Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Paramo Third Element

I have been using a Paramo Velez Smock over the winter and have been impressed with its functionality and its ability to breathe and yet keep me dry. However, I have also recognised that it has its limits as the weather gets warmer. My attention was drawn to Paramo's Third Element by Andy Howell the Third Element consists of 2 parts, a vest and hood and arms which when combined makes a weather proof jacket for all conditions. Paramo gear is heavy when compared to much of the ultralight gear on the market, but it's design and its twin layers which make up the directional system sets it apart from much of the standard gear that is available.

I took the Third Element jacket on a recent trip in Sweden, a report on the trip will follow.

There was no rain any day during the trip and daytime temperatures ranged between 10 and 18 C not ideal conditions to test such a jacket, especially as it is recognised that if you are carrying a Paramo jacket then it is too heavy. The total weight of my XL jacket was 840 gms with the arms and hood weighing 360 gm and the vest 480 gms on my digital scales.

In use the jackets performance surprised me, whilst I did carry the arms an hood part, I wore the vest for 90% of the time. The design of Paramo garments with their twin layer system enables it to be more breathable than traditional wind shirts. However, my biggest surprise came when after a warm mornings walking I decided to remove the vest and just walk in my silkbody top. To my surprise after a stop in the afternoon I put on my pack to immediatly experience the cold wet back feeling which I had not experienced when wearing the vest, which is a testament to the efficiency of the Paramo directional system.

Along with the efficiency of the directional system that wicks moisture away from the body, the venting provided by the Third Element with its full front zip enhances it's performance for milder climates when compared with my Velez.

This jacket will be too warm for summers in Southern Sweden and Denmark but it will be an integral part of my cooler weather kit.