Ah, April. One of my least favourite months because you never know quite what you’re going to get. It could be rain, wind, searing heat or densely foggy and invariably I’m either too hot, too cold or too wet for most of the month. It’s just so… British. So, it’s no surprise that a British company seems to understand the ever-changing weather and come out with such an adaptable jacket.
Paramo’s Quito is a lightweight, softshell jacket made from Paramo’s supernaturally waterproof Analogy Light, which is a silky, shiny material akin to a very thin drybag. It is lined, but manages to weigh in at just 490g, which is the same as 3 large apples. Analogy fabrics, as previously discussed on the Paramo Torres Smock review, actively suck any moisture from base-layers and push them outwards, leaving you dry on the inside even if you put the jacket over a wet base-layer.
The Quito is a fairly close-fitting jacket which is designed for a range of outdoor activities. My sample is plenty long enough to cover my back when cycling or reaching up, and generous under-arms mean that the jacket isn’t pulled around when you are throwing or climbing.
It’s not a jacket which is designed to keep you warm when it’s very cold out. It will keep the wind off you, and is perfect to slip on after an energetic and sweaty climb to the top of a hill, but it’s not for cold evenings around the campfire on its own. Waterproofing is via the Nikwax coating which comes on all Paramo jackets, and if it wears off you can renew it by a simple wash with Nikwax. That said, I spoke to someone who was wearing a 2-year old Quito and theirs was still as waterproof as new even without re-proofing.
A close-fitting, adjustable hood keeps the wind off your ears, and a wired-peak keeps the rain out of your eyes admirably well.
If you get too warm when wearing the Quito, as well as undoing the full-length front zip, you can open the massive armpit vents/side zips, which work brilliantly to cool and keep smelly pits at bay. And when it’s raining your sides stay remarkably dry because your arms cover the vents. Neat.
The Quito has two internal mesh pockets for stashing keys, phone or a Mars Bar sandwich, and they have zippers which keeps everything secure. But what it lacks is any external pockets – instead you have two more internal ‘cosy’ pockets, accessible through the armpit zips and I found these ever-so slightly oddly positioned. Mind you, I suppose you’d only need them post-activity since the Quito wouldn’t necessarily be the first choice for wearing casually on a very chilly day – it’s not warm enough.
Cyclists are catered for by very long sleeves and a contoured tail section. The Quito has a single-handed drawstring waistband and velcro cuffs which are wide enough to roll-up completely when you’re too warm. And there’s some subtle reflective piping for the safety-conscious.
I’ve taken the Quito out for over a month now in all conditions and it has fared excellently in rain, wind and sun. Hiking up hills, this is a brilliantly designed jacket due to the venting and adaptability in cuffs, waist and hood. Paired with the Paramo Torres Smock, what you have is a 4-season combination of jackets which could leave you needing nothing more.
The cost of the Quito is £205, which will probably make some of our readers gulp. And actually it made me gulp until I wore it for a while and realised how adaptable it is. I own more jackets than is morally acceptable, and I tend to choose what to wear based on the conditions; either the waterproof one, the windproof one, the hiking one or the cycling one. The Quito is all of these, so as an investment piece, it could be quite a bargain. Especially since I’ve just read the Paramo guarantee:
Under the Páramo lifetime guarantee, any manufacturing defect will be rectified free of charge indefinitely, while damage to your garment by accident or normal ‘wear & tear’ can be repaired by Páramo at a reasonable cost
SUMMARY: The Paramo Quito Jacket is very waterproof, windproof and since it’s so adaptable with big vents and a great hood it could be the only jacket you need for 3 seasons of the year. It’s no winter jacket, unless you’re doing aerobic activity and are going to be really warm. It packs down to the size of two soup tins and weighs 490g, which is less than a packed lunch. The guarantee and manufacturing quality justify the price tag.