It’s intended as a roadie jacket, but its excellent breathability and small pack size makes the Showers Pass Double Century EX a good off-road option too.
They know a thing or two about rain in Portland, Oregon, from whence comes this simple, packable waterproof shell. The Northwestern US city gets 950mm of rain per year on average. That’s a lot more than London (650mm) or even Manchester (810mm). And like British cities, Portland tends to get moderate rain for a few days at a time, rather than brief, intense downpours.
You’d therefore expect the Showers Pass Double Century EX to work well in British weather, and this is what we find.
For starters, it does what you need a waterproof to do and keeps the rain out, thanks to Cocona Xcelerator waterproof fabric. This keeps out water in the usual way: durable water repellent coating on the outside makes most of the water run off and a membrane in the fabric stops the rest from getting through.
But keeping water out is easy. The trick for a mountain biking jacket is to let sweat out too. The Cocona membrane includes microporous charcoal particles derived from coconut fibres that Cocona claims makes for very high breathability.
It seems to work. We didn’t get as sweaty in the Double Century EX as we’d expect to in most breathable jackets, despite some deliberately high-effort belting around the woods and attempts on the commuting land speed record.
A big vent across the back helps sweat get out of the Double Century EX and if that’s not enough you can open up the armpit zips for even more ventilation. When the weather turns really rubbish, Velcro closures round the wrists seal out the elements and there’s a drawstring at the bottom to snug it in.
When you’re not wearing it, you can roll the Double Century EX up to about the size of a 440ml drink can, so it’ll easily slip into a rucksack pocket.
Given how generally good the Double Century EX is, it’d be nice to see Showers Pass use it as the basis for a dedicated mountain biking jacket. It could use a bit of reinforcement in vulnerable areas such as the elbows and shoulders; the fabric’s not featherlight, but we can’t see it surviving a big off.
There’s a waterproof zip on the chest pocket and a headphone port for your mp3 player (but keep the volume down so you can still hear the traffic eh.) Reflective stripes on the arms and back boost visibility.
Finally, the collar is very comfy thanks to a lining of thin, light fleece, but the omission of a drawcord or other means of cinching it to seal out the chill is a bit mystifying.
A great all-rounder that could do with a few detail tweaks to make it a top-notch mountain biking jacket too.
More information: Showers Pass Double Century EX
UK supplier: NRG4
What Showers Pass says about the Double Century EX jacket
The Double Century EX is a super light, packable shell for your most memorable rides. Built with Cocona® Xcelerator™ naturally derived waterproof-breathable technology, in a 2.5-layer construction for a drier next-to-skin feel. Packs down to fit in a jersey pocket when the rain clears.
Seam taped for wind and waterproofness
Core vents and back vent for flow thru ventilation
360 degrees of 3M reflective trim
Chest pocket with water resistant zipper
Light loop on back
Cinch cord on hem
Easy to use two way zipper with storm flap and rain gutter