If you’ve read any or perhaps all of my reviews of Paramo kit, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m a bit of a fanboy. I’m not, though having so far been impressed with all the kit put before me that’s a logical assumption to make. It was therefore almost a relief when I finally found a bit of kit that I found wanting.
The Paramo Quito are essentially an overtrouser that you can wear all the time. Similar to the Velez Adventure Light trews, in that they’re comfortable, waterproof and ventable, but with their velcro closure and full length zip they’re much easier to get on and off over boots and shoes. This is great if you prefer walking in shorts during the summer months and require a waterproof pant that is both easy and quick to don, and doesn’t feel uncomfortable against bare skin. The nature of the Nixwax Analogy Light means that it’s not only comfortable against the skin, but will wick away moisture and even dry your legs.
In rain it performs as expected, keeping you dry from rain and wicking perspiration,. They can be rather warm in the summer months, but the only waterproof that’s effective and comfortable under warm and wet summer conditions is bare skin. The full length zip goes a long way to alleviating this and they certainly vent exceptionally well.
“So are you back to fanboy mode then?” I hear someone cry. Well, no. That’s the good stuff out of the way. The Paramo side of these trews, as in the fabric, can’t be faulted for use in most UK conditions (and is bearable in warmer weather), and does exactly what you’d expect. My problem is two-fold.
One – I find the lack of proper pockets disturbing. There’s a couple of deep mesh pockets inside, but if a pocket isn’t secure then it isn’t much use for me. I tend to put stuff into pockets that I’m loath to lose, such as my phone, camera or wallet. That’s the only place I feel comfortable in keeping them most of the time, with an exception being deep in the pack or on the waist belt pocket of the pack for the camera. If you don’t use or need pockets, or if donning these over a pair of running shorts as I was whilst testing them over five days in Knoydart then it’s more of a pain than a real problem.
Issue two however is another story. The design features that make these so easily donnable is the full length zip and the unusual velcro closure at the front. This alas also makes these pants an awful fit for me. There’s no fly either, so you need to undo the front of the trouser to pee which would be an acceptable inconvenience if they were easy enough to fasten up again. I assumed this was as they were unisex, but on return to civilisation I realised that these are male specific. Unfortunately they’re not, the belt slips continually and they need hiking up to prevent recurring plumber’s crack.
Neither is it a question of sizing, as the corresponding Velez fit perfectly (if a little snugly around the waist) while these seem to be comfort fit, something of a novelty with my waistline. Adjusting the belt initially, the fit is excellent but that doesn’t last long. The belt loosens and the trousers start slipping, necessitating further stops to readjust and prevent their perpetual ankle-ward journey.
After five days, as you can imagine, this ended up with the decision that they will end up on eBay once I return. The only way around it was to somehow tie the belt into a fixed position, but that is neither elegant or something that I expect to have to do with a pair of trousers priced at a ton and a half. I might perhaps look at sewing the belt at a certain point, which would partially solve the issue. I could understand it, perhaps, if they even provided a significant weight saving over the Velez but come in at 35g heavier, despite the extra zips for fly, pockets and reinforced sections. I also felt that the trouser cuffs could do with an extra fastening to reduce their size as i felt the fit was rather loose.
Overall, if you need a pair of waterproof trousers I’d have to recommend that you go for the Velez adventure over these. The only benefit these offer is that they’re easy to put on over boots, but are so easy to take off that they try and do so of their own accord. I’d seriously suggest that you get to try these on personally, see if you like the fastenings and whether they work for you. Unfortunately, while these are a great bit of kit and forgive the pun, they’re seriously let down by the belt.