The Green Movement is making headways in the apparel industry pushing manufacturers to consider their carbon footprint. The environmental cost of looking good is catching up. A 2021 report by the Environmental Protection Agency reports that the clothing industry contributes a staggering 17 million tons of textile waste every year. That same report identified textile waste making up 7% of our total landfill waste year after year.
Approximately 3 million tons are incinerated each year adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Another 4 million is shipped overseas. The rest, about 10 million tons, goes straight to the landfill. Our need for a new kit season after season may be a contributor to our landfill problem.
Sustainable manufacturing is more than just keeping things out of landfills. Energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and socially responsible manufacturing are also considerations. Showers Pass is leaning into the challenge. Over the years you’ve seen us feature a variety of their products including jackets, pants, merino tops, gloves, and more. We’re happy to give them a little more press for their strong commitment to sustainable manufacturing.
Putting their money where their mouth is, Showers Pass has established extensive and ambitious sustainability goals to be reached by 2025. From their plan:
1. Recycled Content: 100% of our products with man-made materials will be made with a minimum of 50% or more recycled content.
2. Clean Colors: All apparel will be made with bluesign® approved dyes in bluesign® approved factories.
3. Responsible Wool: 100% of wool will meet the Responsible Wool Standard, and be sourced from farms that treat animals humanely, where mulesing is not practiced.
4. Product End-of-Life Plan: Showers Pass US will have a product end-of-life recycling program.
5. Reduce Packaging Impact: All Showers Pass packaging will be made from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood or recycled material and have the ability to be recycled or composted.
6. Responsible Energy Usage: Showers Pass’ US headquarters will be carbon positive, generating more energy than it consumes–and we will encourage factory partners to get at least 50% of their energy from renewable sources as well.
Showers Pass’s efforts have earned the Carbon Neutral seal for their products. To become Climate Neutral Certified, a company must show that it is working to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from making and delivering its products and services – and compensates for all of them, every year.
Showers Pass added several new products to their outerwear lineup focused on sustainable manufacturing including recycled materials and Clean Color eco-friendly dyes that keep harmful chemicals out of the manufacturing process. New outerwear garments include the Ecolyte Jacket and Timberline collection. On and off the bike riders will appreciate the comfort and style of the Apex Pant.
Ecolyte Elite Jacket $221
Available in men’s and women’s models, the Ecolyte jacket threads the line between packability and all-season protection. Made with 100% recycled face materials, the Ecolyte Elite borrowed all the great qualities of their workhorse jacket, the Elite, and paired it down making a great option for multi-day riding where space and weight is at a premium.
Designed with the bikepacker in mind, the Ecolyte Elite is a fully waterproofed jacket that packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle.
Weighing in at 395 grams the Ecolyte features an impressive set of features including:
• Fully sealed seams
• Removable hood that fits over a helmet
• Zippered armpit-vents
• Drop tail for extra rear coverage
• Packs into rear pocket
• Reflective accents for after-hours visibility
• 2 year warranty
The fit is consistent to size. My 6’, 165lb frame comfortably wears a medium. I found the water protection to be top-notch during my drizzly test rides. I found the vents to be suitable to prevent overheating without sacrificing weather protection.
My only critical comment about the Ecolyte Elite jacket is the lack of Velcro enclosures at the wrist. I have big hands and find myself wrestling with the jacket a bit to get it off after a wet ride. Adjustable wrist straps would be helpful.
There are certainly lighter-weight jackets that pack down into a smaller package for bikepacking, but I would still recommend this jacket for long hauls and overall weather protection if you’re looking to add a sustainably manufactured piece of apparel to your kit.
Timberline Jacket and Pant ($170/$147)
Next up is the Timberline Jacket and Pants. Like the Ecolyte, this set-up borrows features from other Showers Pass products redesigned with sustainability in mind. Unlike the Ecolyte, the Timberline system is not cycling-specific. This system has a more generous cut for layering allowing you to bring this along for a bike ride, hike, or stroll to the corner store. The Timberline Jacket and Pants would make an excellent companion for multi-day trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, or other trips where unpredictable weather might be an issue.
My test collection came in black. Other colors include Cayenne and Fatigue Green.
Jacket features include:
• Adjustable wrists
• Roomier cut for layering
• Available in sizes x-small through XXL
• Triple-layer weatherproofing
• 2-year warranty
• Velcro adjustable waistband
• Zippered pockets and ankle closures
• Reflective piping for visibility
• Articulated knee for freedom of movement
The Timberline system may lack the packability of the Ecolyte Elite garments, but maintain the high-quality water protection, quality, and wearability you would expect from Showers Pass.
This pant and jacket combo would be an ideal companion for commuting year-round due to its roomy cut. Throw a lightweight puffy under the jacket and some thermal leggings and you’re ready to roll through any winter rides.
Apex Pant $130
Mountain bike pants are a growing trend in MTB circles providing full coverage protection during shoulder seasons. Fall is the perfect time for the Apex pant. Featuring soft, four-way stretch material, the Apex Pant is a technical garment designed to move with the rider on and off the bike.
My sample came in a 34” waist. Normally wearing a size 33” (oddball size, I know…), I appreciate the adjustable Velcro waist cinch. The 32” would have been too small. The adjustable straps at the waist allowed me to customize the fit. The material is super comfortable combined with the thigh vents allowing enough breathability to keep me comfortable in 50-degree (F) temperatures without overheating.
The tapered leg and zip ankle closure kept things out of the way of the drive train. I’ve tried other mountain bike pants over the years and found the Apex pant to have all the right features.
• Roomy enough at the knee to accommodate knee pads
• Durable water repellent (DWR) finish sheds rain and spills
• Reflective accents on zippers for low-light visibility
• Two hand pockets and a zippered back pocket
• Adjustable waist cinch for the perfect custom fit, on or off the trail
• Silicone grip on elastic waistband
• 2 thigh vents offer enhanced cooling when temperatures rise and double as extra storage space
• Tapered ankle for worry-free pedaling
• Durable nylon-spandex blend with 4-way stretch fabric for maximum freedom of movement
• Quick-drying fabric
• 2 snap closures with hook and bar for durability
The lightweight Apex packs down small to stuff into your clothing kit without sacrificing too much space. The quick-dry fabric allows you to ride for hours and still have a comfortable pair of pants to wear after around the campfire making the Apex pant an ideal companion for trail rides and multi-day bike adventures.
If you’re interested in adding sustainable garments to your riding collection, I recommend you check out the Ecolyte jacket, Timberline collection, and Apex garments from Showers Pass.