The Showers Pass Atlas jacket is a striking and useful urban commuter piece, managing to match up good utility with a design that boosts safety.
The Atlas (which is based on the Refuge jacket, a fully waterproof hardy outer layer) is made using waterproof and breathable MapREflect fabric, which – as the name suggests – has a reflective map design imprinted on it (there are 11 map designs, all from bike-friendly cities around the world).
During normal daytime, the jacket is navy with the grey map design lightly visible against it, but at night with light shone upon it, it really lights up, helping you stand out from the crowd. It's particularly useful in the city and on dark mornings and evenings, a real boon.
The jacket is truly waterproof and breathable too; in heavy showers it's unflummoxed, continuing to bead water away as well as keep transposing moisture outwards. I wouldn't say it's quite up to the standard of the Gore One Thermium jacket in this regard, but it's definitely no slouch.
Of course, this isn't a thermal jacket – it's an outer heavyweight shell, so worn on its own at this time of year it's very cool, and you'll generally need a thermal layer underneath to stay toasty. The extra benefit of adding a thermal layer is additional comfort, because the net panels on the inside of the jacket can be felt quite prominently. It's a side-effect of its hardiness, though, so isn't a huge problem.
The cut is slim but not figure hugging, so you can easily wear civvies underneath, and features a longer rear for protection against road spray. It's not too long, mind, so you can easily wear this jacket off the bike too. The sleeves are plenty long enough for a road bike-esque position too, with an adjustable hem around the waist for those of a waif-like classic cycling build.
Other features? There are two zipped hand pockets at the front plus a zipped chest pocket with an internal headphone cable port, Velcro cuff adjusters, plentiful ventilation zippers down the flanks and under the arms, and a removable hood. You won't find rear pockets like you'd get on a dedicated road cycling jacket, but that's hardly a serious issue given the Atlas's urban focus. All of this is topped off with waterproof zips and internally taped seams to ensure water ingress is kept at bay.
The textured shoulder pads are another useful feature, and mean that even when wet your bag straps stay securely stuck to your shoulders, so no more continually reaching to adjust its position. It's clever yet simple, and I wonder why more brands don't use something similar with their commuter or urban jackets.
As a result, this is a nice piece from Showers Pass. Waterproof, breathable and eminently stylish with a unique reflective pattern in a jacket that doesn't look half bad during the day. Throw in the extra ventilation cavities, great waterproof zips and seam taping, pockets, routing for headphone cables and a slim-but-not-restrictive cut ideal for urban commuter use, and it goes a long way to justifying its premium asking price.
A premium jacket for a premium price, but with a striking design and good features
road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Atlas Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Showers Pass says: "Look around the world and try to find a feature loaded shell that stands out from the crowd like this. The Atlas is designed for world travel, year round commuting, and versatile outdoor use. We've taken our favourite features from the Refuge Jacket and added MapREflect fabric for high visibility at night. Thanks to the unique map pattern, no two jackets are alike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Featuring fully seam taped, waterproof MapREflect Softshell fabric with durable water repellant (DWR) coating
- YKK AquaGuard® Vislon® water resistant front zipper with stormflap
- Reinforced shoulders protect the fabric from backpack straps
- Extra long core vents prevent overheating
- Exclusive airflow–regulating cuffs
- Ergonomic easy-grip zipper pulls
- Removable hood fits over a helmet and stows in inside pocket
- Drawcord at hood and double toggle cinch at hem
- Soft, moisture wicking lining at collar
- Front hand warmer pockets and chest pocket with audio port
The outer shell is superb, but I'd worry that the netting on the inside feel could become easily snagged at some point.
It's very breathable and waterproof; with the extra ventilation zips, it's very, very good.
See construction – only the netting on the inside is a slight question mark.
Almost perfect, to be honest. Certainly excellent.
The cut is slim, which is ideal for an urban jacket like this. Suitable for both on and off bike use.
Very good again, and sizes slightly large – a medium fitted me perfectly, and depending on the jacket I can go with a medium or large.
At 656g it isn't heavy, per se, but it's not like you'd want to set a KOM in it! And that weight gives it a sense of reassuring strength.
The quite thick nature of the outer fabric, and the feeling of the netting on the inside, are both noticeable factors. But I definitely wouldn't describe it as uncomfortable.
With all the features on offer and the quality feel of the Atlas jacket, you have to recognise it as having good all-round value.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very well – Nikwax Techwash takes care of the DWR treatment no problem.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Urban fit, capable of use on and off bike, the striking design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The netting on the inside covering the ventilation channels – I'd argue it's potentially unnecessary.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes, if I lived in a big city and needed to commute through it in the dark.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a great quality, premium, high-visibility jacket that's packed with useful urban features.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding