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Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED

Paramo Quito Jacket Review

I’ve found the Paramo Quito jacket to be an excellent addition to my wardrobe…

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

The Quito from Paramo is a multi-activity jacket designed for high output exercise as well as warmer temperatures due to the use of their lighter Analogy fabric.

 The close fitting cut – relative to many of their classic offerings – of the Quito is aimed primarily at cyclists, walkers and hikers.  The addition of deep pit zips adds an extra level of ventilation whilst on the move as conditions change.

Low pack volume means it won’t dominate your day pack, pannier or even handlebar bag

  • Constructed from Nikwax Analogy Light fabric
  • Articulated shoulders and elbows provide allow for maximum freedom of movement and comfort
  • Longer arm length which is critical for cyclists
  • Scooped tail for additional protection with draw cords in the hem
  • Two-way main zip and pit zips both which include storm flaps
  • Velcro adjustable cuffs
  • Fully adjustable hood with wired peak; hood can be rolled down and secured when not in use
  • Reflective strips for visibility in low light
  • Reduced ‘flap’ as a result of a tailored or performance fit
  • Internal secure (zipped) mesh pockets which also provide hand warming via pit zips

The Quito jacket utilises Paramo’s  Nikwax Analogy Light fabric which differs from the hardshell  jacket construction we all know and love in that it has no membrane but instead employs a directional outer fabric with an inner pump liner.

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

This combination is designed to keep you warm and dry, repelling rain whilst allowing sweat and condensation to escape easily.

1. Skin surface

2. Parameta® S is shown here worn next to the skin, drawing water away to keep you dry.

3. Nikwax Analogy Pump Liner pumps water away from the body.

4. Closely woven microfibre outer provides windproofing and Nikwax durable water-repellency. Air is trapped between Pump Liner and outer to give insulation.

5. Wind and rain is deflected away from the body while perspiration and condensation as liquid water or water vapour can escape.

Paramo say their Analogy fabric mimics nature or more specifically the action of animal fur.  As nature has long been the source of inspiration for many man-made innovations, this promises a great deal!

These days, buying anything from a television to pair of boots or in this case a waterproof jacket is a potentially bewildering process.  Years ago if you wanted a waterproof jacket there was little in the way of choice and generally most people had just one they’d used for everything.  Today nearly all manufacturers offer a wide range of jackets covering various applications, materials, weight and of course price!

To protect me whilst cycling throughout the winter months I wanted a jacket that first and foremost was waterproof, warm and provided excellent protection from wind as well as being highly breathable.  Having spent a considerable amount of time researching and trying cycling specific waterproofs, lightweight waterproofs and even full-on mountain jackets in an attempt to cover all my bases, I soon discovered that cycling specific jackets were comparatively expensive and (IMHO) generally didn’t provide the same quality in terms of water resistance and breathability as their “outdoor” counterparts.  Also, with a cycling specific jacket it wasn’t likely I’d use it for anything else which, for the money, was something that didn’t align to my wish list.

The other issue I faced was that cycling gear is quite fitted; I’m approximately 6” tall and weigh in at 88kg which means I’m not a slippery racer.  Virtually all of the higher end jackets I tried were just too tight across the shoulders, back and arms.  The “outdoor” jackets didn’t address all of my requirements either, length and fit being the main issue.

I’d pretty much given up when I stumbled on the Quito jacket whilst browsing the Paramo (www.paramo.co.uk) website.  I’ve personally always been a fan of Paramo gear, however on this occasion hadn’t considered them to be an option.  More recently they’ve added (and continue to) a number of new jacket designs which appear to address a number (if not all) of the criticisms levied against them over the years; the main one being weight, fit and form.

A little more research later and it became apparent the Quito seemed to fit the bill and matched all the criteria I’d set out.  I couldn’t find a store close to me to actually try the jacket on, however Paramo sizing is generally spot on, albeit that this jacket offers an active fit which can sometimes be tricky if you’re ordering off the web.

When the jacket arrived, any apprehension I had disappeared immediately as it fitted perfectly, felt great and oozed quality.  All Paramo gear is exceptionally well made and hugely comfortable to wear thanks to its fabric and construction.  If you’re cycling long distances being comfortable is key, however if you’re cycling in winter or long distance in consistently bad weather it becomes critical.  As you’ve no doubt guessed I’ve owned a number of Paramo jackets over the years, however this was the first Analogy Light fabric jacket I’d experienced so I was keen to see how it performed when compared to its bigger brothers.

In Detail

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

As I’ve already stated this jacket oozes quality; when you hold it, examine it, try it on, it feels right.  Everything from the cuffs to the zips has been carefully thought out, even the roll away hood.

Most hoods never seem to roll away without being uneven, bellowing or generally causing irritation.

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

That or it amounts to nothing more than a sandwich bag.  I’m sure the fact the Quito hood rolls away so efficiently is due to Paramo fabrics.  As a cyclist this feature is key as the last thing you want to do is increase your wind resistance

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

The side vents (or pit zips) employ a two way zip for “on the move” adjustment which I wouldn’t anticipate using during the winter months, however it’s apparent that this could be invaluable throughout warmer periods, proof the Quito might be more than just a winter warmer.

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

Moving onto the cuffs, these offer a considerable amount of adjustment which in colder weather when you’re wearing larger gloves is a great detail.  The Quito jacket can accommodate everything from no gloves to my Seal Skin Handle Bar Mittens (http://www.sealskinz.com/UK/cycling/kj831-handle-bar-mitten-black.html) and inner gloves.  Being able to synch the cuffs over your gloves improves comfort and warmth in adverse weather.

