Páramo Velez Adventure Smock Waterproof Review 2018/02/03
Everyone wants to be comfortable outdoors in the mountains, hills and
forests. With our gear and mindset having ultimate control over this
experience. Knowing how your body responds to different temperatures
and conditions is vital in deciding what to buy for your next
adventure. We also need to be aware of how our clothing and equipment
impacts the environment and indeed our own health when making
purchasing decisions. This is a full review and field test of
the Páramo Velez Adventure Smock.
The Páramo Velez Adventure Smock is a walking, climbing, cycling and
snow sports garment. It uses a tightly woven water repellent face
fabric that is PFC free in conjunction with a separate layer underneath
that is designed to mimic animal fur. The layers are not laminated
together and it’s the interplay of these two layers that keeps you dry.
It’s a fascinating mechanism at work here that copies nature and I would
suggest you watch a short video
that explains the process.
The Páramo Velez Adventure Smock is a versatile, breathable and rugged
outdoor garment that keeps the rain out and manages your internal
temperature very well. Using the Páramo Velez Adventure Smock over a
three month period in the Swiss Alps whilst doing a mix of short day
hikes, overnight wild camps and outdoor photography sessions I have had
nothing but a totally positive experience with it. Back in the UK in the
Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor and Forest of Dean where I was hiking and wild
camping it has again all been very positive. Each time I take the Velez
out I come back liking it more and more, I will be purchasing a pair of
their waterproof over-trousers soon as I have been so impressed.
During my time in these environments the Páramo Velez Adventure Smock
had to contend with high humidity, light but consistent drizzle as well
as heavy thunderstorms with high winds, dense mist and also snow.
Throughout all of this the garment performed exceptionally well, kept me
dry and managed internal moisture better than any waterproof layer I
have used so far.
When it came to walking in high humidity the garment performed very
well, the difference here is the liner that Páramo uses beneath the face
fabric actually absorbs liquid moisture and pulls it away from you and
your skin. This is totally different from laminates, (like Gore tex and
eVent) that can only cope with water vapour. Moisture builds up on the
internal surface of the membrane on these laminate based waterproofs.
Whereas with the Páramo you don’t feel clammy and your layers beneath
the waterproof stay drier.
The Páramo Velez Adventure Smock is
great to move around in with full articulation in the shoulders and
elbows, it also has a dropped tail and a cropped front so it covers your
back without getting in your way. These are the type of features
normally found on much more expensive jackets.
The best single feature of the Páramo Velez Adventure Smock for me are
the side zips: they allow easy access to a knife without having to draw
the jacket upwards to reach your belt, this is such a wonderful time
saver out in the woods. The side zips also allow you to vent yourself
without sacrificing protection as the smock still covers your front even
with both zips undone to let fresh air in. When wearing a rucksack, the
side zips allow you to fasten your hip belt through the opening so the
jacket can move freely and still cover you with air allowed to flow
through and keep you cool.
The chest pocket is large enough for an OS map and compass. The inner
pocket, which can also hold an OS map, has a nice lining which helps in
hand warming. The internal hand pocket is one big pocket so your hands
can share warmth.
The Velez Smock has a fluorocarbon free DWR which means the repellent
finish does not use aggressive chemicals in order to achieve its high
level of water repellency. A recent scientific study concluded that per-
and poly-fluorinated compounds are damaging to the environment and human
health. Most outdoor brands rely on these chemicals to get their
performance but what price are you paying for this?
The Páramo Velez Adventure Smock is a great waterproof jacket. I like
the way it works with you. So much so that you can forget you have it on
as it’s so comfortable and breathable. It negates the need for a
soft-shell as its so breathable. It’s fantastic that it’s PFC free and
still able to keep you completely dry. One can replenish the DWR with
washing with NikWax, a water based repellent. This should be done
regularly. I have not tested the jacket on a long multi-day expedition
and it will be interesting to see how the garment holds up to prolonged
multi day use. However I feel confident.
Update May 24th 2018
After using the Velez Smock during a heavy thunderstorm that produced
58mm rainfall in an hour. I can say that water did penetrate to layers
beneath the jacket. Páramo does work closely with some of their
factories that produce some of their range to make sure its ethical.
They have a partnership with the Miquelina Foundation in Bogotá,
Colombia. Training and employment as well as homes and childcare are
offered to women at risk of prostitution and drugs. Over 80% of Páramo’s
annual production occurs at Miquelina. All garments manufactured there
now carry the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade label. This is
unheard of from most other outdoor brands and it’s certainly something
different that Páramo is doing. Read more about Páramo ethical