Gear Guy

The Elite 2.0     Photo: courtesy, Showers Pass

Q:

Who makes the best cycle-commuter-friendly rain jacket?

I?m a bike commuter of seven months, and fortunately those months have all been dry. Now monsoon season is upon us and I need a jacket to keep me dry on the way to the office, one that?s light enough to carry there when the rains come in the afternoon. Jacob Tucson, AZ

A:Kinda depends on your budget and whether you need a jacket that can keep you comfortable for ten miles or more, or one to just ward off a sudden T-storm on a short commute.

For the short commute, I’d just go cheap. Marmot’s Precip ($99) is a winner here. Waterproof, decent breathability, light, and packable. You aren’t going to be all that happy in a downpour anyway. The Precip will keep you dry and you won’t overheat too much. It’s all good. REI’s Ultralight ($119) is a similar 2.5-layer piece, with nice details (such as pit zips and chest pocket) and decent breathability.

You also can spend more $$ and get something that is more comfortable and breathable. Here an Oregon firm called Showers Pass has really taken the lead. Its Elite 2.0 ($230) may be one of the best cycling jackets out there. It uses three-layer eVent, an extremely breathable, waterproof fabric that is great. I have eVent in an older Pearl Izumi jacket (no longer made), and it is a fantastic cycling-jacket material. It’s light, and has big pit zips and other features for extra ventilation.

You might also try Gore’s Countdown jacket ($250), which uses Gore’s light, breathable PacLite fabric, an excellent material for cycling. This is a great buy in a Gore-Tex jacket, and Gore has made a decent cycling-specific piece.

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