highweiwrote a review of Marmot Zion Jacket - Men's on January 1, 2013
Familiarity: I've used it several times
I found this jacket to be appealing due to the Polartec Neo Shell and it's great Marmot construction. I was looking for a softshell to use for backcountry skinning and skiing. For camping and hiking, this would be a great softshell but to also utilize it for skiing and backcountry use, this jacket could use some improvements.
I'm 6'2" and 205 lbs. and I got the XL which fits great overall. A little roomy in the torso for me but arm and body length was great. I also originally ordered the L to make sure of sizing and it was too fitted.
There are 3 things that this jacket could improve on to make it the ultimate backcountry/hiking jacket:
1. Increase hood size to actually allow a helmet. Helmets should be used in the backcountry and not being able to pull the hood over your helmet is a disadvantage when weather comes in and out while skinning up.
2. Increase size of cuffs. The cuffs are a bit fitted and I don't see much use of the velcro on the sleeve as the diameter of the sleeve barely allows for under-the-cuff gloves. Not an issue if you have a gauntlet glove.
3. Add Pit Zips! No matter how breathable the fabric is, pit zips are always essential to cool off with a pack moving vertically hiking or skinning. I'm not a big sweater but it would be a better feature to manage body temp.
Overall, this jacket has great construction and excellent material. It's advertised for winter use but only if you're not skiing. I'm hesitant to return it as it also looks great but the 3 functions I've noted pushed me over the edge to return it. I also tried the Norrøna Trollveggen Flex3 Softshell Jacket but the construction on the front of the jacket is awkward. I will next see if Flylow's Higgins Jacket will work out.