I greatly admire the designers at Paramo who can take a step back from conventional wisdom and launch a product which is totally bonkers. The picture below is of a pair of trousers so bafflingly confusing to look at, but so ingenious in use that I had a genuine moment of epiphany when I finally ‘got’ what they were all about. You can put on this pair of trousers without lifting either foot off the floor. Bonkers.
You’re going to have to excuse the number of photos in this review, but these trousers really are best explained in pictures and not words, so I’m going to run a sequence of shots down the side of my words which you should scroll down through before reading much further.
The Quito Trousers are lightweight (425g, which is as much as two large bananas) and totally waterproof against rain, and even sitting on wet grass. What’s more is that, since they are made from Paramo’s witchcraft-derived Analogy fabrics, they will actually suck water out of any wet trousers that you put them over.
They’re not just over-trousers, you can wear them against your skin and they’re very comfortable with a loose-fit and baggy knees which won’t restrict when you’re climbing or kneeling. I found them to be the absolute best leg wear for putting up a tent, with all that bending over and kneeling on damp ground.
They are designed so you can put them on without lifting either foot off the floor or removing your boots. This seems like a bit of an unnecessary feature at first glance, but for those moments when you need to put them on on a slope, uneven ground or even for those of us with dodgy knees it is a much more stable way to do things.
They’re quite warm in use and feel to be windproof. You are able to work up a sweat quite easily on a hot day, but it’s very easy to undo the leg zippers and let in a bit of breeze. You can even undo them all the way and hold the Quitos together using just the poppers. You’ll be nice and cool, but get some funny looks.
There are two hand-warming pockets which are tucked inside the main zippers. They work very well to keep you hands warm, but do let in a bit of cool breeze at the same time. They also don’t feel 100% secure when you’re bouncing down a hill, so aren’t really ‘precious item’ pockets.
Paramo gear comes with a lifetime warranty against material and manufacture failure, and they’re keen to point out that their waterproofing doesn’t come from a membrane, but rather the fabric itself and a Nikwax coating, so nothing can go wrong with it. Does that go all the way to justifying the £145 price tag though? I’m not positive. They’re a very serious investment but they have the limitation that you feel under-dressed when you end up in the pub in the evening. The materials work brilliantly, but some people still think of them as a bit ‘shell-suit’.
GearWeAre has to return all gear to Paramo after it’s tested. I’m umming and erring over buying these trousers. They’re just the ticket for carrying in a backpack “just in case”, or wearing on a really wet day. I’m sure that they are a great all-rounder. Perhaps if it rains a bit more I’ll be convinced to keep them.
SUMMARY: Paramo’s Quito Trousers are a great mix of extremely waterproof material, well-thought out design and brilliant warranty. Being able to put them on without lifting a foot is genius, and they work well both against the skin and over trousers. The only reasons that they’re not 5-hammers is the belt, which isn’t great in use as is slides down a bit, the shiny look which can make you feel slightly under-dressed unless you’re on the trail and the price, which is a lot compared to other waterproof trousers.
Price: £145 rrp