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View Full Version : Paramo Soft-shells (now available in subdued colours); Anyone in the US use them?



Mind's eye
06-27-2006, 02:29 AM
Just a quick heads up.

Firstly I'm not entirely sure how popular Paramo gear is in the US, as over here (UK) Goretex / Gore's extensive advertising campaign has pretty much shoved them into a rather small niche.

It seems that Soft-shells are 'in' at the moment, but for the most part 'soft-shells' seem to be the same principle as the early 90s windproofs (good levels of water resistance, but not 'waterproof' as such), using stuff like scholler dry etc.

In my experience Paramo is much more waterproof than the majority of these systems though I wouldn't really classify it in the same boat as scholler dry etc.

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(Just to be clear, I don't work for paramo, I'm just a hiker who doesn't get on well with gortex or eVent).

Main advantages for me of paramo over gortex / eVent (membrane type fabrics) are;

- Silent fabric. Paramo has a cloth like drape that doesn't rustle like gortex, eVent, aquafoil etc so you don't make a noise like a steam train whilst running in it.

- Punctures don't make it leak like a sieve.
Paramo uses a two layer system they compare to animal fur, to kind of wick water out of the system. Since it's not a lattice type membrane like gore or eVent, puncturing either layer does not effect water resistance.

- Repairable without patches etc.
As mentioned above the whole analogy to nature thing, differs from the common single membrane setup goretex etc provides. One huge advantage of this to me (and anyone who's ever ripped open a sleave of a lightweight jacket whilst trogging through a forest in the dark) is that you can simply sew up large gashes in the fabric to repair them rather than patching them, thanks to the two layer system (though it's reccomended you lob some nikwax reproofer on the jacket).

- Extensive venting options;
The jackets / smocks are usually full of pit-zips, that mean you can fully ventilate your body without removing your pack or your smock etc.


- Lifetime guarantee. I like companies that stand behind their products.


There are a few disadvanages obviously;

- Warmth; Paramo kit is a little warmer than a lightweight goretex jacket as it has a couple of layers etc, so can be a royal ballache if you're in a hot climate and working hard.

- Weight; the system is a little bulkier and heavier than single layer fabrics due to the way it functions (I think it's something like 800g for a smock versus about 470g for the equivilient in lightweight eVent).

- Simple and somtimes 'clunky' looking designs.

- Cost; Not sure what US prices are like, but over here you can nearly always pick up goretex on sale, whereas paramo is nearly always at list price, costing a fair bit more.


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*cough* anyway, I realise I sound like I'm giving it the hard sell, but I find 90% of outdoor stores I walk in over here don't stock paramo kit and likewise the majority of people I mention it to never seem to have heard of it and furthermore don't see why they should pay extra.

It doesnt suit everyone (it gets a bit warm etc), but it has a few benifits that may be of interest to some.

My main reason for posting is pretty much a heads up that Paramo have finally started offering a few of their smocks / jackets in more subdued colours that might be of interest to folk using it for activites other than scrambling around the hills. Some have a little reflective piping on, but that's no worries to remove with an exacto etc.

But also, is Paramo actually used / popular in the US?

Couple of examples of the new range of colours;

http://www.paramo.co.uk/UK/acatalog/images/product/mens-cascada-marshgreen.jpg
http://www.paramo.co.uk/UK/acatalog/images/product/velez-olive.jpg
http://www.paramo.co.uk/UK/acatalog/images/product/velez-brown.jpg


Anyway, don't know if it'll be of any interest to anyone other than Civis but hope it helps someone.

Cheers

Bonasus
06-27-2006, 02:00 PM
Chris Townsend in his 3d edition of the Backpacker's Handbook writes favorably of Paramo gear. I have not seen it yet in a retail store. I suspect it is not well known as yet.