Paramo Bora Smock (2015)

The Bora takes a different approach to soft shell. It is essentially a thickened-up, over-the-head windshirt, so it is exceedingly light (just 178g) and very packable. By itself, it is highly windproof (the peaked hood is especially good) and very breathable, thanks to two vertical venting zips up the abdomen. But the Bora has more to it than that. It is designed to be used with a Bora fleece (£100) and Nikwax proofing treatments. Put on both Boras and rub the latter into this, and you have a fully waterproof, windproof and breathable combo that is also extremely light. It’s a very clever proposition, and if you buy the combo together (for £165), you can potentially tick off all your spring/summer mid and outer-layer needs for the same price as a good waterproof alone. It’s perhaps too light for really nasty rain, but it will deflect the average squally summer shower with ease.

Specification

Weight: 178g

Fabric: Nikwax Windproof

Colours: Blue, green

Women’s version: Yes (Zonda)

Contact: 01892 786444

www.paramo.co.uk

Verdict

A good soft shell in itself, but even better value when added to its fleece brother and some waterproofing gel.

Originally reviewed by Nick Hallissey in Country Walking April 2015

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Páramo Torres Jacket (2014)

Features
The moment you reach a summit and want to throw on some insulation, in most cases you have to remove your waterproof before you can add a warm layer – and in the process you freeze. The Páramo Torres Jacket, however, is designed to go over your waterproof. It also has large, well-placed pockets and hood drawcords. The front zip jammed a little too easily though.
4/5

Fit
The Torres comes in XS-XXL in a unisex design, and as it’s meant to be worn over a waterproof those sizes are bigger than normal. But as a warm layer to wear over a waterproof jacket, this novel option fits really well.
4/5

Comfort
The Páramo Torres Jacket is pretty heavy at 670g (size L) so it’s not something you would want to carry ‘just in case’. But in the right conditions the comfort benefit will be far greater than most jackets when used as intended, over waterproofs. Brushed polyester around the chin would have been nice. But very cosy and warm.
4/5

Insulation
This top uses Nikwax Analogy insulation, which is a closely woven synthetic material. It is very warm and certainly better for winter use than most garments here. Indeed, it’s probably too warm for other times of the year, which is just as well as it’s really too heavy to carry around in a rucksack on the off-chance that it might be needed.
5/5

Value
You get more for your money than most here, as the Páramo Torres Jacket is warmer and feature-packed
4/5

Verdict
For some winter users, this unique top, designed to be worn over waterproofs, will be perfect. For others however it simply won’t be what they’re looking for.
4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2014

 


Páramo Bora Fleece Hoodie (2014)

The Páramo Bora Fleece Hoodie (men’s) and Zonda Fleece Hoodie (women’s) feature an over-the-head smock design, which won’t be to everyone’s liking but has distinct advantages over the more conventional jacket style. As there’s no front zip to get in the way, there’s a tunnel chest pocket that can be accessed from either side. This is ideal for warming hands or stashing a map. There is a third small chest pocket too that’s useful for a GPS receiver. The drawback is you can’t vent the front of the jacket so easily, although when wearing a rucksack it’s relatively rare that walkers open the front of their fleece jackets fully anyway. That chest pocket is also mesh-lined so it does allow some airflow, and for me this is a great option when walking. The Páramo Bora Fleece Hoodie/ Zonda Fleece Hoodie uses Nikwax fleece, which doesn’t have any pile on the inside so it doesn’t feel quite as warm as other fleeces. But it does provide a medium level of wind resistance and insulation that is ideal for wearing under a waterproof or on its own over a base layer. The hood does not offer the close fit of other jackets here, which is the main drawback of this garment for me. The sleeves are also quite baggy, so again they don’t feel quite as warm as other jackets.

Specifications:

Material Nikwax Fleece
Men’s/unisex sizes S-XXL (Bora Fleece Hoodie)
Women’s sizes XS-XL (Zonda Fleece Hoodie)
Weight 451g (size L)
Hood yes
External pockets 3
Website www.paramo.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Páramo Bora Fleece Hoodie/ Zonda Fleece Hoodie’s smock design is a useful alternative to a jacket and it allows inclusion of a great chest pocket, but the hood and sleeves aren’t the best.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2014

 


Páramo Cambia Shortsleeved T-shirt (2013)

With the Páramo Cambia Shortsleeved T-shirt you’re effectively getting two T-shirts in one. The synthetic fabric is finished differently on either side to provide extra warmth or cooling as required. With the slightly shinier surface on the inside, moisture is effectively dispersed during heavy exercise, allowing the wearer to cool down more efficiently. The reverse side has a softer, almost fleecy finish that traps air and feels warmer when worn next to the skin. Despite this doubling of purpose, the Cambia top is remarkably light. The stretchy polyester material is comfortable and fast-drying, although it won’t stay pong-less for long. It works brilliantly as part of a Páramo-based layering system and is a great option for the fickle hillwalker who’s not sure if they’ll be hot or cold and wants to be prepared for both.

