Hi all, I'm after some advice on the Paramo Aspira Jacket/Smock for Alpine use (4000)
I have a couple of lighter Paramo garments and I enjoy the lose cut and style, but I am due to make the transition into Alpine conditions late this year, hopefully to make a winter ascent up something like the Eiger West Ridge with an experienced buddy of mine.
I'm used to UK conditions and also from a forces background, so I often get a bit 'scared' if all the technical cut pieces of clothing these days and don't mind the slight increase in weight etc.
I've been looking at the Aspira Jacket for some time and wondered if it would be a suitable working layer for such a trip as I mentioned. I heard people run hot in them, but hopefully the conditions will be slightly colder than maybe your normall UK winter I'm wondering if it would be suitable?
It is described as a breathable mountain jacket, but I've yet to see much in the way of reviews from mountain users other than hill walkers!
Advice please guys!
Also looking at getting a second hand one as I'm not silly enough to pay £280rrp!
In reply to Frosty3006: It is noticeably heavier - twice the weight of a Goretex jacket - but warmer, although not as warm as a Goretex jacket plus thick fleece of same total weight. I find it a lot more comfortable because the material is soft.
Breathability is OK, but nothing like the marketing nonsense of the manufacturers. Basically sweat transfers from your base layer to inside face of the paramo which is soft and which absorbs the sweat. It then sort of goes through to the outside. Unless of course its raining when you have 100% humidity, or the map pocket which forms a barrier and fills with water. Who was the genius who thought of that!
The same genius who decided that only press studs should be used on paramos. The hood is great with a helmet but useless without.
Pockets are great - except the stupid map pocket.
Overall the comfort of the fabric wins out, and the fact that it will stand up to real abuse since you can easily repair it.
If they had put more effort into the design, or rather testing the thing, and spent more on better fittings, and not had such crude seams and excess material it would be brilliant.
So Paramo urgently needs to copy the design and quality of construction of a mainstream goretex jacket but keeping their materials.
The Aspira trousers I found just too heavy, crude and badly made to be acceptable.
To answer your specific question I take my Aspira to the Alps and Himalayas.
> If they had put more effort into the design, or rather testing the thing, and spent more on better fittings, and not had such crude seams and excess material it would be brilliant.
Amen to that. A more 'fitted' design would help no end. I really like the Aspira, but if I want it to fit well I'm going to have to hammer the Guinness and the pies for a few years. A better fit would improve breathability no end.
Not much to add to the comments you've had already - I have the Velez as I don't much like the design of the women's Aspira, but my husband has the Aspira. Haven't experienced the map pocket filling up with water though, and it's seen some horrible weather on rescue practices (but this might be because I tend to run cold, so not too much sweat from the inside?).
Agree the fit can be a bit baggy - though I've found this isn't too much of a problem once you have a harness on. But I imagine this depends a lot on your own shape! I have the same problem as I do with most brands - round the chest I could easily wear an XS, but have to go up to a small to get it big enough across shoulders, and particularly long enough in the sleeves.
But what I was going to say - for good deals, look at the Paramo "seconds" on eBay - they sell off stuff that has been used in photoshoots, or reps have had, at a very good discount. And also some RCYLD stuff, which I think is stuff returned by customer, and repaired if necessary before selling on.
I have the Aspira top and trousers. The top is great, under it I have either a rab power stretch top or a patagonia r1 hoody and if its really cold I stick a thin fleece gillet over the base layer. And thats it job done, I carry a belay jacket as well but never used it....just keep moving on the belays (if you can)!
I will add that I have had the jacket altered, I'm 6ft5 and have had extra length added on the sleeves and also some of the extra material from the belly and arms area removed, fitted much better after that. All done by Paramo at a cost of 50notes if I remeber correctly.
The trousers in my opinion are not as good, I had those lengthened as well, but they are just too baggy. Perhaps I should send those back as well and see if they can get rid of some of excess material from the sides.
Finnisterre did do Paramo style for a while but seem to have stopped for whatever reason.
Cioch do made to measure - and fully feature customisable - stuff using Paramo's fabrics which obviously avoids the fit/may of the general annoyance issues above. A very low premium (if any) over the standard stuff so well worth consideration.
Hilltrek also, although not as many styles and more aimed at walking/bird watching etc it seems.
Paramo stuff is great, but if you will be using gear off of your harness alot then it may hinder you. I have just got back from some winter climbing and my paramo jacket kept bagging out around the waist meaning it covered the gear on my harness, making it difficult to locate correct ice screws etc. If this is an issue for you than I would recommend a tighter fitting jacket.
Thanks for all the comments guys, very helpful. My main concern was with its usage in alpine conditions, it certainly seems like it would so a good job at keeping wind out. I don't mind slightly baggy cuts although I would have to check it didn't interfere with my harness as mentioned.
Thanks Top Cat, very kind of you. I'm looking at. A large though I think. I wear a mountain pull on in large and would imagen that for colder weather a larger will allow me to layer better
Any more reviews of them in alpine conditions would be great!
In reply to Frosty3006: we were daft enough to be on the Ben at the weekend. There were gusts of 60 mph plus turning minus 7 to minus 25. I was in aspira salopets with lifa longjohns, worked very well at keeping me warm without feeling clammy on the walk in. They are baggy and crude. But they are tuff and reliable too. I wish they were narrower, but I would replace them if they were nicked. The baggyness does mean they articulate well and there isn't a problem seeing you feet etc. It's that bin man look Andy Kirkpatrick alludes to.
In reply to Frosty3006: I have a full aspira set and I would happily take it to the alps in winter. I took the set to Kyrgyzstan, in summer admittedly, and it performed admirably. If it was too warm I rolled the sleeves up, opened the zip (smock) and opened the vents and it was a bit like a thick soft shell. I've used them in full on storm in welsh winter which is going to be far worse weather than anything you will go out in the alps.
The weight is a bit worrying and the cut is horribly generous to the point where I can easily fit my double thick cloudveil belay jacket underneath without a problem. On the plus side it has never felt constricting and the comfort of the fabric is excellent. Where is shines is the breathability when it isn't wet. I will continue to use my goretex jacket for summer but the Aspira is my go to jacket for winter and alpine where I need a bit more safety.
The trousers are nice but again heavy and bulky. The knee pads and bum pads are nice touches but unless it is cold you get pretty sweaty under those patches.
> The trousers... Perhaps I should ... see if they can get rid of some of excess material from the sides.
I did just that last time I sent them back to get crampon holes repaired. They did a good job and it didn't cost the earth. Excellent gear, imo, but too hot, heavy, and inflexible in function for summer alps.