Showers Pass Cloudburst Jacket – Super Well Designed Running Jacket
The Showers Pass Cloudburst Jacket $189 is a stretchy and breathable softshell raincoat for running in cold, windy, and wet conditions.
When I pulled this jacket on for the first time I thought I’d read the tag wrong: this must be a softshell, not a raincoat. It couldn’t possibly be waterproof, it’s too soft! I shouldn’t have been surprised that Showers Pass pulled it off however… the company that pioneered waterproof socks that feel like socks and waterproof beanies knows how to merge their waterproof technology into bona-fide soft goods. The result is a jacket that really feels, wears, and breaths like what you expect from a soft-shell windbreaker — but it can keep you dry in a downpour.
Cloudburst is a trim-fit jacket with a great cut for running. Men’s medium is perfect for me to wear over a t-shirt (for rainy runs in shoulder season) or light long-sleeve baselayer (for cold winter runs). This has a simple design, which I like for running: full-zip front, cinch cord at the waist, long pockets that perform functionally like pit zips, and a pocket on the rear lower back that can hold a hat, gloves, and other accessories.
This rear pocket is large, so it can hold a phone, however I found that solid items (phone, car keys) tend to bounce and jangle loudly, so I’d prefer to wear them in a shorts pocket armband, or similar no-bounce strategy. However, in a pinch you can definitely put everything in this pocket and hit the trail, so it’s got a built-in ‘back up’ for carrying accessories. The jacket will fold up and stow in this pocket, which is a nice feature.
The Cloudburst jacket is fully seam-sealed and is rated to be waterproof to 10.2k mm in a column test, which is on-point for a running jacket. Fabrics with this rating are generally advised for moderate pressure, moderate snow, and average rain, so this jacket won’t necessarily keep you dry while slogging through a spring rainstorm in the Cascades wearing a heavy pack, but you’d never wear it for that (it doesn’t even have a hood). This is a high-output piece, and with the heat generated while running, it will keep you dry in most conditions that people would run in.
The thing that sets it apart for me as an aerobic exercise piece is it’s breathability. I’ve never in my life gone running in a rain jacket by choice (I’ve done it a few times to test products, or running from lightning). No matter how cold or heavy the rain, I just get wet inside! This jacket is the first waterproof layer that I have put on at a trailhead and worn for the whole run. Granted, these are windy days in the 30s in winter, but I’ve still never worn anything like this.
The stellar breathability is due to two things: really generous venting pockets and a radical fabric. The vent pockets are really long, and their position on the sides of the chest has two advantages: they let a ton of heat and vapor escape from the chest, and they don’t resist the arm-swing motion of running they way traditional underarm pit zips often do.
I can run with the zips open and not hear the fabric swish or the zipper chatter, which is nice. In terms of the fabric, Shower Pass built this with their proprietary eliteAir technology which provides 43k g/m2 of breathability.
Breathability metrics can involve a bit of voodoo, and should be interpreted perhaps as an ‘ideal high-end’ of what the fabric can do, but to put this in perspective, standard hard-shell raincoats are usually rated at 5-10k g/m2, and if you look up advice on fabric breathability for backcountry sports, most sites will recommend that runners, cyclists, and backcountry skiers seek fabrics rated to 15-20k g/m2. So eliteAir allows more than double the vapor movement…
The Cloudburst jacket is best for running, urban sports, cycling through town, and really any cold or wet-weather high-output aerobic activity. It’s so breathable, you can wear it like a windbreaker — it doesn’t even have to rain and you can still be comfortable. I’ve worn it a few times nordic skiing in temps in the 20s and 30s and it was great.
The highly visible orange color and reflective accents provide nice visibility for urban/road sports. I wear this riding my bike around town, but for dedicated wet-weather road riding Showers Pass makes an entire line of cycling-specific jackets that are really well thought out for pedal sports, with better cuffs, extendable butt flaps, and other nuances that road cyclists and bike commuters will appreciate.
Showers Pass Cloudburst Jacket review
Bottom line: This is a super well-designed jacket for people who run, nordic ski, and exercise in cold and rainy weather. It both feels and breathes like a soft-shell windbreaker, it’s just also waterproof. I really recommend this jacket for aerobic athletes who keep getting after it in foul weather. Cloudburst comes in grey and orange (great high-vis) for both men and women.