Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant Review
The Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant in Snow Camo is part of Oakley’s line of insulated outerwear. At first blush I expected the pattern to be too busy for me and that I would have to make concessions on function for the flare of the pants. I was wrong on both counts. The Snow Camo pattern is surprisingly mellow in person (you barely even notice), and the specs on the pants would make any gearhead happy.
Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant Fit
This pant comes in a regular fit which I found to be a little large around the waist but perfect on my legs. I generally wear a size small and because the legs fit so well, I wouldn’t have wanted to go down a size in these. In fact when the weather gets colder and there are more layers involved I’m sure I’ll be thankful for the extra room. Fortunately, Oakley designed the Zulu BioZone pant with an adjustable silicone gripper waist and exterior drawstring. I like that I could layer up or down as needed and still always get a personalized fit.
If you’re also rocking an Oakley jacket like the Zulu BioZone Jacket, there are hidden snaps under the belt loops to integrate the pant and jacket to keep your powder-skirt extra secure. It’s seamless integration feels like a one-piece which is great for storm skiing and ultra cold days when you want to keep every ounce of warmth.
As I said the legs of this pant are very true to size. Best of all they don’t leave a ton of extra fabric slouching around my ankles so I know these would be a functional pant for hiking the park or the back bowls of your favorite resort (if you open the vents).
Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant Climate Control
These pants get its name from the BioZone fleece lining. The lining is just enough insulation to add that little bit of extra warmth you need for riding the lift or when the temperatures drop. I can honestly say that I didn’t think the additional fleece insulation added much bulk or weight to the pant. Overall I’d say that the difference between the Oakley Zulu BioZone pant and a traditional shell pant is not that extreme. In fact, a lot of women will probably appreciate the extra insulation if they get cold easily (me included).
On the other end of the spectrum when you need to cool off, the inner thighs feature zippered vents so you can open up the airflow easily with mittened hands. The vents open your airflow, but not the entire pant. There’s a mesh backing to the zips that keeps the pants true to fit but keeps chunks of snow out.
Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant Cuffs & Boot Gaiters
I’m particularly fussy about my cuffs and gaiters and if you share this quirk read on. If you don’t want to get into the nitty gritty I’ll just say that the boot gaiters and cuffs on this pant are fantastic for the most part.
The cuff of the Oakley Zulu BioZone pant is a pretty smart design. It’s zippered so you can expand them and have easier access to your gaiters. The bottom of the cuff is reinforced with a tough webbing material which is absolutely necessary on a snowboard pant. Unlike skiers who tend to slice the ankle area of their pants, snowboarders inflict and lot of abuse on their cuffs, especially the non-dominant foot. Either tearing or fraying almost always occurs due to the repetition of strapping and unstrapping. Every time I’ve ever torn a pant it’s been at the bottom of the cuff which eventually results in a tear going up the back of my pants. The webbing prevents this from happening.
The boot gaiters on the Oakley BioZone Pant are pretty standard in that they feature a hook system to attach the gaiters to your laces and keep them securely in place. They also have a gripper on the elastic to help minimize movement around your whole boot.
All in all, I feel confident that the Oakley Zulu BioZone pants have a long life ahead of them because they are properly reinforced in the right places. The one thing I would change on these cuffs would be the addition of a heel strap to pull up the pants in the back when you’re not strapped in. This would also help extend the life of the pants protecting them from damage caused by walking on the back of the pant.
Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant Tech & Specs
The Oakley Zulu BioZone pant boasts 3 key zones of technology throughout the pant: 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 on the back of the knees and around the thigh vents.
Insulation Zones are located on the 3 areas a snowboarder needs them the most: knees, butt and cuffs. The pants are rated at 15,000 mm for waterproofing with critically taped seams which means they’re rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure; so moderate rain and average snowfall. 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 pant. The windproofing coupled with the Hydrogauge technology stood up to Eldora Mountain, which locally we call ‘Windora’. It’s just one of those mountains that always has wind; kind of like Whiteface in New York always has ice. 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.
Final Thoughts on the Oakley Zulu BioZone Pant
The Oakley Zulu BioZone pant is comfortable in both fit and warmth. In the most basic sense they’re just a good looking pair of pants. I had friends over while these were sitting on the couch and they immediately spotted and subsequently were tried on. I would recommend for normal riding conditions and for anyone on the east coast because lets be honest, it’s cold there. If Snow Camo is not for you (but seriously you should try it out), they also come in Turquoise and Jet Black. For more information about these pants and the rest of the BioZone line, check out Oakley’s website.