Unpredictable weather is a constant battle for hikers, trail runners and cyclists. There are so many things you can control - your gear, route, when you choose to head off on your adventure - but you can’t control the weather. You can however, pack the right gear to help you through it. Founded by Nick Brown in the 1980s, British company Paramo are experienced masters in making that sort of weatherproof gear.
The brand new Alize women’s fleece and jacket combination is pretty special. For starters the fleece isn’t a regular fleece. It’s a stretchy, soft, water-repellent and wind-resistant fleece, designed to cope with sun, rain and wind in the mountains. Made in collaboration with Brown’s waterproofing company Nikwax, it works by actively pushing liquid water away from the surface of the fleece. So whether it is high humidity or drizzling with rain, the Alize will keep you dry - unlike a normal fleece.
You can wear it as a mid-layer or even an outer-layer when stormy weather rolls in.When worn with the Alize windproof jacket (sold separately at £85 or as a combination) the two combined offers the ultimate protection from the elements. The windproof jacket deflects raindrops and stops wind from piercing through to your skin. The Alize fleece underneath acts as an extra barrier, wicking moisture away from your skin and allowing excellent breathability when you’re on the move. It’s the perfect layering combination.
“The brand new Alize women’s fleece and jacket combination is pretty special. For starters the fleece isn’t a normal fleece…"
The jacket, seen on our model here, can also be worn by itself as a thin waterproof layer for running or cycling on warm, wet days.
When it comes to the details, Paramo have thought of everything. The Alize fleece hood is close-fitting ninja style that fits perfectly under a helmet. The zip is cleverly aligned off-centre, so it doesn’t irritate your mouth. It has five pockets, which is pretty impressive for a fleece, including two handwarmers and chest pocket for a compass or smart phone. The pockets on the Alize jacket open through to the fleece so you can access your internal pockets while you’re wearing it.
There’s a reason that Paramo is a favourite among environmentalists. Their Nikwax-designed fabrics and coatings - including water-repellent coating on the Alize fleece - are free from PFCs, harmful chemicals which studies show cause damage to animals and wildlife. They have always been PFC free, a stance that many other brands have adopted just recently. Each fleece is made from 100 per cent polyester which can be recycled, saving garments from ending up in a landfill.
Paramo also make their products in a Fair Trade factory in Bogotá, Colombia with the help of the Miquelina Foundation which gives vulnerable women employment and helps care for their children.
But you shouldn’t buy this because of Paramo’s ethical credentials alone - the performance more than justifies the purchase. If you are looking for an all-round excellent fleece that not only offers insulation, but rain and wind protection, take a closer look at Páramo’s Alize fleece and windproof jacket combination. We might not be able to control the weather, but we can prepare for it.
Paramo Alize Fleece & Alize Windproof Jacket
- Price£125 | £85