Mountain Leader and Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer Emma Gerrard has been wearing her Páramo Andina jacket almost every day for six years in the Cumbrian countryside where she resides, within spitting distance of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales...

Howgill Fells

I have been a Páramo convert and lover for going on 6 years. I wear my trusty blue Andina jacket nearly every day – whether that be out on the hill or popping to the post office. It’s comfy, I don’t get all hot and sweaty, and I’m always impressed when I stay dry regardless of the downpour. (Note that constant surprise is based on years and years of disappointing non-Páramo waterproof experiences!) I bought it in 2015 and although it has had a sleeve panel replacement after a fight with a barbed wire fence, it is still going strong!

Whilst my day job is working in Wind Energy, I am also a Mountain Leader and pre-COVID was undertaking a lot of weekend Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering work. I live on the edge of the Howgill Fells in Cumbria sandwiched between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, so getting out onto the fell is part of weekly – if not daily – life for exercise and to get away from the routine of the day. Exploring closer to home in the Howgill Fells, Westmorland Dales and the outlying Lake District has been really enjoyable over the last year, finding all the amazing places so close to the house.

Swirl How, Remembrance Day

I live with my partner George – a maths and outdoor education teacher, with a wealth of outdoor qualifications and experience. George, however is only a very recent Páramo convert. For years I have trundled along on wet miserable walks listening to George commentating on which body part is now wet thanks to his non-Páramo waterproofs, while I have been silently smug, snug and dry, bundled up in my Páramo jacket.

A particularly horrible lockdown day out in a boggy, wet, windy mess prompted an impulsive trip to the Páramo shop in Keswick. Thanks to the help of an amazing shop assistant we were in and out in within 30 minutes – George with a new Velez Evolution smock and trousers, and so not to be lacking in the Páramo game, me with a matching pair of ladies Velez trousers!

The purchase of our new Páramo kit fitted perfectly with the onset of winter and the colder, wetter weather. But we had renewed enthusiasm to get out in the less optimum conditions to put our new kit to the test! I was confident that I would remain snug and dry, which my new trousers (teamed with a pair of gaiters) were more than happy to oblige. They have had a pretty brutal beating of wind, rain and snow and not once have I been soaked through to my pants! I was actually a bit disappointed with myself that I hadn’t purchased a pair of Páramo trousers earlier as they are now very much my go-to for any weather as they are so comfy, breathable, quick drying and definitely waterproof.

Great Dodd

George spent the first few walks struggling with temperature regulation and layering. Embracing the venting zips (of which the Velez smock has many!) was a game changer and established the baseline that the Páramo smock could just be worn all day, with venting there to respond to temperature regulation. Now he just won’t shut up about how great his Páramo is!

Lockdown changed how we enjoy the mountains. We would normally have spent most of our mountain time in the core of the Lake District, but with the local exercise restrictions we weren’t able to justify the need to travel there. Especially when there are so many closer places – perhaps not as high or as rocky – but unexplored, quieter and equally as stunning! Whether together, or solo we have been loving exploring closer to home, still practicing our skills and getting some good exercise. For me, having robust and reliable kit like my Páramo jacket and trousers is a must for getting out in the mountains. I trust they will keep me warm and dry, enabling me to focus on enjoying my time safely outside regardless of the conditions. The only downside is, although I no longer have to listen to the wet-body-part commentary from George, I am stuck with the constant and somewhat repetitive praise filled Páramo appraisal instead. But that’s okay, I can remain silently smug (and snug) in my Páramo knowing exactly what I knew all along…. Páramo is awesome!

Bannerdale Crags

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