There’s something about wearing the Paramo Summit Hoodie which appeals to my inner child. It’s the very soft velvet finish which makes me feel like I’m wearing some kind of animal costume, and I can’t help but stroke my own belly. It’s completely subconscious. I look like a fat lad congratulating himself on demolishing a triple-decker bacon buttie.
What’s more is that other people seem powerless against idly stroking your arm and chest. Even midway through a conversation, when their curiosity takes over you’ll experience a personal-space infraction which, depending on your preference, will either be welcome or not. I had a total stranger stroke my arm as I waited at a bar for a pint a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think they even realised that they did it.
The velvet finish is unlike a traditional ‘fleece’, although Paramo still use the term. I’d imagine, since Paramo often take cues from nature, that they mean it is the fleece of a Paraguayan Pygmy Possum’s underbelly, rather than that of a sheep. In a pub in Snowdonia though it looks a little more ‘Juicy Couture’ than ‘Outdoor’ which in a straw-poll made some people reluctant to consider it seriously.
The Summit Hoodie is treated with Nikwax TX Direct, so it sheds water much better than you’d think it would. I’ve been caught in a couple of short, sharp showers and it’s remained dry inside. The hood is close-fitting and very comfortable and warm, so that helps seal out the weather. Paramo say it will go under a helmet, which seems like a fair suggestion, but not one I can verify.
You get elasticated wrists and a drawstring waist to seal out any breeze, and whilst it’s not windproof, it is designed in a slim-fitting way to complement Paramo’s Fuera Ascent windproof layer. The massive underarm vents line up so you can get a pit-refreshing blast through both layers.
I found the pit-zips on the Summit Hoodie less comfortable than on other Paramo tops. I can’t figure out why, because they’ve fitted snuggly skin protecting flaps on the inside, but I just found myself aware of the zips rubbing slightly annoyingly on my arms and torso. When they’re opened you look very odd indeed, but they work to cool you down excellently.
There are two large hand-pockets positioned high on the sides of the hoodie. At first it feels a little too high, but if you wear it in combination with a harness (or backpack waiststrap) they make perfect sense. They have the same velvet material inside, so you can stroke your belly to your heart’s content with nobody knowing.
It’s very warm in use. Wearing it under a windproof jacket has been plenty warm enough for the Autumnal mornings so far. Paramo explain on their website that their velvet-like fleece is better at keeping you warm when it is wet than ordinary fleece, and that theirs actively draws moisture from the inside outwards, keeping you less sweaty and damp, and thus better insulated. I still don’t know exactly how their materials achieve this, but suspect witchcraft.
SUMMARY: A water-resistant, warm and cosy ‘fleece’ layer which breathes well and actively pulls any moisture away from your body. It keeps you warm and comfortable in autumnal weather, and matches well with Paramo’s windproof jacket. The material isn’t to everyone’s liking though, having conortations of Juicy Couture type leisure suits, but it will get you stroked… if that’s your thing.
Price: £117.50 rrp