2013-2014 Oakley Cottage Jacket
Size Tested: Extra Large
Color: Orion Blue
Front Zipper Length: 34”
Blister’s Measured Weight: 1210 grams
- Shell: 65% Nylon / 35% Polyester
- Oakley Hydrogauge™ 15 waterproof/breathable laminate
- Two-way center front zip
- Wrist/hand gaiter
- Liner: BioZone™ technology
- OOR™ hood and cuffs
- Underarm vents
- Goggle wipe and goggle cloth
- Taped seams
- Storm skirt
- Interior pocket
- Phone/media pocket with clear cover and port hole
Reviewer: 6’,0″ 160 lbs.
Days Worn: 28 days
This season, most of my time in the mountains has been wrapped in Oakley’s technical outerwear. Since Oakley offers a diverse line of jackets, I figured it would be informative to test a range of models. This way I could not only compare each jacket to other brands I’ve worn, but also to other jackets within Oakley’s lineup.
The Oakley jackets I’ve been in this year are the Cottage, Drifter, Beltline Pro, plus last year’s Unification Pro jacket and pants while teaching adaptive skiing at the National Ability Center in Park City. Testing this assortment of jackets has allowed me to take a look at a range of waterproof/breathable fabrics (Oakley’s proprietary 2L Hydrogauge 15 and 3L Hydrogauge 20 materials as well as Gore-Tex Pro-shell), a range of price points, and a range of fits.
The Cottage jacket is the least expensive of those I’ve tested, and it uses the Oakley’s Hydrogauge 15 waterproof/breathable fabric with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. Hydrogauge 15 falls right in the middle of Oakley’s proprietary fabrics in terms of performance ratings, as they also offer a Hydrogauge 10 (not tested) and Hydrogauge 20 (used for the Drifter), before moving up to Gore-Tex’s Pro Shell (Beltline Pro).
Of the four Oakley jackets I’ve been testing, the Cottage is the only 2L jacket and uses a a loose inner liner in its construction. (If you are not familiar with the details of and differences between 2L and 3L fabrics, see our Outerwear 101 article). With what Oakley calls “Biozone technology,” this liner strategically adds light insulation, wicking fabric, and high stretch fabric to different regions of the jacket.
The Cottage has a number of features besides the fabric and liner that help increase the comfort and convenience of a day on the hill. The hood easily fits over my Anon Nelson helmet, and doesn’t feel restrictive through a normal range of motion. The hood also uses a drawcord system that can be cinched down with one hand, and directs the excess cord away from your face. The hood of the Cottage does have a small brim for added protection, but unlike the Drifter and Beltline, it does not use a wire to retain shape. I have not found this to be a problem in any way, though.
The Cottage (and the Drifter and Beltline Pro) also has a molded rubber goggle scraper on the cuff, a micro cloth lined spare lens pocket, and a 2-sided (absorb and polish) micro cloth on a tether. I have used all of these features many times, and given how handy they are, I’m surprised that they aren’t included on more ski and snowboard jackets.
In addition, the Cottage features a clear, touch screen friendly internal phone/media pocket. I can easily check and even reply to text or email messages on my LG G2 without taking my phone out of the pocket. The accuracy of tapping and swiping through the clear pocket lining isn’t perfect, but I can get most tasks done easily. If you’re ever nervous about taking your phone out of your pocket on the lift, you’ll appreciate this feature.
The cottage has a total of six storage pockets, excluding the phone / media and lens pockets, as well as a goggle pouch located inside the jacket. These six pockets provide more than enough opportunities to weigh yourself down with all sorts of items on the hill. One of the pockets is a convenient pass pocket located on the left forearm; the others are in the typical chest and hand pocket zones. I’ve actually really appreciated the pockets of the Cottage. The size of each pocket feels perfect, and it is nice to have the ability to separate individual items, decreasing the likelihood of dropping something accidentally.
Other essential features of the Cottage include a storm skirt and perfect fitting (for my arms) cuff gaiters with thumbholes. These gaiters do their job, while also allowing me in the air to reach for any grab without the feeling of my thumbs being clotheslined.
Fit: Oakley’s “Loose” Fit vs. “Regular” Fit
The Cottage is part of Oakley’s “loose” fit collection. The other pieces I have tested from Oakley have been their “regular” fit, and the difference between Loose and Regular is immediately noticeable. The Cottage measures about 1-2” larger in every dimension than the same size in a regular fit jacket. The loose fit may feel quite baggy to some, though for me it simply feels unrestrictive and very comfortable—regardless of skiing position—not excessively loose.
Compared to many other XL jackets I’ve used in the past few years, I consider Oakley’s loose fit to be the most comfortable fit of any ski jacket I have worn. For my frame (tall, thin, long arms), the cut’s extra room allows me to move through greater ranges of motion unimpeded. The only place I have at times wished for a little closer fit is around the chin and neck on super cold or windy days.
If the looser freeride / park-inspired look isn’t up your alley, sizing down one size would likely bring the fit and look of a loose fit piece closer to regular. Otherwise I would suggest restricting your search to Oakley’s Regular Fit jackets.