What is the point?
Worthington Palmer wrote (see)
Could you help me open this can of worms?
Yes, I can recommend it, as do numerous people. It isn't perfect, but it has a different set of compromises compared to membrane waterproofs. It is hotter and heavier and more prone to leakage at pressure points (so don't sit in puddles). On the other hand it remains breathable when the outside layer wets out, its very effective and drying damp underlayers (eg, due to sweating or ingress of rain in really nasty conditions).
I'd search elsewhere for information on how it works.
How energetic are you expecting to be in the rain? I find Paramo stuff too warm when I'm hiking and the temperature is much above 5 degrees. For more gentle walks, or just standing around, it's fine whenever the weather is cold enough to warrant a fleece..
Depending on how rich you feel, you may find buying a fleece and a conventional shell jacket in a sale to be much more economical, and gives you a year round waterproof.
The Paramo I looked at had vents and everything perhaps we are thinking of differnet products? Don't all waterproofs leak if you sit in a puddle? 5 degrees blimey, is it really that warm that you can't wear it unless it's cold out?
As I said, depends entirely on how much heat you're generating. If I'm cycling or climbing a mountain, I'll end up a bit of a sweaty mess at 10 degrees C in Paramo. If I'm doing photography or a normal sort of walk, I'll have no problem. Nigel Healy above uses his Quito jacket cycling at a bit over 10 degrees.
I still have a perfectly breathable and serviceable paramo jacket from 1992, that I got after getting fed up with mid-range membrane waterproofs of that era. It is still ideal in cold, wet weather. I remember one 8-hour day on Cross Fell that started out as rain, then went to sleet and then snow and back again; we stopped for lunch in Greg's Hut, and most of my friends' goretex jackets were not breathing (water couldn't go through the thin layers of slush on the outside I'd imagine).
The jacket was hot for summer wear.
Last year I bought a new paramo smock (velez) because of the warmth, and because I wanted something that looked a little more respectable.
This is a lot cooler, and with the side vents open I have worn it comfortably in summer, including situations where I would otherwise use a lightweight fleece and windproof, and I think it might even be slightly cooler than a 100-weight fleece (but windproof). I think that the venting is pretty good.
I don't use it cycling though, because it is too dark a colour for my liking on the A6, and because I get hot enough in just a baselayer and windproof.
My great aunt bought a Paramo for dog walking and she swears by it though.
well that is relatively short walk, with plenty of stops, so you'll be needing insulation.
I'd always recommend P for the lower above-freezing temperatures when your activity is low enough to not overheat. Its the only thing I've found which keeps you dry for hours, and it dries quickly in between showers. The newer items P has made the last 2 or 3 years have used thinner fabric, and less layers of fabric, and so raised the temperatures of their use.
This is a relative term obviously, but the P items are expensive, and getting the right fit is really challenging. I'd estimate more than half the people it doesn't fit due to torso length, torso width and sleeve length. e.g. a large for me is right length but baggy everything, a medium is right for me but too short.
but should paramo actually fit as well as you would like it to or is it supposed to be baggy so that it works effectively.
I'd be surprised if it needed to be baggy to work... can't quite work out the physics of that. Maybe extra flappy fabric movement helps flow through the pump membrane? I rather suspect that coventional membranes benefit from there being airspace between the inner layer of the shell and the enclosed wearer and their clothes so as to form a hot, humid environment which would encourage maximum vapour transmission across the membrane. There's been a recent article on OM which suggests venting hard shells is not always a good idea, as far as their performance is concerned, anyway.
I suspect that for something to wick damp from inner layers/skin to outer layers you'll want to fit snugly against them as its physical contact which allows liquid flow. The pump liner is non stretchy though, so you don't want it too snug if you're not into straight jackets...
Serriadh wrote (see)
I'd climb 2000ft wearing a thin Pertex which I vent as I climb and then on the flats then shift to Quito. To stay in Quito when climbing it needs to be say about 3C-5C. On the flats (more wind for a given output) it just-right about 10C, but its too hot at 13C. One of the reasons Paramo and Quito specifically is the cut of the hood, might just be a fluke of sizing on me but I get good peripheral vision, the hood stays put as I look around, the wired peak drips far enough ahead I can ride without glasses. Annoyingly short at the back (by about 3 inch). However, dry torso+arms regardless of how long in rains.
I bike in the least-insulating baselayer under Quito, typically a summer t-shirt cycling jersey.
If its about 5C, for the descents, I need to add something, sometimes just a Litespeed.
So e.g. Litespeed to climb, Quito on the flats, Quito+Litespeed to descend.Ascents might be 40mins and descents 10mins. In those 10 mins you can become so very cold.... one learns to proactively layer-up.
Once its above 10C-13C range I effectively don't use any Paramo. In UK I'd say that probably restricts you between October and April. In California its even shorter, December-March.
If someone wants to spend the least amount of money, just get an eVent shell like the Montane Superfly (which is returning )and layer around it. Not the most comfy and not right for all seasons but one waterproof vs the 4 that I own . I've done the maths and on a per-wear basis, its cheaper to own multiple jackets than one, due to eVent progressively failing and it being used for long times in winter, vs P lasting much much longer. My eVent-equivalent is Marmot Aegis and Marmot Mica which are packed often wore seldom.
