As it pours outside, take a trip to the headquarters of Showers Pass

Posted by on December 8th, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Showers Pass HQ

Front lobby of Showers Pass HQ in southeast Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This local business profile was written by BikePortland contributor Jessie Kwak. Her last piece was about how bicycles are helping a Portland man recover from a traumatic brain injury.

When I lived in Seattle, I didn’t own a rain jacket or an umbrella. The city may get a bad rap for rain, but the precipitation most often comes as a week-long drizzle, rather than the heavy rain showers I’ve become familiar with since moving to Portland. And with a particularly rainy winter in the forecast, you can bet I’m looking for a cycling rain jacket that can handle Portland downpours.

Enter Showers Pass.

Showers Pass has been a Portland staple for over 10 years, designing well-reputed raingear for commuters, mountain bikers, and racers from their office in Southeast Portland. They’ve been expanding their product line like crazy over the last few years, and I stopped by their office to talk about what they’ve got planned for the future.

Showers Pass HQ needs no sign

Hmm I wonder which building is theirs?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Showers Pass employee Stephanie Leikas

Showers Pass Marketing Director Stephanie Leikas-Homolya.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The office looks like any other small-company space, complete with a doggie gate separating the desks (and a pair of gorgeous rescue dogs) from the reception area. The glass wall that separates out the conference room is covered by grey-and-white city map prints – but we’ll get to those later.

I met with president Kyle Ranson and marketing director Stephanie Leikas-Homolya to check out the newest samples for 2016. The showstopper came out first: a pair of reflective jackets. That’s what the map prints were all about: sample fabric designs. Kyle pointed out the eventual winner, a print which seamlessly interweaves the city grid of Portland, New York, Boston, Paris, and other cities all over the world, with a river that weaving through the whole thing.

Reflective-fabric

New reflective fabric with city map design will be used in 2016 jackets.

Advertisement

FullSizeRender

Company President Kyle Ranson in “torch” mode.
(Photos: Showers Pass)

Kyle told me that it’s been tricky to get the technology right. There are technologies that let you print reflective ink, but it’s not reflective from all angles, which is a problem. Their solution has been to print their design over reflective material. “I’ve been wearing this one,” Kyle said, pointing to the one with the most reflective material. “You don’t see it while you’re riding, but your’re lit up like a torch.”

The jackets will be coming out in 2016, but Showers Pass has been working on the reflective designs for almost 3 years. Along with reflectivity, they also needed to ensure breathability and waterproofness – and with such a small team, every step takes time. “People think were a lot bigger than we are,” said Kyle. “Our outside persona is a lot bigger than the inside.” Inside, the Showers Pass team consists of only nine people – eight here in Portland and one in Europe.

“If you buy a high-end hiking jacket, you may not use it very often. But with our stuff, an enthusiastic commuter is trashing it day in and day out.”
— Kyle Ranson, president

Over half the staff has been with the company seven years or more, which Stephanie equated to being like a family. “One thing that’s been fun is that a few years ago none of us had kids,” said Stephanie. “Now we have four between three of us.” (The newest addition is home with mom; Showers Pass offers three months of paid maternity leave.)

This growing family was the inspiration for one of their newest products, the “Little Crossover” kids’ jacket, which we wrote about earlier this year. They’re planning on expanding the kids’ line as the opportunity arises, and Stephanie told me they’ve had many requests for kids’ rain pants.

Whether designing reflective map fabrics or shrinking their favorite adult pieces into kid-sized garments, it’s all about the puzzles at Showers Pass. “We pride ourselves on solving a particular problem for our customer,” said Kyle. “Whether they’re an entry-level commuter, or someone winning the Tour de France. How can we best protect them?” Their upcoming Spring Classic jacket handles one such problem. Designed with feedback from Team Katusha, the pro team they sponsor, it’s designed to fit like a jersey but protect racers like a hardshell.

“Our stuff has to be bulletproof,” said Kyle. “If you buy a high-end hiking jacket, you may not use it very often. But with our stuff, an and enthusiastic commuter is trashing it day in and day out.” Despite how trashed their garments get, they have an incredibly low warranty rate – another perk of the small company size is that they’re able to capture problems almost as soon as they come up, and design them out before the next run.

