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Showers Pass Atlas Jacket review

12 Apr 2017

A completely waterproof commuter's jacket with eye-catching reflective map design

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest in the US of A, Showers Pass has been going since 1997, which means it must be doing something right – bike apparel is a notoriously difficult nut to crack, even more so when it comes to technical clothing. I therefore had high hopes for this high-end waterproof jacket, and in general I wasn’t disappointed.

The Showers Pass Atlas is a casual cycling jacket, aimed squarely at the commuter, although that said there’s no reason why you couldn’t wear this for touring.

The cut is ‘normal’, meaning that you don’t get that weirdly high-midriff of other cycling jackets when you wear it off the bike, but that there’s a long enough back and arms that the Atlas’s hem and cuffs don’t ride up when on the hoods or drops. Speaking of which, it has a hood, which is large enough to go over a helmet but is also detachable and stowable in the jacket’s inside pocket.

Other features include super long (over 40cm) zipped side vents, Velcro cuffs, fully taped seams, reinforced shoulders, a fleecy collar, front pockets, chest pocket and of course, the Atlas’s defining feature, the MapReflect finish, a special print that lights up like a Christmas tree in car headlights but is relatively understated elsewise.

Here, as this is a UK version, the MapReflect depicts a map of London, but should you wish Showers Pass do 10 other city map prints too.

The MapReflect print is nothing short of spectacular in bright light, and I have no doubt I was more visible wearing it. So that’s a big tick for the Atlas there. As a jacket it feels a lot lighter and free-moving when on than it might look, and is pretty breathable, meaning that only really hard rides left me feeling damp on the inside.

That could be rectified by opening the zippered vents, however their position on the side-front of the torso was a double-edged sword: the vents are well placed to allow a healthy flow of wind, but equally it can be too much, instantly chilling any moisture on the surface of skin and making the jacket billow up somewhat.

In the main, though, that’s not a problem as this isn’t the sort of jacket I found myself riding on the rivet in often, and for day-to- day commutes – and day-to-day general wearing – the Atlas struck a good balance of breathability, warmth and complete waterproofness.

That last point deserves to be underlined – this is a completely waterproof jacket, the rain just beading off.

The rest of the features do the job as intended. The hood zips off easily and has a natty integration into the collar by way of two Velcro openings either side of the neck into which the hood’s edges slip. The zips are all nicely taped and have a quality feel; the front pockets are a nice touch for a cycling jacket, although their mesh insides make them a touch draughty on a chilly day, and the reinforced vinyl patches on the shoulders provide good grip for backpack straps and look like they’ll be hardwearing over the years.

The only real gripes I have with the Atlas is the collar and the arm length – the collar is just that bit too narrow (and a tailor once told me I have a thin neck for man, much to my consternation) and the arms seem to me to be a tad long, even when sitting on the bike in full aggressive race mode. Initially I found the whole cut a bit boxy, but in time I grew to like the aesthetic, and it has the benefit of being roomy enough to wear a jumper underneath without things getting too cosy.

I can’t speak to the longevity of the Atlas, but I have an early variant of the Showers Pass Spring Classic Jacket that’s well into its fourth season and is still going strong, and the overall feel and construction of the Atlas is one of hardwearing quality.


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