FurTech=DWR Fleece+ windshirt?

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    Diplomatic Mike


    Locale: Under a bush in Scotland

    I've worn both. I had a Buffalo mountain shirt that i wore on it's own next to my skin. Excellent for dependable cold conditions but too warm (for me) unless it's below zero. It has a thick fleece inner. The outer Pertex shell repels snow and showers, but continuous rain will eventually wet out the shirt. Even if it becomes soaked, it is still warm as long as you stay active.
    I have a Paramo Aspira Smock which i find more suitable for the mixed weather of a Scottish winter, where i can have sleet, blue skies, freezing rain and snow within an hour!

    Miguel Arboleda
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan

    In theory they work in a different way But i think that behind all this theories they work in a similar way

    Seems like the debate between the two systems is going to go on till mountains become canyons and the canyons become oceans.

    It is very hard to explain the differences until you actually try them both out. People have an ingrained idea about how insulation and waterproofing work and most people cannot seem to let go of the idea of materials being hydrophilic and hydrophobic. But the two systems are very different.

    The pertex pile system works on the idea of quickly evaporating liquid spread over a wide surface area, it works on the heat from the body. When the outer fabric, the water resistant pertex, is overwhelmed, the system continues to work much the same as a wet suit, staying warm enough that the cold of moisture doesn't threaten the wearer. If there is no heat the system cannot work. And when the pile is too thin, such as a Marmot Dri-clime jacket is used in sub-zero temperatures and the outer shell is overwhelmed, the wearer will get very chilled while being wet. All pertex/ pile systems are not supposed to be washed in waterproofing solutions such as Nikwax TX.Direct, because the pile clumps up and loses its ability to spread out the moisture from the skin.

    The Paramo Analogy system doesn't depend on heat to work (though heat helps to dry out the system, of course). As Chris Townsend explained earlier, it is the physical configuration of the outward facing fibers (pile fibers face inward) of the pump liner, the "V" shape that Chris mentions, or, as I read it, the denser base of the fibers that grow progressively more open the further they extend from the base of the pump liner, that actively "pulls" moisture from the inner surface of the liner to the outer. No heat is needed for this. It's a physical attribute of water that causes it to react with the shape of the liner fibers in this way. You can pour water onto the inner surface of the liner and watch it, not spread out like with the pile in the pertex/pile system, but get sucked right through. Using waterproofing in the Paramo system does not affect the liner and helps to make the thin polyester shell water resistant enough to keep moisture running off the surface of the whole system. But it is not strictly waterproof in the same way as Gore-tex or eVent. If you wear a pair of Paramo Nikwax Analogy Cascada pants… their "waterproof" pants… and sit down in a puddle, the pressure from your backside will press water through the outer fabric and you will feel wet. However, when you stand up the moisture will quickly be drawn away from inside and you will dry off quickly. The Paramo system doesn't rely on impermeability to keep you dry, as Gore-tex or eVent do, but on active movement of moisture. This is the important difference with Paramo. It's why you can rip the fabric, patch it in the field, and there will be no reduction in performance. It's also why, if the washed-in weather proofing wears out the whole system still keeps you dry even if the outer shell is completely wetted out. It is also this openness of the fabric which helps to make the Paramo system extremely breathable. And unlike the pertex/ pile system if you are immersed in cold water the Paramo system will not keep you warm like a wet suit. A thicker pertex/pile system, like the Buffalo Mountain Shirt or Montane Extreme Jacket, are all you need in cold winter conditions… not even a base layer (pertex/ pile works best directly on the skin, for Paramo it doesn't matter) is needed to stay dry and warm. The pertex/ pile system was designed to take the place of the traditional, base/mid layer/shell layering system (and is based upon Inuit polar clothing design). The theory is that it is okay to get wet as long as the body doesn't lose precious heat. Just like a wet-suit. Many people in the very wet and cold British conditions swear by pertex/pile. For those for whom being dry is more important, and for whom the pertex/pile system is much too warm, the Paramo system is the rainwear of choice.

    Many people prefer to use the Paramo system only in winter because the pump liner is still too warm for them, too. Personally whenever it rains hard enough in alpine regions here in Japan the rain is cold enough to warrant the Paramo. I have only ever used my Montane Extreme Smock and Epic Jacket (thinner pile, no longer made) in dead of winter. Otherwise it is much too hot.

    Paramo is heavy. If going ultralight is paramount, then this system will not work for you. But since I use the Paramo jacket as a waterproof shirt I can wear it almost all the time, except when it is hot, so I use it in lieu of midlayer shirt.

    Pertex/ pile is very bulky. Too much so for most practical use when not being worn, and since I get too hot using it most of the time and cannot stash it away easily, I almost never use it.

    Diplomatic Mike


    Locale: Under a bush in Scotland

    Very well written and decribed article Miguel. As you say, you really have to try both systems.

    BPL Member


    Thanks for taking the time to write that very thorough explanation.

    One remaining question: Can a Paramo jacket be taken apart and the pump liner and shell layers worn separately (like a traditional wicking base layer + windshirt system)?

    If not, why?

    Stuart Allie


    Locale: Australia


    According to the Paramo website, the combination of one of their directional fabric fleeces and their windproof layer *is* equivalent to their waterproof garments.

