmth. The outer two layers, use a face fabric and the main membrane, the two materials keep rain and wind out while lining pulls moisture from your skin and draws it through the membrane and face fabric. The Hi-Vis Elite Jacket has a five star waterproof rating, meaning that it has a fabrics rated at least 15,000mm and has taped or welded seams and taped zipper seams. What this means for the bike rider, they can ride out in the rain for a few hours and they will not be drenched and cold from water leaking through their rain jacket! Additionally the Hi-Vis Elite Jacket comes with Showers Pass’s really cool silver waterproof MapReflect side panels and under arms panels that are highly reflective in headlights!
The Hi-Vis Elite Jacket has a breathability rating of 4 stars. The Showers Pass wicking lining fabric is rated at least 10,000g/m2/day, plus it has 2 fully seam taped 10 inch zipped that waterproof and windproof under the arms as well as a horizontal vent across the mid back, that does a great job of creating airflow. For a rider this means that the jacket breathes and the zippers offer enough ventilation that you are dry from the rain, but not soaking wet from sweat. Often times neon green fabrics are not as breathable as most of the darker fabrics, but given weather conditions, I would rather be seen and adjust my baselayer then wear a dark rain jacket.
Other feature noteworthy features of the Hi-Vis Elite Jacket with Red Led Beacon Lights include: A fully seamed waterproof and windproof zippered chest pocket with an audio port, so riders can listen to their favorite Adam Myerson, Crosshairs podcasts, or favorite music for battling the incessant rain. As well cavernous rear pocket with a 5 ½ inch vertical waterproof zipper, so even riders with large hands can use the pocket. The rear pocket is literally large enough to store a healthy sized roast, an extra rain hat, or pair of waterproof gloves!
Here is why we loved the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket with Red Led Beacon Lights. 1) Riders can be seen from a mile away, or at least 500 meters. 2) The jacket really help regulate temperatures. 3) A raincoat that keeps you pretty dry.
Although I will say, I see have seen more riders wearing brighter colored rain jackets over the past couple of years, I still am simply amazed how often I see riders wearing an all black kit or rain jackets with minimal lighting on their bikes, in the dark dank Oregon gray conditions. Personally I prefer being seen, especially since I tend to ride out in farmland, where cars tend to drive a little faster and bike lanes are nearly non-existent. The Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket with Red Led Beacon Lights has a very bright neon green on most of the jacket and MapReFlect print on side panels for being seen in low light conditions. MapReFlect comes mapping of three cities: Portland, Paris and Amsterdam and the fabric is waterproof and very visible in low light conditions. The finishing touch is four 4 integrated LED, have 3 setting a solid red beam, a flashing red beam and faster red beam. Beacon lights that can be seen from 500 meters. The integrated LED beacon can as a friend recently said “I can always tell it was you from a mile away in that jacket”. Here is why we loved the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket with Red Led Beacon Lights. Below are three scenarios were I think this jacket really shines: One of the aspect that I really like Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket is the right tool for riding your cross bike, snowshoeing, or sledding in near white out conditions. One of the first outings with Showers Pass jacket was in December, when I took my cross bike out to play in snow through the neighborhood. It had started snowing about an hour before I headed out, and the temperature had dropped to whopping 27 degrees with pretty constant uncomfortable biting wind blowing between 10 and 25 mph, which brought the wind-chill down to about 10 degrees. The gray skies and blowing snow meant that visibility for automobiles wasn’t ideal, so I made sure I good lighting on my bike and I turned all four LED beacon lights onto blinking mode. I felt pretty comfortable with Hi-Vis Elite Jacket, plus medium weight fleece jersey and lightweight baselayer under the jacket, even after nearly 2 hours of riding. Sure my cheeks, hands and legs were chilled, but my core area was nice and warm! Near the end of the ride, my neighbor and I were stopped at stop sign, he rolled down his passenger window of his tire-chained work van, “Scot you are crazy to be riding in this weather, but at least I could see your coat from three blocks away!” to which I replied “Are you kidding, this is fun, this is like being a kid again, this is an adult sled.” Man I was glad it was my Saturday, soon roads in the Portland were at standstill when I got home, it took my poor wife nearly seven hours to drive the seventeen miles home!
