I’m only a recent convert to Paramo clothing – let’s face it many of their jackets look like they’re better suited to bird watching than mountaineering, even if they are technically capable of the latter. Less fashionable, more older-ramblers attire.
However, I got a second hand Paramo smock top last year and loved it. I was keen to see what the Ventura jacket was like, since I was in desperate need of a new winter waterproof. Here’s my verdict
The Ventura is a women’s fit jacket in the Paramo Mountaineering range, and while I didn’t get it in time for the winter season, it’s been out in some wet and wild winds recently. I love the long body which means there’s little chance of it riding up your back under your rucksack -that situation can leave you with a cold patch while you’re climbing or scrambling. It is also shaped to come down over your bum, which is great as it also means that while wearing a harness you’d still be able to access your belay device.
I’m also a massive fan of the hood, it not only fits a helmet underneath but it still has room for it to come down over your face a little, with a good peak on it. Minus a helmet – you could hide most of your face with it! And with the zip all the way up you can hide your chin really well, which I particularly love as I hate getting cold around my cheeks and chin. It’s heavier than goretex and more bulky for stuffing in a rucksack, but it’s also warmer, which might make it less attractive to wear in summer, but then I bought this for British winter rain and Scottish snows, so it’s a good match for my needs.
The only downside is that there is only a chest pocket. While its big enough to fit a map and lots of bits in it, I quite like walking with my hands in my pockets. Thankfully the pit zips have a great mesh system behind them, which means not only can you ventilate really well and not get damp in the rain, but they can just about double as pockets for your hands. However, for this jacket to be perfect I’d want the zips to come around the front of the body slightly so that they were in a better position to work as pockets for your hands.
I bought a large size so I could get layers underneath in winter, so I’d prefer it if it had a waist cord allowing the jacket to be less big around your middle with less clothing underneath. It does feel a bit baggy otherwise.
Having been out in wet weather in this jacket, and a recent freak hailstorm, I can vouch for this jacket displaying Paramo’s trademark waterproof quality. Yes it’s expensive, at £295 (though I got mine via the outdoor gear exchange on Facebook for £190 as a new jacket), but I know that it’s going to last me at least 10 years if I clean it regularly. Unlike my usual goretex jackets, which unfortunately disintegrate over time.
Given the price and bulkiness, and the slightly annoying position of the pit zips not being perfect hand pockets, I’d give this jacket 4 out of 5.
By Emily Thompson: find out more about Emily on her bio