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Thread: Paramo gear - is it still recommended?!

  1. #101
    Übermensch
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    Richard,
    although I do think Paramo gear is great I don't wear mine much as its generally too warm. It does come in handy though if the temperature drops to around zero, when I wouldn't be without it.

    By contrast we were up on Helvellyn one day with an ambient temperature of about 1 degree C. I was wearing a Paramo mountain shirt and a Moonstone pullover. (This is like a thin 'down' jacket stuffed with an artificial fibre and is probably about the equivalent of a 200 fleece.) By the time I'd climbed to the top I was soaked in sweat, but I daren't take anything off. The windchill had it down to a maximum of -8 and a minimum of -21! Despite being 'wet' with sweat the Paramo shirt and the pullover still kept me warm and snug and on the way down I did dry out a little, but that Moonstone pullover is not very breathable.

    I don't like getting 'sweaty' but I run so hot its unavaoidable so I really appreciate breathable fabrics or those fabrics that continue to keep you warm even whilst they're wet.

  2. #102
    Mini Goon Daniel T's Avatar
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    "They advised me not to as they stated Paramo does not wick but pump,and the TX would affect the wicking of my M.E jacket."

    Jussy, I am confused by Nikwax's answer. TX-Direct bonds a very thin layer of hydrophobic stuff to the material which makes it waterproof. However the TX.10i elastomer (used in TX-Direct) is completely breathable allowing air through but not water.

    My main bit of confusion here though lies with Paramo, who are of the same company as Nikwax, which "pumps" liquid moisture away from the skin. If you wash a Paramo garment with TX-Direct, surely the inside becomes waterproof and thus stopping Paramo's most essential feature from working?

    By the way, got a couple of Parameta A shirts, shorts and trousers which are fantastic and dry quickly. I rum extremely hot, and find these will do until the coldest winter weather comes. Lastly, does anyone know how you can tell the difference between the old and new materials? I bought them at the Paramo outlet as seconds in April, and am not sure what they are!

  3. #103
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    I like Parky's explanation of the behaviour of the water-repellent liner. It explains why water ingress beyond the shell is prevented, and tallies with Jane's input.

    It does suggest, however, that Paramo may not be suited for next-to-skin use, as the liner won't wick sweat away from the body. If a base layer is worn under the Paramo, this will wick sweat away, and allow it to evaporate from its surface, thus passing through the Paramo liner as vapour, and then through the shell. I'd be interested in people's experiences with no base layer.

    This is the difference between Paramo and the likes of the ME Microtherm mentioned above; the Microtherm does have a wicking lining, and can be worn next to the skin. On the other hand, I imagine that if you proofed it with Nikwax, it would start to work much like the Paramo garment. I can't say that I've ever worn any of my three microtherm-style microfibre/microfleece garments without a base layer (except when testing them for warmth when wet...).

  4. #104
    Mini Goon nick brown 5's Avatar
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    Hi -- I was alerted to this thread and since I devised the Nikwax pump liner for Páramo Directional waterproofs, I should be able to explain it.

    However if you can't handle the technospeak below, I suggest you just go on recommendations! There are plenty.

    There is a big difference between 'water-shedding', which is what the Nikwax pump liner does, and 'wicking'. They are opposites really. Wicking implies that water is sucked into the fabric and that the fabric is water-loving or hydrophilic. Water shedding requires the fabric to be water-repellent, or hydrophobic.

    Hydrophobic fabrics that have plenty of air gaps between filaments let moisture vapour pass through without a problem. So Páramo waterproofs breathe, but also pump out liquid water.

    The pump liner sheds water in one direction only, outwards. Most water-repellent fabrics would shed water in either direction, so this is why we call the Analogy waterproof system that uses the pump liner 'directional'.

    Water-birds and mammals use the directional method to stay dry -- they depend upon water-repellency, which is why when oiled sea birds are washed in detergent they cannot be put straght back into the wild - they would sink. They have to build up the water-repellent oils in their feathers again first.