The warranty cases that do make it back to Showers Pass often come with the most intriguing stories. Kyle remembered opening one warranty package to find the zipper completely corroded. When he called the young woman who had sent it in, she asked if the corrosion, “could have anything to do with rowing across the Atlantic?” Her name was Katie Spotz, the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic. And she did it in the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket.

— Jessie Kwak – jessiekwak@gmail.com

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Adam
Subscriber

Is this a sponsored post? There’s no disclaimer at the top this time.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

No it’s not Adam. Thanks for asking.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Sponsored by todays weather. About to put on the Showers Pass and head home.

rainbike
Guest
rainbike

“If you buy a high-end hiking jacket, you may not use it very often. But with our stuff, an and enthusiastic commuter is trashing it day in and day out.”

It’s easy to find clothing items that work very well for both hikes and rides. The base layer, shell, gloves and (very rarely) rain paints that I use on my daily bike commute are also used on Gorge hikes and Cascade climbs. None of those items are cycling-specific; they’re multi-functional.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Except with cycling specific gear, you get to pay an extra 50-600% mark-up and a billboards worth of trade marking.

Mark G
Guest
Mark G

I really want to love their gear as I’m a big fan of buying local. Unfortunately, I had to toss a jacket of theirs after three years because the inner lining isn’t sandwiched with another layer, causing it to flake off all over my arms. Every time a branch slapped my right arm, it cause the rainproofing to crack a little bit leading to a fairly large bare patch on that side.

Adam
Subscriber

All of their products are made in China, so they’re really not that local, anyway. I had a high-end Showers Pass jacket that experienced the same issues yours did. I can personally recommend Mission Workshop. All of their jackets are either made in the US, or Vancouver BC, and they’re much higher quality.

Abe Wylie
Guest
Abe Wylie

They are based in Portland, they pay Oregon State taxes to fund roads, schools, libraries, and hospitals. They contribute to the BTA, Bike Portland, The Portland Art Museum, and the MS Society. So what exactly is your issue?

Where are your frames, tires, t shirts, cycling caps, shoes, TV, fruit, etc all coming from?

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Most of my frames come from Wisconsin, with various modifications having been made in both Seattle, WA and Davis, CA. However, my tandem frames come from Davis and Seattle. MY clothing tends to be American made, my tires come from Japan and I don’t have a TV. My fruit mostly comes from either my garden of from local farms.Thanks for asking, though to what end I’m not sure.

Showers Pass is clearly a company in the Nike mold. They do local designing and then have the products made elsewhere, likely by contractors over whom they have limited knowledge of workplace conditions and will keep it that way. While this is a viable business model, it’s not exactly something to celebrate for a number of reasons (environmental regulations, workplace safety/compensation, blue collar job loss, etc).

longgone
Guest
longgone

Hmmm….are ” B.Carefree ” and. ” Adam H.” the same person ? If not why did you interject…???? Its a mystery.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Adam’s boasted about having tandems….he forgot to switch alt accounts I guess.

soren
Guest
soren

They aren’t the same person and some people try to avoid purchasing crap from a brutal totalitarian regime. Your spending may vary.

realworld
Guest
realworld

It’s sad how confused and mislead you (and many others that post here) are about where and how the majority of your bicycle products and accessories come from and are produced!
Don’t believe or even take with a grain of salt the media hype.

Most bikes, tires, saddles, grips and components are made in Taiwan in very safe, well managed and westernized factories. the employees are treated very well, they get more vacation leave than most US workers, are offered employee housing and are paid in many cases more than a fair wage.
Most of the textile industry of China (for small or high end apparel companies like Showers Pass) are very respectable, well managed, safe work environments. And as with most bicycle industry companies we have very close and more than professional relationships with these manufacturing facilities. We visit the factories many times a year and in many cases have someone there almost every month. We tour the factories multiple times a year during product runs, and they all meet or exceed the US regulations for safe consumer products.

It is extremely rare that bike industry companies and brands use or would even consider manufacturing with low standard or poorly managed factories, your sweat shop, environmentally or unsafe work environments are used by cheap toy companies that sell to Walmart or Target. Not the Bike industry.

Even suggesting that Showers Pass or other Portland based bicycle industry dabble in the Nike realm of sweat shop manufacturing is so out of line it’s disgusting and unforgivable behavior.

