In the Northwest there are 2 seasons, Raining & sunny with a chance of showers.
When you drive further up into the mountains we end up with three season: snow, wet snow & sunny with a chance of showers.
Those conditions lead most people I know to have a closet full of jackets. Winter jackets for playing in the snow, running jackets, softshells and the most important of them all, the waterproof jacket.
Over the years I have had many different styles of waterproof jackets. 2 layer, 3 layer, lined, unlined. All basically doing the same thing. Keep the rain out, and don't let you overheat.
A couple months ago I put a new jacket in the closet, the Bontrager Lithos Stormshell.
Made from the Profila Storm fabric, it is a 3.5 layer fabric that is fully seam sealed. Waterproof rated at 10,000mm and 30,000g/m2 breathability, it is great for the non sunny rides where you could get some rain drop hitting you.
On the lower front there are two pockets that have a nice sized cavity in them for easily throwing in phones or a tool. Just above those pockets and extending almost all the way to the side seams are a pair of huge zippered vents lined with mesh. With the full length zipper it is possible to adjust how much airflow you are getting through them, but the waterproof zippers are a little easier to use with two hands. On the riders inside left, there is a stealth pocket with a laser cut opening that is the perfect size for a non plus sized phone.
Moving up to the hood of the Lithos Stormshell, the draw cord is neatly hidden away with just the ends showing though on each side of your chin. The barrel locks that release the cord are sewn directly into the jacket as to give a streamlined look and feel to the jacket.
The hood volume is large enough to wear with a helmet on, and there is a small, stiff brim to keep some driving rain out of your eyes. The depth of the hood is adjustable with both a velcro tab to bring the top down, and a horizontal draw cord centred and tucked away on the back.
I slide into an XL in the Lithos Stormshell, which seems to be inline with other brands in North America. Still crazy to see that called 2XL in Europe.
I got the bright orange jacket, and it certainly makes a statement when wearing it. You are definitely seen and won't be sneaking around like a ninja in it, but the one thing I noticed is that it gets dirty pretty easily. High wear areas like around the cuffs and the shoulders have a bunch of stains that won't come out, despite repeated washes. I wish they had good riding stories to go with the stains, but more often than not, they came from silly things like changing my car tires when it was raining.
But that might be the story, with a closet full of jackets, this was the first one I grabbed when there was work to be done in a rainstorm.
Price: $299 usd.