Rudolf Abraham Travel Hiking Outdoor Writer Photographer Gear Reviews

Páramo Velez Adventure Smock Review by Rudolf Abraham

My real conversion to Páramo came with this much-more-than-just-a-waterproof jacket back in 2014, when I was hiking on Rumija – a mountain in Montenegro, wedged between the vast sprawl of watery wilderness that is Lake Skadar National Park, and the two-millennia-old olive groves of Stari Bar on the Adriatic coast. It was October, soon after the first or second snowfall of that year – and it was bitterly cold, and windy enough that it was hard to stand up at times. The view back over the Prokletije mountains on the border with Albania, snow-streaked and heaped with black clouds, was amazing; the clear blue of the sea on the opposite side of the ridge a hugely tantalizing contrast. And I simply couldn’t work out how my then brand new Páramo Velez Adventure Smock was keeping me warm.

Ever since that day on Rumija, the Velez Adventure Smock has remained my cold-/wet-weather jacket of choice. I’ve worn it hiking up onto the Dachstein plateau in October, just after around half a metre of snow had been dumped up there – we started from Hallstadt in muggy drizzle, and reached the hut several hours later after some 1600m of ascent, but I never felt too hot, or too cold.

Hiking the Juliana Trail in Slovenia - Páramo Velez Adventure Smock Waterproof Jacket - Travel Writer and Photographer Rudolf Abraham

For summer use I’ll take something lighter instead, usually in combination with my Torres Gilet in case temperatures drop unexpectedly – as I said, the Velez is amazingly warm. But for cooler weather I always carry the Velez Adventure Smock, and in winter it’s the jacket I take in preference over my older but still perfectly good down jacket from Rab – not because that one has any faults, but because the Velez is a fraction of the bulk, feels much less cumbersome and more agile, and is just as warm as well as being waterproof (and it has proven itself by remaining so even when hiking full days in soaking rain). Most recently it went with me when hiking the 270km Juliana Trail in Slovenia, a trip which included several consecutive days of heavy rain.

Photo: Me in my Velez Adventure Smock at the onset of rain in Slovenia’s Julian Alps (October 2021).

The front pocket is huge – more than large enough for a map. I often end up sticking gloves in there while fiddling around with cameras and lens changes. I find the side vents with two-way zips extremely useful, both for keeping temperatures down when on the move, and for sticking hands in after gloves have been off (those lens changes again). And the cut is just right – low at the back providing additional protection/warmth, slightly shorter at the front. At a little over 700g it’s not exactly light, but it’s certainly no heavier than carrying an insulating jacket of similar warmth along with a dependable waterproof.

I did manage to rip a hole in my Velez eventually, on a trip to Montenegro – but that’s what happens when you slip over in the snow and land on a sharp piece of limestone (or was it that I shut it in the door of a Land Rover one morning while taking photos near Lake Skadar?). In any case, Páramo repaired it for a very reasonable fee (by replacing the back panel), and I’ve been using it again ever since.

As with all Páramo gear, the ethics and environmental commitment are outstanding – their clothing is PFC-free (as is their entire supply chain), the company has a long-term partnership with the Miquelina Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia (which provides work opportunities, training and experience as well as homes and childcare for vulnerable members of the local population), and the garmet is fully recyclable through Páramo.

Find out more about the Páramo Velez Adventure Smock here.