We take a look at Showers Pass’ technical but-not-too-technical riding hoodie just in time for shoulder season riding…
Showers Pass is based in Portland, Oregon and according to their website, they make clothing and gear designed to get people on their bikes no matter the weather. The Women’s Trailhead Hoodie is made from a 50/50 Bamboo-Merino blend fabric. The Bamboo and Merino fibers are knit together with the bamboo on the inside for a soft feel and moisture wicking properties and the merino on the outside for breathability and insulation. All of the seams are flat to reduce chafing and the fabric offers UPF 50+ sun protection.
When the Trailhead hoodie arrived, my first impression was that if felt more substantial than I expected based on the fabric description. That’s not a bad thing because the fabric feels amazing! For a technical fabric, it is extremely soft and the cut of the shirt is functional, while still stylish in an understated way. There is a kangaroo pocket on the front with hidden zippers on both sides and one stash pocket on the side/back. There are only minimal logos – just one small label on the hem. The fit is relaxed enough for casual wear, but not so bulky that it couldn’t be used as a layer in cold conditions. In my opinion, it runs true to size with a nice amount of stretch, but don’t expect a technical bike jersey fit. The hood is trim and fits nicely under a helmet with full coverage of your ears. The sleeves are quite long and don’t ride or pull up when you raise your arms or are in an active riding position.
Based on the fit and feel I noticed when trying on the hoodie, I was excited to put it to use on a ride. It has not disappointed and is now a piece of go-to gear when it’s cool outside. I have used the Trailhead Hoodie mainly for mountain biking in winter and spring when cooler temperatures are the norm. It is perfect for spring or fall and fits well under a rain jacket for wet winter rides. I have been pleasantly surprised by the excellent breathability. I ended up wearing the hoodie on a couple of mid length rides where the temperature was on the border of being too warm for a long sleeve shirt, but even then, it never felt wet or cold after sweating. The fabric wicks away moisture and allows it to evaporate keeping you dry and helping to regulate your temperature. This fabric has a great feel on your skin with absolutely no hint of being itchy. The cut would allow for a shirt underneath if you wanted the option to shed the outer layer. I found this hoodie to be very comfortable while riding, but I have also thrown it in my bag to put on after a ride to grab a beer or dinner.
I really don’t have a lot of negative feedback, but I will say that while the kangaroo pocket is a nice idea for casual wear and hand warming, I didn’t find it to be particularly useful while riding. The price tag may also be a drawback, but it is definitely not out of line considering that it is merino. As much as I wish every piece of my riding gear could be merino, it is a bit cost prohibitive. One feature that I missed having are thumbholes in the cuffs. However, the sleeves have plenty of length, so this is more of a personal preference.
Since there are only so many things you can say about a shirt, I will keep this on the short side and say that overall, the Trailhead Hoodie has been a really nice addition to my collection of cool and wet weather riding gear. It is warm without being hot and offers superior breathability. The bamboo/merino fabric is antibacterial, controls odor and is moisture wicking – all welcome qualities for mountain biking clothing. So far, care has been as easy as it gets (machine wash, hang to dry) and there are no visible signs of wear or shrinkage. If you’re in the market for a long sleeve technical shirt that can easily pull double duty at the bar, I don’t think you can go wrong here. I would definitely be interested in a short sleeve shirt made from this same material and will be keeping an eye on Showers Pass future offerings.
The Details –
Women’s Trailhead Bamboo-Merino Hoodie (Men’s version also available)
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Dark Shadow, Navy, Hollyhock