Aug 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm #1307156
Was just having a conversation with Jerry Adams about Paramo and occurred to me than have not seen much chat about it on BPL.
I only started using it last Christmas and really like it, I have the Valez Adventure Light Smock and Cascada Trousers.
This article by Chris Townsend is very good
Would like to hear from folk about what Paramo items they are using, or Cioch and Furtech for that matter, and what conditions they use them in.
Cheers,Aug 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm #2020491
When it does pop up on the radar here it seems most find it too warm to wear while hiking. Then regarded as too heavy as a carry along. I my self would love to try the Adventure Light Smock. Though I do find the reflective piping on the stealth color counter intuitive.
From the wayback machine. Have you seen this?
Seemed familiarAug 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm #2020493
All very valid points, I myself only ever use in winter so never find it too warm and never plan to carry it but it does get very cold in Michigan.
As I mentioned over on Jerry's thread I was very sceptical about it until an outdoor shop owner I was taking to back in the Uk offered me to try
It on a day hike and bring it back for a full refund if I did not like it (even if it was dirty), the guy was that confident I would like it.
If you ever wanted Paramo brought back from the UK I can post it on for you.Aug 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm #2020497
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I don't remember reading that article, thanks, that and wikipedia "nikwax analogy" together have a pretty good explanationAug 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm #2020498
It is indeed a very good article, Chris Townsend really knows his stuff.Aug 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm #2020500
"If you ever wanted Paramo brought back from the UK I can post it on for you."
You can also get it at Jackson Sports UK. That's where I bought mine from, among other things. Decent prices, fast shipping, if you choose US as your destination VAT is automatically deducted from your totals so you see exactly what you're paying.
I haven't been out in really cold weather in a while, so I haven't used mine in probably two years, but I liked it when I did use it (Adventure Smock and Cascada trousers).Aug 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm #2020501
Spot on Doug, I remember you get stuff from Jacksons on occasion, I did not realise they sold Paramo.
I used use them all the time back in Ireland as used to get a 10% discount.Aug 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm #2020502
The wonder material – or it it. Chris Townsend used a RAB Neoshell jacket on his last long walk in the UK. Not Paramo. There is much debate on Paramo online to read. Outdoor Magic's forum has many threads to read about Paramo in the UK.
I hate it. I got soaked in it, and don't trust it. I point out on one trip my mate Alan was dry the most as he proofed his Paramo top the day before we left. 3 others (including me) all got wet in it in a few hours of rain. None of us were novice backpackers.
Here is a alternative view on it: http://alansloman.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/on-being-warm-and-dry.html
If you want to trust Paramo in remote wilderness to stay dry in I suggest its a false starting point. Look at other options.Aug 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm #2020503
Will check that out Martin,Aug 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm #2020505
I had a look and remember reading it before.
Cheers for that.Aug 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm #2020594
Hmmm Martin, I just waded through that rather large thread. I always "consider the source" when reading, and discriminating the info. I found Alan's post to be rather filled with hyperbole, sarcasm, dramatics, and at times a bit of condescension in his replies to others who didn't fully agree with him.
I found Rolf's replies to be more balanced, impersonal, and to the point.
I don't doubt that Alan (and others) have had issues with their Paramo jackets, etc, but others on there tried to offer alternate views of what could be the issue and at best these were glossed over. For example, it's a common mistake for people with any WPB jacket to not fully cleanse their washer of detergent residues before washing and retreating their jackets with their special washes and treatments.
What I find interesting is that Paramo offered Alan to try to fix his issue at their cost, and after endless debate and whining from him, he never ended up actually sending the jacket back. It could have been an easy fix of simply deep cleansing the jacket first (getting rid of not only dirt, oils, detergent residues, but also old degraded nikwax DWR residues as Rolf suggested), and then reproofing. Perhaps after investing all the energy into finding fault with Paramo, he didn't want to risk the chance that he could have been wrong and then have an unpleasant belief system crash (not fun, i've a few major ones, and continue to occasionally have minor ones, but eventually one learns non attachment helps)?
