There are waterproof jackets that are best suited to being emergency jackets, rolled up in a rear jersey pocket in the hope that they'll never actually be required. Then there are jackets that are there to be worn on the wettest, filthiest ride, giving all-day comfort and making a bad day not so terrible. The Showers Pass Women's Elite 2.1 Jacket sits firmly in the latter camp and does a great job of it too.
The first thing that's noticeable about the Women's Elite 2.1 Jacket – aside from the not inconsiderable price – is how well featured and how meticulously designed it is. This is not a walking or outdoor waterproof repurposed for cycling, it's a cycling jacket from the ground up.
The shape is sleek and contoured with a well-shaped tail, there's a permanent vent across the shoulders to increase airflow without letting water in, underarm zipped vents, reflective accents, zipped pockets including a large offset one at the rear (to make access easier while on the move) and a drawstring at the hem. There's even an attachment point for an optional extra hood if desired.
The waterproof fabric is a mix of three-layer eVent and Elite rip-stop fabrics, designed to make it a tough, hardwearing jacket that's genuinely breathable yet fully waterproof.
In wear it was superbly comfortable, both from the point of view of its breathability and venting options, but also in terms of shape and details. The hem is quite high at the front, making it more comfortable on the bike with nothing to brush on the legs, while at the back the tail dips down to protect your backside.
The sleeves are a good length, with a Velcro fastening cuff for keeping the rain out, and the soft, lined collar is warm, cosy and just the right snugness for optimal rain protection without being tight.
Even in not particularly cold temperatures, the jacket remained dry inside as well, in part due to the excellent breathability of the fabric, but also the rear 'permavent' across the shoulders. Those using a rucksack would obviously benefit less from this, but optional underarm venting also keeps everything from getting sweaty. The waterproofing kept me dry on a long, wet day of touring (oh joy) with no trouble at all.
The only niggle I had was that the zips, particularly the front one, aren't always that easy to operate single-handedly.
The jacket is very lightweight, particularly for one not designed as a packable emergency style shell, and means it's especially well suited to touring because it doesn't take up much space or weight in a pannier, and it's good for all-day use.
Yes, there's no denying that it's expensive, but I think it's probably the best cycling-specific waterproof jacket I've ever used.
Definitely not cheap, but probably one of the best cycling waterproof jackets available
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Women's Elite 2.1 waterproof jacket
Size tested: Medium, Goldenrod
Tell us what the product 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?
Cycling specific women's waterproof jacket for all-day use.
Showers Pass says:
"The Gold Standard. Our bestselling Elite 2.1 cycling jacket uses eVent and Elite 3-Layer rip stop fabrics, body-mapped to maximize breathability and waterproof/windproof protection. When temperatures rise, our jacket rises to the occasion with 7 venting options to keep you cool (2 core vents, 2 cuff vents, two way zipper and back vent). 3M Reflective trim keeps you visible from all angles. A large back pocket and chest pocket with audio port provides plenty of storage space for keys, flat repair kit and energy bars. Long sleeves provide full wrist coverage and accomodate reach while on the bicycle. This jacket was designed with long distance randonneurs and roadies in mind, but has become a favorite training jacket of professional cyclists such as the Katusha Pro Russian Cycling team, every day commuters, Kayakers, and Cross-country Skiers. This jacket has a trim fit and is designed to be worn over a trim fitting base layer or jersey."
Aligns with my thoughts completely.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
eVent and Elite 3-layer waterproof fabric
New AquaGuard Vislon 2-way water resistant front zipper with Storm Flap
Fully seam taped for wind and waterproofness
Core Vents and large back vent for flow thru ventilation
Chest pocket with audio port and large back pocket
Exclusive airflow–regulating gusseted cuffs
360 degrees of 3M reflective trim for maximum visability
Soft Micro–Chamois collar
Cinch Cord at collar and hem
Hood compatible via hook and loop attachement points at collar (hood optional extra)
Available in sizes S-XXL
Very well made from superior quality fabrics and components.
Kept me comfortable and dry, on the inside surface of the jacket too, on even the longest, wettest rides.
Seems very durable so far, provided the waterproof fabric is cared for appropriately.
Not designed to be the lightest jacket but considering it's not, it really is very light!
Superb levels of comfort, both in terms of its waterproof performance and also maintaining a good body temperature without overheating.
A lot of money but a genuinely good jacket and a sound investment. You pay similar for other outdoor activity jackets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Colour (yellow), cut, reflectives, offset pocket, breathability and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much indeed, even though that meant riding in the rain.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
An extremely well-designed jacket crammed with excellent cycling-specific features and details. It provides great full-day wet weather comfort and protection.
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.