The most sastifying aspect of P if you need only look at the temperature forecast, as its waterproofness is a by-product of an insulated windproof. Compare with the alternatives where you gain waterproof at expense of breathability.
Parky Again wrote (see)
I can only say the P Quito Medium is not baggy and functions perfectly (apart from the length). The large I owned before, the bagginess made it noisier in wind. There needs to be enough bagginess for air to move around enough inside and for the venting to work - enough slack around the front+back for open vents to get a thru-breeze. Any more bagginess than that is just silly useless annoying. With a 3 inch jump in chest sizes means many folks will find an issue. Overall, the designers seem aiming for fat-bloke, or short-muscly relative dimensions. Contrast with say Montane, Marmot, Mont-bell, Rab..... Don't want to get into "better" "worse" just recommend try for size before purchase decision.
The pump-liner does not pump and does not wick. It holds water outside and lets vapour pass through easily.
There needs to be enough room inside for the vapour your body-heat is evaporating rain/sweat (rain in around the hood/collar, any that spit through the zips) to be able to circulate around and pass through a wider area of fabric. Its cold outside so you want to be warm to do the evaporating, thats how you stay dry. There will in general be some wetter areas being chilled by evaporation, these benefit from drier warm air moving over.
For the shells, its almost the opposite, by definition its not cold enough for P so its warm, I want the fabric to be laying close to skin to conduct the cold to me so I don't get too warm under the low-breathability shell. My shells are figure-hugging. e.g. my Marmot Aegis is size small. If someone was to buy 1 shell for all seasons then it needs to have room for a fleece under.
Nigel Healy wrote (see)
The pump-liner does not pump and does not wick. It holds water outside and lets vapour pass through easily.
I'm not going to quibble over the physics of terms like 'wick', but suffice to say the end result is close enough that is precise mechanism is an irrelevancy.
Transfer of water from inside to out is not a purely vapour-phase process as it would be with Goretex. Nikwax analogy does encourage fluid transfer from the inside to the out, and discourage its passage back through the fabric. This transfer may as well be termed pumping as anything else; certainly no sucincct alternatives spring to mind.
Applying some sort of force to a material which has a large hydrophobic surface on which water collects will encourage it to disperse; witness the means by which dogs speed their coat drying times. The contribution of this factor to drying times of analogy garments will likely be nonzero, but presumably negligible as I suggested above.
you are correct about the "pump. however...real world...not really relevant.
for it to "pump" it needs to be in contact with liquid water. an unlikely scenario inside a paramo jacket. the demos spraying water on the liner etc etc etc..
moisture passes through the liner mostly by evaporation - i would say probably exclusively.
water can be forced through paramo(according to reports - possibly from snug fitting items). if it is snug fitting so it provides pressure points so water may ingress. if it is baggy then the pressure points aren't really there. that and th ethickness of the outer layer.
thois supports why on the VAL trews the outer along the main pressure points (thigh) are of the thicker face fabric rather than the light face fabric. unless someone can come up with a damn good other reason to use the heavy stuff in lightweight trews.
interesting theory though...
Velez trews, worn all day yesterday, 18 miles walk in continual rain. Biggest soaking though was when crossing a road, pothole, truck....
I thought they'd used thicker outer fabric on the bum, thigh, knee area for toughness for sitting and kneeling ?
The "pump" aspect. Liquid water test - I make a puddle on the inside it goes slowly through, slow but I reckon faster than is comes out of skin. A puddle on the outside doesn't go through. It is not an immediate (wicking) soaking through the inside and rapid appearance on the outside. However for the purpose its intended, it does the job. If I do the same with shell (e.g. I have some eVent gaiters and an eVent cap) the transfer is so slow to the point I don't see any transfer. For water vapour, I can blow through the P liner very easily, and I guess if it condenses outside, it will then stay outside via the above. I can't blow through eVent.
So P works.
As for sitting in puddles, well I carry a Gelert 2quid folding foam mat.
you are correct about the "pump. however...real world...not really relevant.for it to "pump" it needs to be in contact with liquid water. an unlikely scenario inside a paramo jacket. the demos spraying water on the liner etc etc etc..moisture passes through the liner mostly by evaporation - i would say probably exclusively.
Unlikely, but not impossible. Bitter experience, etc etc The most common way for the inside of my shell layers to get a good soaking under normal use is bike riding, given the impracticality of wearing hoods most of the time, and the great big hole in the top of all the jackets I own.
if it is snug fitting so it provides pressure points so water may ingress. if it is baggy then the pressure points aren't really there. that and th ethickness of the outer layer.
I presume that the reason water seeps in through pressure points is that when the fluffy face of the liner is compressed enough, the denier gradient is effectively lost so any sense of directionality goes with it. A tight liner and baggy shell wouldn't cause that, for example, but a tight shell wouldn't help the situation at all.
I had a chat last night to my Nan's Sister who bought a Paramo coat. She absolutely loves it and says it has alway maintained it's waterproofness. If you look here you will see that they have actually been around for a very long time. I was quite surprised.
