Waterproof for not cycling in?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
thirdcrank
Posts: 30589
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Waterproof for not cycling in?

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Dec 2013, 7:50pm

In spite of owning a large part of the European Goretex mountain, the recommendations for Paramo interest me, but I've been unable to find out much about it. From reading the company's publicity I presume it's made up of some sort of inner wicking layer or layers, with an out fabric layer which depends on Nikwax for its impermeability. (ie no membrane to penetrate.)

Can anybody confirm this or put me right? One post suggested it was heavy. Is this so?

Martyn B
Posts: 14
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 10:08pm

Re: Waterproof for not cycling in?

Postby Martyn B » 24 Dec 2013, 9:35pm

Having unwittingly initiated the durability / waterproofing discussion in my earlier post about the Paramo gear, I feel duty-bound to clarify and to a certain extent justify those comments. When I said I waterfproofed my garments perhaps a couple of times a year, this was a flippant comment not to be taken too literally - there might well have been occasions when I went 12 months without proofing, and conversely I'm sure that there have been other instances where there has been an interval of just two or three months between proofing, but it all probably averages out at 'perhaps a couple of times a year'. I can assure everyone out there that I am anything but obsessive!

The main point I omitted from my original post is that like the mountain rescue boys & girls, I very often use my Paramo gear in extreme conditions and I need to be confident that it is up to the task in hand. Earlier this year, for example, I was caught out in a snow storm at 8000 feet in the Austrian Alps and my Velez smock did exactly what it says on the tin, keeping me warm and dry until the storm passed through. Cycling is just one of many activities in which I participate where I would use my Paramo gear - backpacking, climbing, orienteering, mountain walking all put the gear through its paces and it's not let me down as yet - that's why I continue to sing its praises and heartily recommend it, despite the rather obvious downsides of the initial cost and its tendency to weigh a touch more than some other brands. I am also a firm believer that quality gear should be well maintained, which is why when I come off a back-packing trip I'll chuck my mountaineering coat in the washer for a quick rub-through - to me, this isn't obsessive, it's just common sense and just one step towards ensuring that your kit doesn't let you down. Similarly, when I go out on any of my bikes in the winter, I'll clean them up afterwards - nothing major, just a quick rinse off, but the principal in my world is just the same - look after your gear and it will look after you.

What I did not intend my original comments to imply is that there is nothing else on the market that does the same job as Paramo - clearly, until I've tried everything else in the marketplace I'm not in a position to pass judgement on that assumption. What I am saying is that it works for me and could well work for you - but then, so could Rohan, Helly Hansen, Berghaus, Montane, Sprayway etc. etc all of which have been and still are used by my fellow outdoor enthusiasts to good effect.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Martyn B
Posts: 14
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 10:08pm

Re: Waterproof for not cycling in?

Postby Martyn B » 24 Dec 2013, 9:56pm

thirdcrank wrote:In spite of owning a large part of the European Goretex mountain, the recommendations for Paramo interest me, but I've been unable to find out much about it. From reading the company's publicity I presume it's made up of some sort of inner wicking layer or layers, with an out fabric layer which depends on Nikwax for its impermeability. (ie no membrane to penetrate.)

Can anybody confirm this or put me right? One post suggested it was heavy. Is this so?


I'm not really au fait with the technical side of the product, Thirdcrank, but I would say that it tends to be slightly (not significantly) heavier and less compact than some other products on the market - somewhere down the line, there is always a trade-off, and with Paramo, warmth and comfort come at the cost of a bit of extra weight. From the cycling perspective, I appreciate that weight can be crucial to some people and if that's a major issue for you, then I would suggest there are lighter, more suitable options available. I'm quite happy to pootle along at 15/16 mph so the weight of my Velez smock is of no consequence to me - as long as I'm warm!

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andrew_s
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Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 9:29pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: Waterproof for not cycling in?

Postby andrew_s » 24 Dec 2013, 11:52pm

thirdcrank wrote:In spite of owning a large part of the European Goretex mountain, the recommendations for Paramo interest me, but I've been unable to find out much about it. From reading the company's publicity I presume it's made up of some sort of inner wicking layer or layers, with an out fabric layer which depends on Nikwax for its impermeability. (ie no membrane to penetrate.)
Can anybody confirm this or put me right? One post suggested it was heavy. Is this so?

Paramo depend on the liner layer to work. This is a moderately thick material that has a high density of fibres on the inside, and a low fibre density on the outside. The fibres are made water repellent by wash in Nikwax proofing, and because of the repellency and water droplets move from high fibre density (inside) to low fibre density (outside), in what is the opposite of capilliary attraction (what Nikwak call "pump action"). Then there's a pertex outer layer to act as windproofing, and to take the speed out of fast moving raindrops. Anything that penetrates the pertex outer isn't going fast enough for momentum to force it through the liner, and any water of the inside (eg sweat) gets moved to the outside of the liner, leaving you dry. Note that water absorbed into (eg) cotton doesn't get pumped.

Advantages:
It's normally proof against even heavy rain.
Condensation is essentially a non-problem.
It lasts well as the repellency of the liner can be restored by reproofing with another dose of Nikwax, and minor damage can just be sewed up without effecting the waterproofness of the garment.

Disadvantages:
It's somewhat heavier and bulkier than the competition, and is generally best when worn all day rather than being packed just in case.
It's warmer than a regular waterproof jacket due to the thickness of the liner, so much so that some people regard it as winter only wear.
The proofing can occasionally fail, rendering a jacket completely non-waterproof. This normally seems to happen due to a combination of heavy rain and a jacket that's either got too dirty (liner loses repellency), or has been reproofed excessively (multiple layers of wax mat up the open/low density fibre structure of the liner). Excessive would be reproofing with every wash.
Direct pressure will force water straight through. If you sit in a puddle or kneel on wet ground wearing Paramo trousers, you'll get a wet backside or knee.

thirdcrank
Posts: 30589
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Waterproof for not cycling in?

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Dec 2013, 8:53am

andrew s

Thanks for going to the trouble to do such a comprehensive post, especially on Christmas Eve. (Were you sitting up in the hope of seeing Santa? :wink: I'm now preparing for the arrival of the hordes and preparing to cook my goose.

I'll read your post with the attention it deserves from the fallout shelter afterwards.