Oakley Zulu BioZone Jacket Review
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The Oakley Zulu BioZone jacket is one of those jackets you buy for snowboarding but end up wearing everywhere. As part of Oakley’s BioZone™ line it has fleece of varying weight at critical areas of the jacket to promote moisture management and protection from the elements where you need it the most. It’s also pretty stylish with a great color in my opinion.
Oakley Zulu BioZone Jacket Fit
The Oakley Zulu BioZone jacket has a Parka Fit or a longer version of Oakley’s relaxed fit. For the snowboarder, this is an excellent design as it gives you some additional coverage for the many times you find yourself sitting in the snow. The extra length keeps your butt dry and your powder skirt concealed. If you decide to couple this jacket with the Zulu BioZone pant the powder skirt connects seamlessly via a snap system at the bottom of the skirt and under the belt loops of the pant. The loose-fitting nature of the jackets makes layering functional and non-constrictive.
Oakley Zulu BioZone Jacket Technology
The Oakley Zulu BioZone jacket boasts 3 key zones of technology throughout the jacket: Moisture Management Zones (Breathable & Wicking), Insulation Zones (Warmth & Waterproof) and Comfort Zones (Stretch & Windproof). The zones are strategically placed all over the pants.
Moisture Zones are found in the places you need them most: the chest and underarm areas.
Insulation Zones are located on the 3 areas a snowboarder needs them the most: elbows, hood, shoulders and around the bottom of the jacket where your powder skirt lives. The jacket is rated at 15,000 mm for waterproofing with critically taped seams which means they’re rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure. It can handle moderate rain and an average snowfall which is great for resort skiing. They’re not completely waterproof and that’s to facilitate the breathability which you want for normal conditions.
Lastly, the Comfort Zones make up what’s left of the Oakley Zulu BioZone™ jacket. The windproofing coupled with Oakley’s Hydrogauge technology stood up to Eldora Mountain while riding. It also handled the stormy tundra conditions while I was out breaking a sweat hiking with the dogs in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Hydrogauge technology is a protective layer applied to the fabric to keep you dry and protected by acting as an additional barrier to elements. Hydrogauge allows heat and sweat to escape through evaporation allowing you to stay warm, dry and comfortable.
Oakley Zulu BioZone Jacket Features
I think Oakley’s Zulu BioZone jacket has most of the major critical features I love in a jacket: vents, spandex cuffs with thumbholes, and breathability while keeping me dry. I also love that this jacket has a goggle pocket with built-in Microclear 2.0 goggle wipe (that’s always a nice to have).
Oakley has its OOR™ systems for the hood and cuffs of the Zulu BioZone jacket to help customize its fit. Your gear, regardless of brand, will work with the design of the jacket. The hood of the Zulu BioZone has two curved insets where your goggles meet the hood. I really like that when I had my hood up I didn’t sacrifice as much of my peripheral vision because the hood fit behind these rubberized insets. I found with a helmet on it fit pretty good. Not perfectly, but certainly a big improvement on some of my other hood jackets.
The jackets dedicated media pocket makes it easy to listen to some tunes while you’re on the go. It also is easy for smartphone accessibility to accept calls when coupled with an audio-enabled helmet or headset. The wire for your device travels up to your head via headphone porthole located on the left front chest over the goggle pocket.
The jacket does have an external pass pocket so you can forego the lanyard around your neck. The pocket is located on the left forearm and is great if you’re riding a high tech resort like Vail who uses RFID pass technology. If you’re riding a mountain that is a little more old school and doesn’t have the pass technology to scan you through your clothes this pass pocket doesn’t really improve your life. You will still have to show a physical pass which means you’d still be fishing the pass out of a pocket and given the size of the zipper you’re still going to need to remove your gloves or mittens.
Final Thoughts on the Oakley Zulu BioZone Jacket
Overall, I think the Oakley Zulu BioZone jacket is a really solid jacket, but on its own it’s not warm enough for freezing temperature despite the BioZone™ technology. You will need to add additional layers as I did underneath the coat to achieve my desired temperature in really chilly conditions. That aside, if you need an all-around functional, comfortable and stylish jacket for the slopes or around town I think you would be really happy with the Zulu. Before this jacket I only owned puffies and shells, this is a really nice happy medium. I love the color and features. I think my only wants would be a more universal pass pocket and possibly a magnetic hood which I should note is available in some other jackets of the BioZone line, but the Zulu is not one of them.
In addition to the Turquoise color that I tested, the jacket is also available in the Snow Camo (which you can see in the Zulu BioZone pant review).