Mar 13, 2012 at 10:03 am #1287053
Companion forum thread to:Mar 14, 2012 at 4:44 am #1853505
Very nice review, Chris. What you write very closely matches my own 15 year long experience with a number of different Paramo products (have you tried their cap? Works very well). As you say, it is the weight, and sometimes the warmth (but less so for me) that keep it from being perfect, but nevertheless no matter what else I've tried, I always return to Paramo. Plus my 15-year-old jackets and pants are still working as good as new!Mar 14, 2012 at 9:28 am #1853602
@dtougasLocale: Gaspé Peninsula
What is the fit like? Is it baggy, trim, or somewhere in between?Mar 14, 2012 at 9:42 am #1853611
@holdfastLocale: Bergen, Norway
The fit on the Paramo jackets is what lets them down for me. The sleeves could do with being an inch or so longer and there is quite a bit of 'flappage' in the arm and body, although this does allow for a belly pack or storing gas canisters in the pockets, ideal for winter touring.
As others have done, having Cioch make you a custom fitted jacket from the Paramo fabrics is the real deal.
Paramo is a 'winter only' option for me. The double layer of material is just too warm over about 35C. Ski touring it shines, replacing a mid-layer and windshirt which gives you a very simple, no-fussing shell layer. Cleaning/reproofing regularly is required.Mar 14, 2012 at 10:59 am #1853661
@manuel-espejoLocale: La Cuchilla de los Santa.
I own a Quito Jacket, a Fuera Smock and a Mountain Pull-On. Paramo is a on the heavy side, but usually I carry less garments when using Paramo. the fabric is really tough even the Quito jacket outer, I use the Quito regularly for bushwacking in the Paramos near my hometown in thick brush, I take the Fuera smock with my Golite umbrella in the dry season, and the Quito for the rain season(there is no seasons in Colombia).
Some of my Paramo hikes begin really low in the Cloud Jungles of the Central Andean Range, Gore-tex and other WP are useless because the high humidity but Paramo works well for this conditions, during a tropical downpour I unzip all the ventilation options, a bit hot but breath very well, when I reach higher altitudes I just zip all the ventilation, now my R1 hoody and my ID windshirt stay in home in favor of the Quito, my only complain is that Nikwax products are difficult to get in Colombia.
Excuse my English.Mar 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm #1853732
Are there Paramo distributors in the US? If not, what would be the easiest non-US source to purchase from?Mar 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm #1853776
Martin RJ CarpenterMember
Nothing obvious from Paramo's website. They've always tended to go with small independent distributors, partially because they can take the time to explain how it works etc.
I'm sure that some of them would ship, but think it'd be very worthwhile looking at Cioch (or Hilltrek although they've got less styles) for the made to measure. Very small (amazingly so really) premium over Paramo's standard stuff and much safer as regards fit.Mar 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm #1853795
I've had my Velez Adventure light smock since it arrived four years ago. Since then I would never buy a goretex jacket (except for going to work i town). I use it for bicykling, hiking and cross country skiing. I live in Stockholm, Sweden but often go north to the mountains.
Once in a scout competition it rained heavy for 6 hours. The outer shell got wet but I was dry inside.
Best is the side zippers that really ventilates. And that its quiet. I sometimes have it on sleeping in my bag.
AndersMar 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm #1853861
Keep in mind that part of the reason for the loose fit is the the whole system can fit over any layers you put under it and still work… it is not dependent on the warmth generated by your body. Also the loose arms are intentionally designed so that you can easily roll up the sleeves… the material is so soft and pliable (it feels like heavy silk) that it can easily be rolled over upon itself.Mar 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm #1853970
@tjaardLocale: Minnesota, USA
I have ordered from Cioch no problem to the US, for my most recent purchase they did remove the VAT.
I have not tried Paramo themselves or Furtech.
I second the remark about the supple hand of the fabric, it is really very noticeable, especially if you have one with the thinner shell fabrics. This just add tremendously to it's 'wear it 24/7' comfort along with the breathability.
