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Verdict: 
A perfect balance of features and performance for the price, that you'll relish pulling on
Weight: 
137g

The Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket ticks every box for staying warm while dodging showers in the shoulder seasons. Light, trim-fitting, tiny when packed and budget-friendly, it's hard to see how it could be improved on.

  • Pros: Lightweight, protective, compact, comfortable, stylish, well priced
  • Cons: None

Showers Pass is based in Portland, Oregon, which has twice the annual rainfall of London, so its designers get to experience plenty of cycling in the rain and cold. 

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

We've reviewed a fair bit of Showers Pass kit recently, and typically it gets around the 3.5-4-star mark – in other words, technically and fit-wise it's proper kit, usually only marked down on price which typically reflects the quality and materials in use. In other words, you get what you pay for. To get five stars in a road.cc review the price has to beat the pants off the logical competition, while winning in every other category at the same time. It's a very tough ask, hence why five star reviews are few and far between.

Out of the box, I loved this jacket. Firstly, it was a very small box. The Ultralight squishes into a stuff sack not much larger than my fist, and disappears into any jersey pocket, awaiting the call to duty.

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket - packed.jpg

The build quality is top-notch; the seams aren't tape-sealed as it's not a 'waterproof' but they are doubled over and then stitched through, meaning they should withstand prolonged use. The cuffs are sealed with a firm elastic to keep chills out and to stay in place when pulled over gloves. The YKK zip ends with a shaped toggle made of a rubbery grippy material that's easily used with gloves on, and ends off to the left of the neck, keeping the zip and its garage comfortably away from your adam's apple and chin. The 2in-high double-layer collar fitted snugly around my 14.5in neck, the Elite Wind Fabric soft against the skin. Inside the collar there's a generous hanging loop.

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket - shoulder.jpg

3M Scotchlight reflective rubber inserts run down from the collar to the armpits on either side, complementing the Showers Pass logo on the drop tail, which features a silicone grip-strip.

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket - back.jpg

Under the arms, running from the hem up to the armpit and all the way down to the sleeve cuff is a black, highly-stretchy fabric insert. This gives the Ultralight a snug, flexible fit – aiding breathability while not exposing frontal or upper faces to any wind or rain. Fit-wise the size medium tested was perfect for my 6ft 73kg frame (it's not me in the photos). Particular joy was had on discovering the sleeves were of perfectly-generous length – some cycling garments run short on my long arms, but no such issue here.

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket - riding.jpg

Lightweight garments at the lower end of the price spectrum often suffer fit issues, where cheaper fabrics tend to be stiffer with less attention paid to the cut. Showers Pass has done a cracking job with the Ultralight. Hunched in the drops, descending flat-out, the Ultralight was dead quiet: there's no flapping to be felt or heard at the back of the arms or around the shoulders, both prime areas for fabric to bunch up.

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket - shoulders.jpg

The Elite Wind Fabric is highly breathable while blocking wind, and the durable water-repellent finish sheds light rain and drizzle. While the Ultralight is not marketed as a waterproof, the combination of fabric and DWR (durable water repellent) finish means after a few minutes under the kitchen tap, water is still beading off with nothing getting through.

Out on the bike in mist, light rain or drizzle, the Ultralight kept any feeling of wetness at bay. Mind you, if you're working at more than 80-odd per cent of max heart rate chances are you'll be damper from sweat than anything soaking through a material. In this regard the Ultralight with its mesh panels struck the perfect balance – I never felt overheated or chilled while nipping up and down Perthshire's glens of an autumn Sunday morning. Not recommended for obvious reasons, but perfectly do-able thanks to the decent zip, is donning or removing it while underway – just get started before you crest the summit and things start to go increasingly downhill...

> Buyer's Guide: 10 of the best windproof jackets – and what to look for

Showers Pass stands behind its kit with a two-year warranty, including a once-only option to exchange it for something more suited to your needs (sensible T&C apply). The warranty included a 30%-off replacement discount should your jacket be destroyed by a fall to the pavement, an unexpected branch, or a recalcitrant puppy (yes, puppies are included in the small print).

