Mountain Hardwear Zonal Jacket

First Impressions

Man, the guys at Mountain Hardwear do a great job with product naming – the Drystein Jacket and Dragons Claw Glove are both cleverly and descriptively branded. So is the Zonal Jacket. It combines insulation in all the right zones of the body (the core, arms and upper back primarily) with stretch panels in areas where insulation isn’t necessary. Great design, perfect name.


Mountain Hardwear built the Zonal to be one of those “everything you need, but nothing you don’t” jackets that does a very specific job very well. As a result, the Zonal is a perfect mid-layer jacket for a variety of winter outdoor activities.

By keeping the feature set small, the Zonal stays very light weight. Our size medium sample weighed in at just over 14 ounces, about half a pound lighter than the down-filled Reach the Peak from Columbia. That isn’t to say that the Zonal lacks features. On the contrary, the Zonal includes things like two handwarmer pockets, a huge interior goggle pocket, and a fleece lined chin.

Fabric: Nylon and stretch panels
Insulation: Thermic Micro synthetic
Weight: 14.75 oz

Construction throughout was solid as we expect from Mountain Hardwear. My one bit of constructive criticism regarding the Zonal would be color choice. Our men’s sample came in a glossy bright red (Thunderbird Red according to the Mountain Hardwear product description), and it’s just too glossy and too red in my opinion. My advice, order yours in any one of the other three colors – blue, green or black.


The Zonal fit perfectly, no need to size up or down. Mountain Hardwear cut the product trim so the jacket holds close to the body. The stretch panels that line the sides add needed give, but the jacket still feels a touch tight through the shoulders given the athletic cut. The Thermic Micro insulation provides sufficient warmth and almost no bulk.

Final Verdict

Great mid-layer for colder days or outer layer in the shoulder seasons. The light weight, low bulk, athletic cut and enormous interior pocket make the Mountain Hardwear Zonal one of the best around.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4/5] Features:
[Rating:4.5/5] Fit:
[Rating:3.5/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Mountain Hardwear for providing product for this review. Written by Matt K.