And btw, your frames may be “made (assembled) in the USA” but the majority of your component’s are not, and I would suggest you confirm with your Frame builder where they source their tubing… there’s a very low chance all of it is US produced.

meh
Guest
meh

It’s because of the Nike realm that sweatshops are shunned. Nike being the biggest company got all the grief about contracting out, but those same companies were making products for Puma, Adidas and every other company in the business.

Nike puts a huge effort into contractor compliance with regards to safety, working conditions and wages, and because of that effort all the other companies fall in line.

Much like Walmart got all the grief about wages, and raised them to $9/hr, but no one noticed that Target followed suit.

Those big companies that are targeted do make a difference in how the whole industry works.

realworld
Guest
realworld

Like I said, don’t believe the hype!

The whole sweat shop thing was mostly BS but the real issue with China is the environmental abuse by all the “cheap” mass produced products from those huge factories. Most of those (factories) don’t produce products for the US because of our regulatory policies (which I think should be updated and much stronger)
Luckily they are changing their ways (slowly) but we still need to keep the pressure on them. And believe it or not supporting bicycle industry products made in Taiwan is a good way to “be heard” over there. Our environmental expectation standards as an industry/importers is one of the highest in the world (from Taiwan)

Unfortunately China is only second to (you guessed it) the US in high emissions from (Chinese) factories to our Electrical production and auto emissions.

soren
Guest
soren

Unlike the USA, Taiwan is a democracy with a politically-engaged public.

realworld
Guest
realworld

haha I see what you did there.

But you can still be put to death for having illegal narcotics! that’s a little harsh.

Der Berggeist
Guest

Most of your frames are assembled (“built” if you will) with steel and metal made in China which was forged from the fires of mount doom. You cannot escape Chinese production in the bike industry. Nope. Nadda. Carbon fiber on the other-hand actually has some chance of being made in the US.

Newsflash, though this probably won’t change your opinion, Rapha’s clothing, and Pearl Izumi’s, come from the exact same factory (like literally the same production floor) as Showers Pass’. Though I prefer to comment anonymously to protect my identity (isn’t this fun to take the piss?) I speak from “a position of authority as an industry insider”. It’s true. 🙂 So to say their apparel is made “likely by contractors over whom they have limited knowledge of workplace conditions and will keep it that way” is hogwash. They’re regularly traveling to their factories and they’re not producing clothing at anything close to the capacity of companies like Nike.

Check this out (good read):
http://pages.rapha.cc/stories/ktc-china

Mark G., you’re not stoked on Showers Pass because their jackets didn’t last more than 3 years? I’m sorry, but that’s three times as long as my jackets have held up, ever. In fact most rain gear sucks after a solid season in the wet and cold. No matter who makes it. So I’d say look for cheap jackets and plan on replacing them often.

Finally, J. Maus, could you please make a t-shirt that says, “I read BikePortland.org for the comments”. Or a coffee mug, because I’m definitely sipping some solid joe as I read and write this response. Nothing delights bike industry folk quite like this discussion about branding and manufacturing practices. Truly a great start to the day.

You’re all beautiful, thank you.

🙂

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

It’s the Pinkbike of commuter wonk-speak.

realworld
Guest
realworld

If I could “recommend” your post 50 times I would!

Chris Habib
Guest
Chris Habib

The only thing worse is saying one thing to some ones face then something completely different on the internet.

Guy who also rides bikes
Guest
Guy who also rides bikes

Adam, if Showers Pass is not local, then why are they supporting a bike blog in Portland? I know Showers Pass gives back to all sorts of charities like the BTA, OBRA, and MS Society. Yes, they source and stitch their materials overseas – They are very open about it. You should have a conversation with them and see why, I bet it’s not a dirty business scheme like you think; and you’d find it pretty interesting most likely. Mission Workshop jackets are upwards of 500 bucks. I personally will never be able to afford a 500 dollar jacket, which is why I am biking in the first place. I have a Showers Pass jacket and it’s great, they are good people over there too.

If Mission Workshop is so amazing, then why is it in only one store around here? Probably a reason for that as well.

