Páramo Velez Evolution Hybrid Smock | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Páramo Velez Evolution Hybrid Smock | Review

This mountain-ready waterproof smock works brilliantly in cold conditions, with an innovative design that offers greater comfort and more versatile ventilation than your average winter hard shell

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 pictures here show OM editor Will using the jacket in the Cairngorms. He’s 5 foot 10 and wearing a medium, his usual size. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

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.

As one of the heavier-duty waterproof jackets in the Páramo product range, the Velez Evo also features reinforced panels in the hood, shoulders and arms to offer plenty of protection from abrasion, whilst minimising seepage from pressure points if wearing a heavy pack.

One of the most commonly cited downsides of Páramo kit is that it can sometimes feel a bit too warm, especially when working hard. But since the Velez Evo is primarily designed for cold weather use, this two-layer construction actually provides some welcome extra insulation, which makes this smock warmer than your typical winter hard shell. Ideal for winter hillwalking and mountaineering in places like Snowdonia, the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands then.

Any downsides? Well, the polyester face fabric is slightly less resistant to abrasion than high-denier nylon rivals (though on the other hand, since Nikwax Analogy doesn’t rely on a waterproof membrane, you could still puncture the outer shell and the system would still work to keep you dry). Also, its softer drape – which is a benefit in terms of overall wearer comfort and quietness – means you don’t get the stiffness of a conventional hard shell. So, in windy conditions, it can get a bit flappy.

Unlike some of the latest shell fabrics on the market, this one also has no in-built stretch. However, it’s hardly noticeable, since clever design and patterning with fully articulated shoulders and elbows allow a good range of movement.


As we mentioned up top, despite being called a smock, the Velez Evo is much more practical than most pullover-style layers that you need to wrestle over your head. Thanks to the twin full-length zips that run up each side of the jacket, it can be taken on or off easily. They’re also fitted with double zips and backed with press studs, so you can partially open them in almost any configuration you want, for excellent ventilation from hem to chin. You can also unzip the two forward-facing arm vents for even more airflow.

There are also easy push up sleeves with a bite tab closure for forearm ventilation and adjustment on the go. Meanwhile, the lower hem has a scooped tail with elasticated adjustment for improved lower back protection.

In terms of pockets, in true smock style you get a large, zipped drop pocket in the middle of the chest, plus an external twin zipped kangaroo-style tunnel hand warming pocket.

The hood is excellent, with a stiff wired peak and halo adjustment to cinch it in tight. The top of the jacket offers great protection for the lower face too, zipping right up to the nose. And despite the protection on offer, it still gives you an excellent field of vision, thanks to cutaway side sections.

All in all, it ticks plenty of boxes if you want a warm, comfortable and protective waterproof jacket for use in the hills and mountains. It’s undoubtedly an interesting and effective concept, with greater comfort and ventilation than most waterproof shells. If those are your priorities, this is a great choice for winter adventures

Páramo Velez Evolution Hybrid Smock

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Winter 23/24
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