Even though this was a snowier than normal winter in Portland, from the third week of January through mid-March, it seemed like every time I headed outside for a ride, it was between 35 and 40 degrees, and it was always fuc*ing raining! For me riding when it is 35 degrees and rainy is one of hardest things about riding in Portland, but still I typically prefer riding outside than sitting on a trainer, so ventured out more often than not. Saturday March 4th was really good example of this type of day. My friends, who do not work at night, woke up to partly sunny and dry morning for their Saturday group ride. I on the other hand sleep in until 11am, then made brunch for the family, and then took a few minutes to clean off Friday afternoons grim off my bike. By the time I was heading out it started raining lightly, and pretty much stayed that way until the halfway point of my training ride. As I reached the halfway point, a southwest wind really started picking up, the rain increased in intensity, and I began noticing that about every five drop was an ice pellet! After cresting the hill that marked my turn-around point for the day, I was watching my wattage go down from 425 watts, down to under 150 watts, I noticed that my Pioneer computer temperature readout dropped down to 36 degrees. Looking up after glancing at the computer, I could see that I was just a few seconds away from riding into band after band of wind, sleet, and rain, so I zipped all the way up and cinched the necks collar cord, to prevent ice pellets and rain coming down my neck. Next I re-animated the beacon lights that had gone off as I was nearing the crest of final hill. For next ten minutes, I really appreciated the brushed lining of 3-layer ripstop fabric to keep me warm and dry as the ice pellets bounced off the jacket and rained glided off the fabric in the wind. Although I hadn’t seen another bike rider in over an hour, I did see a lot of cars heading to the local lumber mill noting the arrival of the swing shift, given the dark clouds and sleet making for crappy visibility I was grateful to be seen by motorist. I will admit by the time I got home almost an hour later I was cold! My legs and feet were soaking wet and frozen! Still with a Santini Neoprene gloves and the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket my core area and fingers were still warm.
Just 10 days later was a better rain scenario that had significant different conditions, if riding in the rain can have a better scenario. I had finally got enough base miles to start getting my feet wet with some hills. Fortunately I had missed the gusty southerly winds that morning, by heading out in the mid afternoon. With the southerly winds, the temperature climbed upward to a balmy 55 degrees, and through it was raining fairly hard. It was balmy enough that after 10 minutes of riding, I was warm enough that I completely unzipped both underarm zippers. About 25 minutes in, some really dark clouds appeared overhead and the fairly hard rain turned in a complete downpour, still it was warm rain, so it was not so bad. For this ride I really appreciated the highly visible fabric on Showers Pass jacket because each of the hills that I rode that day, had a few blind corners where that split second where the neon green or blinking light catches a drivers eye, might be the difference between feeling the air pocket of passenger side mirror rushing too close by or a driver giving you three feet of space. I have ridden in these conditions a lot in the 18 years I have lived in Portland and this was one of the most comfortable rides in those conditions despite being slightly overdressed. The baselayer that I was wearing was too thick, by end of the ride, my lowers arms were very wet, my mid and lower back, and sternum were glistening with sweat as well. Still in my previous owned rain jackets, I would have either been too clammy, because the jacket did not breath, or I would have been soaked and chilled to the bone because the rain simply ran through the fabric. With the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket I am simply comfortable enough to stay out in those conditions longer than any of rain jackets than I have owned in the past!
We Didn't Like
The only dislike and it is definitely a minor issue, is the beacon lights occasionally on flashing mode would cut out after 35 to 45 minutes.
The Final Say
If you live temperate area where it rains a lot (Great Britain, Belgium, Japan, Pacific Northwest) and you want kick ass rain jacket that offers maximum waterproofing and great visibility you must put Showers Pass Hi-Vis Elite Jacket at the top of the list! Living in Oregon the designer of Showers Pass know a thing or two about rain and have creating a rain jacket really has impressive waterproofing superb breathability, and eye catching fabrics and other visual cues that make it difficult for vehicles to miss a rider’s presence.
Notes: Here is a point reference choosing the right Showers Pass Rain Jacket for yourself. https://www.showerspass.com/pages/how-choose-best-waterproof-cycling-jacket