    I would agree that it is not ideal to wear Páramo Analogy waterproofs next to the skin on the upper body - you would probably cool better if you wore a Parameta A WICKING shirt underneath it. Parameta A is designed to absorb sweat and make it dry out fast over the biggest possible surface area, thus cooling you quickly. Wearing a Parameta A shirt in tropical conditons is much cooler than no shirt at all.

    Wear a Parameta A shirt under your Páramo waterproofs in summer, or a Parameta T WICKING tee-shirt.

    On the other hand, next the skin wear of Paramo Analogy waterproof trousers is fine for legs - no problems.

    In reply to the thread's question - is Páramo going bankrupt -- very far from it, thank you very much!


  5. #105
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    i find the jackets against the skin unpleasant (tried it just the once - yuck!). only people who like wet skin will wear one this way (along with paramo's other "reversible" stuff - which by the way, when used as wicking are quite superb). would you wear a goretex jacket next to the skin?

    there still seems to be a little confusion.
    the liner does not wick. it is not supposed to wick. it will not work if it wicks. the liner is their to provide a barrier between you, nice and dry, and the outer shell which may, or not, be wet. quite frankly, who cares.

    paramo's biggest benefit is breathability whilst keeping you warm and dry. it does take a little lateral mind bending to get used to the idea. you will remain dry - if water gets through the outside shell, so what. you will remain dry (goretex you will get wet - i'm not anti goretex but just staing a "fact" - i do belive that goretex is unsuitable for uk conditions).

    interesting experiment for someone. how much dirt will a goretex outer take before it affects the breathability. how much dirt will a paramo take before its breathability drops to that of fully functioning goretex.

    jon, valid point but.....i think the jackets are equivalent to a shell and a 100 fleece. when you're bored one afternoon, perhaps you could re-enact your test but wear a 100 weight fleece beneath the two shell jackets and then compare.

    what the captain says is probably true - "paramo" on the cheap - perhaps a proofed fleece with a windproof outer?

  6. #106
    Mini Goon
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    To back-up what Nick said, and to answer a question from Ship (among others) the pump liner doesn't just work using a thermal gradient to force water away - the motion of physical activity forces liquid water through the smooth side of the pump liner and out the other side.

    Another point - parameta S and pump liner are totally different fabrics

    Cheers
    Jane

  7. #107
    Mini Goon nick brown 5's Avatar
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    Thanks Parky --

    With reference to Páramo retailers in London - I agree it's a scandal that we have to reverse! We will find a way.

    Pretty well all of our retailers are independents, and they don't survive London costs.

    Our manufacturing is complex and is also not Far Eastern - it's ethical. Great but doesn't allow much scope for the discounts the chains (such as London stores) are looking for.

  8. #108
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    Nick, long time no chat (the old days of MtN)... Thanks for the input. However, I still have trouble with this comment:

    > Hydrophobic fabrics that have plenty of air gaps between filaments let moisture vapour pass through without a problem. So Páramo waterproofs breathe, but also pump out liquid water.

    I don't think you've explained the 'pump' bit. Since it's called a 'pump liner', this to me implies that it pumps water from inside the liner to the liner-shell gap, and then out of the shell. Given your statements about water repellence, I don't see how liquid water will pass readily through the pump liner.

    I can see that water vapour will pass through the liner, and that this may condense between the liner and the shell, due to the drop in temperature. I'd be happy if you said that the pump liner only pumps water through the shell, and doesn't 'pump' it from the body side of the liner (since you explicitly state that the liner _is_ one way).

    Your use of the word 'shed' is also confusing. This word is most commonly used to refer to the ability of a fabric to prevent water absorption, and yet in context, you seem to be using it to describe the ability of the liner to transfer water from one side to the other (the inside to the outside).

