There are rain jackets and there are wind jackets and the Showers Pass Ultralight falls in the latter of the two categories without question. Its intent is to offer maximum protection for unexpected climate shifts while not being overly cumbersome to stuff in your back pocket or hip-sack.
Without the aid of taped seams, the jacket is not waterproof but the PFC-free fabric offers DWR coating and will allow you get through light rain without any issues. The jacket also features elastic at the cuffs and a YKK zipper, which finishes off-center at the collar to provide added comfort around the neck and chin. The back of the jacket features reflective piping that runs from the collar down to the armpits on each side and the reflective Shower Pass logo on the drop tail. When not in use the jacket packs nicely into its own little drawstring-closed stuff sack.
This is all fairly straightforward and what one would expect from a budget-friendly wind jacket, right? What sets this jacket apart is that Showers Pass added a breathable, stretchy mesh that runs from the underside of each arm to the armpit and then down the sides of the chest to increase breathability while you fight off the headwinds and rain. I typically run too hot to wear a jacket even in sub-freezing temperatures and always found vests to be a better option for me personally. This Showers Pass Ultralight may be the one exception I’ve found. The breathable mesh on the sides of the jacket kept me from overheating while keeping my core warm enough on the cold, windy, damp commutes this spring.
However, for an Ultralight jacket, I was not impressed with its packability. There are fully waterproof hooded jackets available that are both lighter and more compact than this Ultralight jacket. I would also prefer to see that the jacket packs into itself rather than into a stuff-sack that will ultimately just end up getting lost when the jacket is frantically pulled out mid-ride.
Fit is personal; we are all shaped a bit differently and when looking for garments which require the desired fit, I would highly suggest going to a shop and getting a first-hand look. The size large jacket I tested here is not an ideal fit for me–it is baggy in most places but the front of the jacket just barely reaches my waistline. I typically don’t experience fit issues like this, I am either a medium or large based on the type of cut.
Additionally, I found that the jacket had a tendency to flap around heavily once I started to pick up speed on the bike. Even with the jacket fully-zipped, the shoulders would thrash about in fury as I made my way down the hillside.
Overall, I think there are better options out there depending on what features you value most–breathability, water-resistance, weight, and size. If you are simply looking for an inexpensive breathable jacket to help get you through that random mid-ride storm cloud then the Showers Pass Ultralight jacket will do a fine job. Showers Pass Men’s Ultralight Wind Jacket retails for $80.Tweet Print