Paramo Enduro Jacket 2017 | Review
Paramo's updated technical mountain jacket gets longer and funkier for this winter making it the alternative brand's best shell yet.
'New longer cut Enduro works better for general mountain use than its predecessor, the rest is the same alternative cold/damp-friendly retro-styled cult technology with updated looks.'
Outdoors Magic: Slimmer cut, good breathability with minimal condensation, quiet fabric experience, proper hood, extra warmth and maverick retro vibe. Ethics.
Outdoors Tragic: Relatively heavy, bulky, warmer than conventional waterproofs, divides opinion.
Outdoors Grabbit? Arguably the best Paramo waterproof shell ever is updated for this winter with added length. It's superb in cold, damp, Scottish-style conditions, but added warmth and weight make it an acquired taste. Paramo fans will love it, others may struggle to understand. We like it a lot in deep winter conditions.
Winter mountaineering jacket / Nikwax Analogy fabric / stretch panels in strategic areas / helmet-friendly hood with wired peak / arm vents / twin large chest pockets / map-pocket / fast access chest pocket with Velcro fastening / internal chest pocket / adjustable cuffs and hem / reinforced back panel / 2" drip skirt and scooped tail / reflective piping front and rear
Full Review Below
Paramo Enduro Jacket - The Tech
As ever, Paramo is all about its unique 'Nixwax Analogy' fabric system with a combination of a windproof outer and the reversed pile-type 'Pump Liner', but as with the original Enduro, the new version also uses strategic stretch panels.
These are in the shoulders, sleeves and sides and are intended to improve mobility, though to be honest, we've never really found them particularly noticeable in use.
The basics remain the same. The idea is that the outside shell copes with the wind and most of the rain, while the rest of it is propelled outwards through the 'pump liner' by a combination of body heat and physics.
The advantages are that it's soft and quiet compared to most conventional fabrics. It's proofed using PFC-free Nikwax treatments. And, says Paramo, can transport water outwards in liquid form so there's no condensation problem, ever.
The downsides are that the two-component fabric is both warmer and heavier than more conventional waterproof materials.
Paramo Enduro Jacket - Performance
Paramo's Nikwax Analogy kit properly divides opinion. Haters point out that it's heavy, warm, and traditionally has been cut to fit Robbie Coltrane - or maybe Don Whillans - rather than Leo Houlding. Fans point to the excellent breathability, quietness in use and the brand's excellent environment credentials.
Rewind a year or so and the original Enduro was a bit of a departure for Paramo. A technical mountaineering shell, it got a neater, more athletic fit and a shorter length to work with a harness. We loved in in sub-zero, deep-winter conditions thanks to the quiet, condensation-free performance and handy venting options.
Our main quibble was that it was simply too short for general use and, for some wearers, was even short enough to pull out of a climbing harness. Cue the new winter 2016/17 version of the jacket which weighs exactly the same as before, but is cut around two to three inches longer.
The rest of the jacket is pretty much unchanged bar a slightly bonkers new colour scheme with a funky, off-set quartered theme.
New All-Round Capabilities
In practice it's a cracking all-round winter mountain jacket for people who aren't too bothered about weight or rocking an über technical alpine look. Wear it back to back with a more conventional shell and the first thing you notice in windy and wet conditions, is the uncanny silence, even with the hood up.
Speaking of which, the hood works very well both with and without a climbing helmet. Adjustment takes a little getting used to, with a top, head-hugging cord and front opening tensioners supplemented by a additional rear one that shortens the hood at the rear for non-helmet use.
We like the cut and the good news is that the new, slightly longer cut does work better for more general mountain use which means the Enduro can double up as a mountain walking jacket rather than just a pure climbing one - ironically though, we found the original Enduro excellent as a deep winter mountain biking top...
Some of that was down to its multiple, easy-to-use venting options. There are twin vents on the sleeves with mesh liners plus the handy chest pockets also work as additional vents. In addition you can roll up the sleeves and the peppered storm-flap means the main-zip can be completely or partially undone without billowing open.
The jacket's still warm, but you can shed heat reasonably easily when heading uphill. Plus if you do get hot and sweaty, the fabric breathes very well indeed.
Downsides? Along with the additional insulation, a bit like wearing an extra baselayer we reckon, the bulk and weight of the Enduro makes it an all-day option rather than a 'pack and use' one. One tester had issues with the Velcro closure on the quick access chest pocket icing up in Scottish winter conditions.
Finally, at £370 the new Enduro is a hefty investment even if that's offset a little by its easy maintenance regime, general robustness and ready repairability.
Paramo Enduro Jacket - Verdict
We reckon the new version of the Enduro is Paramo's best mountain jacket yet. It has all the traditional Paramo virtues, but in a neater, more athletic package. And the new longer length means it's just as adept as a general mountain jacket as it is for its original purpose of technical climbing.
No, it's not light or particularly packable, it's not cheap either and it's warmer than average too. But in cold, damp UK winter conditions, the rustle-free Nikwax Analogy fabric system works really well. Throw in a well-developed, helmet-friendly hood with wired peak, handy venting options and a remarkable ethical backstory and you have one of the most practical winter-friendly mountain shells out there.
And you know what, we reckon it looks great too.