Cloudveil Zorro Jacket: A Masterpiece

Posted on: January 31, 2008

MSRP: $140

Weight: 14 ounces

When I was taking my ski exam in Europe, back in 1998, I was nicknamed "Zorro" by Bela Vadasz, one of the examiners. But truly, I did not feel like Zorro until I wore the Cloudveil Zorro jacket on many rainy days this summer and fall. In fact, I felt like grabbing my ice ax like a sword and making a "Z" in the snow more than once while wearing this piece, a great lightweight and windproof hard shell.

Versatile at just 14 ounces, the jacket is a "must bring" item that's easy to store on sunny days, breathable and always ready for pouring rain. It truly kept me dry. It was comfortable with a harness, with high-placed pockets that were easy to access when I was roped up and was wearing a pack.


It has a handsome cut, a clever way to hide the hood, large mesh pockets big enough for plenty of food and a Nalgene bottle on either side in the inside. This jacket is a well-thought-out masterpiece.

The Zorro is excellent for alpine climbs in summer, trekking in rainy places like Patagonia or Alaska or for drier weather when there's some snow. It's a great replacement for heavier and more expensive GoreTex-type jackets because it is a hard shell, but it's fully breathable, has pit zips and goes perfectly over a soft shell layer, if needed.

The only thing I didn't like is that the cut is a bit short. Sometimes it came out too easily from my harness when I had it tucked in. It's not quite as long as similar jackets I've used. Obviously this shorter cut makes it lighter, and possibly more fashionable, but when the cold gets in under the jacket, I wish it were a couple inches longer.

Pros: Lightweight; breathable; waterproof; comfortable with gear over it; good pocket size and placement; reasonably priced.

Cons: Cut may be a bit short for most.


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I have had this Jacket for 2 years now and use it infrequently for commuting on my bike to work. Infrequently in that it needs to be raining heavliy enough and I need to be commuting on that day here in Melbourne where it is fairly dry. I have probably used it 20 or 30 times in 2 years.

I was very excited about this jacket because I thought it would be perfect to stick in the bottom of my pack to pull out whenever it rained. Pit zips and a lightweight 2.5 breathable fabric had me forking out $400 for the jacket in Australia. Quite expensive but I thought by the look of the jacket and suitablity for my purpose it would be worth it.

The lining has started to peel away from the inside back of the hood around the neck after what I consider to not be very extensive use.

I sent it back and the distributor in Australia and they said that it should be washed after every use and there was nothing they could do to help me. I hadn't done this and can't remember directions telling me to do so. Afterall, I had owned similar jackets with Entrant and Goretex 2.5 layer material, used them for commuting, and treated them the same way and had no issues with the fabric. If the fabric was so delicate it should have been made Loud and Clear that the jacket must be washed after every use.

The jacket has worked well for the job I am using it for but Cloudveil really need to work on their fabrics durability. I would have expected much better durability for half the cost, or even less. I will be looking elsewhere next time I buy a jacket.

2010-10-15 06:53:10

Thanks for the update! and for the clear answers! I apologize for the cynicism.

2008-02-06 13:29:34

Hi amigo,

Zorro here. What I wrote was influenced by nothing except the jacket itself, and therefore it deserves the praise. I’ll try to answer your questions, though—thanks for asking.

You are right when you say that there are other Gore-Tex jackets as light on the market. I have used numerous similar shells and found the Zorro an excellent and affordable jacket that is under a pound... lightweight, considering its many well-designed features (listed above).

As for the hood, the design conceals it under a noticeable but handsome pocket when not in use (best I have seen for hiding the sometimes ugly and inconvenient hood that flaps around 90% of the time with no use). It’s also clear that Cloudveil put some thought into the shape because the fit is ideal when wearing over a helmet. I hope this helps.

Hasta la vista,


2008-02-05 13:30:50

There's no problem with something getting a great review, its just there's a lot of marketing/reviews on things. Most gear, jackets, etc will be excellent, but I'd like to see things really evaluated. And, I certainly don't mean any offense to the reviewer.

Also, that first paragraph is great.

2008-02-01 16:15:32

the first paragraph of this review is hilarious. keep up the good work.

in response to questions?: it may not be lighter than most Gore-Tex rain shells, but it's definitely $50-75 cheaper msrp and i've found it on sale for $80 on a few sites. what's wrong with something performing the way it should and getting a great review? outside magazine and backpacker gave it excellent reviews as well. does that make it a marketing ploy? i don't think so.

2008-02-01 13:56:09

What makes the hood clever and how well does it fit over a helmet? Also "It's a great replacement for heavier and more expensive GoreTex-type jackets because it is a hardshell, but it's fully breathable, has pit zips" - is it more breathable than Gore-Tex? The jacket is listed as being 14oz, which is not lighter than other Gore-Tex Pac-lite jackets.

This seems more like marketing gush than a real review.

2008-02-01 13:04:13
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