My only regret is no stretch fabrics(yet?) for ice climbing, and some lighter facefabrics and construction methods to reduce the weight a bit.
Edited to update VAT situtationMar 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm #1854047
I own plenty of Paramo and wore it a lot the last 2 days in rain around home mostly biking, having not worn for some months due to local drought. It is too warm, so easily. When it was raining heavy, the chill from the rain, either in the ambient air temperature or via conduction close to the skin, balanced nicely the insulation of Paramo and I was fine happily for some hours, but then the rain eased off to a drizzle and I became too warm, I ended up probably as wet from my own sweat as I would from anything else. Breathability is good but if the garment is sodden from drizzle and you're sweating from too-much clothing, the humidity has nowhere to go and you're just damp skin – but admittedly never cold.
Paramo – it needs to be cold, and then its the best that exists. In the UK where Paramo originates, it spends a lot of time a few degrees above freezing and a lot of that time it is wet, with the short northern winter days its either raining or cold which is perfect for Paramo. In USA, the more extreme temperatures, I'm not so sure it has such a relative market strength, where I live in NorCal a lot of the rain is too warm for Paramo unless I get to altitude.
I own two shells both lighweight I picked for cost/cheapness and I carry and wear when its actually raining, but far far far more times I'm simply using one or two windproof type items to handle light rain and for a bit of insulation.
The more recent change in Paramo is the lightening up of their fabrics (VAL, Quito, Velez) which means more viable to pack Paramo. That is an important change. I now see Paramo as an insulation which happens to be waterproof, rather than the marketing which is a waterproof which happens to have insulation, which might sound just a play on words but means if I'm packing for a trip if its cool enough I'll pack Paramo, knowing that solves any rain, if its not cool I'll pack a shell just in case of rain and some non-waterproof insulation like a Primaloft just in case of cold. Notice these end up practically the same weight packed – about 500g – just the Paramo is a single item I adjust venting vs a shell+insulation 2 items. The difference is a shell can be over a base and handle warmer rain better than Paramo whilst Paramo handles colder rain better.
If you're spending a lot of time outdoors and so many hours fit in that cool/damp condition then Paramo is worthwhile considering. Here's mine:
Paramo Velez trousers
Paramo Fuera Ascent
Paramo Summit Hoodie
Paramo Fuera Pants
Paramo Torres (Primaloft) gilet, sleeves, trousers.
UK distributor. I've had excellent service from Foothills. They don't officially sell to USA off their website but if you place an order to give them your creditcard and then email them to explain you're in USA they'll quote USA postage, which is very reasonably price if you're getting high-end stuff like a Vista which is not too heavy. Due to not charging VAT, it works out usually lower cost than if buying inside UK and typically about 1-2 weeks to delivery.
Example link to the Vista below
No link to Foothills, just I've made about 5 orders the last 4 years and had good service.Mar 15, 2012 at 10:49 am #1854224
I've ordered a number of Paramo, and other, garments from Jackson Sports in the UK (http://www.jackson-sports.com/). Quick shipping, they exclude the VAT when shipping to the US (in fact, choose the US as your default and the website prices will be in US dollars minus VAT), reasonable prices.
I can highly recommend them from the several different orders I've made from them.Mar 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm #1854575
I know this thread is about the Vista but my comments apply to the Quito too, which I own.
Anecdotal evidence. Today, its wet in NorCal bay area and the weather about 60F at sealevel. The forecast was for dry afternoon, 10% chance of rain, and with heavy rain forecast tomorrow, I took the "window" opportunity to bike into the hills on what turned out to be 4 hours of continual rain. Aside – so much for weather forecasts.
On the ascent up to 2600ft, there is nothing neither windproof not waterproof which lets warm air escape well enough so in rain I simply let myself get wet, my heat output high enough I was steaming in just a baselayer. Rain being just cleaner alternative to sweat.
At the peak, I took off my base, squeezed all the water out of it, put it back on, and I donned a Paramo Quito. The chilling effect of the descent, approx 2000ft in 10mins, meant I was needing a fair degree of insulation both during descent and then about 20mins after as I got back up to warm again. The Quito kept me warm enough, the significant reasons being the Velcro sleeves (not elasticated, so tight), the cinch cords around the waist, the hood with cinch cords at front and rear.
