Paramo's Classic Alta Updated For 2015
A quick heads up for Paramo fans with the news that the classic Alta hill-walking waterproof jacket is set to be updated later this year with the new Alta III being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with a range of updates.
To put that in perspective, the original Alta was launched back in the early 1990s as a no-nonsense hill and mountain walking jacket using Paramo's unique Nikwax Analogy fabric technology. It wasn't until 2003 that the revised Alta II appeared and it's taken another 12 years for the Alta III to be announced.
That's good news as far we're concerned. The Alta II was starting to feel a little outdated and frumpy and the cut might generously be described as, well, generous.
So What's New?
The revised jacket's still going to use Nikwax Analogy, but like other recent jackets - the Enduro mountaineering shell for example - the Alta III gets mesh pump liner panels in the shoulders and middle back as well as inside the sleeve vents.
It also has articulated sleeves and shoulders and is cut long to stop the hem riding up in use and give extra protection low down. The jacket has a multi-adjustable hood that's also, like the one from the new Ciclo bike jacket, been cut to accommodate eyewear and give decent peripheral vision.
There are plenty of pockets too including a pair of pack-friendly hand-warmer ones and, traditionalists will be pleased to hear, a proper map one too.
Last but not least, Paramo says the new jacket is 'stylish but highly functional'. It's hard to say from the images we've seen, but certainly more recent Paramo shells like the Enduro, the Helki and the Ciclo are a fair bit cleaner and closer cut than some of the cavernous original designs, the Aspira comes to mind, but we'll reserve judgement on the aesthetics till we've seen it in the flesh.
Weights are, as with most Paramo shells, relatively high - some 702g for the women's Alta and 805g claimed for the men's version which is slightly less than the current version, but the pay-off is impressive breathability, good durability and a little extra insulation value, which you'll either love or hate.
The new jackets are due out in late summer/early autumn 2015, so if you're in the market for a Paramo walking shell, it might be worth holding fire till then. Alternatively, the Helki is a neat, no-nonsense walking shell, thought it's cut shorter than the Alta, lacks venting and has pockets which may sit under a pack-belt.
On The Up?
We're intrigued. The Enduro was the first Paramo technical mountain jacket we've really liked, we're mostly impressed with the Ciclo as a touring/commuting bike jacket and it would be nice if a revised Alta could bring the same level of improvement to the brand's hardcore walking shell.
Watch this space we guess.
Full details of the current Paramo range of clothing at www.paramo.co.uk