Showers Pass, the Oregon-based apparel company best known for cycling rainwear, released a a couple of items that might make cycling and race days better during wet weather, and could be good gift ideas for the cyclist in your life.
In California, we’ve been blessed with some recent wet weekends of racing, and we’ve put Showers Pass’ new Syncline Jacket and Refuge duffel bag to the test.
An Affordable, Breathable Shell
First up the Syncline jacket, a waterproof/breathable technical jacket with a ripstop nylon shell and 2.5 layer coating. The Syncline is a hip length hooded shell jacket with design features making it at home on the campsite as well as on the bike with longer sleeves and a dropped tail for coverage when riding.
You can ride to the race in the Syncline, and put it back on after your race to heckle your friends and ring that cowbell. The sleeves have wide Velcro-cinched cuffs to seal out drafts and water, and the lower hem has an elastic drawcord to cinch it tight around your hips. The hood fits snuggly and can be cinched around the face with the elastic drawcord that encircles the opening.
The layers of the Syncline’s 2.5 layer fabric include the shell material, in this case ripstop nylon, the polyurethane (PU) coating that is porous to vapor but not water droplets, and a coating over the PU layer on the inside to add durability and keep the PU from contacting the skin. The advantage of this construction is light weight and lower cost than laminates such as GoreTex or EVent fabrics. A durable water-repellent coating tops the fabric, key to any waterproof breathable fabric’s optimum function.
Additional ventilation of the Syncline jacket is accomplished by the front zipper, which has a storm flap behind it, with a soft fabric at the top for comfort at your chin, and two zippered chest vents just forward of each armpit, covered by a storm flap. The pockets, with water-resistant zippers, can also act as vents since the pocket liners are mesh. Those pocket liners are constructed in such a way that they form an inside pocket that can fit a bike-sized water bottle.
Reflective accents are sewn into the seams at the cuffs and shoulders, and there’s a reflective logo on the lower back.
The Syncline jacket fits loosely to easily fit over an insulated layer, so if you like a snug fit to wear over only a sweater or jersey, size down. The extra rooms adds to its versatility though, letting you layer up for winter riding or less-aerobic commutes.
For $125 USD, the Syncline jacket is a good value for a versatile, waterproof, breathable rain shell.
A Waterproof Gear Bag for Wet Race Days
When Showers Pass comes out with luggage, you better believe it’s waterproof. The Refuge waterproof duffel bag from Showers Pass is unique with fully waterproof construction including welded seams, and a removable fold-out 2’x3′ waterproof changing mat that is tucked into its own compartment.
If you’re read coach Chris Mayhew’s tips for race day prep, changing mats are high up on his list. The Refuge Duffel isn’t the first bag we’ve reviewed with a changing mat, but the more-affordable GYST DB1-15 differs in that it’s not fully waterproof but also can be used as a backpack.
The Refuge Duffel is a self-supporting design that stays upright and open making it easy to pack and find items within. The 51 liter bag’s main compartment has a removable divider for organization, as well as elastic pockets, a key lanyard, and a zippered pocket under the flap. Two flanking separate compartments are large enough for shoes, or bottles, and one has a padded, soft lined pocket for fragile items like your bike computer or phone.
The Refuge Duffel is made of ballistic nylon with a thick urethane coating that gives the fabric a tough, stiff feel. The top flap overlaps the zipper by a 3.5cm all the way around, preventing water leakage through the main zipper. The flanking compartments have waterproof zippers. The carry handles have a padded grip, as does the shoulder strap. Reflective accents surround the black bag.
The $189 USD Showers Pass Refuge duffel is a tough, durable and truly waterproof bag. It’s attractive with its matte black finish and reflective accents, like a piece of true high-end luggage with a sporty look.
It’s a good size for race day or an overnight trip, but for cyclocross, you’ll have to consider what you pack to fit. Two kits, warm-ups, extra socks, waterproof garments, tubes of embrocation, small tools, and accessories all take up space, and thus you may have to pack your helmet and shoes separately if you’re racing in wet or inclement weather. It’s just about right for a single race day, but for a weekend you’ll want more.
Maybe that’s by design. Aren’t cyclocrossers racers are used to having two of everything?
The Showers Pass Refuge duffel is a great gift idea for a cyclocross racer. It’s the type of item many cyclists wouldn’t buy for themselves, as they’d typically rather spend their money on a new tire or kit. Only after trying the Refuge will they realize how much better race day bags can be.
More info: showerspass.com
Showers Pass Syncline Jacket and Refuge Duffel Bag Photo Gallery: