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? :-)