There are many things to love about this jacket. First though I’m going to start with the feature that will probably be slated by around 50% of the people who read this review: the hood. Let’s get it out of the way…
Hoods are divisive. If you a) run warm and have never felt the need for extra layers or additional weather protection; b) have only ever tried hoods that are not designed to work in conjunction with helmets; c) are the sort of minimalist who cuts the handle of your camping toothbrush down to a stump and carries plastic bags instead of a second pair of shoes to keep your feet dry and comfortable at your overnight stop; then you are probably in the hate camp.
I, however, fall firmly on the love side of the hooded fence. I am never going to complain about the extra warmth and cosiness a snugged-up hood worn close to the neck adds to a riding outfit on a chilly winter’s day. And I am not ever going to begrudge carrying the extra bulk of a hood, or the weight (I’ve not gone as far as cutting a hood of a jacket to weigh it but come on – really?!) when it’s the sort of day that means you’ll be zipping the jacket up when you leave the house and not unzipping it til you get home, several hours of riding later.
And, when it comes to the inevitable stops for punctures and mechanicals that only seem to occur on those kinds of days, I am certainly not going to turn down the possibility of a warm and weatherproof textile ceiling to shelter under while I wait for the uninitiated to inflate their tyre with a finger-sized minipump while their unprotected collar fills with sleet.
In short, I love hoods.
Now that’s out the way, on with the rest of the jacket. Showers Pass hails from Portland, Oregon – a city which is pretty similar in climate to the UK (ie. benign temperatures, rather moist), so it stands to reason that it has plenty of experience in designing kit and clothing to make riding in those conditions more comfortable. The Rogue Hoodie is no exception.
This is the women’s version – the men’s comes in a different cut and colours but is otherwise identical, and Showers Pass gets a big thumbs up from me for producing around 60% of the items in its range in both men’s and women’s options.
It’s a softshell jacket, so the fabric itself is highly water resistant and breathable. It doesn’t have taped seams, so it won’t keep you dry during sustained exposure to a total downpour, but the weight of the material coupled with its water resistance and toughness means that I’ve worn it in some pretty wet riding conditions and not been unduly uncomfortable.
The reverse face is a soft, waffle texture which is comfortable on bare arms as well as being nice and cosy and it’s perfect with just a light baselayer underneath for rides when the mercury is in single figures; add a midlayer too and you’re good to go well below freezing.
Cut is relaxed; I’ve comfortably worn the Rogue to the pub and the office as well as on the trail and though I expected the back to become mud-stained after wear with a pack, it’s come completely clean in the wash time and time again. Like all technical fabrics, it would probably benefit from ‘proper’ washing with a ‘proper’ technical garment soap, but – like every single bit of test clothing I get – I have just chucked it in the same wash as everything else, with no ill effects other than a (wholly expected) lessening of its ability to bead water on the fabric surface.
It’s got a deceptive number of features too. As well as the two fleece-lined handwarmer pockets and the well-protected Napoleon pocket with media cable port, there’s another, smaller one on the right rear which I only found last week – perfectly sized and placed for a larger phone or wallet that would otherwise be bumping against your ribs or interfering with a waist belt if in one of the front pockets.
All the pockets have sturdy YKK zippers, and those which see most use are a larger, tougher gauge. The body zip is well baffled to stop water working its way in and a neat zip garage at the top keeps your chin comfy. Elasticated drawcords with toggles cinch down the hood and snug up the waist; they’re easy to use in both directions one-handed and/or with bulky gloves on.
The cuffs are particularly clever and show a degree of design thought I’d expect to see on jackets twice the price of this one. Inside the main sleeve there’s an internal cuff made of soft jersey and with thumb loops. Pull this down inside your gloves, then tuck the glove under the outer sleeve’s cuff. This is partially elasticated and also has a sturdy pull tab adjustment with two positions, fastened by press studs, which gives you the option of tighter and then completely impenetrable cuffs.
This feature is fantastic for bad weather – nothing is getting in there unless you want it to and it makes a marked difference to how warm hands stay as well. Though if you forget to loosen the cuffs off before removing the jacket, it does end up inside out and annoyingly attached to your arms at the wrists…
Last but not least there is a healthy amount of retroreflective detailing – chest, side, rear and cuffs – in a nice subtle dark grey so you don’t look like a Star Trek extra when you’re riding/walking around in daylight hours but will still light up like Tron at night. Super.
Overall: As you can probably tell from the above, I really like this jacket. In just half the winter I’ve already had more than enough wear out of it to justify the (not particularly steep) price tag and it’s still as good as new. Highly recommended.
|From:||showerspass.com in red or black (women’s); black or brown (men’s); S/M/L/XL (women’s and men’s)|
|Tested:||by Jenn for four months|