Material 100% polyester
Colours green, grey, blue, red (men’s); black, green, pink (women’s)
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 145g (size men’s L)
Website www.paramo.co.uk

 

Verdict

Of the base layers we looked at, the Páramo Cambia Shortsleeved T-shirt is the best for versatility.

Review by Ben Weeks
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013


Páramo Torres Jacket (2013)

‘Block insulation’ is the term Páramo uses to describe the Torres Jacket, and it does create an apt image: the Torres is a super-warm, chunky layer. It isn't cut for action: this thing is made to protect you from really grim, gnarly weather when you’re stopped, sleeping or in trouble, and Páramo’s CV of gear built for Britain’s climate means you can buy this confident you’re getting the right kit for the job. This new Torres is built from the same light, windproof and water-resistant outer fabric as Páramo's Velez Adventure Light, and it does well to keep bulk down – something the older Torres struggled with. Durability and resistance to the elements is the obvious trade-off – and it's still beefy – but that brings this Torres down to the level of most others here rather than below it. Features-wise, there isn’t a lot; you get an adjustable hood, three zipped pockets, elasticated cuffs and that’s about it. Being a jacket less interested in fit than the others here, the Páramo Torres excels more at being thrown on top of an outer layer than sitting under one. The loose fit means it can be a bit draughty; but with clothing underneath hopefully most gaps will be plugged.

Weight 611g (size S)
Outer fabric Nikwax Windproof
Insulation 133gsm Nikwax Analogy Insulator (100% polyester)
Stuffsack/packable? No
Adjustable hood? yes
Men’s sizes XS-XXL
Women’s sizes none
Website www.paramo.co.uk

Verdict

The Páramo Torres Jacket is an excellent insulated over layer, which, while bulky, provides reliably bombproof weather resistance.

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine March 2013


Páramo Velez Adventure Smock (2102)

Páramo’s unique combination of a closely woven microfibre outer with a Nikwax water repellency treatment combined with a Nikwax Analogy Pump Liner results in a jacket that is better at keeping the user dry than some of the lighter soft shell materials. The Páramo Velez Adventure Smock weighs a little more than others, but it is also a notch warmer thanks to the Pump Liner, which adds a layer of insulation, so you can wear less clothing underneath in colder conditions. This is a smock design, which allows there to be a massive chest pocket that is ideal for maps or guidebooks. There are also two side zips, which allow the smock to be vented, but they also facilitate access to a tunnel pocket that is ideal for warming the hands. The hood is pretty good thanks to a wired peak and good adjustment, and when not needed it can be rolled and secured at the collar to prevent it flapping. The fabric is not quite as durable as some options and there is no stretch either, but this garment is ideal in colder climates and particularly good for mountain biking and adventure racing in cold and wet conditions as well as walking and backpacking, making the Páramo Velez Adventure Smock an excellent all-round multi-activity jacket.

Material Nikwax Analogy Light
Sizes XS-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 620g (men’s L)
Website www.paramo.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Páramo Velez Adventure Smock is the best choice for multi-activity among the soft shells jackets we looked at.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine August 2012


Páramo Torres Jacket (2012)

When it comes to insulating layers, Páramo says: why put it on under your waterproof when you can simply throw it over everything? But the question for a walker who will only use a jacket like this ‘just in case’ or when they stop for lunch is this: is it really worth the extra weight and bulk in their backpack?

The Páramo Torres is warmest of all the jackets on test – so it’s great if you are after a really toasty layer. However, it weighs in at 625g (size XS) it’s the heaviest too, and it takes up a fair amount of space in your bag.

It’s only available in a unisex fit, and I found it rather shapeless on my arms and shoulders, and fairly tight around my hips (it’s elasticated but not adjustable).

Featurewise it’s certainly not lacking, boasting a draught excluder under the main zip, a fully adjustable hood, an extremely effective windproof and water-repellent outer shell, a large internal pocket for drying gloves, and elasticated cuffs. There are a couple of issues with the Páramo Torres Jacket, though: I found the cuffs a little loose and baggy when not wearing the jacket over many layers, which created gaps for cold air to get in. The chinguard is slightly less comfy than others; and the zip got stuck on the fabric several times.

