The Páramo Vista is a full-zip rain jacket that forsakes the traditional membrane for a Nikwax Analogy Pump Liner. The idea behind the liner is to mimic the fur of an animal and push water out. This is done to protect the user and the user's insulation from the typical precipitation, condensation, and perspiration. The Pump Liner is then combined with a Directional microfiber outer fabric whose purpose is to deflect both wind and precipitation. While this sounds like a bunch of marketing lingo, my experience has been that the Vista lives up to the hype.
Wearing the Vista on a winter trip to Mt. Rogers in Virginia.
I have been wearing the Vista for a couple of months now and received it just prior to winter here in the southeastern U.S. For the most part, every time I've been out in any kind of precipitation, the Vista has been along for the ride. We've seen freezing rain, hail, sleet, snow, and high winds. I've been interested in the Páramo concept after hearing how well regarded it is in parts of Europe that share a similar climate. Unlike the western U.S, here in the southeast we're more likely to experience freezing rain than snow, and if we do get snow, it's a usually a sloppy wet mess.
Features clockwise from top left - two large front pockets, a single large mesh interior pocket, Velcro closed cuffs, and a double zipper.
Given its weight and combined use of both a liner and shell, the Vista is best used in winter. While not much heavier than some more traditional rain jackets, this is definitely no 6-ounce (170-g) pullover. What the Vista offers for that weight, though, is an incredibly breathable jacket, and the liner adds enough warmth for it to take the place of both a mid-layer and shell. The Vista also offers a large variety of features, including a reverse double zipper backed by snaps, two large and well placed hand-warmer pockets, adjustable Velcro cuffs, and a single-pull hem drawcord. The Vista also features a scooped tail, reflective piping, and a fully adjustable hood with a wired peak and rear retainer that allows it to be stowed away. While both the hand-warmer pockets and main zipper have redundant closures, which definitely adds weight, the design allows for increased ventilation while still offering some protection from the elements.
The Vista hood is fully adjustable, stows away with a rear retainer strap, and has a wired peak.
Based on my field use, the Vista lives up to the Páramo reputation. Even when the microfiber outer fabric completely wetted out while waiting on friends to pack up camp during a snow storm (I was very worried), I found it to be completely dry after a mile or two of time on the trail. I never found my base layer (usually a lightweight merino hoody) to be damp and usually felt just on the cool side of warm. On a few occasions when I did start to feel too warm, I found it very easy to adjust the zipper while leaving the snaps closed in order to gain a little extra ventilation. For what it's worth, Páramo does offer a lighter jacket called the Quito, which also features pit zips. However, when speaking with Páramo they suggested the Vista was a better match for backpackers due to a reinforcement on the shoulders (to prevent water ingress under the load of pack straps). Páramo products can maintain water repellency throughout the life of the item, but this requires periodic use of Nikwax products for replenishment.
|Year/Model||2011 Páramo Vista|
|Style||Full-zip hooded rain jacket|
|Fabrics||Nikwax Analogy Light|
|Weight||Manufacturer Specified: 19.82 oz (562 g) assumed size M
BPL Measured: 19.8 oz (561 g)
|Features||Two large chest pockets, one large mesh interior pocket, adjustable Velcro cuffs, stow-away fully adjustable hood with wired peak and retainer tab, two-way reversed zipper, scooped tail, single hem drawcord pull|
|MSRP||US $332 (at time of writing)|
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.