The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Paramo Ladies' Velez Adventure Light

Continuing my recent trend of kit indulgences, last week I added a Paramo Ladies’ Velez Adventure Light to my collection. This item only hit the shops a couple of weeks ago, and although a new Velez (in black) was at the top of my wish list, I was resisting well the lure of the new lightweight version. My resolve started to crumble when I read a few very positive initial reports on OM, and the nail in the coffin was when I found that The Mountain Factor had them at 20% off and with free P&P. An order was placed on Thursday afternoon, and despite being well after the shop's advertised cut-off time for same-day despatch, an hour or so later I had an email confirming that my shiny new smock was on its way to me.

Postie obliged my eagerness to get the item in my hands by arriving three hours earlier than usual on Saturday morning and my first impression when I took the parcel out of his hands was "Gosh, this is light". My second impression when I liberated the smock from the package was "Gosh, this is light and it feels absolutely lovely."

Then I tried it on. It was lust at first feel as I stood there (still on the front door mat) wearing the jacket and grinning like a fool.

One of the reasons I like my old Velez so much is that it feels just like a jumper, rather than like a coat. The Adventure Light is not only lighter, but is even more comfortable. And the hood! What an improvement on the detachable hood of the standard Velez. The peak is bigger and better and because it zips up, rather than closing with poppers, there won't be the need to stop, go cross-eyed in trying to see the poppers to unite them and curse when the wearing of mittens thwarts the first four attempts to do them up (which usually involves me thinking I fastened one then realising that the mitt is caught inside of it).

Then, fast on the heels of my delight, came disappointment as I noticed the lack of length in the body. Although the jacket is a vastly better fit on my body and arms than the XS unisex of my standard Velez, Paramo seems to have worked on the basis that skinny birds must also be short (but long in the arms). Thus, the hem finishes a couple of inches higher than my old Velez - and that's at least an inch shorter than I would want it to be. My grin wavered.

Then I considered my options (at quite some length; don't underestimate my ability to ponder a point when a not-cheap purchase is involved!). I could: 1. Have a jacket that is shorter than I want it; 2. Go a size up, have a jacket that is too volumous in the arms and body, but which is long enough; or 3. Concede that this jacket just doesn't come in an appropriate size for me.

Option 3 was quickly discounted. My existing Velez doesn't fit me well, being far too big in the body and baggy in the arms, and I still like it enough to want another, so the question quickly became one of "is it better to have a jacket that is too wide or one which is too short".

I’m not sure if there is a definitive answer to that question, but, oh how I pondered. It kept me occupied for a good few miles on the Chase on Sunday. I think that I got to the decision that too short was the best option*. That way I'm not carrying around excess material in the body and won't have flappy arms. Plus, if it's raining enough for me to worry about where the water will be running off my jacket then I'll be wearing waterproof trousers anyway.

Now I find myself in that need-to-test-a-new-waterproof situation of actually wanting a bit of a downpour (just a bit, mind!) next time we're out so that I can test the most important qualities of the jacket.

(*But I am female and thus am at liberty to change my mind on the point, so I haven't cut the tags off quite yet and will probably try both my old and the new Velez on a few more times before I reach a final, irreversible decision).


  1. I am still waiting for a good wet day on the hills to see how good my Paramo jacket is. Odd to want rain!..Hope your the new smock does what it says on the tin

  2. I must have iron reserve! I tried one on in the Castelberg shop in Settle at the weekend. It was pretty good - but my old Velez still has a few years life in it yet and I have only reccently been on a gear spree (new rucksack, new mattress, new spork etc etc etc....)

    Be happy with your new love!