With pretty much every brand offering a packable windblocker jacket there's a fair old spread of price and quality out there, from sub-£20 to well over £100, with all manner of fabric, construction and feature on offer. Value is inevitably in the eye (or jersey pocket) of the beholder, and as price increases beyond mid-range it becomes a balance of perceived value vs cost, with a hefty dollop of (un)willingness to compromise thrown in for good measure.

The bounds of material science still pretty much restrict you to some broad assumptions: compact or feature-packed, durable or lightweight, breathable or cheap. In plumping for five stars, I'm saying the Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket has struck a perfect balance between all the desirables while avoiding the pitfalls, with not a single thing I'd consider improving upon – especially the arm length.

Verdict

A perfect balance of features and performance for the price, that you'll relish pulling on

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket is for

This jacket's for riding fast uphill then staying warm riding down, for brushing aside a passing shower, or for the end of a long day as the temperature drops.

Showers Pass says:

This flyweight jacket blocks wind and shrugs off rain for the perfect equilibrium between weather protection and lightweight packability.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Showers Pass lists:

Elite Wind Fabric blocks wind and light rain while letting excess heat escape

Jacket weighs only 5.8 oz /165 g (in size medium)

Stretchy and seamless underarm side panels provide a comfortable trim fit

PFC-free durable water repellent finish (DWR) sheds light rain

3M Scotchlight Reflective Material for visibility at night

Silicone grip on dropped tail

Asymmetrical front zipper for comfort

Stuff sack included for easy packing

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
10/10

The seams, the stitching, the cut – all excellent.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
10/10

Putting it on at the start of a descent was like wrapping a blanket – and once on the flat, in a cooler state, it could stay on and not make you hotter than comfortable.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
9/10

Looks like new after a number of washes.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing
 
8/10

Given it's not 'waterproof', it punches well above its weight, beading and keeping water out for longer than you'd expect.

Rate the jacket for breathability
 
10/10

The fabric and the underarm/side vents do a great job of preventing clamminess.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
10/10

For me, it's perfect. Arms, shoulders, chest, waist – all spot on. Showers Pass call it 'Trim Fit' – its most athletic.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
10/10

For me it sized perfectly.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
10/10

It weighs less than many mobile phones.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
10/10

It's like wearing a second skin – on the hoods, the feel and fit is perfect.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
10/10

For £65, I rate this excellent value. The performance cannot be faulted, there are no shortcomings, the warranty is first-class and it's the price of a decent meal.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

It's a simple machine wash with normal liquid – not even a wool wash needed.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Can't fault it. Supremely comfortable, snug, temperature-regulated and compact when not in use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The sleeves – love the fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Nothing. None.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The combination of features, performance and price come together to present a perfect garment for riding fast in questionable weather. I can't fault it.

Overall rating: 10/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling

2 comments

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2618 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

This looks great for those occasional showers and when the wind gets up a bit or you want to hedge your bets on a colder day without something bulkier but can be snugged away in a jersey pocket if the weather relents and/or you warm up.

I own/use a SP Skyline, bought in a sale for under £40 posted, I'm a 47" chest and the XL fits me perfectly, really snug but still able to get two layers under it without it feeling too tight.

It does get a tad warm when really pushing but then I'd be more likely to undo the massive side vents and sleeve vents. It's still flexible enough to squeeze it down to get into a back central pocket but at 460g it's nowhere near as compact as the lightweight but then you get more protection.

£65 retail seems to be a bargain when compared to other big named products.

 

Avatar
ecycled [22 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Great to see a positive review for such a deserving company. I've used their products for years and the Elite 2.1 Rain Jacket is likely the most useful, well-made piece I own and I own a lot. It is my go to piece for wet and even snowy conditions if I layer an insulating layer underneath.

And great to see that the attention to detail and quality in their upper-end gear (£195 for the Elite 2.1) is brought down into lighter, less technical pieces.