Paramo are probably better known for their waterproofs than their travel gear. Certainly at GearWeAre that’s how we’re most familiar with them. So when they sent over a pair of trousers made from cotton we were a little surprised. As the old mountain saying goes; Cotton Kills.*
Digging a little deeper we discover that they’re not entirely made from cotton, but rather one of Paramo’s bonkers wonderfabrics called Parameta S Cotton +. Now, to explain what this fabric does in layman’s terms, bear with me. A very dense weave of polyester (wicking and fast drying) fabric is mixed with cotton to provide a fabric which draws sweat off your skin and disperses it over a large surface area so it evaporates quicker. The same dense properties make it impervious to insect stings and provides a UV rating of 50+. This bit is an assumption (the fabric is not yet listed on Paramo’s website), but I’m guessing that Paramo mix in some cotton to provide a weighty, soft, comfortable feeling to the Maui 2 Cargo Trousers and stop them looking so ‘technical outdoorsy’.
These are marketed as Travel trousers. And they appear to have been designed by somebody who has actually left the confines of their office recently. The fit is what Paramo call generous. I’d call it baggy, but that’s a good thing for travel because it both leaves a load of air circulation by your legs and helps disguise the valuables in your pockets.
Speaking of pockets, being cargo trousers, the Maui 2 has a pair of thigh pockets which are pretty cavernous. You could squeeze a Lonely Planet guide in there with no problem.
One of my favourite games to play with Paramo clothing is called Find the Pocket, and I’m yet to win. You see, they’re masters of secreting pockets within pockets within folds within areas where thieves (and wives loading the washing machine) would never look. Back to those cavernous cargo pockets and I’ve just discovered a secret zippered pocket deep within the left side. Fantastic!
There are more pockets on the backside which are zippered and made from mesh so they don’t feel heavy or sweaty. And a further two traditional hand-pockets on the hips which are angled so that coins won’t fall out when you’re seated. The Paramo website suggests that there are two more zippered pockets here somewhere, but I’m losing the Find a Pocket game tonight and can’t locate them.
The Maui Trousers are designed with movement in mind. Whether you’re scrambling up a rock to get a better photo or running for a bus, the articulated knees and long hems allow unencumbered movement and no particular flappiness. The baggy design and Lonely Planets in the cargo pockets could build up some dangerous momentum if you were to run for too long though, so be warned.
Design wise they are casual with a nod towards smart. The grey colour of my test pair wouldn’t look out of place on a bus or in a restaurant, which is exactly what you want from a pair of travel trousers.
The Maui Trousers close up via a zipper and button and come with a slightly elasticated waist to aid movement and the ingestion of an extra pudding. They have traditional belt loops for if you plan to load them up or prefer your trousers to stay firmly put.
I’m off to the US for a week very soon. Paramo think they’re getting this sample pair back soon. They’re not. I’m wearing them on the plane for their comfort and because I love the panic feeling of losing my passport in one of many secret pockets.
SUMMARY: Paramo’s Maui 2 Cargo Trousers are designed for travel and tick all the necessary boxes. They’re on the expensive side for a pair of “Cotton” trousers, but the proof has been in the pudding(s) and they have wicked sweaty legs and dried off quickly over the last few weeks. The design is baggy, which won’t suit some people’s taste, but that does mean that movement is easy and unrestricted. The SPF 50+, anti-bitey insect qualities and design to look the part in any situation are a win.
*Cotton Kills: Cotton fibres soak up water into their core which takes an awful lot of energy to evaporate. If you’re wearing wet cotton it will sap much more of your body heat than a synthetic fabric or wool.