The Showers Pass Elements jacket is specially designed for mountain biking (despite gravel imagery in its marketing) and uses a 2.5 layer construction.
Showers Pass Elements might be a new entry to our annual best mountain bike jackets test, but the brand has been around since 1997 and its home is the notoriously moist Pacific NorthWest of the United States. Showers Pass doesn’t give the nylon/Spandex mix ripstop fabric a name, but claims a waterproof rating of 15,000mm and a breathability rating of 15,000g, which puts it mid-pack in our line-up of test jackets but should be enough for fairly sustained heavy rain.
The designers have thrown literally everything in their arsenal at the Elements jacket, which means it’s absolutely packed with features, but weighs a chunky 468g in size medium. Listing the features would take up the entire test, but some of the highlights include the hip pockets, smooth-running YKK zip and Velcro-adjustable cuffs. Arguably less important are extras such as the removable hood – it adds a lot of weight for something that doesn’t really need to be removable – the internal phone pocket and mesh map pockets, and reinforced shoulders (as riders ditch their packs in ever increasing numbers). Ultimately we reckon the Elements jacket could be improved with fewer bells and whistles and a lighter, more packable approach.
The half layer is described as a carbon print liner with a natural odour-resistance and drier feel next to skin compared to most 2.5 layer jackets. We’re not convinced by Showers Pass’s claims however, in fact we felt this was arguably the most rubbery feeling 2.5 layer jacket in the test and not particularly nice when paired with a short sleeve jersey.
Additional ventilation is provided mechanically, but Showers Pass takes a different approach to its competitors in this test with extra-long zipped core vents. While these helped heat to escape, we found our speed was never high enough on a climb to allow much additional airflow through the jacket. Overall, breathability was average.
The hood is said to be big enough to wear over a helmet, and while that is the case, we found it didn’t provide as much coverage at the front of a helmet as some of the other jackets, and felt pretty tight when the collar was fully zipped.
If you’re considering a big multi-day winter trip or regularly head out into the wilds all year round, the Showers Pass Elements could fit the bill, but for typical two-three hour trail rides where you’re in and out of the woods and never far from the car, there are lighter, cheaper and more breathable solutions.