Páramo Velez Adventure Light Smock, Limited Edition. First shot.

The rain came down in abundance so I was out the door and up the hill in a flash to get a wee shot of the Velez AL.

The wee flash of green at the neck there above is a Páramo Cambia t-shirt, I thought it would be best to try the whole lot at the one go.
There was a mental adjustment to be made, it feels different, but with an open mind I headed up the trail in the pissing wetness. I got warm on the move and made use of the side vents and front zip, it worked fine and I didn’t overheat or let the rain in. As the rain died down and it got a little warmer I rolled up the sleeves as well and stayed pretty comfortable. The story about condensation is true, there is none. But you’re still damp, just coated in absorbent fabrics that shift the moisture outwards very efficiently.

The rain stopped, but the air was still damp. Pulling the hood down is the easiest way to cool down in any clothing system and talking of the hood, it’s pretty good. It fits well, moves well with my head and has easy adjusment. The wired peak is good, but I’d like it to stick out another inch.

You’ll notice my huge belly to the left, that belly is made of a hat, an iPod, a protein bar… and some is me too. The pouch pocket is very handy, the clearest advantage any smock has to offer.

The outer fabric feels as light as maybe a softer version of Pertex Microlight, this must be some of the weight saving. Rain beads on it well and I’ve already had it against rock and through jaggy bushes, but there’s no sign of damage.
There are niggles, the hood roll away mechanism leaves an internal flap at your neck with exposed poppers hanging there. It’s neat when the hood is rolled and fastened, but I’d ditch the whole thing and put a single tab in like everyone else.

I now know why Páramo jackets look like they do, it’s the inner/outer thing. The loose outer gives the impression of the saggyness they’re so often accussed of. But there is a little too much jacket, I’d tighten up the general fit quite a bit.

But the important lesson learned was that it’s very comfortable, you do feel dry, it’s quiet (even raindrops go “flump” on it) and it’s functional.
I’ll be tearing the arse out of it for the four weeks I’ve got it to see exactly what it’s made of. And I’m not worried, it’s good kit. I’ll be back with a detailed review in a bit

25 thoughts on “Páramo Velez Adventure Light Smock, Limited Edition. First shot.

  1. *points again* Ha!!!

    :o)

    I’m nodding in agreement here btw. With a wee bit of tweaking, they could have themselves something very special indeed.

    Sleet. That’s what you need test it, weather-wise. :o)

  2. So what you are saying is: give the new, lighter materials to Cioch and let them get on with making made-to-measure, minimalist jackets that fit properly, weigh less and have a proper hood (what IS the point of a rollaway hood, by the way)

  3. The hood was designed as a proper hood, with the fold down bits added on, so the design of the hood hasn’t been compromised luckily. The resolution of the folding stuff though is just not ideal, if it didn’t have to go back for other folk to review I’d cut it out.

    I’ve been known to use a roll away hood when I’m running and biking. Running in pishy wet weather is better with a Gore Tex cap I find. But, a simple tab is all you need.

  4. Aye, rollaway hoods are good for faster moving activities – I’d include biking and skiing in that. I’m curious about the rollaway fastening though – it sounds like my Aspira but I never notice the poppers being exposed as an issue.

    Cioch!! Is it just me? I’d like to like them, the idea of bespoke, made-to-measure stuff is very appealing, but tbh I’m less than impressed with the design of a lot of their stuff (although I’d agree they offer better colour options than a lot of Paramo). We ordered a Glamaig earlier this summer but sent it back rather underwhelmed by some of the features and the finishing. and when I visited their shop I couldn’t even get to see a sample of the salopettes design! I’m sure I’ll succumb and get something from them eventually, but I don’t actually consider them to be the Nikwax Analogy messiah.

  5. Matt – “underwhelmed by some of the features and the finishing”. I’ve had one for about 2.5 years and couldn’t be happier. I can’t comment on the finish (victim of own success), but the features? Can you expand?

