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Paramo Waterproof Directional Clothing
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Paramo Waterproof Directional Clothing on 12/02/2008 22:44:18 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Paramo Waterproof Directional Clothing

David Wood
(RedYeti) - MLife

Locale: South Eastern UK
Nice summary on 12/03/2008 04:01:58 MST Print View

Great article Chris and definitely the best summary of how the waterproofing actually works.

Until I had some idea of the theory of how it keeps water away from you I couldn't bring myself to part with the cash. Hopefully your article will do that for many others.

Now that I use it, I also miss it greatly during the summer and everyone I walk with is slowly converting over to it for winter use as well. There's nothing like seeing someone remaining comfortable across all kinds of conditions whilst you sweat in a membrane to convince people it's not just marketing hype.

I've even been experimenting with just using a liner (+ separate windproof) during the summer.

I hear rumour Paramo are planning the same system to go into production in the next few months in fact.

Edited by RedYeti on 12/03/2008 04:02:55 MST.

Andy Howell
Paramo on 12/03/2008 09:45:09 MST Print View

I've been using Paramo for about six years now, in exactly the same configurations as Chris.

It took me a long time to use it but once I did I stuck with it. Nothing is as comfortable in cold and rainy conditions. As Chris says, Paramo waterproofs are very robust. My Alta II Jacket is now on its last legs but has been worn every day during the winter for 6 years.

In the summer I go for a more conventional layering system but on next year's TGO Challenge I will use the Third Element.

On my first Challenge I used a Paramo Velez over a simple baselayer. On my second I used a conventional layering system. There was little weight difference between the two, with the Paramo a few grams lighter. When you see Paramo as an integrated part of a whole system you see that it is not a heavy option.

Incidentally, Paramo's other products are worth exploring. Their new warm weather range - shirts and pants - are very comfortable in very hot and humid conditions.

Simple windproofs are good as well. A Paramo windshirt smock saw me through several European mountain treks very effectively. Though only water resistant these dealt with the weather quite happily. These tend to be a little heavier material than very lightweight windproofs and verge more towards the waterproof arena.

But back to the waterproofs. On cold, wet days there is nothing I would rather be wearing!

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Paramo Waterproof Directional Clothing on 12/03/2008 10:08:35 MST Print View

This sounds like it could work well in New England where winters are cold and wet.
How should the fit be? tight, loose, or does it matter?
I think I will at least try the pants.

Jeremy Cleaveland
(jeremy11) - F

Locale: Exploring San Juan talus
Paramo Waterproof Directional Clothing on 12/03/2008 11:07:43 MST Print View

Great article.
A couple years ago I got a Paramo Aspira Jacket and Cascada Trousers (I live in Colorado) after reading about them in Chris Townsend's book Backpacker's Handbook, 2nd Ed.
They work amazing for anything cold, wet or dry. I wear the jacket all winter long here for everything from just walking around to backcountry skiing, aid climbing, winter biking,.... and it is marvelous no matter what. The Aspira Jacket is rather heavy but I got it for the pocket space, which is great in winter, and in winter I'm generally wearing it all the time anyway, and it works so well that an extra pound isn't an issue.
If you do much at all in cold conditions, wet or dry, Paramo is the thing to get.

Noel Hong
(arborrider08) - F

Locale: SouthShore of Lake Superior
Paramo at BMW/ on 12/03/2008 11:57:34 MST Print View

Thanks Chris for the good write up.

Paramo rain gear and their warm/humid 1st layer tops are clothing gear that really interest me. Too bad no USA source.

The people in the UK seem to be one step ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to innovated gear materials or processes. Pertex, P2i, Paramo....

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Paramo at BMW/ on 12/03/2008 12:40:40 MST Print View

An intriguing product, but too heavy for me to seriously consider it in my pack. Treating your rainwear as part of an intigrated system can work well in cold, dry conditions, but convincing myself that my heavy, warm, but WET raingear can act as a base or mid-layer in my sleeping bag is not at all appealing!

David Wood
(RedYeti) - MLife

Locale: South Eastern UK
Re: Re: Paramo at BMW/ on 12/03/2008 15:10:54 MST Print View

Well - as Chris says, you don't really intend to put it in your pack! That was one of the realisations that pushed me to try it. (And as mentioned above - I now love it).

And as for using it in a sleeping bag - well it would have to be very, very, very cold for me to consider that (and Chris too I imagine) in which case - there would be no liquid water available to make the Paramo wet. So it's not a crazy as it sounds.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Paramo at BMW/ on 12/03/2008 17:52:37 MST Print View

>Well - as Chris says, you don't really intend to put it in your pack!

Agreed, I merely meant that, in NZ, there is no way to predict the weather far enough in advance to say "I won't want to take that thing off for the whole trip". Might be nice as a ski/snowbaord jacket or other cold weather single day use though! We can usually precict the weather at least half a day in advance...

