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Writer and wildlife guide David Chandler reviews our Páramo Poncho

We were delighted to bump into writer and wildlife guide, David Chandler, at this year’s Global BirdFair event in Rutland, which brings together wildlife conservationists, representatives of nature travel, birders and natural history enthusiasts from all over the world.

David is skilled in introducing non-expert audiences to the natural world and worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and BirdLife International for over 16 years before going freelance. He has a life-long interest in wildlife and communicates the natural world with huge enthusiasm.

David recently reviewed our famous Páramo Poncho for the Gear Finder pages of Bird Watching magazine and we’re very excited to share his findings with you…

“This poncho is designed for warm, wet places – the tropics for example. I took one to wet season Panama and put it through a fairly extreme test…

Páramo’s Poncho packs down small – to about 18cm x 11cm x 6cm in its internal pocket and weighs just 320g. The fabric is lightweight, tough, and windproof with a pump liner in the hood and shoulders. It is available in two sizes and is cut long, and longer at the back – you can wear one over a backpack. There’s plenty of side ventilation, and three colour coded poppers down each side enable you to create simple ‘sleeves’. The hood is elasticated and has a short zip.

I recommend putting it on with the poppers done up for less flapping and faffing, especially in the wind or in a speeding boat on a Panamanian river… The blue poppers at the cuff help you navigate the fabric, providing reassurance that your arms are in the right place. If you’re putting it on unpoppered, start at the blue poppers and work your way down. Putting it on over a backpack is trickier – it can be done solo, but you may appreciate a helpful friend! On my sample, one popper came undone a bit too easily – that may be different on another sample.

To test it, I went out in Panamanian rain for five minutes or so, standing under a pouring downpipe for a good chunk of time, with water crashing onto my head. This poncho did an excellent job of keeping me dry – a remarkable job for something so thin.

Packed up, I used it as a small cushion, for comfort against the van window on the Pan-American Highway. You could use it as an improvised beanbag, too, to rest a camera or scope on. Páramo’s Poncho is small, light and performs very well. And it doesn’t just work in the tropics.

Being Páramo, it comes with impressive ethics as standard – the water-repellency is PFC free, and it’s Fair Trade and recyclable. Recommended.”

Poncho factfile: RRP: £100; Sizes: S and L; Colour: Moss; Weight: 320g; Guarantee: Lifetime

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