The Velez Adventure Light Smock (Velez) has been a core part of my inventory for coming on 18 months now. If it’s too rainy for my beloved ME Astron Hooded Jacket then the Velez is my go-to piece. Paramo has a business ethic of quality over quantity and so you probably won’t find any of their kit in chains such as Snow and Rock or Cotswolds; this also prevents price battles between competitors, good job too as the profit margins on Paramo gear are relatively low already.
When it comes to the fit of the Velez it is slightly on the looser side and will comfortably accommodate a few layers underneath. Length comes to the hips which is ideal for most body sizes and the articulated arms are well planned to allow for and uninhibited range of movement regardless of activity. The feel of the jacket is unlike anything you may have experienced with conventional plastic-based membrane jackets; as I explained in the review of the Paramo Aspira Trousers, the jacket uses fabrics instead of plastic membranes which result in waterproofing that mimics an Otter’s fur which actively wicks moisture away from the skin, pumps it through to the outer layer to be evaporated. There is no limit to the breathability as it works as hard as the wearer. A noteworthy point is that these fabrics cannot be tested for a hydro static head as with membranes due to the materials being so different. An example of this difference is that an Arc’teryx Pro Shell jacket will stop the rain on contact from entering the jacket, the Velez and other Paramo items may have a sopping wet outer material (primarily a DWR treated windstopper layer) but the active ‘pumping’ layer underneath will prevent any moisture reaching the wearer.
To round off the feel of the jacket; due to the fabrics in use the piece will feel slightly heavier and warmer to what you may expect – equivalent to wearing a thin midlayer under a hardshell – the breathability of the piece, however, will keep you comfortable whatever you may be doing.
The features for the Velez are simple yet well thought out: everything can be adjusted single handed, the zippers all move smoothly too. Double-layer lining on shoulders and either side of the spine allows for comfortable wearing of technical rucksacks. Fully adjustable, wired hood with a high collar keeps out almost everything Mother Nature can hurl at you, you can partly roll it up. Decent sized, waterproof kangaroo-style zippered pouch suitable for maps, snacks and other essentials. Being a smock, all zippers are baffled and poppered which allow for a full range of ventilation options depending on conditions. There is also a zippered hoodie-style pocket which can be access through opening up the bottom zips and is surprisingly comfortable when walking casually without a rucksack hip belt. Although nowhere states that it has a high capacity-style hood, I found that with all the toggles loosened off I could just about wear a helmet (Petzl Elios) with the hood up, which anyone climbing in the UK would appreciate.
I’m slightly disappoined by the muted colour choices for the current range of the Velez, I bought mine in the Butternut option which is effectively bright orange – perfect for being spotted damn near anywhere!
Having used the Velez extensively throughout England and Wales all year round it has proven itself a valuable part of my inventory. I have been drenched by rain in Snowdonia without any problems or water seepage and plenty of cold walks out and about with no hint of being cold myself.
With the Velez, and Paramo products in general, being fabric based this means that they are infinitely wash and re-proofable using appropriate products such as Nikwax Tech Wash & TX Direct. They can and do last for years on end, when they eventually reach the end of their useful life you can even send them back to Paramo for recycling.
Overall a great lighter weight bit of kit that provides peace of mind for those going at it hard outdoors wanting comfort, superior breathability, longevity and real value for money.
Weight: 580g (Size M)