Head Buyer Clare lets you know her thoughts on the long awaited Halkon Women’s version.

I have been the Paramo buyer for a number of years, but must admit to never having used it. My husband is an avid fan, but I had stuck with Gore-Tex, so when I had the opportunity to test the new Ladies Halkon jacket, I jumped at the chance. The men’s Halkon has been on the market for several years, recently enjoying an update, but Paramo only introduced the ladies version for winter 2023.

Plenty of pockets but none large enough for this Lens!

Paramo was established in the 1980’s by Nick Brown, and in 1992 he established a partnership with Creacionies Miquelina, a small sewing workshop in Bogota, Columbia. Creacionies Miquelina offered practical help for vulnerable women from the streets, providing training and experience which enable the women to apply for jobs in other factories, as well as helping them to build houses and providing a kindergarten and canteen for their children. Now there are over 150 women working in Bogota producing Paramo garments and it holds ISO 9001 accreditation and obtained Fair Trade status in 2017.

As described by Paramo – the ladies Halkon jacket is ‘A durable, comfortable and rustle free directional waterproof jacket for wildlife observation, photography and fieldwork in cold or wet conditions.’ I would say that actually that sums the jacket up perfectly!

I am getting into wildlife photography so this was a great opportunity to try the jacket. My initial thought was that the jacket was quite heavy compared to a Gore-Tex. Paramo list an average weight at 894g, compared to a Gore-tex jacket at about 460g. In use however in winter it was stunning, out on several occasions at below zero, I needed fewer layers, thus giving a much more comfortable fit. The jacket however has plenty of venting options, including on the arms and by using the two way front zip.

The Paramo Halkon uses Nikwax Analogy fabric, which moves liquid water away from the body, thus providing effective moisture control which in turn prevents chilling and allows you to remain comfortable in cold and or wet weather. The fabric is also directional, which means it effectively directs condensation, sweat and rain away from your body.

Recently I was lucky enough to go to a local nature reserve with Sam – our video content and social media guru – who is also an amazing wildlife photographer – so I got as many tips as I could!. Our visit was on a bright but cold day. Perfect for the Halkon jacket under which I just had a baselayer and light fleece. The jacket was so comfortable to wear, fitted perfectly and had a host of features that made the morning of photography an even better experience.

Some stand out features were the hood, which would offer full protection, with a wired peak in wet weather, but on this day it rolled down perfectly into a warm, fleece lined collar.

Excellent storm hood with fleece collar and chin guard

Pocket wise this jacket is a winner for me – nine practical pockets, allowing ample storage of anything from a map or field guide, to snacks and binoculars to spare camera batteries. The zipped hand warmer pockets are fleece lined, an absolute must on a chilly day between pictures.

On the lookout for something! The bellows pocket fits binoculars with ease.

I have used this jacket on many winter walks and found it comfortable in a variety of conditions from heavy rain, to cold and even on some of the milder days we had, as the jacket also offers good venting. The jacket is slightly longer than others and I found this to be a perfect length for me – just covering my bum!

Paramo are very ethical, both in production and their use of PFC free treatments for water repellency. The jacket can also be fully recycled at the end of it’s life through Paramo.

In summary, I think I may be a convert to Paramo. The overall comfort of the jacket was excellent, it kept me warm and dry and although quite a heavy jacket the breathability was superb. The jacket has so many useful features and is well designed for its purpose – what is not to like!