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Rain jackets: Showers Pass Elite 2.0 vs. REI Novara Stratos

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Rain jackets: Showers Pass Elite 2.0 vs. REI Novara Stratos

Old 08-31-08, 09:03 AM
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Rain jackets: Showers Pass Elite 2.0 vs. REI Novara Stratos

I am going to upgrade my outer layer/rain gear 'cause my old jacket has gotten to be too large . I commute all winter in Seattle; as you may have heard, it rains here. Typical winter morning: 35 degrees and wet. My old jacket is a Nike Goretex cycling jacket, but it's too large (I've lost weight) and too loose in the wind. I'd like something a bit more form fitting for recreational riding in the weekends (e.g., a really loose jacket drives me crazy on mountain descents).

After reading lots of posts here and elsewhere, I'm interested in the Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket, which has lots of fans on various cycling forums:

http://showerspass.com/cart/product_...f7ee373e93bedd

Another option is the REI Stratos, which, at $150, is $70 cheaper. I haven't seen much comment on the Stratos, but REI generally makes good rain stuff.

http://www.rei.com/product/724360

Any advice on choosing between the two?

(I used the search feature here a lot and can't find much on the Stratos..)

BTW, another high-end jacket I've run across is this...not much info. on this, either...looks interesting but at $325 it's over my limit:
http://www.taigaworks.ca/html/outdoo...opede-162.html

Last edited by BengeBoy; 08-31-08 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 08-31-08, 01:05 PM
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I'm about to pull the trigger on ordering the jacket and pants from Campmor and am interested in hearing what others say about them.
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Old 08-31-08, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jbabic View Post
I'm about to pull the trigger on ordering the jacket and pants from Campmor and am interested in hearing what others say about them.
i bought both of those from campmor and am perfectly happy with them. more info here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=440056&page=2

it has been mentioned in that thread that the cuffs do absorb a bit of water, but that's hardly something i would get up tight about. it's a very small area of material and your hands get wet anyway. i think the breathability of the jacket easily makes up for having slightly damp wrists. sorry, i don't have any experience with the rei stuff. any specific questions on the SP jacket & pants?
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Old 08-31-08, 03:12 PM
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Try http://www.bicycleclothing.com I'm getting the breathable jacket, pants and helmet cover. It'll set me back around 200.00+shipping. Seems reasonable for full coverage. I've got neoprene booties and gloves, so I'll be ready for 45- rain days. Just got back from a 'thriftstore hit' where I found several 100% Merino wool, Italian made, crewe neck, close weave, black base layers for 3.00 per. I got 5 of them. Also, a 100% white silk long sleeve top for 5.00. I think I'm set for winter. Just need a pair of Gordini Summit 2 mittens from http://www.campmor.com Last time I went I found a pair of women's MTB shoes w/t spd cleats still in them for 7.00. Gave them to a friend who gave tham to another friend who wanted to try going clipless and they were just her size. I LOVE thiftstores. Sorry for the thread drift OP.
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Old 08-31-08, 03:45 PM
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sportsmansguide.com German surplus Gore-Tex Jacket and pants dirt cheap. Wear a reflective vest. end o f story.
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Old 08-31-08, 06:13 PM
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The Taiga is Goretex so its not near as breathable as the showerspass elite. The Taiga is also a LOT more heavy and bulky. It's sold here in vancouver at the Taiga store so i have looked at them a lot. If you have a small trunk bag and its sunny for your commute home it packs up pretty large. I'd say the winters in the PNW are not cold enough to wear the taiga if your cycling. I dont think its cold enough in the PNW to wear goretex of any make.

The REI one doesnt say what the material is, other than its a laminate, with the mesh interior. The mesh interiors typically signify a goretex like membrane that fouls with body oils, so they add a mesh liner to keep it away from your skin. My guess is its a goretex copy with a drw coating on the outside and mesh liner on inner.

To me its a no brainer, the showerspass beats both by a longshot. The only thing i can think of to buy something other is if you really cant afford it. But then I have a closet half full of crap I purchased that was 'cheaper' that sucked so bad i never wear it. I now find its cheaper to pay more up front for something that works well.