Post has been out for one hour and you decide to trash talk, where does all this rage come from? It’s hard to look at when me and many of my friends wear and love their products.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…I personally will never be able to afford a 500 dollar jacket, …” Guy who also rides bikes

Maybe not myself either. Definitely though, there seems to be a market for utilitarian gear in that price bracket. Like for example, the onetime basic, casual work wear line that Filson products used to be. Yesterday,I happened to stumble across one of their beautifully put together catalogs. Great pictures, paper. Looks nice lying on a coffee table. Cotton flannel shirts cost $145.

I’ve seen some SP gear at a bike shop near where I live, and will look again. Seeing it up close, my feeling is strong, that Showers Pass people are working hard to try produce a superior, functional product. I give them credit for that, and hope they stay with it. Where rain gear is concerned, there’s still room for innovation to further reduce the inevitable clammy sweating up occurring with any waterproof jacket subjected to vigorous exertion by the wearer.

I’m a little distressed to have had to make this choice, but I use a twenty buck slave labor rain jacket I got at one of the chain stores. Discounted price. A net lined shell, very similar in design and function to many much higher end jacket. Very good quality. Generally works very well, but of course, as with any jacket, doesn’t allow sufficient air flow across the tops of the arms, particularly at the elbow area.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

My first Showers Pass jacket (circa 2007/8) had a similar issue with the inner lining rubbing off where my arm skin sweat often touched it – I ride usually with 1/4 rolled up sleeves; I have been debating on wether to send it back it (I stopped wearing it in the rain years ago – bought a replacement). Plus there is the early zipper failure problem. (The newer zippers are way better.)

Adam
Subscriber

Oh hello Showers Pass employees. I’m sorry if you were offended that some people didn’t like your products. Maybe call off your dogs now?

***portion of comment deleted by moderator***

Have a nice day!

***Adam, please take a little more care and consideration before publishing your comments. Thanks. -Jonathan***

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

You really need to think about how others perceive you regarding many of the posts you make.

meh
Guest
meh

Feel free to post the names of those employees who harassed you on your personal email.

I’m sure the folks at Showers Pass would like to know who in HR is violating confidentiality and privacy.

Says more about the company than Adam.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

Hi meh,

Adam did just post the email and the name of the person at Showers Pass who wrote it but I’ve deleted it. I’m not interested in the Adam vs. Showers Pass stuff at all. If Adam has a legitimate beef with Showers Pass that I feel warrants greater attention, I’ll consider doing a story about it. Adam knows me personally and knows how to contact me.

meh
Guest
meh

Members of the company who read YOUR blog took it upon themselves to harass a poster on your blog because they didn’t like a comment. They fount his personal email from an job application submitted to the company.

They gave up their right to privacy when they violated Adam’s privacy to harass him.

This is a company that needs to take a good hard look at their professional standards.

rainbike
Guest
rainbike

In my mind, this is significant and reason enough to spend my dollars elsewhere.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Huh.

realworld
Guest
realworld

What’s more telling is your irreverence is so very obviously based on your interpretation of (most likely wrong) why they didn’t hire you.

And based on 90% of your posts you really need to upgrade your social filter from “6 year old child” to the “adult” version because I for one know that if I ever do meet you in person, I’ve already got a very negative view of you and would avoid taking you serious at any time.

the bike industry is a very small and tight nit community so you may want to rethink how you treat bike industry people socially (as well as anybody) before applying for a job in it.

And no I do not work for Showers Pass.

meh
Guest
meh

Really, he deserves to be harassed? He deserves to have his private information from a job application shared to enable the harassing?

I may not like his one not “protected bike lanes” screed, but he is entitle to an opinion and to be treated fairly and to have his personal information protected.

This company has a real problem with ethics and needs to correct it ASAP.

realworld
Guest
realworld

Well I have to disagree with you from the beginning of his tirade, I think the difference is you are taking him serious or at his word. I on the other hand Do not.
Do I think he is exaggerating or not telling the whole story… absolutely.

What I see consistently in his posts, is a child who throws rocks at everyone and anyone on BP, and someone decided to call him on it.

What he needs to do is ask himself before he puts pen to paper (as they say) would I say this to someone in person?! it’s called a social filter and he really needs one.

I don’t disagree with you on the harassment side, I just don’t take his word for it, there’s way more to that story than “they got my personal email from my job application”

meh
Guest
meh

Does it matter where they got the email if not from their own internal sources? You can’t get posters’ emails from this site.

