The Showers Pass Transit CC jacket is a super-practical commuting hardshell, packed with clever details.
Showers Pass is from Portland, Oregon, which is one of the world's most bike-friendly cities and 'enjoys' a climate very similar to ours with its relatively mild, rainy winters. I've found the Transit CC jacket is equally at home in soggy southern England as it probably is in the Pacific Northwest. I've been wearing it as an outer layer every day for my commute and, thanks to its excellent breathability as well as its impressive water and windproofness, it works really well whether it's raining or not.
Just to get this out of the way, the Transit CC jacket is aimed at commuting and is not a lightweight, packable race cape. Showers Pass classifies it as having a 'full fit with room to layer over bulky street clothing'. It is also designed for a more upright riding style – it has the cut of a regular jacket rather than an anatomic one cut for a crouched bike position: I found the cuffs covered my wrists fine on a flat-bar bike, but on a drop-bar bike the sleeves tended to ride up, leaving a slight gap. I would also guess it's made for someone with slightly broader shoulders and shorter arms than me. (It's not me in the photos, by the way.)
The Transit CC is made from a three-layer waterproof and breathable fabric called Artex which is also durable and tough. The CC stands for Clean Color: it uses eco-friendly dyes that are free from harmful chemicals. There's a choice of Alps Blue, Black or Yelling Yellow.
To enhance low-light visibility there's loads of reflective trim front and rear, and the foul-weather pièce de résistance is a dropdown tail that is completely covered in reflective fabric and features integrated removable button-sized flashing red lights.
There's a Napoleon pocket with an 'audio port' and two side pockets (none at the rear).
It's really neatly made (in China), especially given the complicated construction. There's a plethora of panels, flaps, taped seams, pockets, reflective tabs, zips, press-studs and even magnets (keeping the dropdown tail in the raised position) to be joined together.
The Transit CC's fabric is, like most waterproof fabrics, DWR (durable water repellent) coated, giving it literally another layer of waterproofness. Even the heaviest rain simply runs off it, leaving it totally dry. I had to see if it had a wet-out point since a regular rainstorm couldn't breach it, so ran the sleeve under the tap and discovered that it can take any amount of water. However, DWR coatings can and will wash out (but can be reapplied) so it's a good idea to check out the care instructions if you want to keep waterproofing at this level.
Having said that, I've only washed the Transit CC jacket once so far – since I've been wearing ordinary civvies underneath it for my schoolrun commute over the last month or two it hasn't got whiffy anyway, and I've found in any case that breathability and venting are so good that it doesn't get steamed up inside.
As you'd expect of the loose fit, it's comfortable, unrestrictive and the little touches of quality like the soft fleece inside the high collar (black so as not to show the dirt) and the tactile Showers Pass-branded zip puller tabs make it easy to wear.
Perhaps what it does lack is a little bit of fashionability compared to the more tailored-looking commuter jackets from this side of the Pond, such as the Howies Herald and the Vulpine Softshell Harrington. Showers Pass goes for a straighter outdoorsy look that has more in common with Berghaus or Patagonia.
However, the Transit CC arguably has a wider and more timeless appeal – after all, if it's not in fashion it can't go out of fashion – and it's all about the performance here in any case.
It's not cheap, but there are more expensive commuter jackets: the aforementioned Vulpine Softshell Harrington costs £200. That said, the Howies Herald undercuts it by £21.
Showers Pass says the Transit CC has got you covered and this is an accurate description. It is indeed good enough to withstand the worst of the winter and is breathable, comfortable and visible, too. The US firm has ticked off everything a commuter jacket could ever need – including its own rear lights.
Exceptionally waterproof commuter jacket that's tough, comfortable, breathable, visible and packed with practical details
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Transit CC 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: "A jacket that delivers on every level, the new-and-improved Transit CC jacket has been designed and constructed with versatility in mind. Whether you're cycling, hiking, or on an urban adventure, you want a rain jacket that does everything and looks good too!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Showers Pass lists the Transit CC jacket's tech spec as follows:
Clean Color dyed Artex™ ripstop fabric
Brushed finish on the interior lining - soft to the touch with thermal properties
Artex™ 3-layer fabric for waterproof-windproof-breathable performance without bulk
Core vents with waterproof zippers
YKK Aquagard Vizlon main front zipper
Large rear vent with reflective accent
3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective trims throughout (wrist, shoulder, elbow back, chest pocket)
Chest pocket with media port
Double storm rain guard on main zipper
Magnetic dropdown tail with unique map-reflect fabric and beacon light compatibility
Fleece lined collar
Reflective, adjustable Velcro cuffs
Hood attachment point for optional hood
The Transit CC jacket has a complicated construction that consists of a lot of panels, flaps, taped seams, pockets, reflective tabs, zips, press-studs and even magnets to be joined together. The Chinese factory that makes it has done an extremely neat job.
It's waterproof, windproof and breathable with well placed vents, and has loads of reflectives and a dropdown tail flap with integrated lights. For year-round commuting it performs brilliantly.
Showers Pass's three-layer Artex fabric is tough and heavy duty. I've been commuting in it this winter, with a rucksack, and there are no obvious signs of wear.
The Transit CC will withstand a sustained downpour rather than the passing shower of its manufacturer's name. The Artex fabric does not wet out. Because it kept out regular rain so effectively, I ran it under the tap to confirm this.
Breathability is helped by a covered vent across the upper back and there are smaller zipped vents in front of the armpits to let more air in if required. The fabric itself does not get sweaty on the inside – the innermost layer has a softer feel that also prevents any clamminess.
It's not designed to fit like a race cape: if you're after a tighter-fitting garment for sportier cycling this is not the jacket for you. It's generously cut so that you can pile on a few layers underneath, or is simply meant to be worn over regular clothes like any other jacket. It is also cut like any other jacket – it doesn't have any sort of anatomical design for the bike position – and for this reason the sleeves can ride up if you ride stretched-out and low.
Showers Pass has a fitting guide on its website that shows you how to choose the right size. My measurements put me in the medium size and I found the medium Transit CC right for me. However, it seems to be sized for someone with broadish shoulders and shortish arms.
As with the fit, if you're looking for a lightweight, racy garment, look elsewhere. The Transit CC is not designed to be lightweight or packable.
The fit is very unrestrictive, the inside of the collar has a fine fleece lining against the neck – very sensibly black so that it doesn't show the dirt – and the waist has an adjustable elastic 'hem cinch' so that you can get it just right.
The Transit CC is expensive at face value, but you're paying for a good-quality construction and technical three-layer waterproof fabric from a specialist brand. It's certainly not the most expensive commuter jacket out there: the Vulpine Softshell Harrington costs £200, although the Howies Herald undercuts it by £21.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The Artex fabric is treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that will come off if it's washed too frequently with strong detergents and fabric softener. DWRs can be reapplied but it's best to try to wash as infrequently as possible. Since I've been commuting with the Transit CC in winter (and since breathability is very good) it hasn't got at all whiffy and I've only washed it once. DWR still works perfectly and water still beads off.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Hard to beat as a commuter jacket – it does everything.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Great waterproofing, tough fabric, well-thought-out breathability, unrestrictive fit, high, fleece-lined collar, eco credentials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I didn't dislike anything but I would emphasise that the cut is better suited to more upright cycling positions.
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 design, materials and workmanship of the Showers Pass Transit CC jacket are superb. It's waterproof, breathable, durable, comfortable, visible and extremely practical – it even has its own rear lights.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, school run on a tandem
Simon finished his Masters in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.
As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.
He and his seven-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).