Once I felt warm enough again at the bottom of the hill, I then removed the Quito to check the baselayer, it was dry. The breathability of the Paramo design and my body heat had dried out a rain-sodden baselayer in about 30mins.
I kept on the Quito but vented it a lot, all the zips open, sleeves up for a generally lower-output return home, in the rain.
At home, I removed the Quito, shook it then put it back on and in about 30mins it dried fully from body heat then removed to use another day. I accept if I were to enter a tent all that damp would be dumped into condensation.
The downside of Paramo is the too-much-insulation problem, but once you learn it has immense breathability which only needs body heat, that insulation becomes part of the system which leads to comfort.
With a shell, you have to avoid overheating, the shell fabric cannot breathe enough if you're overheating, but with Paramo a different set of issues, you can delay putting it on til you are about to be chilled, over wet clothing, and then let yourself get too warm, that heat then dries yourself skin-out. Paramo also creates the problem – you have to delay putting it on due to its too-warm insulation problem. Just a different approach to using a shell.
Generally, Paramo is too warm for my home area. I wear it far far less than when I was in UK, but it still has a useful role. If I did not own Paramo I'd have done things differently, probably added a windproof earlier in the ascent to reduce soaking of my baselayer, then added an insulating layer like a thin Primaloft layer and then removed that insulation later. I'd have carried similar insulation to the Quito but not have been as comfortable.Mar 16, 2012 at 2:32 am #1854585
Páramo does have loyal followers so I'll thrust their opinions. It does look like a splendid shell/insulation in colder environments. Sadly however, the fit seems baggy – although that might be a good thing in winter – and the main point, I really think they're quite ugly. I can wear clothing in bad color combinations, no problem, but the design of paramo just screams 50+ years old to me. :) I know this is a bit silly, but it puts me off.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:35 am #1854589
the newer jackets do not look too bad. the quito also doesn't have such a baggy cut.
the garments are made in a wider cut for a better layering and the pump liner shouldn't be squeezed. otherwise paramo jacket might not work.
in regards to drying out a parama garment:
this won't work in very humid conditions (96% +) without body heat or a fire. Nothing just dries by itself in such weather.Mar 16, 2012 at 5:55 am #1854613
Wish the manufacturers would skip the reflective logos and piping. Just messes up photos. No cars on the trails. Certainly added for the urban wilderness experience.
I'd like to try the Velez Adventure Smock, the lightweight one.Mar 16, 2012 at 6:25 am #1854621
The pump liner doesn't need body heat to work. It is a mechanical process in the physical design of the hairs on the liner. It literally draws moisture from the non-haired side to the haired side due to capillary action, not with heat as other systems do. You can lay the pump liner on a cold table, drop a spot of water onto it, and watch the water drop get sucked to the other side. That's why it's called a "pump liner" and the marketing calls it "Nikwax Directional Wateproofs". It is fundamentally different in how it handles moisture compared to other systems.
It works the same way as you see on a dog's fur, when the water drops collect at the end of the hairs.Mar 16, 2012 at 9:36 am #1854711
The medium Quito I own has the same amount of spare fabric to cinch in the chest/belly as say my medium Marmot Mica and less than say my Montane Litespeed.
Ugly – I just pick black.
My criticism is they aren't sized for outdoors people. When Tolkien wrote of middle earth, the Hobbits were all employed at Paramo, with relatively short+wide torso+arms. The Quito is probably a size 0 Hobbit, narrower torso+arms slightly longer sleeves but about 4" too short in the torso, forcing use of waterproof trousers or get soggy rear. The large Quito is substantially larger than the medium, I could probably use it as a shelter and I reckon I could have got another Hobbit inside. I used to own a Velez and I needed large to get the arm length, at least the Quito allowed me go down to medium.
