First one of those sidebars that appear at the side of magazine articles:
|Paramo is the name of a clothing company. Their clothing is based on a fabric called Parameta. Parameta is waterproof but it’s a fabric, not a plastic sheet (like eVent or Gore Tex).Its not only waterproof but also because of some clever physics applied to the design will actively move water from one side to another. The important point is that it is a fabric so it breathes like a fabric.It simply doesn’t get “overwhelmed” and have a film of water build up inside it like even eVent can do. If it ever did build up that much moisture, it would just get “pumped” through and dumped on the outside. It’s more than just the ‘usual’ capillary action at work, this is special use of capillary action that “pumps” due to the diameter of the fibres changing from one side to the other across the the material.The one downside is that it can be relatively heavy and warm compared with jackets made in something like eVent or Gore Tex. So not so good for summer when you hope to be carrying it more than wearing it. But ideal for winter use.|
Edit July 2010: I now use the excellent and very light Paramo Quito jacket in summer (it replaces the separate windproof I used to carry) – but still use the Glamaig for winter!
At the moment I don’t have a Paramo jacket but I’ve been bowled over by the Paramo Cascada trousers so I’m getting a jacket based on Parameta for the winter. People on the Gear Forum of OM talk about the “Paramo religion” because “converts” to Paramo are so amazed by what they discover they get very evangelical. It took me ages to pluck up the courage to spend the money on something that, to be honest, looks like it won’t work but I’m very glad that I did. Because it simply does.
Even then I still can’t get away from the feeling that a winter jacket weighing nearly a kilo for a large size is too heavy. But a company called Cioch Outdoor Clothing on the Isle Of Skye seem to have the answer
Cioch make their waterproof clothing out of Parameta, the fabric that Paramo use, since Paramo is owned by Nick Brown who developed Parameta, and Nikwax (Nick Brown – Nikwax – geddit? ;)
Their Glamaig jacket is intended for summer use but since both LB and I are happy with a summer weight eVent jacket in winter for skiing in the French Alps and Norway and wandering about in the Cairngorms I started to wonder why the Glamaig wouldn’t work.
|At an average weight of 510gms its heavier than a lightweight eVent (which are more like 370gms for a similar size) but not by a huge margin considering the potential comfort advantage. Price is about the same and Cioch even make to measure for a very reasonable fee. Which looks to be a service worth having once you measure yourself and try comparing with the off the peg measurements.|
I emailed Cioch and Neil Urquhart (pictured on their site) replied very quickly. We ended up discussing it on the phone and I found that I’m not the first to have thought of this. Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team have also decided that the Glamaig is right for them in winter. They had the Cioch Harta jackets a couple of years ago and when they came to order a new set they decided on the Glamaig instead.
As Neil said in an email to me “A guide friend of mine uses his thru’ the year in the Cuillins and I know of a member of Cairngorm MRT who uses his for ski-mountaineering. If your happy without the extra protection a full mountain jacket affords- why not?”.
But what is that extra protection?
It’s essentially two things. Firstly the Glamiag has no storm flap over the zip but a baffle inside instead. I have no problem with that and Neil says no one’s ever said it leaks.
Secondly the Beechcomber shell fabric used in the Glamaig is lighter than the fabric used in the Harta, the Harta being the equivalent winter jacket, having a storm flap and heavier shell fabric. A lighter fabric could potentially “flap” a bit more, become plastered to you in high winds and cause the infamous “pumping effect” that pushes warm air from inside your layers. That’s a potential issue but I personally feel that the layers I would wear underneath would be resilient enough to prevent that and wouldn’t be greatly helped by a stiffer shell fabric. Besides, having it made to measure will mean that there’s far less spare material to flap about.
Obviously I can’t yet recommend them from personal experience but I have just ordered one each for LB and myself plus some trousers for LB so obviously I’m feeling confident that they’ll work as I expect.
We requested a couple of alterations, fully lined sleeves, higher volume hoods to take helmets and some allowance for wearing more than summer layers underneath.
I would have liked to leave posting something about them until I’d tried them out for a season or more but in the mean time I thought it worth mentioning in case anyone reading is looking for a new winter jacket. Especially if you were considering a Paramo type jacket anyway.