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I’ve been testing out the new EcoLyte Elite cycling jacket from Showers Pass – it’s bike rainwear which combines excellent waterproofing and breathability, close attention to the smallest of details, and outstanding eco-friendly credentials. If you’re looking to upgrade your winter gear, then the EcoLyte Elite is a very worthy contender.
When it feels as if there are more and more news headlines warning of extreme weather conditions thanks to global warming, it’s good to see a company like Showers Pass doing its bit to help protect us from both.
As part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, they’ve committed to reducing their impact on the environment in some big ways. They’ve also launched a range of new products and their latest is the EcoLyte Elite cycling jacket.
Taking their much-loved original Elite jacket (the company’s first ever product), Showers Pass have re-built it from the ground up with their sustainability goals central to the development.
It’s been three years in the making. And, the result?
The new EcoLyte Elite is bike apparel that pushes the boundaries of rain protection and breathability in a jacket that is almost entirely manufactured from recycled materials – right down to the pocket zippers.
Because that’s not enough for Showers Pass the fabric is also finished using Clean Color dyes to create a brace of eye-catching, and planet-friendly, colorways.
Underneath the hood (literally), you’ll also find a whole host of details that make this jacket an excellent choice for riding in wet conditions.
I’ve been testing out the men’s jacket in the Glacier blue Large (for reference, I’m 5’8” and around 180 lbs). The jacket is roomy enough to wear a couple of layers underneath – with a jersey and a soft-shell pullover on I’ve still got plenty of room to move. I also tried on the men’s Medium jacket, but this was too small for me.
The men’s jacket is available in both the Glacier and in Harvest yellow. Both colors can be purchased in sizes Small through XX-Large.
The women’s jacket is available in Glacier blue and Harvest yellow, with sizes Small up to XX-Large.
Both jackets have a cycling-specific fit with a lower rear hem to keep your butt dry and mud-free. They also have plenty of reflective detailing elements which, along with the bright colors, give great visibility on gloomy days.
The Glacier color jacket looks awesome and I’m finding quite a few of my friends looking longingly at it…
Weather protection and breathability
The critical feature of a rain jacket is, of course, it’s ability to keep rainwater (and splashed puddles) from soaking you.
Here the EcoLyte has performed superbly in keeping me dry in some truly awful late ‘summer’ weather.
But where I think the jacket really excels, is getting rid of the moisture that’s generated inside in the form of sweat.
It does this in two ways:
Firstly, the breathable membrane allows condensation to evaporate through the fabric itself.
Secondly, the under-armpit core vents and the rear vent combine to generate a cooling breeze as you pedal which flows through from the front to the back and out. The degree of venting is fully controllable using the core vent zippers to open or close the air ‘intake’. This is easy to do as you ride because the zippers are large and easy to find and operate one-handed.
Both the waterproofing and breathability work together to keep you dry inside the jacket, even when the rain is driving down hard and your legs are driving you forward fast.
One of Showers Pass’ key Sustainability goals is to ensure that by 2025, all of their products are made from a minimum of 50% recycled content.
With the launch of the EcoLyte it’s clear that they’re well on their way to meeting this target.
The jacket is constructed from 100% recycled fabrics in both the exterior fabric and lining. In addition, the vent and pocket zippers are all 100% recycled.
But those aren’t the only eco creds that this jacket has as the manufacturing process uses Clean Color dyes, low-temperature fabrication and lamination of seams that’s free of solvents.
It’s the details that turn an average cycling jacket into a must-have bike accessory, and the EcoLyte has got plenty of great details.
The hood is one of the best that I’ve seen on bike jackets for some time. It’s roomy and fully helmet-compatible and will go over the chunkiest of bike lids with ease. The fit is totally adjustable with separate toggles for customizing the sizing around your face and at the back of your head. And, unlike many jackets where the hood is integrated, the EcoLyte’s hood can easily be removed using the Velcro tabs.
‘Adjustability’ is a key description word for the EcoLyte actually because, in addition to the hood toggles, there are also toggles to adjust the bottom hem fit, plus the venting adjustment that I’ve already touched on. The cuffs are partly elasticated too, so can fit under or over gloves.
Finally, the jacket packs up into its rear pocket when not needed. This is a feature that I always look for as I think it’s a real benefit on bikepacking and touring adventures, and also on those days when the weather just can’t make up its mind whether it should be dry or rainy.
Fully waterproof, highly breathable and with earth-friendly credentials aplenty, the EcoLyte Elite is an excellent new product in the Showers Pass lineup.
Sure, it’s not a budget-priced jacket, but then you don’t see this quality of bike rainwear, with a host of top features like the EcoLyte has, in the discount aisle at your local sports store.
I believe that this jacket will find a very welcome home for road and gravel cyclists, mountain bikers, bikepackers, cycling commuters, and anyone looking to stay warm and dry on cold and soggy bike rides in winter, spring, fall…or summer (where I live).