The issue is with statements he’s made on BP. If they want to have it out have it out in the forum provided.

It’s up to BP to determine what is allowed and what isn’t on the site, as shown by editing out the names of the employees of Showers Pass and other posts they will do so when the deem it required. So if Adam’s posts remain then they remain, and like any other poster is open to fair and reasonable criticism in the forum.

Taking it to personal email is bad netiquette and just plain unethical.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I found his email in about 15 seconds. It’s not like he’s hiding it.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Amen brother. Apparently my take and comments are unfit to be left up. Adam and J.M., have a bizarre dynamic, and it is beginning to reduce this site to some strange level I have never seen before. Sad.

dwk
Guest
dwk

As I am in the market for a new jacket, I read this thread with interest.
Not sure now if I will get an SP jacket but I know for sure if I was Showers Pass I would pull my ads from this site.
What started as an informative column has now become an embarrassment for the company…..

meh
Guest
meh

Maybe BP should not accept the ads from a company that is completely lacking in ethics.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Adam publicly posted negative comments about a company without disclosing that he might have a personal bias against that company (appears they wouldn’t hire him).

Then someone at the company sent Adam a private email. Adam then publicly posted that email (since deleted by moderator.) Maybe that email was negative, but it was Adam who choose to make the private beef between him and the company into a public thing.

It’s like this blog is just his personal place to act out and get attention. I am interested in the topics covered here, but this is getting so irritating that I have to take a break from reading Bike Portland. See you all next year.

meh
Guest
meh

That comment was in response to a poster who had issues with a ShowersPass product. He had the same issue as the poster he was responding to. How is that having a personal bias if the product has a history of issues?

Was the issue legitimate? Sounds like it since many have posted here that they have issues with the products lining flaking off.

That still doesn’t warrant a member of the company taking issue with that post and sending a personal email to Adam stating that this is why they didn’t or won’t hire him. Seems that ShowersPass made it a personal vendetta.

Adam’s other question on whether the article was a sponsored post is in line with BP taking sponsored articles and a legitimate question. One he has consistently brought up with other articles that promote a specific company or product.

mran1984
Guest
mran1984

I hope that Mark gives you a discount for the Mission plug. It is nice stuff. Easily the first time that I agree with anything you have supported. I will not join you for the Showers Pass bash. Btw, most consumers do not know how, or simply do not make the effort, to maintain there technical gear. I still utilize a Pearl Izumi Event jacket that is over ten years old and it functions perfectly. I am not affiliated with Pearl Izumi in anyway.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Your mean the *** $450 *** Mission Workshop jacket?

Chris Habib
Guest
Chris Habib

You bought a 2.5 layer jacket and expect it to last more than 3 years when riding in it daily? How upset do you get when the tread wears off your tire?

Scott
Guest
Scott

I had the exact same problem. I’m also disappointed, but I’m equally hard pressed to find a jacket in the same price range that’s designed and tailored better. Right now, I’m just planning on getting soaked and trying to scrape together enough money for a new one this spring.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

When my entire family had this issue with a different brand that we purchased at REI, the very helpful employee told us to not allow our bare skin to come into contact with the inner surface of the jacket. He wasn’t sure if it was hair, sweat or something else, but he was certain that skin contact breaks down waterproofing. That was several years ago and his advice seems to be working for me.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Someone told me it was the salts that is in our sweat can be corrosive to some materials and makes them break down quicker.

Dan
Subscriber

I warrantied a Patagonia rain shell for the same issue and the employees told me it was skin oil and sweat that break down that waterproof layer. They recommend frequent washing if you’re riding hard / sweating a lot in the jacket. I’m usually more on the “wash once per season” mode, so this was news for me. I guess that’s why they advertise that their DWR is good for “100 washes”.

realworld
Guest
realworld

Yes and No, the membrane inside your jacket is susceptible to mold, mildew, corrosion [of sorts] all from water or perspiration mostly the alkaline and slightly acidity of perspiration. And yes the sales person was correct it is always a good idea to wear a long sleeve because it acts as a barrier between your sweat and the soft membrane of the jacket.