 

Weight 625g (size XS)

Outer fabric Nikwax Insulator, Nikwax Windproof Light outer

Inner fabric as outer

Insulation Nikwax Analogy Insulator Light

Unisex sizes XS-XXL

Website www.paramo.co.uk 

Verdict

The Páramo Torres Jacket is a great option for winter camping and if you want a jacket to throw over all your layers, but it is very heavy and bulky for a hillwalker who only wants it for the occasional stop.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine March 2012


Paramo Cambia (2012)

This simple looking base-layer has a neat trick up its sleeve – it’s reversible. That’s not just useful for extending times between wash days: one side of the top is built for use in cooler conditions, one is better suited to warmer weather. The stitching on one side has a series of dimples that either traps heat when against the skin, or allows moisture to evaporate when on the outside. The difference between the two sides may be subtle, but does seem to have some effect in differing conditions. The top functions much more effectively in warmer temperatures, drying out very quickly. The man-made fabric can begin to smell after heavy use, though. The cut could also be a little tighter if the warming properties of the fabric are to be really effective.

Sizes: S-XXL

Fabric: Parameta T Reversible 100% polyester

Weight: 177g

Contact: 01892 786444 www.paramo.co.uk

Review from Country Walking magazine, January 2012.


Páramo Velez Adventure Light Smock 2011

Páramo was making soft shells before the term was coined. The Velez Adventure Light Smock is a classic design that has proven its worth over the years. It’s made of Nikwax Analogy Light, which is extremely breathable while keeping the wearer dry from all but the worst rain.
The jacket weighs a little more than others, but it’s also a notch warmer and packed with practical features. First, the smock design allows for a massive chest pocket, ideal for maps and guidebooks.
There are two zips that open up the sides of the jacket to allow airflow, but they also provide access to an internal tunnel pocket that can be used to warm the hands. The hood is pretty good too, thanks to a wired peak and rear drawcord adjusters.
I’ve used the Páramo Velez Adventure Light Smock a great many times and find it ideal for mountain biking and walking, particularly in colder climates. But as with all smock designs there is less ventilation at the front.
Trail has found the fabric a little less durable than other options, and while it is easy to stitch the fabric once torn, it’s clearly better if it doesn’t tear in the first place.

Material Nikwax Analogy Light
Weight 620g (size men’s L)
External pockets 1
Internal pockets 2
Hood yes
Pit zips no
Men’s sizes XS-XXL
Women’s sizes XS-XL
Website www.paramo.co.uk

The Páramo Velez Adventure Light Smock uses unique material in a smock design that offers a massive chest pocket and lots of venting, but it may not be right for everyone.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2011


Páramo Torres Gilet 2011

Gilets are really useful as throw-on lunch stop insulation, so one designed specifically as an outer layer makes obvious sense. The Páramo Torres Gilet has a windproof, water-repellent Nikwax outer that can be treated to increase wet-weather performance – although our tests found that it was remarkably waterproof even without additional treatment.
The fast-drying synthetic fill lends itself to use in the claggiest conditions, making it perfect for British mountain weather.
This gilet is blessed in the way of pockets, with two zippable handwarmers, a generous chest pocket and an ingenious mesh inner pocket for drying wet kit using a combination of your body heat and the breathable lining. We also found that the elasticated arm holes and hem really enhanced the fit, and were effective at keeping your all-important body heat in.
The only real minus point of the Páramo Torres Gilet is the weight – at 370g (size M), it is the heaviest gilet we looked at, although Páramo now does a lighter 330g version.

Size XS-XXL (men’s)
Weight 370g (size M)
Outer fabric Nikwax
Insulation high
Water resistance high
Wind resistance high
Pockets 4 (1 inner)
www.paramo.co.uk

The Páramo Torres Gilet is best for overlayering.

First published in Trail magazine September 2011


Paramo Cambia Zip Neck

Unique because it’s reversible, you can wear the soft honeycomb face against your skin to trap ‘dry’ warmth; or wear the smooth surface next to your skin for a cooler option with excellent wicking. The only requirement is that you make your choice before you head for the hills! Both ways it feels incredibly comfortable and is very quick-drying. It’s looser and a shorter cut than some, making it more flattering than figure-hugging alternatives, and great for warmer days when you don’t need an outer layer. The Cambia comes with a high zip collar to trap warmth and protect you from the elements. Its biggest weakness is that it will start to smell after a long day in the hills – worth bearing in mind if you’re planning a trip to the pub afterwards.

