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Opinions of the OR Zealot jacket
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Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Opinions of the OR Zealot jacket on 01/03/2008 09:06:25 MST Print View

What are peoples opinions of the OR Zealot jacket? Used primarily for rain wear, and a lesser extent wind wear. I'll be trail hiking with a pack weight 20 lbs or less.
I can pick up a Zealot jacket for $99.50.

Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
Zealot A-OK on 01/03/2008 10:59:23 MST Print View

I have had mine for about a year. Colorado is generally a dry climate so I have not worn it for long periods of rain. It has worked perfectly in our short cloudbursts. I don't really miss the pit zips that were on the jacket I used to carry. The hood is of adequate design, but not quite big enough for my helmet.
I love the light weight of this jacket.
I would definately buy another if the need arose. And I do recommend it.

(beenay25) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
re: Zealot on 01/03/2008 11:27:23 MST Print View

I have mixed feelings about this jacket. I got it last year and have been using it since last spring. So far I like it. It's super light weight. My size large weighs 7.9 ounces. It's long enough for good coverage of my waist if I'm just wearing running shorts and no rain pants. The sleeves, also, are long enough to pull my hands back into.

There are a couple negatives that I've been able to live with, however, but which may bother somebody else. The first one is the hood. The top of the zipper comes up right below my nose and is really inflexible. An off-center zipper would be more comfortable. The hood drawcord is very non-traditional and weight saving and it basically compresses the rear-top of the hood against the lower front of the hood. As weird as this sounds, it actually works just fine...most of the time. When a really hard-driving and cold rain is blowing straight towards me, the brim can get lifted up and back a few inches unless I have my head tilted downward. This exposes the top of my head and face, and creates a gap in the jacket that rain can get in through, which I'd usually rather not happen. The second negative is the two-way separating zipper. It works fine for me, but when I lend this jacket to friends, they complain that the zipper is difficult to operate, which it isn't really, if you know how to operate a two-way separating zipper, but perhaps in cold weather, with cold fingers, it could be a problem.

All that said...I personally have only experienced minor annoyance with the hood in certain circumstances, and again, it's hard to complain when this thing is so light...but if I were to buy another one (which I probably won't), I'd opt for a jacket that has a full featured hood. Hooded rain jackets really need to have drawcords that can cinch the face opening closed. If I could find one with a zipper that veers off center near the face or is at least more comfortable, that would be a factor as well. It would be worth the extra 2 ounces or so.

If you don't mind a non-traditional hood, then the Zealot is a great lightweight Gore-tex jacket for most of the time in most conditions. If you like to go backpacking in places where you spend a lot of time cold, wind-driven rain, then go for a slightly heavier one with a better hood.

Edited by beenay25 on 01/03/2008 11:28:06 MST.

John Mackey
(JohnMackey) - F
Re: Opinions of the OR Zealot jacket on 01/03/2008 15:13:35 MST Print View

The OR Zealot Jacket is a good piece of gear except for the zipper which is terrible. Hood is o.k. because I always have a hat underneath it to give it structure. A lighter rain jacket (5.2 oz. in medium on my scale) with a much better zipper is Sierra Designs Isotope. The Isotope is so light that it has allowed me to dispense entirely with using a windshirt. I also recommend Dri-Ducks rain gear and my medium rain jacket only weighs 5.5 ounces and is very breathable (much more breathable than any other rain jacket I've used and all most all windshirts too). It is also very cheap. However, it is far less durable so you need to not be bushwacking with it and it also doesn't compress as well either (however it makes a good foundation for a sleeping pillow in a stuff sack).

Edited by JohnMackey on 01/03/2008 19:53:35 MST.

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Re: Opinions of the OR Zealot jacket on 01/03/2008 16:46:50 MST Print View

Hi all,
Thanks for your candid replies about the Zealot jacket. I can deal with the zipper issues, but I'm not sure if I can deal with the hood. I like a hood that stays put even in wind driven rain/snow. Alan Dixon wore a Zealot during his NZ tramping, but I can't find his review of the jacket.
I've heard some good things about the Isotope. I'll look into that. I have several Dri-Ducks rainwear jackets. I like them a lot. The durability is an issue, but my hiking is mostly trail anyway. Certainly the price is right!
I don't think I'll jump at the Zealot just yet.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Review of OR Zealot on 01/03/2008 17:17:06 MST Print View

In case you haven't seen it, here's a review of the Zealot:

(beenay25) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Re: Re: Re: Opinions of the OR Zealot jacket on 01/03/2008 19:45:33 MST Print View

Driducks are good, especially the pants since they don't have a lot of moving parts to break. I bought two pairs of the Driducks rainsuits recently and the stitching on the zipper of the jacket was coming loose on both of them when I received them (new). Apparently, the people who make Driducks have never heard of doubling back when sewing. No problem for me: I just put it to my sewing machine, did a tight zig-zag stitch at each end of the zippers, and the problem was solved. I wouldn't have had to use a sewing machine, but it looks neater this way. It makes me wonder if there were QC issues for the particular batch these rain jackets came from, but the rest of the seams of the jacket are quite sturdy. The body seams look like they're laminated, or heat-sealed, which is good because any place a thread is stitched into this fabric is a potential weak point.

Hmm, sorry I'm such a doomsayer about all these rain jackets. $99 is a good deal on the Zealot. The way I figure these things is, if the place has a good return policy, it doesn't cost more than the return shipping to check it out and see if you like it.

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Opinions of the OR Zealot jacket on 01/04/2008 06:29:33 MST Print View

If you're going to go for the lightest possible rain jacket, then it makes sense to at least try the SD Isotope. With my own gear list, I can save 10.6 ounces by replacing my Patagonia Houdini and Spraymaster with the Isotope. The Isotope is only 90 dollars as well.

Here is the BPL review which is highly recommended Review. In looking through older reviews, the 2005 version doesn't seem to be as rain worthy as the 2007.

Yet another item for my wish list.

Edited by fperkins on 01/04/2008 06:32:15 MST.

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
OR Zealot on 01/04/2008 16:26:36 MST Print View

I have one and agree with the above review. I would recommend it as an awesome emergency shell or your primary shell for drier climates. It is not the best for prolonged wet nasty weather because of breathability/lack of pit zips and the hood adjustments. For a couple ounces more there are jackets with pit zips, pockets, longer cut, and better hoods that are more pleasurable to wear in prolonged rain. For $100 bucks I would pick up another Zealot for when mine wears out.

Edited by monstertruck on 01/04/2008 16:27:17 MST.

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: OR Zealot on 01/05/2008 10:53:18 MST Print View

Thanks for eveyone's help. In typical gear head fashion:)I'm going to buy the Isotope and Zealot to see how they fit then decide between the two. I won't keep both of them.....:D

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
replacing windshirt w/ Isotope on 01/05/2008 15:00:28 MST Print View

Is the SD Isotope really breathable enough to replace a windshirt? I highly doubt it. Although the Isotope is very light, from what I've heard about the jacket (including what is said in the BPL review) the breathability is nothing exceptional. Is there something I am missing?

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: replacing windshirt w/ Isotope on 01/05/2008 18:20:17 MST Print View

That's a good point. I ready someone *was* going to do it... but has anyone actually done it with success?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Sierra Designs Isotope on 01/05/2008 18:41:29 MST Print View

I have the 2007 model -- it's actually rainproof (the 2006 model was a joke). Breathability is passable for wp/b rainwear.

Methinks Driducks is a much better substitute for a wind shell -- you get full waterproofness and pretty darn good breathability in a package that's even lighter than the Isotope!