The best thing to do is if you use your jacket every day or at least once a week and sweat in it (even a little), then turn it inside out to dry. Or better yet take a clean damp cloth and wipe down the inner membrane of the jacket and let it air dry inside out.
Also it is smart to use textile cleaners and waterproofing like NikWax cleaner at least once a year if you use it a lot. it will protect and greatly improve the longevity of the garment. and even better to use Nikwax to clean it before storing for the summer… it will last and be way more water proof for much longer.

And No (Adam) I do not and have never worked for Showers Pass or Nikwax.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

I bought a SP jacket in 2013. In less than a week, I had to return it to REI because the zipper failed.

Flash forward 2+ years, and it’s just no longer functional protection from the rain. Many of the adhesive seam covers (on the inside of the jacket) lost their adhesiveness and just dangle from the inside of the coat (or I removed them altogether). In the last several weeks of heavy rains, it’s doesn’t keep the water out in my ~4 mile commute to work. I’ve tried bolstering it with Nikwax, to no avail. And like the jacket I had to return, the zipper is constantly problematic.

I just cannot say I was happy with their product, and won’t buy Showers Pass again. For $240, I had expected something that stays functional for more than two years.

Thomas Defeo
Guest
Thomas Defeo

That sucks you had an issue with their jacket and they did no help you at all when you called their warranty department. What exactly was the reason they gave for not wanting to help you?

I only ask because I have had nothing but stellar experiences with them.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Their warranty is two years, and my problems with my SP didn’t really become evident until right after year two (early this year). So I’m out of luck.

My sentiment is a $240 purchase should last longer than two years. I’ve been using my L.L. Bean hiking shell for 10+ years, paid $100 less for it, abuse it much more than any bike commuting jacket, and it’s still going strong.

A product that lasts just long enough to outlast the warranty period is a product I really don’t want.

Slow Joe Crow
Guest
Slow Joe Crow

I like Showers Pass designs and my old Mountain Elite from the warehouse sale is still keeping me dry but zippers are a sore spot. My jacket is currently a pullover because I had to super glue the zipper back together. I’m willing to buy another jacket but only if the zipper design has changed.
I appreciate their support for local cycling but ultimately product is king.

Chris Habib
Guest
Chris Habib

They have been.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

I bought a red Mountain Elite at a warehouse sale a few years ago. I bought it in a hurry and after a week or so of wearing it, realized it’s just too small, and it’s been sitting in the closet ever since. The zipper still works. I will sell it for $80 to anyone who’s interested! It is pretty much still brand new.

Mike Quiglery
Guest
Mike Quiglery

Want rain proof? Forget Showers Pass and buy Gill sailing clothing.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“As it pours outside, take a trip to the headquarters of Showers Pass”

odd timing, my cow-orker was just telling me this morning that he went there and was disappointed that he couldn’t buy anything…

so don’t personally go there, just go there via this article…

colton
Guest
colton

What is orking and why would you do that to a cow?

Paul
Guest
Paul

Heavy rain is actually pretty rare in Portland. We mostly get lots of light rain just like Seattle.

SE
Guest
SE

Mark G
I really want to love their gear as I’m a big fan of buying local. Unfortunately, I had to toss a jacket of theirs after three years because the inner lining isn’t sandwiched with another layer, causing it to flake off all over my arms. Every time a branch slapped my right arm, it cause the rainproofing to crack a little bit leading to a fairly large bare patch on that side.Recommended 3

I had the exact same flaking problem with mine. Called SP and they didn’t act like it was news and really didn’t care about customer satisfaction.

Thankfully I’d purchased it from REI and THEY did take care of me. REI may be a bit higher than a discount place, but their warranty makes up for that.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I’ve been using the Mountain Elite jacket for commuting and mountain biking for about four years now. Wore it this morning and it is still holding up. Great product.

Tony H
Guest
Tony H

I might get a new jacket this year. I have had the same SP jacket since 2008. It’s been great! It’s a bit tired now, but still serviceable. And I am a daily, year long rider.

kittens
Guest
kittens

“If you buy a high-end hiking jacket, you may not use it very often. But with our stuff, an enthusiastic commuter is trashing it day in and day out.”

I wear my OR Foray jacket a lot and I rotate with two other jackets, each has their own use. If Showerpass didn’t have such a horrific mark-up (likewise to all other bike gear/clothing manufactures) and over the top trademarking I’d give them another look. But as it stands, Showerpass = I’d-rather-pass.

