When you test many raincoats, it can become difficult to tell them apart. That’s not the case with the Paramo Velez, which has many distinctive features that help it stand out from other best waterproof jackets today. The key element among these is the fabric – rather than the crinkly, slightly stiff material you typically associate with waterproof jackets, it uses a soft and slippery Nikwax Analogy Waterproof fabric, and there’s a mesh lining on the inside. interior, making it ultra-comfortable to wear. But I’m moving forward.
First, the facts. The Paramo Velez is available in men’s and women’s versions, with an RRP of £300 for either. It’s available in black (for men only), red or two-tone blue – the one I tested. Paramo calls it “a lightweight, high performance and comfortable directional rain jacket for high energy outdoor activities in temperate climates”, and suggests it would be good for activities such as mountain walking, cycling, climbing and hiking. So how did this raincoat perform in my testing? Read on for my full review of the Paramo Velez Jacket.
Test of the Paramo Velez jacket: fabric and waterproofness
Let’s take a closer look at this unusual fabric. The exterior is slippery and soft to the touch, allowing complete freedom of movement, and none of the noise you can often get with traditional waterproof technical fabrics. Paramo calls it Nikwax Analogy Waterproof fabric; collaboration with waterproofing specialists. It is designed to be not only breathable, but directional too. That is, it will push sweat from the inside of your coat to the outside, where it can drain. It looks gross when you put it like that, but definitely preferable to anything gathering inside.
Inside you’ll find a mesh lining which, although designed to sit close to the outer fabric, to minimize the amount of still air trapped between the layers, still generates a certain amount of heat. It’s certainly not unpleasant, but I wouldn’t choose this jacket for the height of summer.
It’s hard to gauge how well it really works. I found myself slightly clammy when wearing it on milder days, but then it has two layers which means it will be warmer than an unlined shell. Because it’s so slippery, the fabric also sits closer to your skin than stiffer fabric, which exacerbates the effect. Paramo says it is suitable for “intense activities in warmer temperatures”, but I would only choose it for cooler days. It should also be noted that it is heavier than raincoats.
The outer fabric itself just doesn’t feel like it’s waterproof. But it does – water beads off the surface as you’d expect, and I had no problem staying dry during my wet weather testing. The shoulder and back panels have additional mesh reinforcements to keep water out when also wearing a backpack. It’s all been ‘rigorously tested’ in the intriguing name’University of Leeds Rain Hall‘, and should be good at keeping you dry for at least four hours in a downpour.
There’s nothing terribly exciting about the design, although the two-tone blue option has a bit of a retro vibe which I’m a fan of. The Paramo and Nikwax logos also seem a bit dated, although to me in a good way. And they certainly have more character than many minimalist outdoor brand logos.
The Paramo Velez jacket has very effective vents; two on the upper inner arms and two more on the sides of the torso. These can be unzipped to reveal the inner mesh and allow a breeze into the jacket. The thin, flexible fabric means they don’t add much stiffness or bulk, and the arm ones are forward-facing and placed on the inside of your arm – close enough to your armpits to cool that area, but avoiding the uncomfortable clutter that can sometimes occur. with armpit zippers.
Paramo has combined the chest vents with the hand pockets of this jacket. This minimizes the number of zippers exposed to the elements, but also means that when you open what you imagine to be a pocket zipper, you are actually only opening the torso vent; to get into your pocket, you then need to look for the second zip, in the vent mesh. It can be a bit boring. They are spacious enough to hold a card.
There are no internal pockets. For valuables that you don’t need to access regularly, there’s yet another zippered pocket inside the right pocket (at this point it’s starting to look like a pocket Creation).
The hood has a wired visor which provides the needed stiffness in the soft fabric and can be adjusted front and back via toggles. It’s helmet compatible, for anyone who wants to take it on a more intense adventure, or rolled up and secured with a hook-and-loop tab when not needed.
There are more design flourishes that make this jacket particularly suitable for the outdoors. For example, stiff zippers with a raised ridge at the back are easy to grip even with bulky winter gloves, and strategically placed reflective flashes will provide body contouring in dull conditions. A minor issue is that the velcro wrist adjusters are difficult to move on their own, as the fabric lacks stiffness.
Paramo Velez waterproof jacket: alternatives to consider
Our best waterproof jacket guide includes plenty of alternatives, but we’ve mostly focused on the shell options, which are generally lighter and packable than the Velez, but also lack that soft, comfortable fabric (I don’t know). haven’t come across a waterproof jacket that looks like Paramo’s). Our current top pick is the Arc’teryx Beta Jacket, which is an outstanding all-around jacket from a well-respected brand. It’s a shell, so you’ll need to layer a base layer and/or a fleece jacket if it’s cold, but it’ll also keep you going on milder drizzly days. We also highly value the Adidas Terrex Myshelter Active Waterproof Jacket. It performs great and looks pretty darn cool too.
Paramo Velez waterproof jacket: verdict
The Paramo Velez is unlike any other waterproof jacket I’ve tried, mainly because of the fabric, which is slippery and soft, but still holds rain. There are plenty of touches that will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, from reflective flashes for visibility to glove-friendly zipper pulls. Mesh lining adds warmth, weight and bulk, but efficient vents ensure airflow through the jacket when needed. If you’re looking for something ultra-comfortable but still super functional in cooler weather, this is an exceptional choice.