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The Showers Pass Atlas Cycling Cap is a single-size model with some lovely detailing. The fabric is waterproof but the absence of welded or taped seams means persistent rain will eventually infiltrate the stitching, though it dries very efficiently and works very well anyway.
Made from 100% three-layer polyester, it's usefully water resistant and breathable, while the reflective graphics are pretty effective if you're not wearing a helmet on top.
The peak gives excellent defence from precipitation, blustery winds and intense winter sun, and flips up out of the way if you need.
I was curious as to why the flat seams of the eight panels were neither taped nor welded, but Fraser from Showers Pass explained that doing so would be tricky to achieve reliably and without spoiling the aesthetic.
It works very well anyway. Its arrival coincided with some seriously persistent rain and flooded roads, and I found it generally took about 50 minutes until water began to creep through the seams. Even then my hair was damp but not soaking by the end of my 90-minute loop, both with a helmet and without.
The fabric also dries quickly, within about 20 minutes. I'd always take water-resistant and quick-drying over fully waterproof and clammy, personally.
I've had great experiences with cheaper caps offering similar levels of comfort and weather protection, but they've had DWR (durable water repellent) coatings rendering them handwash only, which can be a pain. Thankfully, the Atlas can be machine washed at 30 degrees.
On mild days (around 15°C) the fabric proves very efficient at wicking, but when temperatures reach single digits it still keeps in some welcome warmth, and offers excellent defence against bitter chill on long, fast descents. I found it (and its flat seams) perfectly comfortable no matter how long the ride.
It's one size fits all and should cater for heads up to 62cm; it fitted my 54cm head perfectly, and I got similar feedback from others with head circumferences between 48 and 60cm, the soft, stretchy elastic ensuring a secure, comfortable fit.
It's easily stuffed into any deep jersey pockets too, and reassumes its original shape upon retrieval.
That map design really comes to life when it meets vehicle or street lighting, as it's printed in retroreflective ink and shines impressively brightly. It also proved more conspicuous than I was expecting when worn beneath a helmet, though admittedly a well-ventilated one.
The Atlas is well made, competent and boasts nice detailing, so there's no reason to think it won't last. However, there are a few rivals capable of giving it a good run for your hard-earned.
I've used the SealSkinz Waterproof All Weather Cycle Cap for several seasons and agree with Lara's findings. It lacks the Atlas's retro-reflective detailing, and the peak may not be to everyone's tastes, but it's a tenner cheaper at £25.
The Prendas Ciclismo Lisboa Waterproof Cycling Cap is cheaper still at £19.99 and comes in four colours with retro-reflective patterning. It isn't waterproof in the strictest sense either, but rather water-resistant. In my experience, it wicks slower than the Showers Pass cap, and it's handwash only.
Alternatively, the Gore Shakedry Cap is both truly waterproof and highly breathable for £39.99.
The Atlas is well designed and well made with reasonable water resistance, efficient breathability and stylish looks. The retro-reflective detailing is another useful touch if you ride without a helmet with any regularity, and while I'd always go water-resistant and quick-drying over something waterproof that boiled my brains, you can get waterproof rivals with decent breathability for less.
Comfy and stylish, but it's a shame it's not truly waterproof given the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Atlas Cycling Cap
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for
Showers Pass says, "This cycling cap fits perfectly under a helmet to fend off rain and is just as comfortable off the bike.
"Made from our popular MapReflect fabric, this cap provides wet weather protection with added style. Printed with retroreflective ink, the MapReflect pattern weaves together the streets and waterways of 11 international cities."
While the fabric is waterproof, stitched construction means more persistent rain will creep inside.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
3-layer waterproof and breathable fabric
Seams are not sealed
Fits heads up to 24.5" around
Nicely executed. Stitching is neat and uniform throughout.
Very good for the most part and very easy to care for. However, its stitched rather than welded construction means persistent rain will find a way in, gradually.
Wearing very well.
Great fit, cut, and sensibly proportioned peak.
One-size-fits-all was bang on for me, and people with heads 60cm in circumference say it was comfortable for them, too.
At the upper end of the price spectrum, but this is reflected in the specification.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems at 30 degrees and holds its shape well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The fabric is very light, airy, and breathable, while still offering decent defence against the elements. Heavy rain infiltrates the stitching in around 50 minutes, but it'll wick dry quickly afterwards – and I'd sooner that than an impervious garment that leaves you hot and sweaty, thus defeating the objective.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great design, fit, wicking, and peak.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a deal breaker, more a minor niggle, but the lack of sealed seams is a shame.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the upper end. The Prendas Ciclismo Lisboa Waterproof Cycling Cap isn't waterproof in the strictest sense either, more water-resistant, and it's £19.99. I've run Sealskinz' Waterproof All Weather Cycle Cap for several seasons and though it lacks the Atlas's reflectives and the peak may not be to everyone's tastes, it's a tenner cheaper.
Alternatively, the Gore Shakedry Cap is both truly waterproof and highly breathable for £40.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Well-executed cap that covers most bases very well, but it's not truly waterproof and it's relatively pricey too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)