I do seem to get mixed messages from what people have said above, although I sense much of what has been said is simply 'technical conjecture' based' on subjective trails, hearsay or guess work? Sorry that sounds offensive, it isn't meant to be
So I would suppose Paramo, in general hill walking and mountaineering terms is a fairly good product that is waterproof and breathes just as well as anything else? (I still don't understand - who would sit in a puddle?)
So which garment would you suggest or recommend: The Alta, Aspira or the Velez Verylight?
Worthington Palmer. It's hard to know what to recommend without knowing your requirement. The Alta is longer in length so if you are not wearing waterproof trousers then this would be the better option for walking in the rain. If you want to wear it to work it will cover a jacket worn below too. The Aspira comes in both a jacket and a smock. The smock version is a heavier version of the Velez light but very different sizings so you need to try them on. Having got a Velez Light I think if I was buying again I may consider the Quito because I prefer the full length zip but the sizing on it leaves me probably discounting it for me. With the Velez you are likely to be able to wear it year round - using a warmer base layer in winter and a light base (or nothing) under in summer... and it will pack up and go in a bag a lot easier too. I don't know about the length on the Aspira full zip jacket.
Ideally you need to try them on and consider your needs. The Velez Light is more versatile though IMHO.
This is the internet; everyone is an armchair expert!
I'm assuming that most people who have contributed to this thread are or have been Paramo users. There's probably no hearsay, but there may be some guesswork. Doesn't make much practical difference; we still seem to be using the gear
As I said before, its hard to offer any recommendations if you can't say what you're using this stuff for. If you're just out for a short dog walk, it makes almost no difference what sort of waterproof you get. If you're climbing a mountain, birdwatching, cycling, whatever else... they're all different situations which might well warrant different sorts of waterproof. Give us a clue!
I would suggest you visit a Paramo retailer and try some things on and see how they fit you. It isn't beyond the realms of possibility that the staff would have some helpful advice for you, too.
there is some "educated guesswork" based upon technical stuff given to us on here by nick the inventor of the stuff (how the liner actually works) and a lot of personal observation by people and mad experiments (for example who sits in a puddle well i sat in a tray of water in my cascadas to prove that water doesn't get forced through when you lean on anything wet in the normal course of events. i did it for an experiment however goretex and event owners seem to sit in puddles a lot. a cussed bunch seemingly)
what would suit anyone is very difficult. it's warmth depends upon what else you wear e.g. if you really must insist upon wearing merino (not recommended but each to their own) then it's going to be warm. thicker, warmer trousers make the jacket warmer too. and of course what you actually do. do you rush around like a mad thing getting yourself excessively hot trying to complete something or do you take your time and enjoy the whole experience of being a bimbler.
i'm a bimbler and my upper limit is around 13C but that is with a jacket with lots of ventilation - a viento or a velez
the sizing varies a lot between jackets so you must try to see if you like it. if you're looking for some technical svelte don't i look the biz down the pub type thing then you've picked the wrong brand.
"I thought they'd used thicker outer fabric on the bum, thigh, knee area for toughness for sitting and kneeling ?" not on the face of the thigh. or do they have the thicker material only as a knee patch? either way it's there to stop water getting in or there for durability or there for both. i think it's there to stop water getting in with the added selling bonus of calling it durable.
I'm passing through London in a few weeks, I plan on trying a few items on, such as P stuff in their Covent Garden store, take notes, and then just wait for sales or used items and get what I need for next winter. This winter is half-way through.
Sizing is challenging to discuss through the web, and even to email exchange with the manufacturer. I swapped my Cascada trousers for Velez trousers because the Quito was shorter than my earlier Velez smock and the Velez trousers is a higher waist, the Cascadas I had to self-wedgie. So that's an example of how fit compromises performance, its not all about the fabric. Those type problems you can't predict from online reviews, and often challenging to work out just standing in a store unless you are very wise.
So I end up making the best guess in the store, buy in a sale and if it doesn't work in the field then sell when no sales on to someone who's a different shape or with different needs. A few items become keepers but by some coincidence the manufacturers stop making them and so eventually the fun as to begin again. I need to find a replacement to my Montane Prism, they ruined with Prism II, before the fabric totally dies.
The most common way for the inside of my shell layers to get a good soaking under normal use is bike riding, given the impracticality of wearing hoods most of the time, and the great big hole in the top of all the jackets I own.
Right, options which work ok are in cooler rain to use a P jacket, 2 best cycling ones are the Velez (not the VAL, different hoods) and the Quito. Rain may well enter via the face/neck but evaporates if you tune to overall insulation to just-warm, tune via the side-vents. For warmer rain, use Merino and a Montane Velo (or 2 Velos for heavier rain), and either a bare head or there are eVent caps.
If a H wearer the Quito's hood is so thin fabric you can put a H over.
The Velez is longer, you can use rainlegs to shed the wettest parts and legwarmers. The Quito is shorter, exposes the bum so need trews like OMM Kamleika. At about 50F, I can ride 4 hours in rain and be dry torso+arms+legs.
Hiking is relatively simpler to stay dry.
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