First Impressions

What combines the best features of a Marmot Oracle jacket and a Pillow Pet? The Mountain Hardwear MCZ, that’s what. Out of the box, this jacket looks like your traditional hardshell. On closer inspection, it’s not. It uses a very light weight and breathable fabric similar to the Oracle but lines the interior in strategic places with a high pile fleece reminiscent of the Penny the Penguin Pillow Pet my daughter bought my wife for her birthday. You can never have too many Pillow Pets, you know.


Mountain Hardwear has thrown everything into the MCZ. It has traditional hardshell styling. I chose the yellow which comes with a handsome grey accent color under the sleeves. It actually is a bit more orange than I expected, but I like orange so that was no problem. Pockets are ample. There are the standard exterior hand warmers and a napoleon pocket on the chest. Hood zips off. Interior pockets include a mesh version that was one of the largest I’ve seen in a while. There’s a zip out powder skirt as well.

The fabric chosen by Marmot for the MCZ is very lightweight with a waterproof membrane. I question this choice for a jacket designed for skiing. Only time will tell how well it holds up. The fleece pile at the shoulders and upper back should add a little warmth on colder days.


Exactly what you’d expect from a traditional hardshell type jacket. Not too tight, not too loose. Plenty of room for layering. The waterproof membrane is slick to the touch and makes putting the jacket on a breeze. It slides on like it’s lined with Teflon.

Final Verdict

Nice. I like the traditional styling and fit. The colors are great and you couldn’t ask for more features. My only concern is the lightweight fabric and long term durability. If you’re looking for something that isn’t going to weigh you down, this is one great choice.

Available at Sierra Trading Post.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4/5] Features:
[Rating:3.5/5] Fit:
[Rating:4/5] Final Verdict:

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