Páramo is best known for its waterproof jackets, which are well-proven as being ideal for walkers in the wet and windy British hills. But the company also makes a range of other layers such as the Explorer Pull-On, which is designed to be worn as either a base layer or mid layer and as part of a Páramo clothing system in the coldest of weather.
The Explorer Pull-On is a smock, meaning a massive chest pocket can be provided. This has zips at each end too, so it can be used for handwarming. As the smock is reversible you get two sets of zips, one on the inside and one on the outside. There is a zip at the neck, which again has internal and external zip pulls to allow the garment to function inside out as well as right side out! And the cuffs have press-studs, while the hem has drawcords to allow for control of airflow through the garment.
On the hill
I’m extremely practically minded, but the styling of the Explorer pushed my tolerances to the limit. But that aside, the top is practical and so on those grounds I like it a lot. My first observation was the lack of stretch in the fabric, which has led in part to the styling issues as this smock has had to be cut to allow movement. However when reaching up the cuffs still ride up a little on me. The sleeves can be easily tugged up to the elbows and that zipped neck is very comfy, and together these features allow good temperature control. I liked the massive chest pocket too as it easily swallowed an OS map or a guidebook. Also you could easily wear this with a climbing harness when scrambling while maintaining perfect access to that pocket. Warmth-wise, it was the coolest top here, but it can always be combined with other layers when more insulation is needed of course. The lower level of air permeability of the fabric meant I could wear this without having to don a windproof or waterproof layer too often. I’d prefer a little more insulation, some stretch and some more style, but for less fussy hillgoers this is a great choice.
In the lab
The results of the lab tests indicate that this garment offers the lowest level of insulation, which actually makes it very useful for summer. The lab test showed this material to have the highest level of windproofness, meaning it is ideal for keeping out the breeze.
Material Reversible Parameta S by Nikwax
Sizes S- XXL (men’s); XS- XL (women’s Challenger)
Weight 440g (size men’s L)
Made in Colombia
Stores in the UK 72
Stockist details – tel. (01892) 786444; www.Páramo.co.uk
Verdict: The Páramo Explorer Pull-On is reversible for maximum comfort control; most windproof fabric; not the warmest, which may be regarded as an advantage in summer; very durable fabric. But it is the least stylish fleece here; provided the lowest level of insulation so not ideal for winter; less windproof materials allow better movement of moisture; short chest zip does not offer as much ventilation as a full-length zip.
In summary, it’s an excellent all-rounder for mixed activity in British hills, unless the styling ruins your hill cred!
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2009