I have owned a Paramo Helki jacket for a few years now and find I wear it most days.
Before I got the Helki I had a lightweight Paramo jacket and found that while it was great, the lightweight fabric was not really durable enough for me. I tend to subject my kit to quite a bit of abuse and after a fair amount of winter climbing the lightweight fabric was showing some wear. So, I got a Helki (my son inherited my old jacket), seeing in it a good compromise of features, durability and price.
Price is always a consideration for me and the other contender was the Enduro, which looks fantastic but is a lot more cash. The Helki ticked the boxes for me, namely durable fabric, not over supplied with pockets, (I hate faff), and a not too baggy cut. My previous Paramo was rather baggy and tended to flap a lot in the wind.
So, how did it do? Well, first and foremost, it is waterproof in the Paramo way, which means not sweaty. I find Paramo to be so comfortable through such a range of conditions, I have given up on membrane waterproofs completely. For more info on how Paramo works, see their website. https://www.paramo-clothing.com/en-gb/performancetechnology/
The Helki is a good length, so it covers my bum, and won’ t ride up and expose my back. Also, under a climbing harness it doesn’t pull out of the waistband when reaching high. The hood is good, protecting without restricting vision and having enough space to fit a helmet. The cut is not super skinny, but does away with excess material, so is comfy whilst not looking liking a sack of spuds. Coupled with the use of normal weight fabric (as opposed to the lightweight of my previous jacket), this reduces the amount of flapping in high wind to a minimum.
The Helki has four pockets, two handwarmers low down, one chest pocket and a small internal pocket. The chest pocket is great, I clip my compass to the ziptag which is sized for this purpose, and you can fit an OS map in the pocket too. The handwarmers are handy day to day but I don’t tend to use them much when out on the hill. You could use them for gloves or snacks though. The internal pocket is great for a phone, keeping it dry and warm.
There are two drawcords, one at the hem and one at the waist to pull tight and keep the draughts out. They work well but the toggles for adjusting them are concealed in the handwarmer pockets and the hem so take a bit of getting used to, not a big issue.
Overall I have been really happy with the Helki, I have used it hillwalking, scrambling, winter climbing, dog walking, and rarely leave the house without it to be honest. I completed my Mountain Leader assessment this year so I have used this jacket a lot in the last year or two, filling my logbook with mountain days in all weather, and would definitely recommend this jacket to anyone looking for a versatile waterproof jacket that you can wear every day.
Ray Lindley, Mountain Leader, Scouter and ProAdventure Team Member