Recent jackets from Paramo have sought to cast off their reputation for a baggy, boxy fit, but none have achieved it quite as well as the new Enduro Jacket. It represents a top-of-the-range mountain jacket that isn’t perfect, but is getting pretty close.
Weight: 849g (size large)
The Enduro uses Nikwax Analogy, which consists of a ‘pump liner’ next to the skin, with a “directional microfibre outer” layer which is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating to repel, well, water… The pump liner mimics animal fur to physically suck water – in the form of condensation, sweat or any rain that has found a way inside – away from the skin and through the outer fabric. It’s important to note that this two layer construction functions differently to the usual waterproof breathable membrane laminate construction found in hardshell waterproofs. In fact, with no taped seams Nikwax Analogy isn’t officially waterproof, and doesn’t breathe in the same way as a membrane – moisture doesn’t need to be in vapour form to pass through the fabric and there’s almost no clamminess even when working hard. Best of all, if you rip it, it can be sewn up without any real loss of performance. It’s a real softshell. There are disadvantages though – the two layers offer a fair amount of insulation, so there’s a risk of overheating in warm weather. My metabolism and tendancy to move fast in the hills means that I can only really use Páramo in winter conditions. This also counteracts the weight penalty of the thick fabric – the Enduro in my size large is 849g so it’s not the kind of thing you’d want to be lugging around all day in your rucksack. But in winter – where it’ll be worn all day – this isn’t really an issue. There are a couple of modifications to the Nikwax Analogy as well – high wear areas like the shoulders and sleeves have been reinforced by a layer of a stretchy fabric, and this stretch fabric is also present under the arms where it assists articulation. The pump liner has areas of mesh pattern behind the vent zips and pockets for ventilation without fully exposing your baselayer to the elements.
This is the first Páramo jacket I’ve used that has an obvious tapering to the cut – from broad shoulders to slim waist, similar to traditional ‘Alpine’ hardshells. It’s far from restrictive though as the arm articulation is excellent and the hem doesn’t ride up when reaching above your head. The sleeves are long and seal with decent Velcro tabs, great for climbing (or semaphore). The body isn’t particularly long though, which is great for leg lift and use with a harness, but you’ll probably want waterproof trousers in foul weather. The rear has a drop tail with a drip skirt to channel rain away from the body. The main zip is fitted with a double-ended zip for tailored ventilation, and the upper zip pull has a locking design. The zip is reversed, which adds a degree of weather protection, and there’s a decent poppered internal storm flap to catch anything that manages to get through the teeth. The two chest pockets are excellent – one is a cavernous zipped pocket that can easily swallow an OS map, the other a smaller Velcro-sealed quick-access pocket fitted with a lanyard loop – ideal for a compass and/or GPS. Further over are two handwarmer pockets located well above a harness or rucksack belt. These have a grid-pattern lining to perform double duty as vents, supplementing the two zipped openings runnng from underarm to elbow. These only offer access as far as the grid-pattern lining though. A lot of thought has gone into the helmet-compatible hood, which teams with a high collar to offer good protection with the ability to seal around goggles. There’s a wire brim, and all adjustments are captive within the fabric (see photo) to prevent toggles and cords flying around in the wind.
It’s a heavy jacket at 849g, but it’s not a ‘just in case’ jacket. The various ventilation options – vents, zips and rolled-up sleeves – make it clear that this is a jacket to be worn all day. Despite this, I can only tolerate it in the winter months or when mountaineering at higher altitudes – basically, softshell conditions. But the Enduro offers more than a softshell, with superior weather resistance that makes it effectively waterproof and able to tolerate proper UK hill weather. The athletic cut doesn’t just make the Enduro more appealing to style-conscious consumers, but also offers performance benefits to those that need a jacket to be close-fitting and non-restrictive. The length is my one concern – being over 6’/183cm I’m used to shorter-style jackets, but some will prefer a longer and more protective cut. But there are several models in the Páramo range that fulfil that criteria, such as the legendary Alta II that has been my winter companion for years. This year? I’ll be wearing the Enduro.
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