There is no perfect WPB system yet. All have their strengths and their weaknesses. The strengths of Paramo type WPB are, i would say, rather strong and outweigh the potential weaknesses. I do agree with Alan that in particularly driving, windy, and torrential type downpours, the potential for overwhelming a paramo type system is quite likely.
If one finds themselves in the possibility of such a situation, one could (should) carry a 2 oz, crappy, super cheap poncho as a backup.
The strengths of Paramo are primarily as follows: 1. High and unusual degree of breathabiltiy while offering substantial water resistance provided it's well maintained.
2. If it does get wet, it's relatively quick to dry out. 3. It's very long lasting and durable. 4. It's actually easier to fully cleanse as there is no membrane to clog.
Neither of the former points apply to WPB jackets that have a membrane, except that eVent is fairly breathable for having a membrane.
I should be clear that when i'm referring to Paramo type WPB systems, i'm not just referring to official Paramo jackets, but also to those who combine a Nikwax analogy pump liner with a separate, light weight windshirt. I fully agree that many Paramo jackets are simply to heavy and too warm for most conditions. Living in Virginia, U.S., i would probably only be able to wear these for a few months out of the year on average (well, i actually prefer to backpack in late fall, winter, and early spring anyways).
However, my pump liner weighs 8.4 oz, and i would be bringing a lightweight windshirt anyways.Aug 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm #2020602
Justin having been out with a group who all got soaked in Paramo at the same time, and knowing lots of others who have got soaking wet in it I fail to see the claim "offering substantial water resistance provided it's well maintained" Well maintained? Re-proff it every day would be the case I feel based on my experience. Yes the top was cleaned and treated following the instructions from Paramo -yet it failed in bad weather.
I pointed to Outdoor Magic forum and a search there will lead to many debates on Paramo. UK based we walk in the rain a lot. So we soon find out the claims of waterproof or not. For me its not. Others like I say rave about it.Sep 1, 2013 at 12:31 am #2020606
I did write also, "I do agree with Alan that in particularly driving, windy, and torrential type downpours, the potential for overwhelming a paramo type system is quite likely.
If one finds themselves in the possibility of such a situation, one could (should) carry a 2 oz, crappy, super cheap poncho as a backup. "
I don't tend to view things in black and whites. There are very experienced, UK based folks, who do like and have mostly good experience with these systems. People like Chris Townsend. Like i said, every current WPB system has their strengths and weaknesses.
Torrential, driving rain is not a strength of paramo, but with a super lightweight backup, like one of those cheap emergency ponchos, one should be fine.
Anyways, what is your current favored alternative?Sep 1, 2013 at 2:25 am #2020613
so basically you need to constantly re apply the DWR … and it doesnt really work if theres hard driving rain? … does it work if yr standing still in hard rain?
if it doesnt it basically sounds like a very water resistant softshell …Sep 1, 2013 at 3:57 am #2020615
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
I looked into this a few years back and many people seem to love it, but I was surprised at the number of negative reports from users. There were just too many of them for my liking.
I only know of one person who has used Paramo in New Zealand and they got wet first time out and switched back to a std WPB jacket. I asked them all the obvious questions, but they were adamant that it just plain leaked.Sep 1, 2013 at 4:13 am #2020616
I wore Paramo jackets in the UK for over ten years.
As you rightly point out, in heavy storm-driven rain they fail completely. In the UK, our rain is at about 32-36 deg F. This, coupled with storm force winds out on the hills can lead to hypothermia and possible loss of life, even in the summer.
I would NEVER ever go back to using Paramo for backpacking trips in Scotland, where you can be over a day's walk from safety. At least with a shell system the rain is held at bay and you only get wet from your own sweat condensing out. With Paramo, once the pump liner is overwhelmed you have constant freezing rain forcing its way through to your body.
As you point out, I did not send my jacket back to Paramo as I had already deep-cleaned and re-proofed it myself on three occasions, all to no avail. I saw no point in Paramo doing the same. They were only trying to save face.
Carrying a cheap poncho… Good grief. In the UK that would be in blown away to Norway in one of our storms, or be turned inside out and useless. I found that the only way that Paramo worked as a system was to wear a shell jacket over the top. What's the point of carrying that AND the Paramo? Just take the shell jacket.