A degree of bagginess makes the garment function better, the sleeves on the Quito are just wide enough to get a through-breeze in the arms if I un-velcro the wrists and open the pitzips when biking, but not so baggy its annoyingly flappy. A few inches spare in the chest allows for a through-breeze down the back.Mar 16, 2012 at 9:53 am #1854715
The pump liner simply has a strong tendency when its clean to keep water on its outward face, and the weave is so loose you can easily blow air through it, that is why its a very breathable waterproof. The outer layer is a windproof with little water resistance which is intended to blunt the velocity of rain so it can't push past the resistance of the inner layer. I have a kind of separate inner+outer in the Summit Hoodie + windproof and I can hold some inches of static water as bucket of the hoodie.
However, you're still talking a fleecy like outer surface of the inner layer and a non-waterproof outer layer meaning the garment becomes sodden heavy with rain and without body heat will take a long time to dry. The body heat is the key – the immense breathability means body heat passes right through the inner layer and is largely trapped inside the outer layer so lots of evaporative heat there trapped. That is not a good thing if this is your insulation layer to straight from rain to a tent. Typically hence Paramo wearers are not camping but day hiking to end indoors. A fleece+shell, you can shake dry the shell and your fleece is only wet from sweat, less water held than the inner layer of the Paramo.
Paramo came out with synthetic insulated layers and these perfectly balance the sodden tendencies of the waterproofs, if you're not warm enough to dry out the waterproof, e.g. you've stopped moving, then overlayer and the drying will occur of the waterproof and your overlayers become damp. So a typical Paramo context is wearing all day, as very comfortable, the waterproof and when stopping overlayer which is carried. Paramo make separate overlayer vest and sleeves which gives a lot of flexibility, I prefer to a jacket for backpacking as the sleeves can be added/removed without removing backpack and stash in a backpack side pocket.
4 days non-stop rain in NorCal, I'm sat indoors wearing my Quito to dry it having done the bike school run.Mar 16, 2012 at 9:56 am #1854716
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
As Miguel said, Paramo doesn't depend on body heat to keep you dry. It's a mechanical process.Mar 16, 2012 at 10:09 am #1854725
Paramo doesn't need body heat to keep YOU dry but it depends on body heat to keep ITSELF dry. Remind me next time to weigh it when I come home with it sodden. I've always been warm+dry but the garment can't shake dry like say an eVent shell.
I Nikwak it fairly often, that is key to both waterproofness and fastest drying.
Its a pity Paramo doesn't sell to USA there's some major sections of the USA which are cool+damp for months. Whilst there are dealers who will ship to USA, and it actually can end up lower cost than inside the UK, fit is the issue, it will typically not fit well >50% of people. The Vista when it came out, I had to wait I think 6 months til visiting UK, try it on in Ambleside, didn't find it solved the issues with the Quito, tried a few other things on and then back in USA months later bought the items I wanted in a sale, so you're talking about 11 months buying cycle. Most in BPL don't visit UK often enough and it would be scary to buy online having never tried for fit.
Paramo offers the best value for money as the waterproofness is not blunted by age, the cost is comparable to a high-end waterproof but lasts substantially longer.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm #1854856
@jrozesLocale: Pacific Wonderland
I've had a size medium Quito for a couple years now. It's definitely not baggy (I'm 5'11", 175 lbs, 32" waist). It's cut like a cycling jacket – the arms are quite long (cuffs don't ride up when extending arms overhead), but the torso is short (measures 5" below my belt line in front, 7" in back).
My only complaint with the fit is that the armpit area where the sleeve joins the torso is too tight. I can wear it comfortably with a base layer, but anything more results in slight pinching (I measure about 20" vertically around the armpit and top of shoulder).
Fit aside, I've been very happy with its performance. For moving around in the near-continuous cold rain we frequently get here in the Pacific Northwest, I haven't found anything better – yet.Mar 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm #1854889
When the Quito came out, I had email exchanges with Paramo HQ, sent my measured dimensions, they said get LARGE. Which I did. Ordered, delivered – to USA. It was very baggy, my nickname for it was the Orange Tent. I emailed back to compare lengths medium/long, the medium was a lot shorter so figured I'd just suffer the bagginess, after a winter I found it annoying, thought about taking scissors+thread to it to take a good few inches out but sold it in the UK, where I then tried a medium, and found it in black, which initially was a special limited edition now its a standard color.
