There’s a lot to be said for the classic mountain smock. Simple yet effective, the traditional over-the-head, pullover-style design has been tried and tested everywhere from the Polar regions to the high Himalaya.
The origins of this style of garment are an Inuit invention, made from caribou, wolf or seal skin and worn whilst hunting and fishing in the Arctic. Designed as overlayers, they were soon adopted by polar explorers like Amundsen and Scott, and later by military forces during the Second World War. Norwegian and Swedish forces were issued with full length snow smocks for combat operations. After WW2, lightweight windproof smocks became a staple layer for outdoor users from climbers and skiers to sailors and hillwalkers.
The basic design is still popular today. Of course, it’s evolved over the decades, but the hallmarks are a half-length chest zip, a hood, a central drop pocket and kangaroo-style handwarmer pockets.
“It works to move sweat and general fug away from your body, keeping you warm, dry and comfortable.”
Páramo’s Velez Evolution Hybrid Smock is a bit different though. In terms of design approach, it is both unusual and innovative. Instead of being a pullover with a centre chest zip, it boasts twin full-length zips that run up each side of the jacket. These are backed with internal storm flaps to guard against water ingress, which are fitted with press-studs. The advantage of this design, besides the fact that you don’t have to pull it over your head to get it on and off, is that you get excellent ventilation from hem to chin.
Like all Páramo waterproofs, the Velez Evo employs the soft, rustle-free Nikwax Analogy system instead of a crinkly waterproof membrane. It’s a two-layer construction that consists of a highly wind and water-resistant polyester face fabric, treated with Nikwax to repel rain and snow. Meanwhile, a zoned pump liner inside the jacket works to move sweat and general fug away from your body, keeping you warm, dry and comfortable.