The only other reason I'd recommend to buy something other is if your commutes are short, like under 30 min, then just buy a windshirt (search for montane featherlight marathon or velo) and it'll keep you dry 30 min, is the lightest, and packs the size of an orange.
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Old 08-31-08, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarery View Post
But then I have a closet half full of crap I purchased that was 'cheaper' that sucked so bad i never wear it. I now find its cheaper to pay more up front for something that works well.
+1. Well said.
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Old 09-01-08, 01:35 PM
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I haven't used or seen either jacket, but I have a jacket from RAB made of eVent. The Showers Pass Elite 2.0 is also made with the same fabric, and I can't imagine a more breathable waterproof material. It isn't perfect, but it is so much better than anything else I've ever used. I will definitely buy more stuff made with it.

Last edited by Ken Wind; 09-06-08 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 09-01-08, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
I am going to upgrade my outer layer/rain gear 'cause my old jacket has gotten to be too large . I commute all winter in Seattle; as you may have heard, it rains here. Typical winter morning: 35 degrees and wet. My old jacket is a Nike Goretex cycling jacket, but it's too large (I've lost weight) and too loose in the wind. I'd like something a bit more form fitting for recreational riding in the weekends (e.g., a really loose jacket drives me crazy on mountain descents).

After reading lots of posts here and elsewhere, I'm interested in the Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket, which has lots of fans on various cycling forums:

http://showerspass.com/cart/product_...f7ee373e93bedd

Another option is the REI Stratos, which, at $150, is $70 cheaper. I haven't seen much comment on the Stratos, but REI generally makes good rain stuff.

http://www.rei.com/product/724360

Any advice on choosing between the two?

(I used the search feature here a lot and can't find much on the Stratos..)

BTW, another high-end jacket I've run across is this...not much info. on this, either...looks interesting but at $325 it's over my limit:
http://www.taigaworks.ca/html/outdoo...opede-162.html
I had the Showers Pass Elite 2.0, and absolutely hated it as the cuffs absorb massive amounts of water, and your shirt cuffs get soaked underneath. The cuffs of the jacket take at least 10 hours to dry completely. This is totally unacceptable in a high end rain jacket. The lack of pockets also isn't good for the commuter. (This is for the current production Elite 2.0, the older models had a rubberized cuff that didn't absorb water.)

I recently bought the Taiga jacket and it is worth every penny. It has incredible ventilation due to massive pitzips and the back opening, which is surprisingly well designed. I was able to ride in heavy rain with both the pitzips open and the back vent unzipped and still keep dry. The cuffs scoop enough air to actually properly vent, even in summertime, although keep in mind that I'm in Latvia, so it doesn't get terribly hot here. Also, the quality of the Canadian made Taiga is head and shoulders above the Chinese made Showers Pass. (The Elite 2.0 was actually a replacement of a Showers Pass Touring jacket that fell apart on me after a few weeks of use.)

Last edited by Ziemas; 09-01-08 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 09-01-08, 01:55 PM
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There are other cycling specific jackets made from eVent, such as the Endura Venturi Jacket, and there are many companies (RAB, Integral Desgins, Montane) that make jackets for hiking or climbing that may work well too.
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Old 09-01-08, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
I had the Showers Pass Elite 2.0, and absolutely hated it as the cuffs absorb massive amounts of water, and your shirt cuffs get soaked underneath. The cuffs of the jacket take at least 10 hours to dry completely. This is totally unacceptable in a high end rain jacket. The lack of pockets also isn't good for the commuter. (This is for the current production Elite 2.0, the older models had a rubberized cuff that didn't absorb water.)
I thought you previously said they had a shipment made with wrong material on the cuffs, and that they offered to replace it with a jacket made with the correct cuffs? Did they not follow through on that?

Pocket wise, i dont have a need for pockets when i commute. Why do you suggest it isnt good for a commuter?
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Old 09-01-08, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarery View Post
I thought you previously said they had a shipment made with wrong material on the cuffs, and that they offered to replace it with a jacket made with the correct cuffs? Did they not follow through on that?

Pocket wise, i dont have a need for pockets when i commute. Why do you suggest it isnt good for a commuter?
+1 and +1

I have an Elite 2.0 that apparently predates the cuff problem, and I love it. I've biked home in pouring 35 degree rain, and arrived home warm and without a drop on me (credit also to the rain pants and shoe covers).

As for pockets, the Elite has a small zippered pocket on the breast that I use for keys and such - there's also a pocket in the lower back that I don't use (it's under my backpack). I can't imagine needing more pockets than that...
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Old 09-01-08, 09:29 PM
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Thanks all for the advice -- I was in a bike shop today for something else and they just got their first shipment of Showers Pass jackets, so I picked up an Elite.


