Ok, it seems that whatever those fine guys at Paramo decide to release, i buy. The trusty old cascada trousers, circa 1967, were mostly hole and thread and both the pocket zips lost their effacy at around the same time at the Berlin Wall. They were also bulky, designed to be worn and never packed away. Added to this the fact that they did impart a slight air of MC hammer in the mid 90s, it was time for change. So when they brought out the Paramo Velez Adventure Trousers that were not only lighter, less bulky and a better fit, but also a lot less navy blue and dragged my lower limbs into the twenty first century.
The first thing that strikes you about the Paramo Velez Adventure trews has to be the lack of bulk. They arrived in a tiny package that, to my surprise, also contained both a Torres Smock and Trouser. Secondly, the fit. They fit. Like a normal pair of trousers. This is partly down to the fact that you can buy them in normal trouser-like waist sizes rather than the previous four sizes fit all with the bizzare choice of about ten different leg lengths. It’s also because they’re more tailored than some of the earlier offerings and as a result aren’t at all baggy. Having lost some weight, with a bit more to go, I was glad to find that their sizing was on the small size with the 36″ waist being about right but with plenty of room to grow out of.
When i first fondled these in the shop, I decided I didn’t like the fabric one bit. What at first appears to be pertex, is their Analogy Light fabric. It felt even flimsier on the Velez Adventure Light and Quito jackets. On further reflection, I came to the conclusion that the original fabric was bombproof and that the lightweight stuff has to be as durable as your common or garden membrane waterproofs, so took the plunge. While I can’t vouch for durability until I’ve used them for a good few months, preferably after a few week-enders and a week long trip to the wilds. To be fair though, there’s different types of fabric on different parts of the garment depending on where you’re going to need it most. If this means the weight and bulk is reduced, then i welcome it.
Another advantage of these trousers is that they are fine for all year round use. I have used these on Yr Wyddfa on a wet summer’s day, and they’re no warmer than the usual trouser/overtrew combo.
As I’ve had these trews for a goodly 18 months now, i feel that I can finally comment on their durability, which was always what worried me about these. They’ve had a lot of use in that time, being my first choice for most walks (with snow bringing out the Aspira Trews and shorts for the sun) and even being used on a run and having holes put into them on a bike (not recommended for mtb use!). All I’ll say is they’re great until you need to do any sort of arse scrambling. You know, when you have to lower yourself off some rocks rather than scramble down more elegantly?
Somewhere, along that ridge, lies the backside of my trouser…
Basically, the rough quartzite of the Grey Corries saw to it that the arse seam on the Paramo Velez Adventure trews became completely unpicked. They only cost a fiver to be fixed at a local shop, but it seems to happen to ALL Paramo trousers that I’ve owned. Two pairs of fuera windproofs have more stitching in along the backside than when purchased, as have the tougher pair of baggy Cascadas. Any damage done to the Aspiras however was entirely my fault, and caused by using the padded arse as a sledge… I’m really not sure if this is a comment on Paramo’s arse design, or my ungainly descent style?
Long term, i think they’re as good as anything else Paramo have produced, a little less durable, but as they are lighter they’re useable most of the year which is a compromise i’m willing to take. Paramo take note though, I reckon you need to look at using a stronger fabric as backside, without the central seam. Putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve also got the corresponding smock and I’ll post a longterm review of that soon.
What’s good- Light (around 400g), well fitting Paramo waterproofs that don’t show a hint of navy. Practical to carry on multiple day trips, which is a first for Paramo.
What’s bad – Expensive and not as durable as you’d expect from Paramo.