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Paramo and weather forecats on 12/03/2008 18:11:43 MST Print View

Allison, predicting the weather a half day in advance is good going in Scotland! And that's where I mostly wear Paramo clothing. However I know that between October and May the weather will be cool enough for me to wear Paramo all the time, using the vents if its a little warm. Whether it's calm, windy, raining or snowing makes no difference - the Paramo stays on.

I haven't yet used Paramo waterproof clothing for a two week backpacking trip as late as May though I know people who regularly use it on the TGO Challenge. Maybe next year I will.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Paramo Waterproof Directional Clothing on 12/03/2008 18:19:40 MST Print View

Great article Chris! I've been collecting information on Paramo for some time now as I am intrigued by the product. I do a lot of hiking in New England where, as other posters pointed out, might be an ideal use in winter where it can rain or snow or sleet.

The weight of the garments has been the one factor that has held me off from making a purchase. I am excited to hear that Paramo is heading toward a lighter weight line. The sooner the better, I say.

I have been looking (OK, drooling) over their Vasco jacket as it is one of their lighter offerings but mainly it has back vents in addition to the lines usual venting tricks. I think this would be important since this is a piece of clothing you would not want to take off and carry in a pack.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Paramo and weather forecats on 12/03/2008 19:12:40 MST Print View

>predicting the weather a half day in advance is good going in Scotland!

Ditto here

>Whether it's calm, windy, raining or snowing makes no difference

Glad I don't live in Scotland. It sounds like you don't get unpredicatbly warm weather through the winter months ;)

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Paramo and winter weather on 12/04/2008 05:53:34 MST Print View

Scottish weather is always unpredictable! Our winters are marginal, in that temperatures are mostly between -2 and +5C but can drop much lower (the record low is -27C) or rise to +10. We usually have a succession of freeze thaw cycles even high in the mountains. Snow can last a day or a fortnight before almost all of it melts. Very strong winds are common (reaching 160+ kph every month at times on summits)and precipitation runs from heavy rain through sleet and wet snow to real, dry snow. I find Paramo ideal for this cold wet climate.

David Wood
(RedYeti) - MLife

Locale: South Eastern UK
Re: Paramo and winter weather on 12/04/2008 08:49:18 MST Print View

There's something wrong with me. I found myself grinning at that summary of Scottish Winter weather Chris...

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Paramo and Scottish Winter Weather on 12/04/2008 09:27:32 MST Print View

David, you have to grin or you'd cry ......

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Paramo and winter weather on 12/04/2008 13:57:27 MST Print View

Hi Chris

So are the Creagh Dhu still around?


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Paramo and winter weather on 12/04/2008 13:58:16 MST Print View

Yup, Chris, the Scottish tourism industry will be drafting hate mail for you now as I type!!

New Zealand does not have a large temperature range, lacking the extremes found in most continental climates. However, New Zealand weather can change unexpectedly—as cold fronts or warm tropical cyclones quickly blow in. Because of this, you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature if you're going hiking or doing other outdoor activities. In some respects, it is better to carry 'too much' warm clothing rather than too little, but I'm always prepared for hot weather too, even in winter!

However, I still like the ideal of the Paramo clothing, but I wonder why it needs to be so heavy and thus warm? Maybe something to improve on in future. If it were lighter, it would also likely be less warm and therefore more versatile over a wider range of temps. I would dearly love a fully breathable lightweight waterproof jacket for hiking up hills in mild to warm rain...who wouldn't???

The technology kinda reminds me of the good old Swandri coats that outdoor workers used to wear. It was thick and rough, but the fabric's natural lanolin and semi-felted texture made it very breathable yet fairly water resistant (but warm and heavy).


Edited by retropump on 12/04/2008 14:22:16 MST.

martin cooperman
(martyc) - M

Locale: Industrial Midwest
Would Marmot DriClime do? on 12/04/2008 14:10:43 MST Print View

I recently purchased a Marmot Dri-Clime softshell garment with a DWR outer finish and microfleece inner. I don't know if it has the v-shaped fibers that give the Paramo garments their pump action.

But it's easily available in the US, relatively inexpensive and might work almost as well? (No hood on the Dri-Clime but I have a bicycling gortex stand-alone hood that might work).

Can anyone make a comparison?

Edited by martyc on 12/04/2008 14:11:34 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Would Marmot DriClime do? on 12/04/2008 14:21:21 MST Print View

The Driclime outer fabric is not really waterproof at all. It wets out very quickly in light rain...

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Paramo & weather on 12/04/2008 14:30:51 MST Print View

You do have to be realistic about the weather in Scotland! That said, I've had some wonderful snowy days out recently.

Allison, New Zealand weather sounds much like Scotland's, which I guess isn't surprising as both are maritime countries.

Paramo is as heavy as it is because the inner layer has to be thick enough to work. Admittedly a very simple garment with minimal features would weigh less than the generally well specified Paramo designs. The weight of the new lighter garments is lower.

Roger, I don't know if the Creag Dhu is still going. They're very quiet if they are. Their heyday was the 1930s and 40s.