Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock review – eco-friendly, breathable cocoon

A fine all-round outdoors waterproof shell that's good on the bike in colder conditions

Man wearing half-zip outdoor smock
(Image: © Sean Fishpool)

BikePerfect Verdict

Great for colder shoulder-season days, winter, and general outdoor activity, the Velez Light Smock is an unusual but very likeable waterproof choice.

Pros

  • +

    Very comfortable

  • +

    Impressively dry

  • +

    Durable alternative to membrane waterproofs

  • +

    Soft and quiet

  • +

    PFC-free DWR and good repair and recycling

Cons

  • -

    Relatively bulky

  • -

    Quite warm

  • -

    No smallest sizes

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We'll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

I have to be honest, my first reaction on receiving the Velez Adventure Light Smock for review was to email Paramo to ask if they’d like it back. I was sure this inner-lined shell was going to be too hot, even in early spring, and struggle against the best MTB jackets and best jackets for gravel and bikepacking

They very politely suggested I rode with it first, saying that the breathability of the fabric – and the effectiveness of the vents – might surprise me.

I kind of knew this in theory – the enthusiasm of Paramo flag-flyers on one or two cycling discussion boards for their weatherproofing, comfort, durability and environmentally friendly construction was what encouraged me to call one in

As it turned out, there was no getting away from the thermal effect of the multi-layer construction: I wouldn’t much want to ride hard up a hill in one on a sunny day in double figure temperatures. However, to be fair, no one wants to ride hard up a hill in the sun in any rain jacket. And the comfort of the Velez Adventure Light Smock was undeniable and the moisture regulation inside the jacket was truly surprising

Man wearing outdoor smock with side zip open

Generous ventilation features abound (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Design and specifications

Most waterproofs use a membrane to seal out water, full of microscopic holes that are small enough to restrict liquid water but big enough to allow water vapour through. Their limits are reached either when enough pressure forces rainwater through the tiny holes; or when water vapor (from sweat) is generated faster than the holes can let it out.

Instead of using a membrane to seal out water, Paramo focuses on getting moisture out faster than it comes in. Its outer layer uses a (non-toxic) water repellent coating to slow the ingress, and its inner layer pumps moisture out using a technique called capillary depression. Unlike membranes, it can move liquid as well as water vapor from the inner to the outer layer, so your sweat doesn’t have to evaporate before it can be moved away.

Like nearly all waterproofs, the outer layer needs cleaning and reproofing with water repellent from time to time to stop water soaking in. 

Man wearing half-zip outdoor smock

The soft grey inner ‘pumps’ liquid and vapour away from the body (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

In terms of design, the Velez smock is made of two loosely attached layers – a silky water resistant outer, and a smooth wicking inner. There’s a half length front zip, and two massive side vents, which can be zipped open from the top or the bottom. With typical attention to detail, the hood can be rolled and secured down when not in use, the front opening can be done up with two poppers instead of the zip to allow some airflow, and the generously Velcroed cuffs open wide enough that it’s easy to pull the sleeves halfway up if you want to.

There’s a big chest pocket, and a big full width pocket inside the smock at stomach level. This does mean that the whole front area below the zip is effectively triple-layered.

The layered build does make it heavy – 588g for a size small – but it does mean you don’t need as much on underneath. It’s worth noting that the men’s sizes don’t go down all that small. I’m 173cm / 5ft 8in tall with a 36in chest and the smallest size (S) was a pretty relaxed fit.

Man wearing half-zip outdoor smock

Pockets abound, including on the inside (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Performance

My first real trial of the Velez Light Smock was mountain biking in wind and sleet at 4-6C (39-42F) on the Welsh Borders, with just a thin winter base underneath. It was pretty much perfect for that, like a breathable waterproof cocoon with excellent windproofing too. Movement with the hood up or down was easy, too, thanks to the well articulated sleeves and shoulders.

Its softness, comfort and relatively relaxed fit meant it got grabbed for hiking on that holiday as well. It just feels very easy and natural to wear, on the bike and off. 

Man wearing half-zip outdoor smock

It's easy to move with the hood up, and it straps down when you're not using it (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

On subsequent rides, in addition to what did feel like impressive breathability, additional temperature regulation was good – with massive side vents and easily pull-uppable sleeves . But it’s not miraculous, and for mixed-intensity cycling I felt its main window was in windy, cold and wet weather. Because of its layers, when it does get too warm it really gets too warm, even with just a T-shirt underneath – I found this particularly when the sun came out at slower speeds, especially when there was little wind and temperatures got towards double figures (10C / 50F).

Velcro sleeve cuffs on outdoor smock

The sleeves pull up easily – and stay up (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Verdict

You wouldn’t buy the Velez Light Smock as your do-everything cycling jacket because it’s too warm for efforts in milder temperatures. That said, I really liked it and if you’re a general outdoors person, you could get plenty of value out of it. For walking it’s a smashing choice for inclement weather when you don’t need a full-on mountaineering coat, and chances are you’d find yourself reaching for it for chilled out MTB riding more than you expect, as well as for the lower temperature mixed-effort rides. I’m giving it a 3.5 stars as an off-road cycling jacket because of its narrowish window of use, but it would be an easy 4.5 for wider use.

Tech specs: Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock

  • Price: £250 / €350
  • Weight: 588g (S)
  • Sizes: Men's: S-XXL; Women's XS-XL
  • Colors: Men's: Rock gray, Pumpkin (tested); Women's: Neon, Elderberry
  • Key  materials: 100% polyester, Nikwax Analogy inner
  • Eco credentials: PFC-free water repellent finish; Guaranteed Fair Trade; Fully repairable and recyclable through Páramo in the UK (you also get a £50 voucher for any garment handed in for recycling with an RRP over £140).
Sean Fishpool
Freelance writer

Sean has old school cycle touring in his blood, with a coast to coast USA ride and a number of month-long European tours in his very relaxed palmares. Also an enthusiastic midpack club cyclocross and XC racer, he loves his role as a junior cycle coach on the Kent/Sussex borders, and likes to squeeze in a one-day unsupported 100-miler on the South Downs Way at least once a year. Triathlon and adventure racing fit into his meandering cycling past, as does clattering around the Peak District on a rigid Stumpjumper back in the day.

Height: 173cm

Weight: 65kg

Rides: Specialized Chisel Comp; Canyon Inflite CF SLX; Canyon Aeroad; Roberts custom road bike