Páramo Alta II 2011

The Alta II is one of Páramo’s most popular tops and it is probably one of the most well-proven jackets on the market as it has been around for years. It has a longer body than most, though it’s shorter than its predecessor the Alta. The fabric is more insulating than other jackets, which means it’s a good option in the cold.
 
Design
Páramo uses a unique fabric, which comprises of a windproof outer and a pump liner, creating incredible levels of comfort. The material is very soft and rustle-free while transporting sweat away extremely well. Most interestingly, you can force water through it under high pressure, but when walking in the driving rain this is not usually a problem as the material manages to pump the water out faster than it can get in through the fabric. Another unique feature is that it can be easily repaired, while reproofing appears more effective than with some other options. As it has a couple of layers it is a little warmer than others too, making it perfect for winter, and anyone who feels the cold will benefit from this extra insulation at any time of year.
 
On the hill
I wore the Páramo Alta II during the cold snap of November and it was wonderful! That extra insulation and the longer length were real bonuses as the northerly winds created Arctic-like conditions. What I also really liked was the longer length as it is so rare to find a jacket that can warm your hands while walking and wearing a rucksack that has a wide, chunky hipbelt. The hood is pretty good too although it does not move with my head as well as some others. I really like the two chest pockets as they are huge and ideal for maps, guidebooks or a GPS. My only niggle is that when it suddenly turns out warmer than expected, even in winter, this can be a hot jacket if hacking up a hill. Also, if you happen to fall over into a puddle, you can get water passing through the fabric, which does not happen with other waterproof materials. That said, in normal walking conditions firstly water does not get through and secondly it dries fast. Also in previous Trail rain room tests the Páramo Alta was the only jacket not to leak around the pockets, zips and hood.
 
Outer Nikwax windproof
Inner Nikwax Analogy
Pump liner
Fabric waterproofness water resistant/waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 854g (men’s L)
Made in Colombia
Stores in UK 90
Stockist details – tel. (01892) 786444; www.paramo.co.uk

If you feel the cold then the extra insulation of the Páramo Alta is a benefit; superb pocket access; easily repaired and reproofed for life. However, relatively heavy; warmth and length may be drawbacks for those who don’t feel cold and scramblers; hood does not move as well as others. Overall, this jacket is fab for winter walkers, but scramblers may prefer a shorter design while summer walkers may find it too warm.
 
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2011