  6. The poppers didn’t catch me on the neck or anything, or get tangled in my hair :o)
    It’s just this loose flap around the inside of the hood with the row of poppers, to quote Doctor Who “There should have been another way…”.

    But it’s a minor point, there’s a lot that’s right about the Velez AL. I need to get it in a camping situation asap and see how that goes.

  7. Actually, after ptc*’s bog entry yesterday, MoS and I were musing on the amount of flak that Paramo fit seems to draw… I suspect it may be a little unfair, as it must fit a fair few people or they wouldn’t sell any. I wonder if the difference is simply choice? Every brand designs to a notional size, e.g Haglofs is primarily slim and athletic, and in doing so it’ll fit some folk well but not others. Now with every other type of kit – goretex, event, powerstretch etc. – you have a choice; Haglofs not suit you, try ME; Rab no good, how about Montane? Not like a feature? Find another brand without it…

    But Paramo – not fit you, or a feature not suit you…. tough, nowhere else to go (except Cioch and the likes, which most folk aren’t going to do, at least not until they’ve tried a product and proven the concept to themselves). So perhaps Paramo are no more guilty than anyone else, just more noticeable? (Except for some of those awful colours!! :O)

  8. I agree with Matt’s point about the fit, the notional UK average is of a less athletic build.
    Maybe they should make the Velez part of a slimmer range, properly slimmer like Haglofs and market it at that user group?
    But the inner/outer thing is mostly responsible for the look. There are ways they could avoid that by “quilting” it for example, holding the two layers together here and there. There’s ways of doing it without creating a point where water would come in or lurk, but weight and manufcaturing costs probably prohibit it.

  9. Plus I think we have to remember Paramo are still quite a small company who are trying to manufacture things ethically which is to be applauded but obviously will create limitations.

    It would be nice to see them as Ptc suggests targeting the Haglofs market with the Velez and the Vasco and sliming them down even further. Speaking of the Vasco, the silver and black version on there web site at the moment actually looks quite smart and is probably the best looking Paramo jacket I’ve seen.

    I believe the Finnistere jackets developed with Paramo are going to be a limited set of releases only, plus there lower weight comes from dropping some of the venting options, which with the warmth of the fabric is possibly not the best idea?

  10. Good point about the manufacturing Benjamin.

    I’d like everything to have Haglofs cut! Rab comes a close second, the Super Dru eVent jacket is spot on. Mammut too, slim and technical.

  11. Oi, don’t be taking yer lightweight scissors to the Velez or us Chubbies will have nothing left to wear ;-). Tell you what, you can have the Velez Adventure in your “performance fit” instead, just don’t make me wear one of those Cascadas or I’m gonna look like a dug walker!

    By the way, very fetching in that nice Paramo Red and Black instead of the usual Haglofs green, thought you were one of those nice MRT types for a mo…

  12. Holly didn’t reconise me when I came back from the hill in the Velez. She met me at the door and gave me a hard stare.
    So if she smiles at me wearing at we’ll know it’s a good’un.

    Martin, you know I will :o)

  13. The Vasco and 3rd Element are a reasonably slim cut, especially compared to my Viento. The colours are generally a bit unispiring, but the cobalt is attactive on my Vasco and the red and grey of my 3rd Element are good. Even the slate of my Viento is rather attractive. Where Paramo often fall down are the colour combinations. I was not attracted to any of the standard Velez Adventure colour schemes. However PTC’s Velez looks quite presentable.

  14. Re Paramo colours, I like the Red/Black combo but some of the other stuff is woeful. I have a solid black (no reflective strips) Velez Adventure* and black Cascada troosers. I also tried on a Black Aspira Smock but couldn’t justify the expense. The good stuff is out there, Paramo just don’t make very much of it.

    Finisterre offered the VA clone in Black and also Olive. Maybe that’s why it sold out so quick?

    *Worn in the ‘gorms back in May. There’s a photo on my blog.

