I've lost 50 pounds since I bought winter kit last fall. A windbreaker/rain jacket is on my downsizing list.
The Showers Pass Elite 2.0 looks like a well-designed all-around. It uses eVent, which is Robert Gore's original EPTF membrane with a finishing treatment that reportedly maintains better breathability than Gore-Tex's polyurethane, as shown by a 2002 Army Lab study that showed eVent to have statistically nearly identical vapor permeability to Gore's untreated EPTF.
I understand that Gore. intentionally "degrades" EPTF's breathability as a tradeoff to slow sweat-oil and dirt "clogging" of EPTF's pores, and that eVent, treated with a less disruptive coating than Gore-Tex, has to be washed more often than Gore-Tex to maintain its near-native-EPTF breathability, which Nikwax products reportedly provide, and Showers Pass sells.
eVent is clerarly not perfectly breathable per se, because Showers Pass has incorporated:
dual (top and bottom)front zips, armpit zips, a back vent, and velcro wrist closures, all of which provide options to maximize bulk airflow and reduce sweat condensation.
I've used Gore-Tex Pro, which works well in a mtn sports shell with all of the Elite 2.0's venting except the back vent, but that's a $400 proposition, and the Elite is $230.
My real questions are:
How is the quality of Elite's workmanship and durability in heavy daily use?
If leakage occurs, if seams split, can anyone here comment on Showers Pass's repair / replacement policies? For example, if I buy Gore-Tex from REI, LL Bean, Backcountry, the sellers offer full-satisfaction/ refund, in addition to mfrs' warrantees.
Is the Mountain Elite more durable, better for extended use than the Elite 2.0?
More fabric breathability and direct venting translate into the need for layering in colder weather. If I'm 6'0 and 190, should I get XL or L for layering? With alpine jackets, L is sufficient, (XL fit me when I was 240) but bike stuff tends to run tighter.
I got an elite 2.0 jacket right after they were released. I've used it as a winter commuting jacket for a few years now.
The design is very good. It works well for cycling. The color is fading on the back of mine where my messenger bag sits against it, but it still functions fine and repels water. Its very breathable for a wind and water resistant jacket, but it does get toasty inside if the weather is too warm.
The workmanship is only so so. Several of the seams on my jacket have come undone. I was unable to get a response out of showerspass despite several attempts and ended up just living with it. None of the pockets are usable on mine because the seams that hold them on all delaminated within a year.
I've had my Showers Pass Elite 2.0 for over 2 years. Must have 2k miles on it in wind, rain and fog for touring, commuting and just riding on rainy days. Also wear it as a layer around camp when it's chilly. Spends a lot of time in my handlebar bag during the winter or on the top of my rack when touring. It has been laundered many times but always air dried. Zero problems and, surprisingly, little to no deterioration in it yet. I don't wear a pack over it, though.
I've had three ShowersPass products all all three had quality issues, none of them lasting more than a year. I'll never use their products again. There are several threads on their quality and customer service.
As for the fabric breathing, the biggest factor in it is what you use for a base layer. Even the most breathable fabric will be uncomfortable if your base layer isn't extremely breathable too. For this reason I really like active ventilation.
I sprung for a Taiga Works cycling jacket and couldn't be happier. It was expensive, but It's top notch all the way, and should last me for many years. I've actually got three of their products now, and can't say a bad thing about any of them. When looking at the site keep in mind that prices are in Canadian dollars.
After posting, I just discovered an old REI gtx parka size L that my son left with us when he moved overseas, along with matching rain pants. It fits great with room to layer! The parka is a bit longish, but it has a hem drawcord, so I'll find out if cinching it keeps it from getting snagged on the saddle. The price is right, so it can't hurt to give it a try.
I'm going to also try to see if I can find an alterations person to downsize some of my XL and XXL clothes.
My wife and I have 3 Showers Pass Jackets between us. She has the Touring, and I have the Elite and one of the bottom line models. We have used them on three long tours, including a 74 day cross country trip with lots of rain. She uses hers for commuting and I use mine for daily rides. Living in Oregon, we know what wet is! I have only had the Elite this year, but used it on a wet Oregon Coast trip earlier this month. We have been satisfied with them, but I was also happy with my REI rain jacket. It sounds like you have the issue resolved with the REI parka and pants. Whoever said REI is good is right. We blew a carbon fiber tent pole on our last tour. The tent was 5 years old and has seen a lot of use. Sierra Designs changed the poles from carbon fiber to aluminum in their newest version of the "Lightning" to correct the flaw. Instead of replacing the poles they gave us a new (2008) tent and a refund of $67, because the 2008's were on sale and I paid full price in 2004. It is hard to beat service like that. All I went in for was to get the poles fixed!