It was a dark and stormy night in the Pacific Northwest… as usual. Thankfully for those living in such climates, the waterproof/breathable riding gear specialists at Showers Pass have come up with two new jackets with built-in LED lights to help you stay visible through the dismal darkness of winter.
The Hi-Vis Torch (left) and Hi-Vis Elite (right) jackets feature four integrated LED’s located on the cuffs and just above the rear hem behind your hips. They also use highly reflective shell materials, weigh very little and incorporate all the key features cyclists would want from a good ridable outer layer…
There are a number of features that are common to both Hi-Vis jackets. The Torch and Elite incorporate four beacon LED’s that snap into grommets on the cuffs and at the rearward tip of both side panels. The lights are removable and replaceable, and they are powered by standard button-cell batteries. The LED’s offer three flashing modes including a steady setting, and they’ll run for up to 200 hours on high-flashing mode.
The jackets both come with a built in automatic shut-off, which kills the lights after one hour in flashing mode or 30 mins on steady. This seems like a bit of an odd feature- One would think you’d notice your jacket is illuminated before putting it away after a ride, and on longer loops you’ll periodically have to ensure you’re still lit up. On the upside the auto shut-off would prevent you from draining the batteries accidentally.
The LED’s all shine red but their silicone bodies come in Red, Clear or Neon Yellow. On top of the LED’s, 3M’s Scotchlite reflective trim adds more 24-hour visibility, and there are blinker loops on the rear vents as well.
As for construction, the Hi-Vis jackets utilize fully taped seams and weather resistant front zippers with storm flaps to keep the elements out. Ventilation is handled by side and back vents, plus airflow regulating cuffs. You can also preserve body heat by cinching down the collars and hems.
A soft, moisture-wicking collar lining keeps your neck comfortable, and you can add a hood to either model (rain hoods are available separately). Finally, the chest pockets feature audio ports for storing mobile devices with clean cable routing and easy access. Both jackets also have a large back pocket.
The Hi-Vis Torch jacket features MapREflect™ fabric on the main body, which Showers Pass has been developing for two years. They’re quite happy with the result, calling it the ‘holy grail of reflective fabric’ due to its stretchy, lightweight and breathable qualities. The Torch uses 3-layer Elite fabric with brushed lining for the bright neon side panels. A Men’s medium Torch jacket weighs 20 ounces. The Torch comes in Men’s and Women’s sizes S-XXL, and sells for $325 USD.
Intended for longer rides that require more efficient ventilation, the Hi-Vis Elite jacket is made from slightly stretchy, rip-stop 3-Layer Elite fabric with a brushed lining all around. The main body is bright neon green with your choice of silver or black MapREflect side panels. A Men’s size medium Elite jacket weighs 18 ounces. The Hi-Vis Elite is also available in Men’s and Women’s sizes S-XXL and retails for $279.
Bonus info- The design on the MapREflect fabric is comprised of maps of 11 international cities that are known for cycling (Portland, New York, Washington D.C., Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Newcastle, Berlin, Sydney and Taipei). Because of the pattern and the way the panels are cut, no two jackets will look exactly the same.