Paramo Cascada Waterproof Jacket
First off the price. I recently saw a Cascada Jacket in an outdoor retailers priced at £180, whereas I picked mine up late last year for £100 less as it was 'last year's colour'. Which doesn't mean a lot in Paramo land, as they all look the same. Shop around!
Secondly customer service. I discovered a minor stitching fault on mine which caused the zip to snag high on the neck. I returned the jacket to Paramo who, apart from a phone call to ask when it was bought - "It's quite an old model!", replaced it immediately with a new jacket. Top marks!
Breathabilty is incredible, far superior to any of the 'breathable' membranes, especially when working hard. I usually detest wearing waterproofs, but I haven't had this jacket off all winter. It's warm and snuggly, and has replaced my trusty fleece, with the added benefit of not having to scrabble in my rucksac for an outer shell when it rains. Technically the fabric is not strictly waterproof, but so far I've stayed dry, with the lack of dripping sweat far outweighing any water ingress, even in pretty atrocious conditions.
My only quibble is that this type of jacket is too warm for hot and wet conditions, and I think the trousers would be too hot for my liking in anything except freezing cold weather.
I'd certainly recommend Paramo gear to anybody.
Fabric: Nikwax Analogy
Price Paid: £80
First and foremost, this is a fully waterproof jacket. This is by virtue of the design of the fabric (combined with wash-in proofing liquid), rather than by a waterproof lining. Tears and punctures can, therefore, be fixed without specialist materials.
I've had this jacket out in a variety of conditions, including day-long rain and snow and it never let in the slightest drop of water. It is seriously impressive stuff.
It is also very warm, and I'd have to say too warm to wear in good weather. But then, you wouldn't be wearing this in good weather. In wet or cold weather, you can be easily comfortable in a thin base layer and this jacket.
The hood has a gutter which works very well, and is fully adjustable via retained cords. The wrists are velcro adjustable, and wide enough to accomodate mitts. The usual storm flap zip is there to keep the zip area dry.
As to the fabric, it is very soft and supple. It has none of the stiffness associated with most waterproof fabrics, and none of the heavy rustling noise either. This makes it a definite pleasure to wear.
My only criticism of this jacket is the size of the map pocket. It fits a map nicely, but not if you put it in an Ortlieb waterproof map case. Then it's just a bit small to get the map in and out easily.
Fabric: Paramo's own Parameta
Price Paid: �$180
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Reviewers Paid: $180.00