Páramo Alta III jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Páramo Alta III jacket | Review

A jacket built for the wildest weather with impeccable eco credentials – so you’ll stay dry and feel good about doing your bit for the planet

Why We Chose The Páramo Alta III: Warm, comfortable, eco-friendly

Price: £300
Weight: 805g
More info: pramo-clothing-vgb.com

As a brand, Páramo are renowned in the outdoor industry for their environmentally-friendly approach to kit. Unlike many other brands, their unique Nikwax Analogy waterproofing system has never used the harmful PFC treatments that have – deservedly – attracted such negative public attention in recent years.  

They have achieved this because Páramo’s system is different to most others in the way that it works. The Analogy fabric does not use a membrane or laminate layer to keep you dry. It is still waterproof and breathable of course, and also designed to actively move sweat away from your body – something Páramo calls ‘directionality’. The lack of a membrane or coating means that the jacket is comfortable, soft and rustle-free, unlike many other conventional hard shells that may do the job but which tend to rustle like a crisp packet.

If it has a drawback, it’s that it makes the jacket a bit warmer and heavier than a typical hardshell. As the seasons get colder and wetter, however, that becomes a positive rather than a negative, and in the wildest winter weather you would hardly want to be wearing anything else. Plus, if you do start to overheat, the jacket has long zipped upper arm vents for cooling.

“The lack of a membrane or coating means that the jacket is comfortable, soft and rustle-free”

Páramo’s green ethos doesn’t end with its waterproofing either. The durable 100% polyester is fully recyclable, and it is ethically made too, thanks to the brand’s long-standing manufacturing partnership with the Miquelina Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Alta jacket has been in the Páramo range for a few years now. With this latest version, however, the fit has been refined, new features have been added and the styling has been updated. The cut has been trimmed and streamlined, though it is still roomy enough to be comfortable, while the scooped hem remains nice and long for added protection.

Numerous walker-friendly design touches further increase the Alta III’s appeal. This includes six generously-sized pockets, a two-way locking front zip backed with an internal storm flap, and an adjustable, stowable hood with a protective wired peak. When raised, the hood hugs the face nicely but has been cut to accommodate sunglasses or goggles and offer better peripheral vision.

The shoulder and back panels are also backed with a mesh pump liner, designed to draw moisture away from the body. This zoned construction helps prevent a sweaty back, and handily, it also adds some convenient padding when carrying a heavy pack. Other features include adjustable cuffs plus concealed drawcords at the waist and hip, to pull in the fit and stop wind and rain from creeping in.

“This is a jacket that excels in cold, wet weather. Its top-drawer green credentials are also major plus points”

Offering a great set of features along with superb weather protection and high levels of comfort, this is a jacket that excels in cold, wet weather. Its top-drawer green credentials are also major plus points – after all, no true outdoor enthusiast wants to be wearing kit that damages the planet.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, OM Editor

“Páramo’s Alta model has a very devoted following and I’m starting to understand why now. This really is an excellent jacket. 

“My first test of it was on a long bike trip in the Lake District in some miserably wet and cold weather. Now this isn’t a cycling jacket by any means, but it was the only coat I had with me, and before setting out, my expectations weren’t high. However, barring the fact it was slightly too long and baggy for cycling, the wet weather protection and, most notably, the breathability was so, so impressive. In fact, I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever come across a jacket that’s as protective and as breathable as this. 

Nikwax – it’s genius stuff. At a time when brands are all shouting about the new eco-friendly waterproof membrane they’ve developed, Páramo and Nikwax, you could say, have had the answer all along. 

OK granted, the Alta III is heavy and bulky, but still, in most cases I can tolerate that to save having to get all clammy in Gore-Tex.

What else? It dries much faster than you’d expect considering the fabric is quite thick, there are loads of nice touches like the zipped vents, a wire stiffened peak, and numerous pockets, and along with all that, it’s got a retro look that seems to be all the rage now.”

Selected For The Green Gear Guide 2019/20

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