Saturday, 23 October 2010

Paramo Velez Adventure Light



I seem to be making a few purchases recently that I didn't expect to be making and haven't bought the things I'd intended to buy. I bought the Uniqlo down jacket on a whim and I've been really pleased with it, in fact it just keeps impressing me more and more. I'd been considering a pertex-pile smock/shirt to use primarily for canoeing but having been reading some posts by Robin (Blogpackinglight) and Maz (The Journeyman Traveller) Paramo started to attract my attention.

I've never really considered Paramo, I've read the threads on Outdoors Magic and looked at Paramo briefly in shops but to be honest thought it too expensive. There doesn't appear to be any middle ground where Paramo is concerned, it seems to be very much a case of love it or loath it. There's a similar degree of entrenched opinion when it comes to Gore-Tex v's eVent although in my experience there's little difference in reality and I'd make my choice on fit/features rather than the fabric.

The one Paramo item that really made me loook more closely was the Velez Adventure Light (VAL) To me it looked similar in cut/style to a Buffalo Pertex-Pile Mountain Shirt (and the various clones/variations from Snugpak/Montane/Extreme Outdoor gear) but without the bulk. It seems like a coincidence but there were also a few Paramo releated threads recently started on Outdoors Magic and one that was of particular interest was about what to wear under the Velez smock.

The Velez AL retails around £200 which was more than I wanted to pay but searching ebay I found the Paramo Extras shop who had the VAL on sale at £135 including postage and also available as a 'Best Offer' buy. I was a bit unsure about sizing as I'd read that Paramo was a bit strange but checking the size chart on the Paramo website it looked like I needed a Small. I ended up going for a Small in Fire/Black and made an offer of £120 which was accepted. I was still a bit concerned about sleeve length as I find some brands are too short but figured that I could always return it if it didn't fit properly.

Postage was free but I was able to upgrade to 24hr Special Delivery for £1.50 and being impatient that suited me fine. The VAL arrived yesterday so as soon as I came home from work the package was opened and the smock tried for size.



I'd almost managed to convince myself that it wouldn't fit but I'm pleased to say it's perfect, the sleeves are long enough and it's not too loose worn with a base layer yet I can easily wear my Montane Flux underneath it, the icing on the cake is the hood, just the type I like with a drawcord which goes all the way around and doesn't resemble a flat cap like the one on my Montane Venture.



As yet I haven't been able to test how waterproof it is, some people report that it's as good as Gore-Tex/eVent, others say it leaks so time will tell. It's hard to believe that it's as waterproof as a hardshell as it's so soft, it really is comfortable and I've been wearing it all day.



I don't think I'll find it too warm but if I do it's easily vented by opening the side zips which open from about chest to waist level. There's a spacious chest pocket and also 2 internal hand warmer pockets, unfortunately to access the hand warmer pockets you need to open the side zips, maybe it has to be done this way due to the way the inner/outer fabric works?

With regard to the waterproofing I'm not too concerned as had i not bought it I'd have gone for a Pertex-Pile smock which isn't waterproof anyway, the worst case scenario in my opinion is that even if it isn't as waterproof as a hard shell it's still a really soft, flexible and not bulky soft shell that should dry quickly and for my intended use it'll be perfect I think. If however it keeps me as dry/comfortable as my regular waterproof jackets I may well be a Paramo convert.

Did I mention I'm absolutely delighted with it? :-)

16 comments:

  1. Nice piece that. I'm a Páramo fan but I've yet to test it in harsh Scottish winter conditions - others have however and you know the rest...

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  2. I like my 3rd Element Jacket. I do find it too hot in summer but then I can always get a really thin base layer to use with it. I do think Paramo is superb. I will use mine now till end the of May next year. By then I might have got a lighter Paramo top for summer. Like I said it is superb. Enjoy using that top. It looks very good kit.

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  3. Thanks guys, if it hadn't been for the blog posts about Paramo I probably wouldn't have got one. I've got to get out and test it, I've been working extra shifts for the past month and a half but not too many to go before I have a break.

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  4. Richard - Been thinking about Paramo for winter. Just had a look on the link and the prices look good.
    Just need to work out the sizing.
    Mark

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  5. Mac - I've been Paramo-curious for a couple of years now. I still have the usual concerns over the fit but I'm pretty much convinced about the technology being perfect for ski touring here in Norway. Luckily I found someone willing to lend me one of their Paramo jackets to try for a while before I part with the cash. The VAL is the model I will probably go for.

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  6. @Mark, there's a lot of discussion about Paramo sizing and to be honest I'd gotten a bit confused so simply went with the size suggested by Paramo. IIRC it says to just use your actual measurments as the garments are sized based on what they expect you to be wearing underneath so I guess some stuff will be roomier for a given size than others. The worst that can happen is that you have to return it, in my case that's situation normal as most of my kit has to come mail order due to the lack of choice here in N.I.

    @Joe, I might get to try mine later this week, probably mountain biking which should let me see how well it vents (on the climbs) and how windproof it is (on the decents). Hopefully it'll rain although the downside is that my shiney new jacket will somewhat less shiney with a contrasting mud stripe down the back.

    I'll definately post an update on this.

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  7. May I suggest if anyone is going to spend money on Páramo - join the BMC and then pop into the shop in Covent Garden. At £14, the BMC membership get's you 10% off at all sorts of place, including Páramo themselves and many of their affiliate stores. You only need to spend £140 for it to have paid for itself. It's not just 10% in some places - I saved £180 on all my new winter kit.

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  8. Maz, good stuff. £180 is a big saving.

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  9. Got an odd problem - need a bigger pack for winter/alpine mountain walking/mountaineering. Been looking at the Osprey Mutant and then I pulled my old OMM Villain out of the cupboard. 45 litres (+10 if necessary), dyneema fabric, a good carry, ice-axe loops - seems like I DON'T actually need to spend £130 on a Crux AK47 of £80 on an Osprey Mutant. Conflicted....

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  10. I'm not sure whether to offer my congratulations or commiserations.

    :-)

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  11. I'm going with a mid-way point between the two! ;-)

    I'll try it and if it works, I've saved some cash. If it doesn't, I've lost nothing. At least I know it carries well, although I'll be carrying a bit more than I used to, given my winter kit.

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  12. Richard - thanks for the heads up on Paramoextras which has the same business address as Paramo in Wadhurst East Sussex,so I guess it is their outlet store.
    Anyway - they look good value - so out came the plastic - I have a 3rd element jacket on the way to me. I decided to go for this rather than the VAL, as I liked the idea of the gilet option.
    Mark

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  13. My VAL, served me well this 'summer' is the Outer Hebrides, I was out with it a few weekends ago and quickly overheated, even with the venting open [It was quite mild, there's been a distinct temperature drop since then]. But once I'd stopped climbing, I dried very out quickly, which is the most important thing...

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  14. @Mark, look forward to your views on the 3rd Element.

    @Fraser, what did you wear underneath the Velez? I'm planning on getting out Wednesday or Thursday on the MTB but not sure how much (or little) I'd need under the VAL.

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  15. I was just wearing my LS Finisterre Merino base layer, but as I say it was quite a mild day. Dunno how cold it is in NI ATM, but reckon, I'd have been fine on a colder day like today with the same gear. Bear in mind, I'm a sweaty git. :)

    Guess the best thing to do is pack an alternative for the ride until you figure it out....or if you get cold peddle faster ;)

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