VITAL STATS
Sizes
: XS-XL
Weight: 125g
Fabric: Nikwax Parameta
Features: Reversible, zip neck
Contact: 01892 786444; www.paramo.co.uk


Paramo Cambia Zip Neck

Unique because it’s reversible, you can wear the soft honeycomb face against your skin to trap ‘dry’ warmth; or wear the smooth surface next to your skin for a cooler option with excellent wicking. The only requirement is that you make your choice before you head for the hills! Both ways it feels incredibly comfortable and is very quick-drying. It’s looser and a shorter cut than some, making it more flattering than figure-hugging alternatives, and great for warmer days when you don’t need an outer layer. The Cambia comes with a high zip collar to trap warmth and protect you from the elements. Its biggest weakness is that it will start to smell after a long day in the hills – worth bearing in mind if you’re planning a trip to the pub afterwards.

Sizes: XS-XL
Weight: 125g
Fabric: Nikwax Parameta
Features: Reversible, zip neck
Contact: 01892 786444; www.paramo.co.uk


Páramo Kea Light Shirt 2010

While the cut and styling of the Páramo Kea Light Shirt hark back to colonial days, this is a hugely practical shirt that’s wicking and breathable enough for light trekking and comes with a host of secure features including two hidden zipped pockets and closely spaced buttons and collar to keep bugs out. It’s quick-drying and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50+.

Review by Matt Swaine
First published in Trail magazine April 2010


Páramo Sumaco Shirt 2010

The Páramo Sumaco Shirt does feel like silk against your skin: it’s very cool and wonderfully comfortable. And it’s packed to the rafters with technical features including Velcro adjusters at the wrist and a hidden zipped pocket – but surprisingly there are no straps to shorten the sleeves. As with the men’s version the sizes do come up very large so it’s worth trying on before you buy.

Review by Clare Savage
First published in Trail magazine April 2010


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


Paramo Cambia Sport Long Sleeved T-Shirt base layer

An incredibly comfortable base-layer – the fabric is so light and stretchy you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it. It’s reversible – wear the honeycomb fabric against your skin for comfort in cool conditions, and the smooth side for super-fast wicking in warmer conditions. The figure-hugging design works well on its own as an outer-layer, or as a base-layer in cool conditions. It wicks away sweat incredibly quickly, and it will dry quickly too, but gets quite smelly after a day in the hills.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
XS-XL
Fabric: Polyester Features: Reversible, flat seams
Contact: 01892 786444;
www.paramo.co.uk


Páramo Explorer Pull-On 2009

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.

Design
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


Páramo Cambia Base Layer 2009

The Páramo Cambia Base Layer is reversible, so it’s great value. One surface is for use in cold weather, and is pocked with small indents designed to trap air next to the skin. The other is for warmer conditions and is a dense, silky-smooth surface, which pulls sweat away from the skin. The top is comfortable, looser-fitting and has no issues with riding up at the back or down at the sleeves, even when  scrambling. It’s lighter than many here, is very effective when layered and the sleeves are easy to push up. As it is spawned from a British company, this base layer is also designed to cope with the British climate. As a result you’re getting great value, comfort and quality for the price. A crew neck is available too. Generally the Páramo Cambia Base Layer is durable – I’ve used one for years and it shows no signs of excessive wear – but the smoother side of the fabric (worn on the outside in cool weather) is more fragile than the honeycomb side. But as you will have another layer on in cool weather, this isn’t such a problem. This base layer’s reversibility is its big selling point, and while effective, the results aren’t massively dramatic. It would be nice to know which side is which in a clearer way! This is being picky; it still offers very good value. A longer cut might have been nice, and it doesn’t have the odour protection of some here.

 

Fabric Nikwax Reversible Parameta T (100% polyester)
Colours moss, navy (men’s); black, dawn blue, moss (women’s)
Sizes S-XXL (men’s) XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 175g (men’s size S)
Made in Colombia
Stores in the UK 100

Verdict: The Páramo Cambia Base Layer is a versatile, comfortable base layer, which is perfect for the UK hills and offers benefit in both very hot and very cold weather.

 

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine October 2009


PARAMO CAMBIA ZIP-NECK

Review: Good length sleeves and hem, and the double-sided fabric feels soft and has plenty of give in it. Cuffs are a bit baggy, though. A reversible top with one side providing more warmth and the other better moisture management. The latter performed better, wicking superbly and drying slightly quicker than the winner. Smellier and not as warm, though.
VITAL STATS
Colours: Moss, navy
Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: Nikwax Parameta T Reversible
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01892 786444, www.paramo.co.ukVerdict: A very versatile top that really performs well as a base-layer, yet will work on its own. One of the more expensive tops but, like all Paramo kit, it should last a while.