My last waterproof jacket lasted me 15 years, so arguably it’s worth investing in quality. Packable and lightweight, but extremely waterproof (with the odd less-so patch these days) it was a jacket that proved to be a great investment and it was only when its zip failed that I finally started looking for a replacement that could match the quality of my venerable old waterproof.
As luck would have it, the IMBA jacket from Showers Pass was launched just as my search began. Billed as a waterproof jacket for mountain bikers, specifically made with input from IMBA members (who really ought to know what they’re talking about – IMBA stands for International Mountain Bicycling Association), I was hoping this would deliver all that my old jacket had, and more.
The jacket comes in both men’s and women’s cuts, and each comes in two colour options – a bright orange for women or green for men, and a more stealth ‘Nite Ride’ greyish colour for both men and women. Personally I like the bright options – if mountain rescue ever have to look for me, it’s going to make me easier to spot.
Made of a 2.5 layer waterproof fabric, it’s not as nice next to the skin as a three layer fabric likely would be, but three layer options are heavier and lose the packability that this jacket offers. It doesn’t come with a stuff sack, but without any complex folding you’ll easily get this to pack down to the size of a small honeydew melon. A bit more effort will get it down even smaller, and you could always take the hood off if you want to make it smaller still.
The detachable hood is one of the things I really like about this jacket. It’s properly and securely attached by a a zip, rather than just a couple of poppers or velcro, so it works as a proper hood and doesn’t have any annoying flappy bits. Removing it (and stashing it in the inside pocket) leaves a jacket with a comfortable collar, complete with soft fabric lining. The hood itself fits over some helmets, and with those it doesn’t I’ve found it does a pretty good job of fitting underneath too. If I was going to seek an improvement to this jacket, it would be a means of stowing the hood against the collar, but that’s a pretty minor suggestion – I like this hood arrangement a lot.
The features continue with reinforced shoulders, designed to prevent your pack from rubbing the jacket but that also help keep your pack straps still. There are small reflective details on the shoulders, and there’s an inside chest pocket where you can keep your phone, with a headphone port for if riding tunes are your thing. The zip to the pocket is on the inside of the jacket, making this pocket nice and watertight in foul weather, and it feels like a pretty safe spot to keep my phone on a ride – it’s not a spot that *touches wood* often takes a hit in a crash. Even with a chest strap on your backpack this is still comfortable.
There are more pockets on the front – suitable for putting your hands or gubbins in, but if you want to use the glasses wipe contained in on of them don’t put anything sticky in there! Although you can use them as vents, there are specific separate vents on the front of the jacket. As the vents have pull tags and the pockets don’t, I’ve often found myself trying to stuff a flapjack wrapper in a vent instead of a pocket – but better this way round than trying to get ventilation and losing your stuff to the breeze.
The vents are well placed and easy to access on a climb, although they aren’t as out of the way from splashes as pit vents would be if you’re riding along with them open. Zipped closed, they have good waterproof zips to keep the water out, while the hand pocket zips are not waterpoof but tucked in behind a flap. The pocket mesh also forms an inside pocket whcih is conveniently just the right size for an OS Map. The jacket isn’t generally too sweaty, though a stiff pedal with the vents all done up to keep the rain out can have the arms feeling rather clammy.
The cuffs can be cinched up nicely with the Velcro fasteners, and I’ve found the sleeves to be just roomy enough to fit a pair of slim elbow pads underneath. The overall fit is just right in my opinion – slim enough to feel flattering and unflappy, but baggy enough to accommodate some winter layering. It’s also not irritatingly rustley to ride in, with a fairly matt finish to the fabric.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the jacket remained unaffected by some decent crashes – no rips or pulls in the fabric, although there is some staining from ground in mud. As for waterproofing, the jacket continues to keep the water out, and all the taped seams are still like new.
For summer rides I’ll probably carry something a little smaller for ‘just in case’ use, but for the rest of the year this is going to be my go to jacket for the foreseeable future. It’s well thought out, and it works.
|Tested:||by Hannah for 3 months|