Sunday, 1 February 2015

And now, a word from our sponsors

I wish! Of course I don't really have any sponsors but, despite the fact that I benefit in no way from doing so, I would like to sing the praises of Paramo. Landscape photography often involves walking distances and standing for long periods in the cold and yesterday's trip out to the Clwydian hills was a perfect example; although the walk up Bryn Alyn was not particularly long, it was a useful 'leg stretcher' and, once on top, there was an icy gale blowing which made photography very difficult.

Wearing decent gear on such an occasions makes a huge difference and I am now fully invested in the Paramo range having found nothing better. This is what I have:

Taiga Fleece -  This was the first Paramo garment I purchased. It was not particularly cheap and is certainly not the lightest fleece but it is water repellent and has extremely effective wind proofing. It is, quite simply, the warmest fleece I have owned. It is virtually indestructible; I've had it for around eight years, wear it all year round (in all but the hottest weather) and it still looks good.

Alta II Jacket - This is a waterproof jacket which has all the features you would expect from a good hillwalking jacket; wired hood, ventilation, adjustable cuffs, articulated shoulders and sleeves. Most importantly, it keeps you dry, is comfortable and, like the fleece, provides an effective barrier to even the coldest winds. It is also very soft and quiet - the latter possibly being more relevant for wildlife photographers but I have never liked noisy jackets.

Cascada Trousers - These waterproof trousers are incredibly warm and comfortable and, like the Alta II, keep you dry. They can be worn over other trousers but I tend not to do this as they are no at all like typical over trousers. One of the knees of my pair was ripped by a nasty fall on some rocks but, for a very reasonable cost, they were quickly repaired by Paramo and there has been no loss of integrity. I can happily crawl around in wet grass to get exactly where I need to for that photograph.

Torres Smock - Possibly the warmest thing I've ever owned. It is fantastic for those really cold mornings waiting for sunrise. Light but not compact - I carry it in a compression sack when not wearing it. This also proved to be a godsend when I used to watch my daughter's riding lessons - I'm convinced the 'indoor' school is one of the coldest places on earth.

Gaiters - Again, not the lightest but very easy to get on and off, breathable and pretty much bombproof.

I also own a couple of base layer shirts which, combined with the various jackets, ensure maximum benefit from the system and, while I can't claim to have tested these garments in the most extreme conditions possible, I have found them to be the best of their type I have ever worn; they keep me warm and dry and show no signs of wear. In these days of disposable goods, it is refreshing to find a company that places so much stock in producing hard wearing goods. As I've already mentioned, Paramo aren't the cheapest but still represent good value. I've not gone as far as buying the underwear yet but never say never.