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

The jacket is cut a little shorter at the front which allows greater freedom of movement when cycling without being too high or riding up to the extent it causes water ingress. There are also drawcords in hem of the jacket, on both the left and right (utilising single handed adjustment) which provides yet another level of temperature control.

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that the main zip also employs a two-way design which again is a great way to get air flowing through if you need to cool down.  Another tick in the warmer months box.

Paramo Quito Jacket: REVIEWED WalkHikeClimb

As the Quito uses a pump liner to transport sweat and condensation from the inside to the jacket face by definition it’s warmer than your average shell jacket.  Paramo have been criticised in the past for their jackets being too warm, especially during summer months.  For me the answer to this is layering, what the Quito jacket allows for is a reduction in your layer system; i.e. with a shell if you’d normally wear a base-layer(s), mid-layer and ultimately your waterproof, with the Quito you can reduce the layering required to provide adequate insulation.  I believe this is an area in which Paramo excel rather than being an area in which they’re left lacking.

Paramo describes this jacket as a “Lightweight” and “close-fitting” multi-activity jacket which for a lot of people will be somewhat subjective.   It’s certainly not the lightest jacket available at an average weight of 500g, however I believe the benefits it provides when combined with intelligent layering balances out and make for a formidable addition to your arsenal.  As far as the fit is concerned, for me it’s ideal, however I would agree it isn’t form fitting.  I don’t see this as a major issue and again I think it provides greater levels of flexibility and isn’t a cause for concern.

In The Field

Or in this case on the road…

Having spent the previous winter freezing to death as well as getting wet I was actually looking forward to an opportunity to put my shiny new jacket through its paces.  On its first outing the Gods didn’t disappoint.  Over a 60mile+ route I encountered rain, sleet, hail, snow as well as thunder and lightning.  The moral of this story is be careful what you wish for; that said, conditions were ideal to test the Quito.  So how did it perform?

Performance was nothing short of superb.  The Quito kept me dry, and by dry I mean literally little in the way of damp spots due to either rain or more likely sweat and condensation.  Usually at the regular stop-off points when you remove your outer layer it’s common to be damp or even quite wet due to the combination of condensation and or weather.  This means you get cold VERY quickly as well as it being difficult to dry your clothing before embarking again.  I was genuinely impressed with how well the Quito had performed; its breathability is nothing short of fantastic.  Now, whether this would be the case in warmer weather I’m not sure.  Paramo has classically been more at home in the colder months however with the inclusion of all the venting options I’m thinking this jacket could be viable in spring or even summer.  That’s something we’ll update you with as the days get longer!

The jacket was supremely comfortable which again is a real plus for me.  When you’re walkng, hiking or in this case cycling longer distances even small irritations can soon become unbearable.  The Analogy fabric and construction means you don’t even know you’re wearing it.  Another plus point is the colour; Orange – or Butternut as it’s called – is conspicuous enough to alert drivers in addition to the reflective strips which are visible on the front and back.  It’s not quite on the same level as some cycle specific commuter jackets, buts it’s sufficient to get noticed.

One feature I struggled with initially was the side vents or pit zips.  I found these a little tricky especially with mits on.  Now, I tried this as an experiment only not because I was overheating, however even in colder weather during periods of high output for any length of time you might call upon them to provide a cooling effect.  I’d want to ensure I was comfortable with opening and closing first otherwise you’ll be stopping continually or worse swerving all over the road.

As I said it did rain during the ride and by rain I mean torrential at times.  The Quito took all of this in its stride which actually makes you feel quite smug – a bit like being in your tent when it’s raining cats and dogs – this for me is the biggest tick in all of the boxes.  I’ve owned jackets in the past which are described as being waterproof but in prolonged rain haven’t stood up to scrutiny.  On its first outing the Quito left me in no doubt I could count it time and again.

Paramo offer a lifetime guarantee with their garments which is not something you come across often.  I’ve heard of poor customer experience in this area, however I can only comment on my own which has always been fantastic.  As Paramo don’t use laminates or coatings, in theory, if you follow the care instructions there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get years and years of use from it.  They even offer an aftercare service should you rip or damage it beyond reasonable repair.  Not something your average shell jacket can claim.

In fact, this is one of the first things I read about Paramo that drew me to them.  Should you fall into a hawthorn hedge, or if the mood takes you stick pins in your jacket, Paramo doesn’t loose it’s waterproof properties.  For me, that’s a major selling point and not something you should overlook.  If like me you like to actually use your clothing – as well as fall over a great deal – having a robust and durable product is essential.

Pros

  • Excellent quality and contsruction
  • Proven waterproof with superb breathability
  • Relatively small pack size
  • Excellent levels of comfort
  • Flexible ventilation options

Cons

  • Even thought the jacket stuffs down quite small, it’s still heavier than other comparable jackets
  • Venting zips take a little getting used to to
  • Not the cheapest option available

I’ve found the Paramo Quito jacket to be an excellent addition to my wardrobe and something I’ll no doubt be using for more than just cycling.  It performed flawlessly,  shrugging off shocking weather conditions and proved itself to be extremely well made, flexible with superb breathability.

Paramo always seem to divide opinion, however when you consider the organisations that utilise their products – numerous search and rescue teams – they must be doing something right.  In fact the team Sir Ranulph Fiennes headed up to perform a winter crossing of Antarctica, chose Paramo kit after extensive testing in cold chambers.

A British company with products which thrive in our British climate.

  • Sizing: Available in XS – XXL
  • Weight: Average weight equates to 500g
  • Colour: Now availbale in Black, Citrus/Rock, Reed/Rock Green
  • Price:RRP £220, however can be found cheaper on the web

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