    It's a long time since I've read any Paramo information, so I couldn't really comment on Jon's earlier suggestion (on page 3 of this thread) that I get a job writing your publicity material. But if the rest of the Paramo descriptions are as confusing as your post here, then I can see why there's so much confusion...

    ;-)

  9. #109
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    thanks jane. i missed the obvious physical transfer.

    they may be different fabrics but they are still yuck against my delicate, pale, fragile skin! as for the parameta wicking...well....what could i possibly say...how many newt spleens do you get through a year to keep this magic up.

    nobody's had a suggestion as to anything else on the market that wicks sooooooo well!

    as an aside. i have beach towel made from the stuff. get wet, lie on towel. all water sucked to other side. lie on dry towel. do not lie on wet sand.

  10. #110
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    Ah. Now whilst I was composing that, Jane comes up with the comment that liquid water is forced through the liner, presumably by pressure. Although there can only be pressure where the garment is in close contact with the body, which, let's face it, isn't many places; shoulders, elbows...

    Then I ask myself why water isn't forced back the other way (force equilibrium must exist, otherwise the jacket would continue to expand...). I can only imagine that the water is retained within the fluffy side of the liner, providing a reservoir effect.

  11. #111
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    btw - I'm not trying to say that Paramo doesn't work; they are plenty of people who say that it's the bee's knees. Just trying to get a clear understanding of how, so I can explain it to other people when asked.

    Given Nick & Parky's comments that next-to-skin Paramo outerwear isn't a great idea, I think I understand, and I'd suggest that the liner really only passes vapour out, and prevents water coming in, either water that has got through the shell, or water that has condensed from vapour passing out of the liner.

  12. #112
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    90% of my time outdoors is spent wearing a Parameta shirt with nothing underneath or on top of it. The other 10% of the time, when it's too cold and wet, I wear a Paramo jacket on top, and maybe, but not always, Paramo trousers, and that's the lot. If I don't have the trousers, then it's just a pair of Lowe Alpine Wilderness Pants (no longer available, and I bought up a whole pile of them when manufacturing ceased). No matter how severe things get (from torrential rain to minus 25 degrees)I can get by with that combination, while walking companions get wet and/or cold, until such time as they take the hint and switch to Paramo. The big difference between Paramo gear and 'boil-in-the-bag' laminates is that you always FEEL great in Paramo, regardless of whether you are sweating like a pig or walking through torrential rain. Oh - my mugshot shows me in a red Parameta shirt. That's changed. It's now green.

  13. #113
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > That's changed. It's now green

    It's gone mouldy?

    ;-)

  14. #114
    Mini Goon
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    It's not the action of pressure against the fabric that forces the water through, it's the movement of the fibres against each other in the fabric during movement of the wearer which helps move the water from the smooth side to the fluffy side. The hydrophobic nature of the fabric, combined with it's unique structure ensures that water can only pass in one direction - outwards.

  15. #115
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    captain, you are right. any "water" sits on the outer face of the liner waiting to be dispensed into the outside world.
    at the risk of this turning into doing the paramo's pr department's job for them, another great bebnfit of the jackets is that you wear them. there's no need to buy one and "keep in the bottom of the sack for emergencies". as with anything new to you, you will develop your own comfort zones by experience. people who think they run hot may just be so because their shell isn't letting all that hot dampness out.

    the jackets are too warm for summer. but then again so is a fleece. if you wear a fleece in summer then you can wear a paramo jacket. if you carry something to keep the rain off then a paramo is heavy compared to a paclite (real boil in the bag?). i wear montain featherlite/speedlite pertex during the summer if it rains. it isn't waterproof (see, i don't even think about letting water in is BAD) but it does keep the worst of the stuff off me. i get wet shoulders and back where my sack pushes water through the fabric but i'm fine elsewhere. wet knees ditto. alternative (as i see it) wet everything with sweat (not with paramo mind where i just feel hot rather than steamed). these featherlites weigh virtually nothing.

    if you've worn any of the windproof shelled jackets and like them you will love paramo.

    see if you can get to try a velez smock. put on a t shirt (my favourite base with this is a peter storm coolmax) and give it a go. then try the same with a fleece and a paclite.
    make your own mind up.

    oh! something else that needs getting used to although this may just be me. i always feel "alright" in mine rather than "warm" or "cold". takes a bit of getting used to, just feeling "alright" (weird!)