Correct it can become tight in places if you add a mid-layer, but its a far worse problem to jump up a size and have it baggy. I layer OVER mine using the Paramo Torres gilet and sleeves, which is more flexible than mid-layering. I emailed Paramo saying too big a jump between medium/long they said they "followed industry standards" which is odd because I measured the large to be a lot more than the 3" bigger chest delta.
I have a degree of flexibility of baselayer e.g a 250g weight Merino is quite warm, yesterday I was wearing a Paramo Explorer fleece under, but mostly I'm in the thinnest t-shirt baselayer as even the Quito is too warm when active above 50F.
Yes, its SORT OF a cycling cut, the hood moves with the head if you cinch both front+rear cords, good for seeing to the sides, I don't think it can be improved, the sleeves are perfect, just the right amount of room, but the VERY SHORT rear is very much NOT CYCLING.
I, like you, haven't found anything better. The 3 changes I'd make is add a chinguard, a few poppers on the front zip so can vent without letting rain in, and add at least 4" all around. The bi-directional front zip can zip up to spread it for cycling forward position or fully zip for walking/upright but the rear needs to be ideally 6" longer to be ACTUALLY for cycling. I have a Montane Velo cycling jacket, and Novaro cycling jacket and their back lengths are 6" more than the Quito so water doesnt run off onto the cyclist.
Anyhow – I really don't recommend ANYONE buy Paramo on spec, but MUST try for fit. Don't bother listening to Paramo's view of fit, their web page uses "active cut" on practically all items description, they are wrong. I still recommend Paramo, for cool wet conditions, nothing really beats it on performance, its just the fit issues to resolve.
We also should form an escape committee to get the Hobbits broken free from their prison in Paramo HQ.Mar 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm #1855035
Nigel, for both the Velez Adventure Light Smock and Vista Jacket I'll grant you that I found them both too short in the front hem. All my outdoor midlayer shirts stick out underneath them at the front. Therefore I use them as waterproof midlayers, and, like you, layer my Torres Core Gillet and Arms (waterproof synthetic insulation layer) over it when it is cold. However, the tail in the back is just long enough on both of them, and the fit in the rest of the designs is perfect for me (I'm 178 cm/ 72 kg… 5.8 ft./159 lb). The sleeves are long enough (reaching to the middle of the top of my hand) and there is no pinching whatsoever. I find the jackets very comfortable, volume-wise. I'm completely confused where you think they would be for hobbits. They're bigger in volume for medium than most jackets I've recently bought (they're more sized to standards from 15 years ago, when gear was designed to be more voluminous and, in my opinion, more practical). We both do have to keep in mind that everyone is sized differently, so what works for some people doesn't necessarily work for others.
That's for the "light" jackets. My Cascada jacket is completely different. It is very long… reaching all the way to mid-calf, and fits over quite a range of midlayers. I prefer long jackets (really don't like the recent trend toward very short jackets) and use the Cascada almost exclusively in the winter. It is heavy, but since I never take it off I don't have to carry it in my pack, which is the main reason I don't use it in the summer. Again, when it is gets colder than my walking system can handle, I layer my Torres Core Gillet and Arms over it (though the Casacada is voluminous enough to take the insulation underneath. If there was a lighter version of the Cascada, I'd very very happy. Length-wise it is similar to a somewhat short cagoule, though not as wide.
Paramo takes some shifting in thinking to use properly. If you think in traditional layering terms it will probably not work well. It is a little similar to the pertex/pile system (which completely does away with baselayer/midlayer/windlayer), though slightly more flexible, and, unlike pertex/pile, waterproof. Once you get your head around the difference, it works well, for me at least.Mar 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm #1855050
@tjaardLocale: Minnesota, USA
Cioch Direct will make custom sizes, prices are listed on their website.
I am tall and so have a hard time getting a good fit in any brand jacket, so the custom optin is great.
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