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Showers Pass' EcoLyte Elite Jacket is hard to fault. Okay, it's a lot of cash, but for that money you are getting an incredibly waterproof jacket that comes with great ventilation, a cut that suits all kinds of riding styles, and it's packable too. You even get a removable hood for those atrocious weather days.
If you're interested in the EcoLyte Elite, check out how it compares with others in our best waterproof cycling jackets guide.
To create the EcoLyte, Showers Pass says it has taken the best parts of its Elite jacket and transformed it into a packable powerhouse. Mike scored the Elite full marks in his review in 2020; the Elite 2.1 is now £234.
The EcoLyte is indeed very packable, folding down just about small enough in its own rear pocket to fit in a jersey pocket, but easily swallowed by a rucksack or any bike bag you might be carrying.
You also get a chest pocket that is large enough to accept a phone, folded map and so on.
Primarily I have used the EcoLyte on gravel bikes; its style kind of suits that sort of riding, what with the hood and everything, plus the fit isn't quite as close as some racing jackets. The sleeves are a good length and meant I had no skin exposed between sleeves and gloves, even when using the drops, and you get a nice high neck too.
The hem drop from the front of the EcoLyte to the rear is substantial as well, so it'll give coverage even if you like riding with a high saddle-to-handlebar drop. Basically, it'll work on all drop bar bikes as well as flat bar ones. For everything bar road racing, the EcoLyte has your upper body covered.
The hood is large enough to fit over the top of your helmet if the weather is really wet and rough, and you can cinch it around the bottom as well to stop the wind and rain getting in.
For riding in fair conditions it can be removed quickly and stowed away to stop it flapping about as you ride.
As for the sizing, I found the guide on Showers Pass' website to be accurate, so that is always a good place to start. The medium was relaxed enough for the gravel riding I was mostly using the EcoLyte for, but I could have dropped a size if I wanted a closer cut for training purely on the road bike.
In terms of construction, the outer face and lining are made from 100% recycled material, so it's got some eco credentials going for it, and so are the zips on the vents and rear pocket. There are no nasty chemicals in the dyes, either.
For the autumn/winter conditions encountered during the review period, the EcoLyte was basically faultless thanks to that construction.
The three-layer fabric is coated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish which sees the rain water and road spray just bead off even in long, heavy downpours, and the fully taped seams mean that water ingress there isn't a problem either.
The fact that water beads off also means it's not really a jacket that gets dirty, unless the conditions are very muddy. If it's just wet, the water tends to wash off any dirt as you ride.
Typically, the problem with a jacket this waterproof is a lack of breathability. The Ecolyte does allow a certain amount of moisture out through its own fabric, so on colder days I could stay warm without the inside getting clammy or overly hot.
And should the temperature or your effort increase, the lengthy side vents come into play, along with the vent flap across the back panel.
The side vents allow a lot of heat to escape, and they are positioned in such a way that they don't allow any wind or rain in when you're riding. Even when wearing a rucksack that covers the rear vent, the side vents are doing such a good job you don't really miss it.
This gives the EcoLyte a massive usable temperature range, combined with layers underneath. Where I live we have had periods of very cold, dry weather interspersed with mild, wet conditions. With the mercury below freezing I could wear the EcoLyte with a long-sleeved winter baselayer, or a summer baselayer with a long sleeve jersey over it.
At the other end of the scale, the EcoLyte works right up to the mid-teens with a lightweight jersey underneath, when zipped up.
For riding in the dark you get a reasonable amount of reflective detailing on the rear, with some more on the sleeves, which helps when indicating in traffic.
Moving on to the price... At £245, this jacket ain't cheap. However, this is probably one of the best, most versatile waterproof jackets I have used, and if you want the best of something then you generally have to pay for it.
And it's not like it's the only expensive jacket out there – the highly regarded Copilot from 7mesh is similarly priced at £220, while Rapha's latest Explore Gore-Tex jacket, which shares a few design cues with the EcoLyte, costs a cool £395.
You don't have to spend a fortune on a foul weather jacket though: Galibier's Courchevel Storm isn't packable like the EcoLyte, but George was very impressed with the waterproofing and breathability. It'll set you back just £92.40.
If you have the cash and you want one of the best waterproof, breathable, packable jackets on the market then you will not be disappointed with the EcoLyte, especially if those eco credentials are an important part of your buying process.
Awesome waterproofing and venting/breathability for all kinds of riding disciplines
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Men's EcoLyte Elite 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, "Less weight, more sustainable. We took the best parts of our famous Elite and transformed it into a packable powerhouse, with a 100% recycled face fabric. Designed with multi-day rides in mind, when space is at a premium and weather is unpredictable."
The EcoLyte is a jacket that isn't bothered by bad weather, and it has a large temperature range too.
a lightweight packable jacket with very impressive wate rproofing properties.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
From Showers Pass:
Classic Showers Pass fit provides ultimate on-the-bike comfort
100% recycled polyester face fabric and lining
100% recycled vent and pocket zippers
Polypropylene waterproof-breathable membrane reduces environmental impact compared to PTFE and PU membranes
360∘ visibility with strategic and generous application of reflective materials
Large core vents and back vent for temperature regulation
Removable, adjustable and helmet compatible hood with updated velcro attachments
Packs into back pocket
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The jacket routinely got coated in mud, general spray and salt from the roads and continued to clean up spotlessly.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a waterproof jacket that can cope with a lot of foul weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Great waterproofing balanced with breathability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
It's a hefty price; I'd need to ride a lot in poor weather to justify it.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is high, but it's not alone – the 7mesh mentioned in the review is £220, and the Rapha is £395...
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 price is high, but there is barely anything here to criticise if you want a jacket you can wear in the toughest of conditions.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!