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Páramo and wild camping

When you are wild camping, your outdoor gear needs to work that extra bit harder for you. For a start, you are carrying on your back everything you need and what clothing you have with you has to keep you warm and dry for the duration of the multi-day trip without weighing you down. Choosing such kit and getting the balance right can be crucial to having an enjoyable adventure – too light and with limited protection from what the fickle British weather can throw at you can mean you are left cold and soggy all night; too heavy and you’ll be struggling under the weight of your load. Ideally you need functional kit that doubles up to give you clothing that performs well across a range of climatic conditions whilst also giving you comfort over an extended period of time. This is because you are often wearing a jacket for example all day, all night and sometimes the day after as well.

Páramo clothing allows me to go lightweight at the right weight for me whilst delivering performance that I can totally rely on. Furthermore, the levels of comfortable wear time, on the hill functionality and usability surpasses anything I have tried in all but the hottest weather. I have owned my Páramo Velez Adventure Smock for over 10 years now and it offers continued excellent water proofing that keeps the rain at bay on my walk in to a camp and great wind resistance when photographing from the camp itself. It is imperative that I don’t get wet beyond my outer layer as I will be living in the minimal clothes that I have with me for over 24 hours. The large pocket in the jacket is great for keeping camera gear to hand on the camp and holding a map when on the move. The hand warmer pockets on the inside are also really useful if I’m standing at my tripod waiting for the light to do its thing but ready to whip my hands out so I can adjust the camera and capture that fleeting image. The hood is a perfect design, offering amazing protection from the elements and is also comfy to sleep in. It really is my go to jacket for any wild camping trip as I know it will keep me warm and dry and I can throw it on when needed and not feel like I need to take it off unless it gets really hot. Even then the levels of breathability and comfort go way beyond anything else I have tried, and I have tried a lot of fabrics over the years.

The two pictures are from a recent wild camping trip to Snowdonia. I walked up in the dark to my first camp on a cold, wet and windy night and was glad of my Velez on this ‘interesting’ walk in. The ascent took in some optional easily scrambling which only added to the adventure. The smock also proved it’s worth in the decidedly ‘fresh’ start to the new day when the first image was taken. And yes, I had slept in all that I am wearing in the picture as it was pretty cold! The next image from my second camp shows me trying to take some shelter from an increasingly vicious wind. It was certainly an ‘interesting’ night, that involved bailing from my camp around midnight due to strength of the wind. I was certainly appreciative of my Velez as I moved to more sheltered ground in the dark and then on the walk out the next morning in what could only be described as high velocity clag i.e. very wet and very windy conditions.

I need outdoor kit that I can throw on, forget that I am wearing as it does the job well and lets me get on with enjoying being out there. I also like kit that can stand up to harsh treatment and I can keep using year after year. My Páramo kit meets all these requirements. That’s why it is always the first to get packed on a new wild camping adventure.

I’m an experienced wild camper of over 20 years and have camped wild across the UK either in small groups or solo, in all seasons. For me it’s all about being outdoors, whether climbing, mountain biking or hiking and exploring the UK’s diverse and beautiful mountains. Growing up in the flat lands of Norfolk developed my hunger for the hills and a desire to climb to the next vantage point to be able to take in the next sweeping view. Having hiked extensively in the UK’s wild country and abroad, I have enjoyed some great experiences in great company. My photography has always played an important part in capturing these unique experiences. I am at my happiest with my head in a map, a rucksack on my back and heading off on a new adventure. To keep me busy over the lockdowns I have been writing up my wild camping adventures into 2 self-published books called Summit Wild Camps, one on Snowdonia and one on the Lake District.

Paul Allen

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