Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock | Review
New Paramo Smock is 20 per-cent lighter than the standard Velez Smock, but still 100 per-cent Paramo...
What's It For?
The Velez Adventure Light is a lightened version of the Velez Adventure Smock, some 580 grammes against 720 grammes, which is around a 20 per-cent weight saving. It's aimed at all-rounders - walkers, runners, bikers, climbers - and thanks to the fixed hood is also eligible for adventure racing. And of course, the weight saving means it's intended to appeal to those who find original Paramo too heavy.
The Techy Bits
The main difference between the Light and the standard Velez Adventure is a ligher Nikwax Analogy Light face fabric. It's still polyester, but is much thinner, visibly shinier and has a micro-ripstop pattern for increased tear resistance.
It's the new fabric which is responsible for the weight saving, the pump liner, which works with the outer shell to make the system effectively wateproof, is identical to its heavier cousins as is the cut. Alll the weight is lost from the shell.
Paramo works by combining a sort of inverted micropile inner liner with a windproof and DWR-treated outer layer, water is pumped away from the body and breathability is very good.
Otherwise there's nothing new about the Light. It has the proven Velez venting zips, a fixed, wired hood, Paramo's distinctive adjustable cuffs and single-handed adjusters throughout.
How It Performed
The Light's been available since last autumn as a limited edition from Paramo's London store, but will be on general release shortly, but we've been thrashing our's for a couple of months now.
First, to state the obvious, the new Velez Adventure Light has a longer name, but is noticeably lighter. Okay, a real 580 grammes isn't as light as current ultra-lightweight, sub-200g shells, but it is at least approaching stowable weight and bulk.
The cut is familiar from the Velez and slimmer than, say, the full-on mountaineering Aspira, but still slightly boxy, though that allows for a mid-layer as well if it's properly cold. The lighter outer gives a subtly more flexible wearing experience and, according to Paramo, some users find it less warm.
We didn't, however. it felt the same to us, even worn back to back with a Velez. It still has the familiar Paramo trait of added insulation, which makes it great in really cold conditions, but for those who run hot, limit its versatility when it's a little warmer. The easy to use side vents - fine with a pack as well - and rollable sleeves do make a difference and work well and breathability is as impressive as ever.
And yes, it is waterproof in the real world.
We like a lot of Paramo's design touches. The cuff configuration with it's 'pull back to tighten' tab works well and the hood, which just about accommodates a helmet, does a creditable job too, significantly better than the pop-off version on the original Velez. It's fixed, by the way, to make the smock eligible for some adventure races which specify a non-removable hood.
We've used a Velez for cold weather - freezing and below - fast moving stuff like biking and quick walking for ages, but the improved hood on the Light really does up the versatility of the garment making it much more of an all-rounder.
To qualify that, the short-cut front means crotch protection is lacking unless you have suitably protective legwear and some will prefer the longer, but much looser and bulkier Aspira for that reason, but choose the right trousers and the Velez Adventure Light cuts it for most mountain activities.
The Velez Adventure Light really impressed us. It's the first Paramo waterproof that's light enough to remove and stow away easily and so far, breathability and weatherproofing are every bit as good as its full-weight brothers. Only time will tell if durability has been compromised, but so far thing look good.
Reduced size and weight plus a better hood that takes some helmets means it plus the gap neatly between the original Velez and the much bulkier, heavier but more protective Aspira. It's still warmer than conventional waterproofs, which can be an issue for those who run hot, but venting features work well. The the other downside for general hill-walking use is the shortish cut, but choose legwear to suit and you'l be fine.
Buy if... you like the idea of Paramo's Analogy system with its combination of weather protection and breathability but have always been put off by the weight and bulk of existing Paramo garments.
Lighter version of Velez Adventure Smock featuring Nikwax Analogy Light face fabric with pump liner, fixed roll-away hood, articulated shoulders and elbows, two-way twin reversed zip design with inner, poppered baffles, drop tail and cropped front, high collar with single-handed adjustment, Velcro cuffs with Bite Tab closure, double layer lining either side of spine and on shoulders for pack use, fully adjustable, wired fixed hood. single-handed adjustment throughout, I large 'dry' zip pocket, inner 'dry' zipped pocket, both fit OS map.
- Pros: Classic Paramo performance, but with reduced weight. Good hood.
- Cons: Still warmer than average and short cut at front limits crotch protection.
- Price: £180.00
- Year: 2009
- Weight: 580
- Website: www.paramo.co.uk