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We review Paramo's Velez Adventure Light smock to see if this popular but individual approach to a rainproof shell is still worth looking at.

paramo mens velez adventure smock black
Overall Score
A solid, robust and warm design
The weather-proofing system doesn't please all

A familar sight throughout the year in the British outdoors, the Velez Adventure Light is a soft-shell-style garment aimed at all manner of users. At 584g it's a heavy duty item, but eliminates the need for anything but a base layer beneath it. Some people love garments like the Velez, some people just don't.

As in all things, Paramo does things differently with this smock. Familiar touches come via the just-beyond-waist-length cut, drawcord hem adjusters, and generally loose and relaxed fit. Things get original, however, with the wrist adjustment (it's layered into the fabric) and fully stowable hood. When not poppered down it gives comprehensive coverage, with a huge, semicircular malleable peak - cinched tight via two drawcord adjusters. A similar adjuster at the rear sits very low down - at the top of the neck - and gives a wide range of fitting options for the hood when in use. Movement is good even when fully tightened. Overall the Velez Light feels very protective when in use.

In terms of storage and features, the Paramo continues to tread its individual path with huge waist-to-nipple zips (secured by poppers at the bottom) that allow easy and quick access to your inner layers. At their top they sit at the same height as a very large oblong-shaped and kangeroo-like chest pouch. It's a popular feature with Paramo gear, and superbly judged for storing all manner of essential items from maps and compasses to snack bars or lip balm. You'd struggle to describe this design as "sexy" but it's perfectly and inspirationally functional. Being a smock the only other zipping comes at the neck.

Paramo garments don't use traditional waterproof, breathable membranes, instead relying on their own Nikwax Analogy fabric. It's thick and warm and feels more like a fleecy softshell than a thin hardshell, and works by using your body warmth to 'pump' moisture away from the body in the same way that mammal fur does. In other words, you may eventually get wet but you'll always be warm, and garments like the Velez dry quickly. Many outdoor professionals swear by Paramo technologies, and we certainly wouldn't contradict them. It's just another way to keep out the weather in the outdoors and the Velez Adventure Light does what it claims to do well.

In conclusion: Paramo garments are a bit of a marmite product, but those who favour them often won't buy anything else. The Velez is a solid example of its kind and is well worth investigating for year-round (and especially winter) users.

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