Patrick Beeson
Guest
Patrick Beeson

Great post!

I recently purchased the SP skyline jacket and pants after hunting for a cool-weather cycling outfit that would stand up to the rain and wind but wouldn’t flap about like other jackets.

I’m happy to report both items perform excellent in the worst conditions — I commute 10 miles daily in all weather — and, most importantly, fit great. No extra material flapping about like I get from hiking-specific gear.

I’m happy to support a local company making great products! Thanks y’all!

Dennis Hogan
Guest
Dennis Hogan

My only issue with Showers Pass is their zippers — I have their commuter jacket and the zipper is barely functional – it takes several tries to get it to work per wearing. I even stopped in to the old office in Milwaukee and was essentially told that it is just the way they are.

DanF
Guest
DanF

My Showers Pass jacket works just great…as a windbreaker, or maybe in heavy fog. Not so great in the rain, unfortunately.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

I have one of their more expensive jackets, and it’s been great. However, I emailed them once to nicely let them know about some problems I had with another of their jackets (while also profusely praising the one I liked). Their employee Chris Habib sent me a response basically saying, “well yeah, it’s cheaper, of course it’s an inferior product.” (In fact, it was very similar to his comment above, “You bought a 2.5 layer jacket and expect it to last more than 3 years when riding in it daily?”) Which yes, point taken, but the snarky, unprofessional, and completely unhelpful tone of the email put me off buying any of their products in future. If this attitude is representative of their company, then they are way too full of themselves. If it’s just Mr. Habib, they need to realize how their employee is making them look.

anna
Guest
anna

WASH YOUR JACKETS Y’ALL
seriously wash them. whether they’re showers pass or handcrafted from your cousin’s eyelashes

longgone
Guest
longgone

Thank you, Anna. This is solid advice that most people just seem to miss.

dann golden-collum
Guest
dann golden-collum

There’s another Oregon company that provides excellent rain gear – J&G Cyclewear. I have their waterproof-breathable rain pants that are now three+ years old, have worn them nearly everyday through three winters in Alaska. This is their first winter in Oregon, and they keep me dry even in the worst rain storms. As soon as the REI rain jacket wears out (it’s now 8 years old) I plan on getting J&G’s rain jacket. One of the best things about the J&G products is the affordability. Pants were $89.00 when I bought them (they’re now $95) and the jacket is $110.00.

Another company worth a look is Aero Tech Designs Cycling Apparel out of Pennsylvania. They have a waterproof breathable and windproof cycle jacket for $129.00. And this jacket comes with a zipper off hood.

One of the most important parts of the jacket, besides being waterproof and breathable, is the collar. Make sure the collar has a comfortable fabric rubbing against your skin. All previous jackets did not have the fabric collar. It makes a huge difference in comfort.

When I buy stuff for commuting, I’m expecting at least five years of continuous and trouble free service. Yes, I have to remember to wash and re-treat outerwear with Nikwax or Gear Aid and not store wadded up in a dusty corner somewhere. The overwhelming consensus on Showers Pass from their beginning until now has always lead me to look elsewhere for long lasting foul weather gear.

mh
Guest
mh

I bought both the J&G jacket and pants years ago, and returned the pants twice, replaced them only once. They leaked, immediately and badly. The jacket I still have and wear most of the time. It looks, depending on your point of view, either very well-loved or horrible. Lots of grease and brake-pad-aluminum-oxide stains, and yes, I do wash it. It’s got the longest pit zips I have found, it’s got a mesh lining that keeps your sweaty skin away from what it shouldn’t touch, and I have yet to replace it with the waiting SP “Transit” that at some point will take its place. The SP people look disparagingly at me at bike shows, in my cruddy-looking, slightly oversized competitor’s coat that just won’t die.

DanF
Guest
DanF

Thanks for the recommendations!

It sounds like you have the same expectations for rain/commuting gear that I do. Too bad Showers Pass doesn’t measure up, but glad to hear that there are other OR companies out there offering a decent product.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

What, no covered bike parking?

I’ve been happy with my SP jacket. It’s held up for 4+ years. No issues yet.

Mike Quiglery
Guest
Mike Quiglery

Judging from these comments Showers Pass stuff isn’t that impressive in real-world weather. Probably not good news for long term business survival.

