This gilet’s synthetic fill contains 55% recycled polyester, while the face fabric is made entirely from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. Páramo are also one of the few outdoor brands never to have used environmentally persistent perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in their water-repellent treatments, since the Nikwax finish is water-based and free of harmful chemistry.
“We’re big fans of the Torres Medio gilet for UK hillwalking.”
Lastly, the brand runs its own garment recycling scheme, so at the end of its lifetime the gilet can be returned and given new life by Páramo. This is made far easier by the all-polyester construction, since it is often the use of mixed materials in garments (particularly if they incorporate some sort of waterproof-breathable membrane) that can make them difficult or impossible to recycle. None of that to worry about here.
Construction and Performance
The fill inside this gilet is Nikwax Analogy Insulator, a 100gsm polyester fibre fill that is compressible, easy to look after and offers warmth even when wet. The outer fabric is Nikwax Windproof material, a tightly-woven polyester. Together, this makes for a garment that can be compressed in a pack without damage and washed in a home washing machine. So, it’s arguably far easier to look after than delicate down. At just over 300g, it’s a lightweight insulating piece and packs down small too, stuffing away into its own left-hand pocket. You also get a high, insulated collar, one internal zipped pocket and two insulated zipped handwarming pockets.
The 100gsm fill provides decent warmth for its weight, especially for a synthetic piece, though in very cold conditions you’d obviously need something a bit beefier than a gilet – and ideally with arms too. Like the heavier and warmer Torres Alturo jacket, for instance. But as a handy extra layer for variable conditions in the hills, this gilet is a useful and relatively inexpensive addition to your pack.
The fact that the insulation is synthetic also gives it the edge over natural down garments in damp or wet weather. All Torres garments have been tested in the Leeds University Rain Room – the same system Páramo use to test their Nikwax Analogy waterproof jackets – so they are guaranteed to withstand at least 4 hours of heavy, continuous rain. By comparison, after that period of time, many down vests would be little more than a soggy, clumpy mess.
The overlayering concept is one that makes a lot of sense if you’re out in cold, windy and damp conditions, and for that reason, we’re big fans of the Torres Medio gilet for UK hillwalking. It takes up little room in a pack and is relatively lightweight too, but has proved itself to be a reliable performer in mixed conditions. We actually like the Torres jackets even more, not least because you also get arms and a hood, though they obviously come with added weight and bulk. If that’s a primary consideration and you’re thinking about buying a lightweight down vest or gilet, it’s well worth looking closely at the Torres Medio Gilet instead as a more weatherproof and practical alternative.
A word on the fit: OM editor Will tested this in a medium, his usual size, and he says he found the fit spot on. He’s 5 foot 10 and of an average build.