Showers Pass Elements Jacket: First Look

The new Showers Pass Elements Jacket is fully waterproof, 2.5-layer jacket that was designed with mountain biking in mind. We took one out on a few rides to prepare this first look to coincide with today’s launch. Find photos, specs, and Miles’ thoughts here…

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With fall officially here in the Pacific Northwest, I have little choice than to start thinking about waterproof cycling apparel. Normally I’d be beelining it south in the United States, as any self-respecting Canadian snow bird would. But, given the pandemic, we’ve opted to spend our winter on BC’s Sunshine Coast this year, which means I expect to see more rain than sunshine for the next few months. Appropriately timed for the change in weather, Portland-based Showers Pass launched a new waterproof jacket today, which they sent over a few weeks ago for me to check out. Any time the skies opened up, I’d toss on the new Showers Pass Elements Jacket to go for a ride or a walk to see how it fared.

Showers Pass Elements Jacket
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket

The Showers Pass Elements Jacket joins a handful of other 2.5-layer waterproof jackets that are lighter and more flexible than their heavier-duty 3-layer options. It’s designed to be versatile and comfortable for riding, features fully seam-taped construction, a waterproof-breathable fabric, and a more natural next-to-skin feel. The Elements Jacket has a removable hood, front pockets, large vents, reinforced shoulders for backpack straps, and it’s still reasonably packable to bring along on bikepacking trips or long day rides. The Elements Jacket is also part of Showers Pass’ Clean Color collection, using eco-friendly dyes that keep harmful chemicals out of the manufacturing process. Find the full list of technical specs from Showers Pass below.

Showers Pass Elements Jacket Specs

  • Fully seam taped, waterproof-breathable hardshell fabric
  • Reinforced shoulders protect the fabric from backpack straps
  • Extra Long core vents prevent overheating
  • 360 degrees of 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material trim for maximum visibility
  • Velcro cuffs for trim fit and easy on-off
  • Removable, adjustable hood fits over a helmet and stows in inside pocket
  • Double toggle hem cinch for adjustability
  • Soft, moisture-wicking lining at collar
  • Light loop at collar
  • Front hand warmer pockets and inside chest pocket with audio port
Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review

First Impressions

As you can see above, the Elements Jacket has a good selection of features but stops short of including anything too gimmicky or unnecessary. Besides the removable hood, which I don’t plan to ever use, the jacket has a clean aesthetic and style that I quite like. The main front zippered vents have a mesh liner, so even when fully opened they aren’t flopping around. The zippers are all high quality YKK brand and use oversized rubber pull tabs that have a nice feel to them. As for weight, it feels noticeably light without seeming flimsy or delicate like other 2.5-layer jackets I’ve used. The size large I have weighs in at about 473 grams, which is on par with comparably specced 2-layer GoreTex Paclite jackets out there.

The overall fit feels spot on for me. The arms are long and slim enough, but provide plenty of room to layer underneath. It has a dropped tail and the perfect amount of room through the body without feeling like you’re swimming in fabric while riding. For reference, I’m 6’1″ with a medium build and I’ve been testing the size large. It’s offered in sizes small to XX-large in men’s and small to X-large in women’s. Both are offered in a blueish green Nighride colour, while the men’s is offered in a new to Showers Pass Titanium light grey, as pictured.

  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket
Showers Pass Elements Jacket

Paired with its decent breathability, the lightweight design of the jacket feels nice while riding, even when things inevitably start heating up. I’ve worn heavier weight waterproof jackets that also claim exceptional breathability but feel much more slogged down once I start working up a sweat. Beyond packing an ultralight shell, like my beloved Outdoor Research Helium jacket, I think the Elements Jacket provides a great blend of weather protection, breathability, and durability at a somewhat reasonable price tag.

There are a few features, or perhaps lack thereof, that stand out to me. Although they work, pit zips have always been awkward for me, so I appreciate the clean and simple function of the two front-facing zippers. However, I have yet to ride with the Elements Jacket in a full-on downpour, and I imagine the vents will let some water in if given the opportunity. I also like how few pockets there are, as I often have a frame bag or top tube bag nearby (or a backpack if I’m not riding), so don’t generally load my jacket up with bits and bobs. Showers Pass decided to use non-waterproof zipper, likely to keep the weight down, instead using oversized storm flaps throughout the jacket. I’m not completely sold on this, so I’ll be sure to report back after experiencing wetter conditions this fall.

  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket

Pros

  • Lightweight and packs down reasonably small.
  • Feels durable. Not just an emergency shell.
  • Features where they count, minimalist in other areas.
  • Very comfortable to wear and great overall fit.

Cons

  • Still pretty expensive, although comparably priced.
  • Neither heavy duty or ultralight. Maybe a niche item?
  • Non-waterproof zippers could be a miss.
  • Material: 93% nylon / 7% spandex
  • Weight: 473 grams (16.7oz)
  • Place of Manufacture: China
  • Price: $199 USD
  • Manufacturer’s Details: ShowersPass.com
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review
  • Showers Pass Elements Jacket Review

Wrap Up

For once I was excited for an extremely wet fall on Vancouver Island, but as luck would have its actually been quite wonderful weather for the last week or so. Because of this, I’ve only had the Showers Pass Elements Jacket out in a few light rains on shorter day rides. It’s performed flawlessly during these outings, but the true test will come during the seriously unforgiving weather on the Sunshine Coast this winter. There will be no sunshine.

I think Showers Pass did a great job at injecting the Elements Jacket with thoughtful features where they count, while still keeping the overall weight and pack size manageable. Though it does seem to exist in a league of its own as it isn’t a fully featured 3-layer hardshell or an ultralight emergency rain shell, the latter being my usual go-to for my average bikepacking trip. I’ll be sure to report back with an update after logging some hours of riding in the truly lousy weather this winter.

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