Showers Pass

Element Jacket

Out of the rather smart box all the way from Portland USA came the even smarter Showers Pass Elements MTB specific riding jacket in limited edition titanium. I opted for the medium which fits me very well, especially in the arms and is roomy enough to layer up with 2 additional layers without compromising fit or movement.

I really like the look of the jacket, its smart enough and understated enough to wear off the bike.

Its an Artex 2.5 layer construction that’s waterproof and breathable. It features a removable zipped hood that stows in one of the 2 mess inside pockets, a zipped inside chest pocket with audio port, 2 outside hand warmer pockets, one with a glasses wipe , 2 full length torso zipped vents, velcro cuff closure, soft touch neck collar, some nice reflective detailing and reinforced shoulder patches to protect the fabric from your back pack straps. So, I guess its fully featured.

My first outing was a casual hike around the hills of Betwys Y Coed wearing just a tech t shirt on a mixed 16c day of sunshine and showers. Hiking up some very nice rooty, rocky walking trails that would make awesome mtb descents. The jacket moves well and the fit is comfortable.
Its breathable but you still heat up and get that clammy feeling on your arms when wearing short sleeves. My back got moist too, this in all honesty has happened with every jacket I’ve ever worn, they all do the same, even those with underarm vents and rear flaps, it is a simple fact of life. As I was just hiking I took the jacket off, folded it up and carried it in my hand, it’s very light weight and dead easy to pack up small. When the showers did come it proved its worth as I stayed dry and happy. I did stumble and my right elbow hit a rock, the jacket took the knock well and didn’t rip, so it seems that its robust enough for minor incidents.

My second outing was a 4 am MTB mountain assault to the summit of Snowdon some 950 meters up. We would take the Llanberis trail up and the Ranger path down. For the ascent I chose to wear a short sleeve Endura MTB jersey. I wore a USWE Airborne 15 back pack with 4-way chest harness, plus a GoPro hero8 on a chest mount, so pretty much fully loaded. The weather at 4 am was pretty good, 10c clear, not damp and no mist. The steep tarmac climb to the start of the trail had my fellow riders stripping off layers, I kept the jacket on and used the side vents to give a little bit of cooling. The backpack meant that the rear breathability was severely compromised and its chest plus the GoPro straps did limit the effectiveness of the torso vents. On the ascent I never over heated, I got sweaty and clammy but stayed as comfortable as I ever have in a jacket.

We rode, pushed and shouldered out bikes to the summit and were rewarded with an amazing, clear sunrise and 3c temps, the wind added an additional chill and the jacket came into its own, it did its utmost to shield me from the windchill and it was quick to dry out. I took my backpack off and was extremely grateful for its quick drying properties as once we’d taken the obligatory photos we all started to feel the chill and I was so glad the jacket had wicked away the moisture so quickly. I started to warm up again and was ready for the descent.
Fully loaded again and heading downhill over rough, rocky, techy terrain in the shadow of the mountain was chilly, I’d zipped up the torso vents, put on fresh gloves and let the brakes off. The chill wind stung my face but the jacket did a fantastic job of keeping the wind out and I had a great ride down. Even with the restrictions of wearing a backpack the jacket moved nicely on the body, there were no snags or pulls and I forgot I was wearing it, which is exactly as it should be. I had one big tumble, I rolled a drop which was far bigger than expected, with the down tube hitting the edge and pivoting, I had nowhere to go other than off. I hit the ground hard on my left side with the bike balancing on my back. This ripped a small bit of the shoulder of the jacket, which was far less than I’d expected. We had one short but steep uphill push left and as the temp hit a sheltered 15c we heated up very quickly, the others stripped off layers, I was okay, a little clammy, but not uncomfortable so I kept the jacket on. The final descent was around 3 miles and the jacket dried out quickly and I was very comfy all the way back, especially as this trail was littered with puddles, I was dry, those that had taken off jackets were not. Overall extremely happy with how the jacket performed.

Third outing was another hike on more demanding walking trails with round 400m of ascent and in the middle of storm Francis.
For this I just wore a single tech long sleeve top and the jacket, no backpack or harnesses.
Temp started out at round 8c with little wind and fine rain. By the time we’d reached the top of the first climb we had warmed up nicely, the wind had turned into a gale and the rain was like a monsoon. I’d used the torso vents on the way up to keep me feeling comfortable, once at the top they got zipped up sharpish and I never used them again.
We took an absolute battering from the wind and rain. I’d temporarily repaired the crash damage with a bit of tape on both sides and thankfully it stayed put and I stayed dry throughout the onslaught, the jacket stopped the wind getting through as well but I wished I’d put another layer on as it couldn’t stop the chill feeling you get of a soaked jacket getting through. This is common across all jackets of this construction that I’ve worn, I should have just prepared better. The jacket did its job exactly as it should have, I was impressed by it.

Our 4th outing together took us to the Antur Stiniog bike park on a pretty awful and wild day. It was windy and the rain was pretty much horizontal. Stiniog is a full-on downhill bike park built in an old Welsh slate mine and the terrain ranges from tarmac to hard pack to gullies of mud littered with slate chippings and loose stones. The muck just flew everywhere and the rain hammered down, the Elements jacket took another proper pasting but kept me dry, protected me from the wind and allowed me to concentrate on riding which is exactly what it should do.

Since getting back I’ve repaired the shoulder with proper jacket repair tape and you’d be hard pushed to know it was there. I’m very impressed with the jacket, it has done exactly what it should do and I think it has outdone itself. I’m looking forward to many more adventures with it in the future.

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Review written by: Andy Hampshire (Hampy) – #TotalMTB 
Instagram: @hampy4pmtbuk
Twitter: @hampy4PMTBUK