SE
Guest
SE

anna
WASH YOUR JACKETS Y’ALL seriously wash them. whether they’re showers pass or handcrafted from your cousin’s eyelashesRecommended 3

washing my SP jacket is what seems to have started the lining flaking issue. Just used a little Tide in a bucket. No warnings on the label ?

have had good luck with REI’s house brand waterproof/breathable jackets and if you want a good local Gore-Tex jacket (I prefer parka shells) , SOLSTICE has worked well and held up fine.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Showers Pass stuff works very well, actually. It is probably the most popular rain gear in Portland’s bike lanes.

The super reflective jacket shown would be great, if it is durable. Too many rain jackets lack sufficient reflectives; a lttle reflective detail here and there isn’t really enough.

I’ve used a lot of different rain jackets. There seem to be two philosophies. One is to use completely impermeable material and get venting through large pit zips, loose fit, and back vents. The other is to use breathable material. The former may be more durable, the latter more convenient.

In my experience, a good rain jacket can last a few years of daily use. Eventually it gets too dirty for the breathable fabric to work, or something breaks. Even my old Burley jacket, which I think is the best jacket I ever had, started falling apart. Zipper replaced, holes patched, but it still finally had to be replaced.

I’m currently wearing Castelli kit. It is good stuff, but the fit is (very) tight and there isn’t much reflectivity. More for racers, methinks.

Dan
Guest
Dan

realworld
Yes and No, the membrane inside your jacket is susceptible to mold, mildew, corrosion [of sorts] all from water or perspiration mostly the alkaline and slightly acidity of perspiration. And yes the sales person was correct it is always a good idea to wear a long sleeve because it acts as a barrier between your sweat and the soft membrane of the jacket.The best thing to do is if you use your jacket every day or at least once a week and sweat in it (even a little), then turn it inside out to dry. Or better yet take a clean damp cloth and wipe down the inner membrane of the jacket and let it air dry inside out. Also it is smart to use textile cleaners and waterproofing like NikWax cleaner at least once a year if you use it a lot. it will protect and greatly improve the longevity of the garment. and even better to use Nikwax to clean it before storing for the summer… it will last and be way more water proof for much longer.And No (Adam) I do not and have never worked for Showers Pass or Nikwax.Recommended 1

Wait, you mean I actually have to take care of and maintain my gear if I want it to last?

realworld
Guest
realworld

Ha! right?! amazing concept

pengo
Guest
pengo

Thinking back on my time in shops it’s surprising the amount of people who would actually refer to their treatment of soft goods as “abuse” or “neglect” as they’d explain why a high price tag should give you license to treat technical clothing like a tarp.

It went for bikes as well; I couldn’t even count the number of times some guy (and it was always a man) would boast about being super hard on bikes while being totally unable to accept that his behavior resulted in increased/accelerated wear. In their minds the product was 100% of the problem 100% of the time.

On a different note, as much as I enjoy the dou…er…fremdschamen, I have no idea why local businesses continue to participate in these posts.

Mike C
Guest
Mike C

Wow, who knew a simple article about a local company would engender such strong feelings.
I like their products, they seem to be good quality and highly functional. Also sounds like a good local company which gives back and supports local charities/organizations. I suppose i would prefer if there stuff was made stateside, but I also appreciate the logistical difficulties of that proposition when you choose to offer a broad range of products.
Their stuff has held up well for me but i do take care of my gear.

longgone
Guest
longgone

It’s Portland Mike.

mran1984
Guest
mran1984

That is precisely why WASHING needs to be mentioned over and over. Plus, liquid detergents are not your friend. It’s okay to be clean. You can still be hip too.

rainbike
Guest
rainbike

I have been told that it’s the fabric softeners added to most liquid detergents. It messes with the DWR. Woolite (available in liquid) would be a good option.

Mike C
Guest
Mike C

longgone
It’s Portland Mike.Recommended 1

LOL, I sometimes forget until it hits me over the head.

not that Mark
Guest
not that Mark

I’m enjoying this new soap opera feature.

I’m calling it: “As the Wheel Turns”.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

I’m closing this comment thread because its usefulness and productivity appears to be over.

If anyone wants to offer more feedback about this thread, I’m happy to hear from you directly. jonathan at Bikeportland dot ORG