The Showers Pass women's IMBA waterproof jacket is a relatively heavy duty mountain bike jacket that is adept at fending off the worst weather. It just gets a little hot, with poorly placed vents that don’t work too well if you plan on wearing a pack.
First off, you are right, you have heard the IMBA acronym mentioned before, it stands for International Mountain Bicycling Association, an American organisation that focuses on trail access, building, protection and development in the US. Showers Pass has worked with the IMBA in the production of this jacket and therefore 5% of net proceeds from the sale of the men’s and women’s version go to the IMBA. Great for your next hols to America, not so relevant otherwise, but a cool thought all the same.
Shower Pass says the IMBA jacket is a lightweight yet durable jacket, I’d say that it isn’t the lightest jacket you can buy but I’m not going to hold that against it. I’d put this coat in the same category as the Scott MTN DRYO 20 I tested last year and the Endura MT500, although it’s not as breathable as the latter. The 2.5 layer fabric is light enough but the jacket has lots of other bells and whistles, such as a removable hood, reinforced shoulder patches long vents and big pockets which make it less packable.
The IMBA jacket is super waterproof, the taped seams and waterproof zips all add up to a piece of clothing that won’t fail you in the elements. I’ve worn this jacket in the worst conditions and come to rely on it as a good waterproof that will keep me dry and keep the muck off even after repeated hard treatment and hosing down and going again.
Whilst the general fit and cut of the jacket isn’t fitted, it’s not baggy either and is well shaped with some nicely thought out features that help keep the rain out. The collar fleece lined collar is nice and high, without interfering with the chin when fully zipped up. The collar is separate to the hood rather than integrated which I like, you get a better performing collar this way and the choice is there to ride without a hood if you prefer. Speaking of the hood, it fitted over my helmet well and has plenty of adjustment to the side and rear to cinch it firmly into place over a lid or behind the head if its dry. The only place to store the hood if you do choose to remove it is in your pocket or a pack, making it a little more prone to being far from hand when you most need it.
The jacket is sufficiently long (and longer at the rear) with an elastic toggle to help the jacket taper in. The sleeves are plenty long enough with an easy to use Velcro cuff to secure. Moving up onto the shoulders sees reinforced patches to protect the fabric from rucksack straps. I’ve not had a problem with any packs wearing away the material of any jacket, a whip round of the office, confirms my suspicions, neither has anybody else. There are some companies that don’t recommend wearing packs with some of their lighter weight jackets (Gore being one of them) so potentially Showers Pass are better off being safe than sorry with a 2.5 layer material.
The jacket features three pockets one at the chest with an earphone port and two hand pockets which are very roomy. The pockets don’t have waterproof zips but the opening is sheltered by a flap. Next to each hand pocket, located in a vertical fashion are the vents, they extend further up the jacket than the pockets but it’s very easy to get confused by the two and finding yourself either undoing the vent rather than the pocket or attempting to stuff your hand through the mesh of the vent rather than into the pocket. The jacket arrived with toggles attached to the zips of the vets, I moved these onto the zips of the pocket to make them easier to locate which did help somewhat but I’m still now inadvertently opening the vent and trying to put my phone in it!
Said vents are large and do a fine job of letting air in when I was not wearing a backpack, where I found it circulated mostly around the stomach area rather than up over the chest to cool the torso. Donning a backpack makes the vents less accessible to do up or undo on the move and less effective also as the waist strap closes the vent a little. The IMBA jacket isn’t the most breathable I’ve worn, things do get a little sweaty when you are working hard. That said it’s not the most expensive jacket I’ve tested either and it performs well for the £150 price tag.
All things considered, the Showers Pass IMBA jacket is a good partner for the chilly winter season, it’s superbly comfortable, fits well and is all importantly hardwearing and waterproof. I’d prefer the vents to be repositioned for better airflow around the upper chest and to prevent any confusion with the pockets but if you like the style and like the thought that some of your pennies are going towards a good cause the IMBA jacket will see you through many winters to come.
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