  16. #116
    Mini Goon nick brown 5's Avatar
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    Hi Captain -- you asked for an explanation so now I will give it!

    The pumping action of the Nikwax pump liner is enhanced by garment movement but does not require it.

    It works because of a phenomemenon called capillary depression. Capillary Depression is the increase in pressure inside a water-repellent capillary tube measurable when that tube is immersed in water. It is the opposite of Capillary Rise, where a water-attractive capillary tube is inserted into water and water runs up the tube - in that case there is a reduction of pressure inside the tube. Capillary rise is also know as wicking.

    Capilary Depression and Rise are both inversely proportional the the diameter of the capillary tube. DP = K/d where D is Delta, P is pressure and K is a constant and d is diameter.

    Therefore small diameter water-repellent tubes push out water better than large diameter tubes.

    If you think of the gaps between filaments and fibres as capillary tubes, you can see that a very finely woven fabric made with microfibre that is water-repellent will resist liquid water much better than a coarse open fabric. This agrees with experience.

    Now, the Eureka point with the Analogy system was my personal realisation that in mammals there is a gradient of diameter in capillary tube from the skin level to the outside. That is because all hairs begin at the same point (the skin) and you have a mix of short, medium and long hairs, and naturally they are closer packed at skin level. Also there are finer hairs at skin level. So if water appears in a mammalian fleece it is forced outwards atomatically even when the animal is still. Given a bit of shaking - witness your average dog - and the process is greatly accelerated. I have called it pumping to distinguish from sucking. (We had some real laughs around this one).

    The next thing I looked for was a fabric that also had a packing gradient in terms of the distance between filaments - thus, once water-repellent, the pump liner was born.

    As long as the pumping function exceeds rainfall, you will stay dry in the rain. In the case of our garments, there is plenty of extra pumping capacity. But the real advantage comes when you start to get condensation in the garment - it gets pumped outwards. It is a little known fact that breathability or Moisture Vapour Transfer can only cope with around 20 per cent of the amount of moisture produced when a man sweats heavily; this is the top level of even the best of the best breathable fabrics. So to stay dry you need to move liquid water.

    To make the distinction we invented the word 'directionality' to described the process of moving liquid water in a desirable direction.


  17. #117
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    I once went to see Nick Brown demonstrate his new fabric (at The George in Harrogate) and met some people coming away from a previous demonstration. They said they had been 'blinded by science' - which would explain almost anyone's reactions to stuff like, and I quote from above, 'DP = K/d where D is Delta, P is pressure and K is a constant and d is diameter.'

    So, when it was my turn to sit through the demonstration, what impressed me was Nick thoroughly dousing a piece of material in a bowl of water, then holding it up and turning it both ways round so that the audience were amazed to see water vanishing into one face and dribbling out of the other. This wasn't moisture vapour either - this was liquid water - actively moving from one side of the fabric to the other. If Nick had described it as 'magic' then I would have believed it, but I'll accept 'DP = K/d' if he says so!

    But hang the science of it. The stuff works!

  18. #118
    Initiate Man on stilts's Avatar
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    Nick

    Not being one of those who is put of by mathematical formulae, dP=K/d, etc. thanks for the scientific explanation. Very cunning.


  19. #119
    Mini Goon nick brown 5's Avatar
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    I agree that getting too techy turns people off - sorry, but I was asked a techy question.

    The really imprtant issues are:

    How do you use it properly to get the best performance?

    What does it do that other things don't do?



  20. #120
    Ultra King Ninja Marmot's Avatar
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    '*Liquid* water', eh, Paddy?
    ;o)

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