After wearing the Paramo Vista jacket on the less chilly days of the last few months I’ve come to think of it as an exceptional jack of all-trades kind of jacket. But don’t think of it as a ‘master of none’ because it’s certainly an extremely capable piece of gear.
Weighing in at 520 grammes (according to our kitchen scales) it’s sort of mid-range for a waterproof and moderately warm jacket, but unlike some of its softshell rivals it squishes down into a ball of 2-litre size (I know this because that’s the size of our kitchen scales, into which I crammed it).
That makes it a very viable just-in-case jacket to stash in your pack on days where the weather is a bit bipolar.
Styling wise it’s very simple and sleek looking. It’s not as shiny as my photos would suggest (low light, long exposure, lots of reflection) but it is slightly shimmery. Fans of Twilight may well stop you in the street if you pass under a bright light. There’s reflective piping on chest, back and arms for those of you who are irresponsible to go playing in traffic without something as bright as an airport landing light strapped to your head.
In bad weather, the wrist cuffs tighten using a velcro tab, which is wide enough that if you get too hot you can easily roll the sleeves up.
The waist is cut in a medium length with a great swooping tail so I can bend over and touch my toes without exposing my backside to the elements, or innocent bystanders to my backside. It cinches tight to keep out draughts using a bungee drawstring on both sides of your hips. This is neat because it works if you only have one hand to spare.
The hood is a voluminous affair, but not big enough for anything other than a very small helmet. The visor peak is wired to keep rain out of your eyes in bad wind, and theres a combination velcro and bungee adjuster to make the hood fit to your desired shape. I like to keep it quite snug so it turns with my head more easily. Without doing any of the tightening, you can easily turn your head inside the hood. I know that isn’t brilliant for cyclists or mountaineers.
The Vista has two huge pockets for your hands, which are positioned quite high up the jacket. This feels a little weird at first, until you wear the jacket with a backpack or harness, when it becomes apparent that they’re perfectly placed! They’re lined with the same Analogy fabric that the whole jacket is, which means that they’ll soak off any water from your hands, helping them get warmer more quickly.
Internally there’s a zippered pocket which works well to keep phones and other valuables dry and secure.
Analogy fabric is Paramo’s witchcraft material. It is waterproof and far more breathable than membranes like Gore Tex or Neoshell. It actively pumps moisture away from your body leaving you feeling less clammy during intense activity than its competitors. Some tests claim that its less waterproof than membrane competitors, but I’m yet to experience any kind of failure. The caveat to that is that I haven’t used a Paramo Analogy jacket for more than 3-4 months.
The Vista jacket lacks any pit-zips, which help its visual appeal but mean that it’s a warmer jacket than its brother the Quito. What it does have, in terms of ventilation, is a dual closure on the front. The full-length zip is backed up by a set of 4 poppers, so you can keep the jacket closed, but allow some airflow when it’s warm.
It’s on the (very) expensive side for a waterproof jacket; retailing at £210. However, like all Paramo gear you need to think of it as an investment piece. It won’t leak like a membrane jacket if you stick a hole in it, and Paramo operate a lifetime guarantee. They have fans who swear by their gear.
SUMMARY: It’s expensive, but it’s comfortable, feels lightweight and un-restrictive and the fit will suit a range of activities from climbing to cycling. The features all work like they should, and it’s not let me down or left me wanting for anything else on hikes and trips into town.