Páramo Torres Gilet 2010

The Torres Gilet can be used for layering over a Páramo waterproof garment or worn directly over a base layer. Either way it will deliver fast and light insulation to the torso without being weighed down by sleeves or a hood.

Design
As with all gilets there are no sleeves, and unlike other jackets here there is no hood either. The insulation is sandwiched between two layers of Nikwax Analogy windproof fabric, which feel durable and less delicate than some other materials. The front zip gets an internal windflap to keep the wind at bay. There is also elastication around the hem and arm holes. The chest pocket is designed to act as a stuff bag for the jacket while the two hip pockets are conventional handwarmers. There is also an internal mesh pocket. At 422g it is the lightest garment here, although considering it has no sleeves or hood it is perhaps not as light as expected. However the price of only £75 makes it a far more attractive option compared to others we looked at.

On the hill
Gilets are in theory a wonderful idea, although somehow they never seem to quite catch on here in the UK. Put on the Páramo Torres Gilet and your body feels warm but your arms feel cold. I’ve found that the gilet is ideal in mild conditions, but as it is not that much lighter than sleeved and hooded garments I would rather carry the extra weight and benefit from the extra insulation and comfort. However, for saving weight and money this gilet is superb and I certainly found it ideal when worn as part of a layering system under a waterproof. But that impressive 3.5 TOG value didn’t transform into the warmth and comfort I was expecting. Like other garments the hip pockets cannot be easily accessed if wearing a rucksack belt, but the chest pocket is very useful.

In the lab
The Páramo Torres Gilet provided 3.5 TOGs of insulation, which was almost the highest here. But as there are no sleeves or hood this garment cannot keep the arms or head warm, which are two areas of the body that lose heat rapidly and cause us to feel cold. So it needs to be warmer than a hooded jacket to provide similar levels of comfort.

Fabric Nikwax Analogy windproof
Insulation 100g polyester
Sizes XS-XXL
Weight 422g (size L)
Made in Vietnam
Stores in the UK 85
Stockist details – tel. (01892) 786444; www.paramo.co.uk

Verdict
The Páramo Torres Gilet has the second highest TOG rating of the tops we looked at; reasonably light; low price; ideal for milder conditions. But the lack of sleeves mean it does not feel as warm as others; no hood; others are more waterproof; hip pocket access can be obscured by rucksack belts. It makes ideal spare insulation, but for colder conditions sleeves and a hood are preferable.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2010