The system is over-hyped. To claim that it is "waterproof" is frankly a downright lie. I now no longer wear it.
I speak as someone who wore Paramo for a very long time. How long have you used it?Sep 1, 2013 at 7:04 am #2020629
All good information gentlemen,Sep 1, 2013 at 7:37 am #2020636
A warm, dry pub at the end of the day seems required.Sep 1, 2013 at 7:44 am #2020639
And plenty of nice pints of beer and an Irish stew :-)Sep 1, 2013 at 9:55 am #2020667
Why did it take you 10 years to get over the Paramo systems if they were catastrophically failing you at times?
Alan wrote, "As you point out, I did not send my jacket back to Paramo as I had already deep-cleaned and re-proofed it myself on three occasions, all to no avail. I saw no point in Paramo doing the same. They were only trying to save face."
I read that thread very carefully, some had offered you tips of how to deep clean it properly yourself, and you brushed them off saying basically it was too much work for a WPB jack ("Faff" was the specific term you used), but Rolf pointed out that all WPB jackets–especially ones with a membrane occasionally need to be fully and properly cleansed.
When asked at the end of the thread, if you had deep cleaned yourself (per suggestions given on that thread) OR had sent it back to Nikwax, you answered no to both. This seems to contradict the above statement some.
Yes, granted cheap ponchos are not ideal for some conditions, but if you go up to a sturdier kind, there are easy and simple ways to make sure it doesn't fly away to Norway. Perhaps going to that "trouble" is not worth it for some.
However, wouldn't you agree that every current WPB system out there has both strengths AND weaknesses? You mentioned Goretex a number of times on that thread, well even their most current and "breathable" stuff is still not all that breathable realistically. You could at least recommend a better alternative like eVent.
But, if Paramo type technology works well 95% of the time, even in Scotland, England, and Ireland (all places i've been to btw ;0 ) then doesn't it have it's place in the grand scheme of things?
Here's the thing, even in the best membrane type WPB systems, in a hard, driving, torrential long lasting downpour the DWR on most of these jackets will wash out under those conditions. What then happens, they become super unbreathable, and your sweat is going to wet everything out.
Either way, with either system, you're going to get WET eventually. The important difference is that Paramo type system, in not having a membrane and the inside also being treated with DWR (takes much longer for that to wear off), will dry much faster. That is something important to consider, i think.
Yes, admittedly i have not been using this system for long. However, if I find it catastrophically fails me just a few times, it won't take me 10 years to switch to something that works better. Probably will make the switch quite fast. Also, i have not invested that much into it. All i have is a pump liner, which i can combine with different windshirts and was relatively cheap compared to a full on Paramo jacket (especially with the currency conversion rates).
Alan, it's not that we are outright disagreeing so much per se, it's just that i'm taking a less black and white and more balanced and holistic approach when comparing various different systems. As you noted, i do recognize that it has it's weaknesses, but why aren't you talking about the weaknesses of other systems more? (to be fair, you did mention it some in the beginning of that article you wrote, but your focus of weaknesses was on Paramo).
Many, many, many people have reported getting very wet in various membrane jackets, whether from outside or inside. Also somewhat common are issues of durability and delamination of the membranes. There is NO perfect system yet.Jan 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm #2060930
@klauskostenbauerLocale: Canadian Maritimes
Some people express disappointment that their Paramo or any other gear doesn't keep them dry during a torrential rainstom. When there's bone chilling cold water coming down in buckets and hurricane winds, it's wise to take shelter.
That's just common sense. A time to refuge under the tarp, boil tea, smoke a pipe, practice whistling.
One author even claimed Paramo puts your life in danger by giving you hypothermia. Nonsense. What may put your life in danger is stubborn single mindedness to expose yourself to the elements under such conditions and blaming the equipment when you are wet and shivering.
Me and presumably the vast majority are out there to move about in the countryside or for enjoyment of nature hikes and treks, not to prove something. I bet it is a tiny minority that insists to soldier on out there, in the open, under punishing conditions. ("My favourite girl will finally sleep with me when she hears just how tough I am." I wish.)
When measured against the alternatives, there is widespread agreement Paramos perform reasonably well in cool and modestly foul weather, which seals the deal for a gent.
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