Shine bright on dark rides wearing an ultra-high-vis jacket with lights and complete fabric reflectivity.
Nighttime visibility is a constant concern for cyclists. Riders can employ strobes, high-lumen head- and taillights, reflective decals, even animated LED wheels.
Each of these has two drawbacks: 1) They illuminate parts of the bike, not the rider; and 2) They’re dependent on line-of-sight (only shine one direction).
Showers Pass released a waterproof cycling jacket that tears the doors off of biker visibility. The High-Vis Torch is a waterproof, vented cycling jacket that has an impressive three-prong approach to keeping cyclists safe.
- High-vis yellow paneling for daytime visibility.
- Four removable, multi-function LED lights along the cuffs and rear hem.
- Fully reflective coating on the front, rear, and sleeves.
In short: It is the most eye-catching piece of cycling apparel I’ve ever seen or worn. It blocks rain and wind as advertised, and provides a solid shell for winter bike layering. Its cost ($325) and weight (1 lb. 7 oz.) mean it’s for commuters who place a premium on safety and don’t mind paying extra for it.
Design: Showers Pass High-Vis Torch
While safe riding is the driving force behind this coat, Showers Pass incorporates noteworthy aesthetic and comfort features.
A pattern of 11 international “cycling-friendly cities” decorates the brand’s “MapReflect” fabric, which covers most of the coat. The side panels from the cuffs to hips are high-vis yellow.
There’s a breast pocket with a media port for a cell phone and a large rear stash pocket. The cuffs are velcro adjustable, and the collar and hem can be cinched for a closer fit.
Lastly, a detachable hood (sold separately) can be connected using three Velcro attachment points on the collar.
High-Vis Torch Review
For safety concerns, this coat is unparalleled compared to what I’ve seen. The reflective coverage provides 360 degrees of illumination. The material brilliantly reflects the flash of headlights.
In the event of an approaching car with a headlight out, or heaven forbid, none on at all, the snap-in lights offer protection. The red LEDs rest in both cuffs and along the rear hem, providing side-to-side and rear visibility. There are three modes: steady on, slow blink, and strobe.
For stowage, the stash pocket in back is big enough for my keys, wallet, and an extra pair of gloves. That’s the only pocket available besides the phone breast pocket.
As a shell, the Torch functions adequately, but has drawbacks. At 1 lb. 7 oz., it’s heavy for a waterproof shell. There are much lighter options designed for cyclists if weight is a factor.
Plus, despite claims of “breathable” fabric along the side panels, the armpit, and back vents, the coat does not breathe well. On a 10-mile ride with 20-degree, windy conditions, I arrived damp from sweat.
Plus, because this is a city commuter coat, most riders will have a backpack on, largely negating the large back vent.
I recommend this coat for anyone who rides on-road often. Both in the day and at night, the Torch’s design makes cyclists all but impossible to miss.
It’s a great coat as a winter shell and on rainy days for commuters. For long-distance or high-intensity rides, however, this is not the best option. Those are better served with a lighter-weight, more breathable option — hopefully with some reflective decals and bike lights.
For $325, it’s not cheap, but it works in most conditions, has basic convenience features, and outstanding safety attributes.