What’s It For?
Paramo says the new for winter 2009 Quito is a ‘close-fitting multi-activity jacket has been designed for high energy activities and warmer temperatures’. The grown-on hood, incidentally – that means it’s permanently attached – means that it’s also eligible for use in many adventure races,
The Techy Bits
The Quito uses the releatively recent ‘Light’ version of Paramo’s Nikwax Analogy fabric system. The pump liner is the same as other current Paramo garments, but the outer windproof fabric is significantly lighter saving about 20 per-cent in weight and reducing bulk.
The fabric works the same way as the original with the proofed outer shrugging off wind and the bulk of the rain while the liner, based on animal fur, helps to disipate any further moisture.
Paramo has also done some neat things with vents and pockets. There are two huge pit come torso vents for maximum venting, with double-ended zips allowing you to open them from either end or both. What is neat, are two internal handwarmer warmer pockets at the front of the jacket which you can access by opening the lower part of the vent.
How It Performed
The Quito is light by Paramo standards, under 500 grammes for our medium, though that’s not exactly ground breaking compared to some of the sub-200g featherweights out there and while pack size is smaller than other Paramo waterproofs, again there are plenty of smaller-packing alternatives out there.
Then again, they don’t use Paramo’s impressively breathable Nikwax Analogy fabric, while the Quito does. Don’t let the ‘Light’ designation confuse you, the Quito is still pretty much as warm as other Paramo garments, though the lighter face fabric does feel more feathery, but thankfully, they’ve gone to town on the ventilation front allowing you to open the main zip, use two huge torso/arm vents and roll up the sleeves to elbow level as well. The net result is pretty good cooling particularly when it’s windy.
We also like the snug internal handwarmer pockets, accessible through the vents, which save weight and keep lines cleaner as well. There are zipped mesh internal storage pockets too at chest level. Obviously you have to open the jacket to access the latter and the vents for the former, but bear in mind this is intended as a lightweight multi-activity top rather than a full-on mountain jacket.
Paramo say the Quito is ‘close fitting’, but that’s relative and we’d say it’s actually quite generous and, for us at least, not snug enough for road bike use, though the long sleeves do work well. We’d also prefer a more pronounced drop-tail. The hood is surprisingly good though, aided by the small but effective stiffened peak and while the roll-down option is basic, it does work well enough.
Update: Since the original test, we’ve been using the Quito more and have a few additonal observations. We reckon the cut is a bit too short and boxy all round and while a more pronounced drop-tail would help, overall we think the jacket would benefit from being slightly longer all round and with a more tapered fit.
Next, it’s not designed specifically as a climbing jacket, but the front hem drawcords hang down in an area where they could potentially become tangled in a belay device or while abseiling. Side exit would be better.
There are two internal pockets, but we’d like at least a single, external, small chest pocket that can be accessed without opening the whole jacket.
We do really like the big vents with the double-ended zips, which mean you can whack them right open for maximum venting, but tether the opening centrally using the zips, or simply moderate venting according to conditions and activity.
Finally, don’t get the idea that this is a full-on mountain jacket, it’s definitely a multi-activity, fast-moving sort of thing.
Relatively light, highly breathable and with good venting options to compensate for the intrinsic warmth of the fabric, the Quito works well and is only the second Paramo waterproof we’d consider carrying in a pack. We’d prefer a sleeker cut however and a longer scoop at the back, so try for size and fit before buying, to make sure it suits your dimensions.
Update: On balance, we’d suggest that the Velez Light is a better option if you’re looking for a lighter take on the Paramo concept, it is a little weightier but we prefer the cut and design. A longer, slimmer cut with additional pocket(s) and maybe a detachable hood would imporove the Quito no end in our opinion.
Buy if you’re looking for the lightest Paramo waterproof top out there and are happy with the slightly generous tailoring and short, boxy fit.