  15. There are some half decent colours about (the stuff they pitch at the nature set has some colours quite similar to Finisterre especially on the Velez) but they’re often not put on the web site and they have limited runs of them (again I think this is to do with what the folks in Columbia can get there hands.) I’ve got a choccy brown normal Velez (the adventure wasn’t about when I got mine) that’s quite nice, no two tone colouring, and I’ve seen a rather nice arctic survey edition of the Aspira in bright orange.

    They can obviously get the Finisterre colours though as I’m fairly certain Paramo make those jackets for them just to the Finisterre designers spec (hence they are pretty much just stripped down versions of the VA and the Vasco).

  16. I like the brown. I’ve got a chocolate brown Macpac merino/synthetic midlayer and whehn I wear it with my orange OMM packs I look like a bean bag on a rug in 1976.

    Their mix of colours is a bit patchy maybe. The Velez I was expecting was in Fire/Chilli which I think looked quite fun. Others will cros their eyes in terror. Like the fit, it’s all down to the individual.

    Hopefull when I report back it’ll be all about performance and durability and I’ll forgotten about the aesthetics. Mind you would a slimmer fit work better from a fabric performance point of view>

  17. Brown and orange is indeed a marvellous combination. Strange you don’t see it about too much…

    I wish OMM did longer back lengths and that the MSC versions of their sacks were in Orange. There orange is ace and would spruce up my velez nicely in the winter.

    Re: the slimmer fit I’d have thought it would mean it would more successfully absorb moisture from your base layer no?

  18. Aye, that’s what I thought.

    Regarding the OMM packs, I think we’ll some developments next year, but if the retailers don’t order stuff it doesn’t get made. I’ve found this all over, the manufacturers are trying, and the shops are screwing it up.

  19. Just getting back on DavidG’s question re Cioch yesterday (sorry for the delay).

    Feature-wise I suspect everything was actually sortable. We got a ‘standard’ Glamaig and the main deficiency was the hood which didn’t provide enough face protection. I know you can specify a more ‘mountain’ hood (although you’ll be adding weight too). And we felt like we’d want a face-to-face conversation with them to to sort out the best position for zips and pockets to work well and comfortably with a pack.

    But the main thing was the quality of the stitching (input here kindly provided by my technical guru :) …….

    “Most of the seams were puckered which was more of a visual issue but it suggested that the sewing machine thread tensions hadn’t been set properly ”

    “The other thing about the seams was that they weren’t finished off with an extra row of stitching – it makes a neat and strong finish and Paramo do it on a lot of their seams”

    “I’d expect really good quality from an expensive made to measure service. {…] My conclusion was that I wouldn’t place an order based on what I’d seen of that one garment

    I don’t wish to be unfair to Cioch – I’m glad they exist and provide the alternative they do. These observations are only on the strength of examining one garment close-up first-hand. It just suggests to me that while Cioch have certain strengths and appeals, so do Paramo and in some respects Paramo are doing things better.

  20. Matt – interesting. I wonder if Cioch have changed the spec of the standard Glamaig (to cut costs, save time, following feedback from ramblers).

    The hood on my Glamaig is a full mountain one (which was standard when I bought it) – and its far better than the one on my Paramo Alta II. (qualification – I like hoods with big wired peaks that are good at keeping weather out and bad at adjusting or moving with my head)

    I can’t say I’ve ever noticed the stitching on mine (its stealth black), and I’ve never been aware of any quality problems. Still, standards may have slipped since I got mine.

    I’ve never thought about the position of the zip (mine is a jacket, not a smock), and its never been an issue

    The pockets on the jacket are a problem, though, especially with a substantial hipbelt. In hindsight, I would specify no pockets apart from the upper map one. Walking with the pockets open helps, but its not an ideal solution.

    The hood chords are not attached, which could be a problem but hasn’t been so far.

    Overall the Cioch kicks my Alta II into touch, but my Glamaig seems significantly different to the one sent to you.

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