I'll let you know if the cuffs are a problem.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarery View Post
I thought you previously said they had a shipment made with wrong material on the cuffs, and that they offered to replace it with a jacket made with the correct cuffs? Did they not follow through on that?

Pocket wise, i dont have a need for pockets when i commute. Why do you suggest it isnt good for a commuter?
I was told by Showers Pass that they changed the material on the cuffs in order to better scoop air. Clearly they never actually tested the new material in the rain before putting it into production. I was also told that they would look for a older jacket in my size and color with the rubberized cuffs. It turns out that they had sold out of them and only had 'Chili Red' left in my size, which is not the color I ordered, with the old style waterproof cuffs.

As for pockets, they are quite nice for things like keys, gloves and hat, lights, mobile phone, etc, especially when locking up on the street.

EDIT:

Here's my full experience with Showers Pass, I think you'll see when I'm less than thrilled with them.

March 2008 - Ordered rain pants sent to my US address. No problems. (EDIT: Rain pants split a seam after less than a year of use.)

April 1 - Ordered Touring jacket as my rain jacket zipper had died. Paid $30 to be sent Global Express.

April 10 - Still hadn't received tracking number so I contacted Showers Pass and was told that they had forgot to ship the package.

April 11 or 12 - Package shipped regular Priority mail, not Global Express. Contacted Showers Pass and was offered a $10 refund for the difference in shipping costs. (Keep in mind all this time I'm riding in the rain with a broken zipper. Urgh.) Am told by Showers Pass that Global Express isn't available to Latvia. Send them the USPS page showing that it is.

Last days of April/Early May - Finally Receive jacket. Look at jacket and find very poor construction. Sent photos to Showers Pass and was told by Kyle that it was poor construction, they had already contacted the factory in China to track down the actual person who made the jacket so it doesn't happen again. Oh, by the way we've determined that it's only cosmetic so we're not going to replace the jacket unless it falls apart. Huh?

Next time I wear the jacket - The pocket blows out. I contact Showers Pass and send more photos. They offer to send me a Elite as an upgrade.

Mid May - Receive Elite 2.0. Sunny weather and all is fine. Contact Showers Pass about the shipping refund I never received. Am given full shipping refund.

Beginning of July - Finally ride in the rain with Elite and get soaked cuffs, shirt, and wrists. Contact Showers Pass and speak with Kyle who listens to me yet doesn't offer and solutions or even take my name or contact info.

July 11 - Write an email explain my lack of satisfaction with the jacket. Give a follow up call and speak to Edward. Am told I can return it for another with the old style cuffs if they have NOS. They don't and I ask for a refund.

August - I visit the States and ship both defective jackets back and receive a refund. All in all I'm out of pocket $60 for the experience.

Here are some photos of the jackets. Decide for yourself if this looks like decent quality.

Touring Jacket which I was told was perfectly acceptable in terms of quality. It was replaced after the pocket blew out.

Horrible stitching.





Blown out pocket.


Amount of water I squeezed out of cuffs of Elite 2.0.



All in all I felt that Kyle at Showers Pass was extremely reluctant to do anything about the defective jackets I got. He really had to be pushed in order to accept that all was not right with these jackets. It seems to me by the photos that anyone can see that the Touring jacket should have never passed QC, yet it I was told that all was okay with it. Very, very, bad customer service.

Last edited by Ziemas; 09-06-09 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
Thanks all for the advice -- I was in a bike shop today for something else and they just got their first shipment of Showers Pass jackets, so I picked up an Elite.


I'll let you know if the cuffs are a problem.
Try running them under the sink and see how much water you can squeeze out. Also see how long they take to dry.
If you can't get much water out of them, and they don't take hours to dry out of direct sunlight, then you have a different cuff then the one I had.
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Old 09-01-08, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
Try running them under the sink and see how much water you can squeeze out. Also see how long they take to dry.
If you can't get much water out of them, and they don't take hours to dry out of direct sunlight, then you have a different cuff then the one I had.
I'll run into rain soon enough...

