Páramo Helki Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Páramo Helki Jacket | Review

An ethically-made weatherproof jacket that brings excellent breathability to the table

Waterproof jackets have been changing in recent years. With new concerns about the effects of PFCs, brands are having to move away from using the powerful DWRs that were once prevalent within the outdoor industry and they’re switching to treatments that unfortunately just don’t have the kind of moisture resistance that’s needed in certain environments. It means that jackets are wetting out faster and, in turn, are less breathable. 

Páramo’s products, on the other hand, don’t use waterproof membranes and instead rely on a system that blends a water-based wax solution (Nikwax) with water resistant and air permeable fabrics. This results in garments that, from my experience, offer rain protection and actual breathability and garments that are comfortable to wear in the kinds of mild and wet conditions we get in the UK. 


I’m 5 foot 10 and have an average build and I tested the Páramo Helki in a men’s medium, my usual size and it fitted perfectly. The cut is quite similar to most modern waterproof jackets. If you like a longer jacket, I recommend looking into the Páramo Alta instead. Interestingly, it has two drawcords: one at the hem and one at the waist with the toggles hidden in the hand pockets. A lot of Páramo’s garments are quite boxy in shape but, with the extra drawcord here, you can make the jacket a lot more streamlined while also trapping in a bit of extra warmth too. It’s a nice touch. I found that the Helki has enough volume to accommodate a medium-thick fleece underneath or a lofty synthetic insulated puffer


It has a zipped pocket on the chest which is perfectly sized for an OS map. The handwarmer pockets are a bit smaller and, unfortunately, I found they were cut off when I was wearing a hiking backpack with a hipbelt.

The main zip is two-way and the storm flap underneath it has poppers so you can create a vent across the front of the jacket without being too exposed to the elements. The hood is excellent. It has a big peak which is wire stiffened and there’s three-point adjustment so you can get a very reliable hold and a close and comfortable fit. It’s not helmet compatible.

Inside the jacket there’s a small zipped mesh pocket that makes for a good place to stash keys or a lift pass.


At 693g this is on the heavy side, like most of Páramo’s all-weather shells, and it’s also quite warm to wear, so it’s not ideal as a just-in-case jacket to carry in a backpack on those days when you’re not expecting rain. It does have excellent water resistance and exceptional breathability though, so it’s great for those days where you need to keep your jacket on for almost constant protection from the elements.

I found that the water resistance was very good to start with and I felt well protected even in heavy rain. The protection did start to decline after a few big days out though, which meant that I needed to wash it with some more Nikwax TX Direct to add a new water resistant later – fortunately this is easy to do at home with Nikwax’s solutions.

One thing that really impressed me about the Helki is just how quickly the fabrics all dry after any rainfall has eased a bit. It’s the kind of jacket you can hang up after a walk and it’ll be absolutely dry in no time – I find the same can’t be said for most membrane jackets.

Páramo Helki Verdict

As is normally the case when I try Páramo products, I was impressed by the water resistance and breathability of the Helki. It’s also very tough; you get the sense that it’s properly built to last. I think Páramo could improve it by making the pockets accessible when you’re wearing a backpack with a hipbelt. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, it might be worth looking at the Páramo Velez jacket which does have hipbelt-friendly pockets.

Páramo deserves credit for its fair trade manufacturing through the Miquelina foundation and its long term avoidance of PFCs – it’s been way ahead of the curve in that regard. It’s also great that Páramo is set up to be able to recycle any Helki jackets that have been used to a point where they can’t be refurbished. The only disappointment I have is that Páramo hasn’t used recycled materials in the creation of the Helki – it’d be good to see that change when future iterations are made.

Páramo Helki Jacket

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Sping/Summer 2024 guide
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