Paramo Velez Jacket 2016 | Review
Paramo's zoned Nikwax Analogy waterproof jacket is relatively light and has all the classic soft, breathable and ethical virtues of the brand.
'The lightest of Paramo's waterproof jackets, the Velez is still a tad weighty, but it's an interesting alt. cool-weather, zoned, all-rounder with some ingenious design touches'
Outdoors Magic: Good breathability and wicking, plenty of vents, light for Paramo, good hood, multi-sport potential. Soft and quiet fabric. Orange colour, green ethos.
Outdoors Tragic: Not particularly fitted. Not cheap. A little short for general use. Still a little weighty and warm.
Outdoors Grabbit? Yes, if you're a Paramo convert who wants a lighter option for biking and running. It's still a little warm and a little heavy, but moisture control is good in both directions and there are plenty of vents.
Paramo's lightweight multi-functional waterproof jacket / zoned Nikwax Analogy and Analogy Light panel / mesh-lined sleeve and torso vents / “dual phase" chest pockets work as both vents and pockets / helmet-compatible 'Halo' hood / articulated shoulders and sleeves / reflective trim / drop-tail cut / adjustable hem and cuffs / Made at the Miquelina Foundation in Colombia / PFC free.
Full Review Below
Paramo Velez Jacket - The Tech
If you're new to Paramo, the Nikwax Analogy technology sounds a little bit like witchcraft. It's an alternative to conventional waterproof fabric which combines a soft windproof face fabric with the Analogy liner, which works by moving water outwards.
The end result is a combination that's very breathable and wicks well, but is also functionally waterproof. By that, we mean that although it doesn't stand up to lab 'hydrostatic head' tests which measure the penetration of a column of water through a fabric, in the real world, it actually works well.
'If you're new to Paramo, the Nikwax Analogy technology sounds a little bit like witchcraft'
It's not quite that simple with the new Velez Jacket either. For a start, the liner bit is a lighter, mesh-based version to save some weight and bulk. And the outer fabric is a mix of full-weight Analogy with lighter panels around the hem, the base of the hood and the lower sleeves.
As a significant side-note, it's all PFC free and is manufactured in a Colombian social project called the Miquelina Foundation.
One of the downsides of the Analogy fabric is that it's warmer than conventional waterproof materials. To compensate for that, Paramo has added several venting options: mesh-lined scoops in the upper arms, core vents that share openings with the hand-pockets, though the latter have their own secure zips, rollable sleeves and a double-ended main zip.
Other stuff includes a helmet-friendly hood with wired peak. And a drop-tail hem for a bit more butt protection.
Paramo Velez Jacket - Performance
Paramo seems to divide opinion and it's easy to see why. For starters, a measured 600g for a medium isn't 'lightweight' by any conventional measure, but it's 'light for Paramo'. On top of that the added Analogy liner adds extra warmth, which means if you run remotely warm, it works best in cool to cold conditions.
The new Jacket, which follows on the from the Velez Smock is intended as a lighter, multi-sport sort of contender. Which is why it's cut slightly short with a drop-tail and features Paramo's perforated liner to save weight. The idea is that you can use it for running, biking, lightweight walking and even climbing thanks to a helmet hood.
Hot, Hot, Hot...
We've had an early Velez Jacket to play with for around six months or so, but we found it too warm in spring / summer conditions at least at any sort of speed, so it's only been useable for us as winter starts to creep in.
The fit is neat enough, but not super tailored. There's enough space for an additional layer inside and the cut is quite short so it doesn't interfere with your balletic climbing moves or high-kicking running action.
One thing, if you've used more conventional Paramo, is that the combination of the lightweight inner and outer panels means that it doesn't feel as a reassuringly substantial as something like an Enduro Jacket.
The Good Stuff
In practice though, it seems to do all the good stuff that Paramo is known for: keeps water out, is soft and comfortable and wicks well with minimal condensation inside. It is still warm. On a mountain bike night ride in autumnal single-figure temperatures, we roasted.
'It's also nice not to be accompanied by the snap, crackle and pop soundtrack of some noisier fabrics.'
And that's despite the handy double pocket vents and sleeve vents too being fully open. You can roll the cuffs up too. And even undo the main zip from the bottom - that would work better with a press-stud to hold the hem together though. The same was true with running in similar conditions, though not as much as an issue with lower tempo stuff like walking.
It's all very personal and depends a bit on just how warm you run. But the extensive venting options do help particularly worn over a mesh-type base layer like the Brynje of Norway stuff.
And The Rest
We can also tell you that the pockets, accessed through the vents, are secure thanks to an additional zip, the hood works well on a bare head but also takes a climbing helmet. And though it doesn't fold away, with careful adjustment, isn't a major annoyance on the run.
It's also nice not to be accompanied by the snap, crackle and pop soundtrack of some noisier fabrics. And on top of that, there's the satisfaction of knowing that the brand is one of the most committed to sustainability out there.
Downsides? Apart from the warmth, the weight and the moderate packability, we'd cite that missing press-stud at the base of the zip - other Paramo jacket have poppers all the way up the storm-flap for venting - and the cut which could be slightly more fitted for us.
Velez Jacket - Verdict
Realistically the Velez is going to appeal most to Paramo believers along with the Paramo curious, who've maybe been put off by the weight and bulk of full-on Analogy. The good news is that it is lighter and maybe a tad less warm, the bad, is that it's still quite warm, quite bulky and not super packable.
'What's undeniable is that it is lighter than other Paramo jackets, but still does the good stuff with breathing and wicking'
For us it works best in cold conditions for running and biking - and we mean hovering around zero degrees Celsius - despite the venting options. It's also workable for climbing, thanks to the short length and helmet hood, though not as comfortingly solid as the mountaineering Endura jacket. For walking use, we found it a little short at the front unless used with overtrousers.
If you run cooler than us, it should work across a broader range of temperatures, your call. What's undeniable is that it is lighter than other Paramo jackets, but still does the good stuff with breathing and wicking, has a pleasant soft feel and isn't noisy. And while it's not conventionally stylish, the cut and features are functional and unrestrictive.
Finally, while £275 isn't cheap, it's a versatile jacket, that should last you a good few years and has excellent ethical credentials.