[EDIT: Ziemas, I respect your opinion, so I got the jacket out this morning before leaving for work, and re-inspected the cuffs. They are a bit absorbent. So, I ran them under the sink. I was *not* able to wring much water out of them though, maybe a drop or two. However, after about 20 minutes or so they hadn't dried entirely. I then re-soaked the cuffs, wrung them out again, and left the jacket hanging in my garage. I'll let you know tonight whether they dried out. Personally I expect to get a bit wet when I ride in pouring rain, no matter the jacket - but I won't be happy if the cuffs stay wet so that I put a clammy jacket on for my ride home in the evening]]

Last edited by BengeBoy; 09-02-08 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 09-02-08, 06:17 AM
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If you get the showers pass pants note they run small. I bought a medium which for my waist size is what was recommended and I can barely get them over my rear end and they are pretty snug in the waist. Not nearly as comfy as I would hope. I'll probably sell them on C/L
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Old 09-02-08, 08:39 AM
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I have exactly one jacket in my closet, and its the same jacket I've had through 3 winters of commuting. Shower's Pass elite. It just works.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
.... I got the jacket out this morning before leaving for work, and re-inspected the cuffs. They are a bit absorbent. So, I ran them under the sink. I was *not* able to wring much water out of them though, maybe a drop or two. However, after about 20 minutes or so they hadn't dried entirely. I then re-soaked the cuffs, wrung them out again, and left the jacket hanging in my garage. I'll let you know tonight whether they dried out.
Cuffs were dry when I got home tonight. So, it doesn't seem like the current model cuffs absorb as much water as Ziemas reported with his jacket - maybe they changed the design.

Will update this thread if for someone reason they perform worse in the real world.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:24 PM
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^^^^

Glad to hear you got a good one!

Last edited by Ziemas; 09-02-08 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 09-03-08, 12:30 AM
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Ziemas, it does seem as though the issue you had has been addressed by Showers Pass, if the jacket I received just over a month ago is any indication. I had my first chance to ride in the jacket in a torrential downpour just over a week ago,and my experience of wringing the cuffs and drying time were the same as Bengeboy's.

Good thing, too,as dealing with returning the jacket would have been a pain to do from here in Japan.

Sorry you had to have such a negative experience.
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Old 09-04-08, 03:56 PM
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After months of bike commuting, today was my first-ever pouring rain commute. Went great - I would venture to say it was even fun. For rain gear I went with the Showers Pass Double Century jacket, successor to the Century with more ventilation and a different waterproofing fabric. This is not the fancy jacket, just a shell, no pockets. But half the price of the Elite, and for one rainy day anyway, it's been super. Well constructed, unbelievably light, nice air flow, sleek but not binding or clingy, good rear coverage. It looks cool (I got the electric blue). It rolls into the smallest pocket in my backpack. And I'm dry.
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Old 09-06-08, 11:43 AM
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I say buy whatever jacket is made out of eVent, has good reviews, and is closest to your budget.

Gore allows vapor to pass, only after it has condensed into tiny droplets, while eVent allows your body to actually breathe.

Another drawback regarding Gore is that the temperature outside of your suit has to be colder (maybe hotter, I forget) than inside for it to even pass those droplets through.

The military did an unbiased test comparing Gore XCR and eVent and eVent won hands down.

http://www.feedthehabit.com/news/gro...event-fabrics/

Go to backpackgeartest.org and read reviews of various eVent jackets and basically every review I have read (Even when they review a jacket that over all is not well made) the reviewer claims that it is hands down the most breathable/waterproof material thus far.

I do not use an eVent or Gore rain jacket. I have an Adidias rain jacket (PU I believe), but has so many vents in it I truly believe it is more breathable than unvented Gore. And is durable as heck.

But I do use eVent shoes and they are no different than non-waterproof shoes regarding heat, breathability, etc.. and I live in florida.

eVent is the new standard for breathable waterproof material.
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Old 09-07-08, 02:15 PM
  #24  
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Two days ago I received my Showers Pass jacket and pants and they show no signs of the flaws in those pictures. These look like top-notch garments. I look forward to testing them.
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Old 11-14-08, 12:05 AM
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Showers Pass

I cannot say anything about the REI jacket. Since I'm not REI I cannot speak for them here in this forum.

We have been selling Showers Pass for about 4 seasons now. In that time I've had 3 defects with Showers Pass Elite and Elite 2.0 jackets. During this time we sold close to 400 jackets. In each case the problem was the pocket became unglued from the jacket. No problem we exchanged the jacket for the customers and SP took them back from us. Simple and painless.

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