    Quoting directly from the description of the Taiga fleece:
    "A highly water-repellent Directional fleece jacket from Páramo. Designed to be worn as a stand-alone garment or in combination with the Fuera Windproof Jacket for total Directional Waterproof protection"

    And from the description of the Fuera jacket:
    "Water-repellent and completely windproof, this extremely versatile garment can be worn with any Páramo Reversible shirt for wind and water resistance in changable conditions. Alternatively it can be combined with the Taiga Fleece for total Directional Waterproof protection."

    Note though that the combined weight of the fleece+windproof jacket is much higher than one of their waterproof jackets alone, and not "lightweight" by any standard.


    carlos fernandez rivas
    BPL Member


    Locale: Galicia -Spain

    Very good text miguel, its really clear and informative but as you write

    "It is very hard to explain the differences until you actually try them both out"

    And try both is difficult and expensive :-(

    Im really interested in something like that for mountaineering. but i have serious doubts about which brand select and because all the jackets that i tried are really too heavy and bulky. :-/

    Theron Rohr
    BPL Member


    Locale: Los Angeles, California

    Great explanation Miguel.

    I got a Driclime windshirt a while back but haven't had a chance to try it out here in the SoCal summer! I thought I understood the concept behind this jacket and you've confirmed it. The guy at REI where I bought it thought I was nuts when I was trying to explain that I wouldn't need a rain jacket over this thing as long as I was active. I don't think anyone in the US understands all this Paramo/Pertex theory at all so forums like this are great!

    Martin RJ Carpenter


    As I understand things the liner needs an outer layer to slow down driven rain so it doesn't go straight through the liner. I've also got no idea how durable it would prove if used directly under a pack.

    The jackets use a windproof fabric for this – which also traps air between the outer and the inner to give the warmth. The fleeces use a outer fleece layer instead so aren't 'pure' pump liner – they're as heavy as the jackets.

    What this doesn't rule out is the idea of carrying a separate layer of pump liner to put on *underneath* a windshirt at need. Indeed there's someone in the UK experimenting with this, with apparent early success:

    This is of course still really quite experimental.

    It's not going to be as good as full jacket in winter – less convenient and not as warm without the layer of trapped air twixt outer and liner. I'd also be slightly worried about the long term durability of the liner when packed by itself in a rucksack.

    But if you're carrying a windshirt anyway and want an emergency waterproof it's potentially very nice at a good weight (250g or so). Since it's actually a mid layer it doesn't need pockets or anything of course.

    There's no obvious technical reason that Paramo couldn't do something like this. if durability is an issue then some ultrathin outer on the liner would presumably fix it.

    The main obstacle is probably that it would simply be too difficult to sell the idea – a waterproof *mid* layer which you can only wear under a windshirt?!

    At least the jackets look normal :)

    BPL Member


    Thanks for the info and link, Martin. I'd asked Paramo about getting hold of a pump liner separately, but they said they had no such product – looks like 'yet'.

    I'm going to try and get one of those 8 oz. pump liners from Cioch to pair with my stretch-woven jacket with WPB hood and shoulders – should do the trick in keeping me dry (going on Mr. RedYeti's experience) while serving double duty as an expedition weight base (replacing R1 hoody). This is what I've been looking for.

    One (such as Huzefa) could go lighter by using a windshirt instead, but I'm attached to stretchwovens for comfort and durability. Then again, for trips not requiring high durability I could use the same liner with a UL windshirt.

    Martin RJ Carpenter


    One thing to be careful of is that the pump liner isn't designed to work directly as a base layer. It can just about be done and works for trousers but you'd probably do better with a thin synthetic layer underneath it – certainly Paramo recommend this.

    Just not enough of a market for Paramo to be interested I suppose. Cioch are a super small (2 people) company who do tailored made stuff using Paramo's tech (under license) so they can afford to indulge this sort of request. Really nice people too :)

    BPL Member


    Thanks for the advice re: baselayer Martin. Usually wear merino t under R1, so will do same with pump liner.

    Andy Davison


    I've worn both systems extensively. There are many design and fabric differences, but in use the significant difference for me is that I can wear FurTech jackets and trousers in situations when a Buffalo suit would be way too warm. In fact I've worn a whole Paramo suit (in the days before FurTech) on ascents when other mountain rescue team members in Buffalo shirts and Traksters were stripping off (and slowing down). Furtech is also more waterproof than Buffalo.
    For more analysis please see
    On this site we also compare FurTech to a variety of other fabrics.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Andy

    When posting about products from the company you work for, please make clear your involvement – a proper disclosure. We don't mind that you have a vested interest, and welcome your knowledge, but let's have it all out in the open.

    Roger Caffin
    Online Community Monitor

    Lynn Tramper


    Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna

    >The guy at REI where I bought it thought I was nuts when I was trying to explain that I wouldn't need a rain jacket over this thing (Driclime) as long as I was active.

    I tried it and sold it on. It simply wets out quickly and doesn't dry if the rain is continuous and heavy. The DWR is a joke! YMMV. SoCal weather may be dry enough that you won't be too uncomfortable in the odd shower that comes along, but you can't really compare a Driclime to a Paramo fabric.

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