All Around Jacket
Note: I posted this over at the Commuting Forum, and it was suggested that I place it here as well....
I've been looking for an all purpose cycling jacket - rain / winter, commuting/club rides. most folks here seem to endorse the Showers Pass Elite, but thats a bit too pricey for me. Can anyone share thier experiences with the Showers Pass Club Pro ($100), or Double Century ($125)?? Waterproof is a key factor for me, and I understand that with waterproof there is a tradeoff with breathability; so the venilation factor is key. The Showers Pass linup seems to offer alot of venilation in most all their designs.
Also - I've used Pear Izumi stuff and were looking at thier recent lineup, but they don't seem to have the level of venilation built into their design... am I missing something on this for PI??
I appreciate your input on any real-world field tests on these products. Thanks!!
I have the Gore Alp-X jacket. Had it about a year and and half and used hundreds of days already, still in excellent shape. The main reason chose it was it fits long and slim, and that's my body type. But it is very versatile, from rain in summer to a winter shell over layers. Even though I got it on sale, it's not too cheap but I use it pretty much everyday so for me it's an excellent value.
I just got the Marmot precip for like $70 at REI, and it's pretty solid. Definitely waterproof (kept my dry during a downpour) and has armpit vents, which you absolutely need. My hood doesn't cover my helmet, but it definitely goes underneath. Will probably use it in the winter as a shell. I think there are even better deals online right now....
I give one thumbs down vote for the precip. I had one for a single season and it leaks like cheesecloth now (plus the fabric gets caught on its own velcro and tears itself apart). I think the $39 sierra designs jacket (at least as long as it stays on sale at REI) is a much better deal. But frankly, rather than mess around with throw away one-season jackets you will be better off with a good solid waterproof shell like mountain hardware or the like. Or, check this one out...they are a solid company that started out making fleece jackets for kids at U of O's outdoor program (one of whom was the company's founder)...now they make high performance clothing that is custom fit. Check out this jacket... http://beyondclothing.com/customize/...-shock-jacket/
I have both the Showers Pass Club Pro and Double Century. I used the Club Pro on a ride last weekend that was 4 hours of nonstop rain and wind. My gear underneath was wet by the end, but that may have been partly because I was not using the hood. The Club Pro's smaller pit zips are easier to access than the DC's, but also don't ventilate as well.
The best thing about the DC to me is that it is the lightest of the SP jackets, and the easiest to compress down to fit in a pocket or bar bag. All the SP jackets have a huge back vent, so you can open the cuffs to get flow-through ventilation. The DC offers excellent protection in a package that weighs next to nothing.
I haven't tried any of PI's Barrier line. A couple of years ago I had a PI Attack that was worthless (poor ventilation and the zipper failed after a few rides), so I'm a bit skeptical.
I've used the SP century jacket for the past three winters. It's been my all season jacket. They no longer make that model, they replaced it with the Double Century. I wear it all winter long as my outer shell. Excellent waterproofness, windproof and coldproof. At a $125, the Double Century is a good buy. But after three years the jacket has faded and I sometimes treat it with Nik-wax to renew the DWR (thats Durable Water Repellancy). But I'm thinking of getting a DC to replace the one I have for when it finally wears out. Can't go wrong with them tho.
If you're riding in frigid temps then you're better off getting good gear. It'll last longer. Sporthill XC gear is excellent also.
A fleece jacket is good enough for most days. If its gets colder, I throw on a softshell jacket on top of it.
I rarely wear a hardshell jacket unless its blowing snow and wind outside.
I've used just wool layers quite successfully over the last few winters for the cold & (very) light drizzle but rain jackets have been a challenge.
Last winter I bought the Marmot Precip & it failed me miserably last month. I went back to REI and paid $180 for their best Novarra cycling jacket. While it lacks the hood & pit-zips, its made w/ e-vent fabric and has a much nicer feeling interior, very comfortable. You still sweat a little so its a good idea to keep the front open a little except for heavy downpours. They offer it in a version of hunter orange that is a deeper hue, the effect is kind of pleasant actually and even my anti-technical gear girlfriend said it looks good. But the most important detail is its cozy in the rain. This may be the best jacket I've used yet.
I gave up on Gortex as a winter jacket years ago and have been using Paramo jacket for the past 7 years. It is more than a softshell; Ive ridden through 8 hrs of torrential downpour at 10C and been comfortable the whole way. During a supermarket stop, I dried out within 15 minutes.
It is a bit too warm for summer use, my Paramo season is generally October to May but I took it touring and started using it in a cool, wet Danish August.
It lasts for ages, can be renewed with regular cleaning and wax treatment and can be repaired easily.
Mine has been back for minor repairs twice over the past 7 years and the service is first rate.
I dont think there is a US distributor but mail order is easy enough.
I have no experience with any of the Showers Pass products, I have heard good things about them though.
I am very happy with my J & G jacket, I use it year round (this will be my second winter with it) it has plenty of ventilation options, does its job very well. A few times last winter I had to ride with the pit zips open.