Photographers tend to focus on wet weather gear and keeping their kit dry, but many of us like to travel to warmer climbs if we can. The Paramo Women’s Alondra Traveller jacket is designed to accompany you on those trips – or when we get decent weather at home. Its Nikwax Cotton+ fabric and cut combine to protect you from the sun, wind and insects.
You’ll notice that rain isn’t mentioned. That’s because the Alondra Traveller isn’t waterproof. However, it’s lightweight and quick drying. If you need some water-resistance you can treat it with Nikwax CottonProof to make it showerproof.
There’s an impressive number of pockets on or in this light but tough jacket. In fact, there are 10 in total but clever tailoring keeps some of them nicely hidden.
The exterior has 7 pockets. The most obvious of these are the large pockets at the waist. These are both capable of holding a large lens like a 24-70mm f/2.8 or similar. At the side of each of these, you’ll find another pocket. These are the logical pockets for stuffing your hands into, but they’re also good for non-valuable items like tissues, lens caps and loose change.
There are concealed zip-closing pockets either side of the zip around the chest area. These are perfect for carrying travel essentials like your passport, mobile phone, boarding pass or map. Helpfully, they are long enough that you don’t need to fold those weirdly long boarding passes that airlines like to give out. So when you stick your hand in, you can grab the pass quickly, without having to hunt around.
If you prefer a little more security, there’s a similarly sized pocket just inside the jacket, on the left as you wear it.
The final outside pocket is a typical snap-closing breast pocket that’s useful for things like business cards and lens caps.
Two large elasticated pockets just inside the jacket near the waist bring the total to 10. Like the main exterior pockets, these can hold a large lens each. However, you there isn’t room to use them to carry 4 lenses, you need to decide which you want to use for what.
Wearing the Women’s Alondra Traveller
According to Paramo, the Nikwax Cotton+ fabric that makes up the Alondra Traveller is able to block harmful UV rays. That’s useful if you’ve flown in from a colder climate and haven’t the opportunity to apply sun cream. Even at home, I often prefer to wear a shirt or light jacket instead of slathering myself in sun cream.
The high collar also has a thin fleece lining that makes it comfortable to wear without being excessively hot if you need to protect the back of your neck.
Before you stuff the pockets full, the Alondra Traveller is lightweight. It’s also quite soft (in the crisp bedsheet sense rather than the fluffy bunny sense) and is comfortable on bare arms. It becomes even more comfortable with wear as it moulds to your shape and loses any stiffness.
I took it with me on a trip to Portugal and it was a good move. I wore it to the airport in the early morning UK chill and felt warm enough, but didn’t swelter when I arrived in sunny Lisbon. A high-speed boat trip later allowed me to ascertain that it’s both windproof and quick drying. While others onboard developed goosebumps, I stayed smooth-skinned.
When the sun was high in the Portuguese sky and I didn’t need a jacket, I was able to fold and roll-up the Alondra Traveller so it didn’t take up much room in my bag. When it became cooler in the evening, a quick shake restored the jacket to its former glory.
Although I prefer to carry lenses in a bag rather than pockets, I found the large pockets very useful during lens changes. I was also able to stash away items such as filters, filter holders and lens caps while I was shooting without having to open my bag.
I usually take a UK size 8 and I have the size small Paramo Women’s Alondra Traveller. It feels like the right size for me but I’d like a little more room in the bottom half of the sleeves to allow me to push them up my arms more easily. To be fair, the tailored look is more attractive, but they can seem restrictive.
I think that my arms are in proportion with the rest of me, but the Alondra Travelle’s sleeves seem quite long. A Velcro fastening allows you to tighten the cuff a little to stop it extending over your hands, but of course, you need to remember to loosen it again when you take the jacket off.
I have quite broad shoulders, but the pleats in the jacket accommodated that, so I didn’t experience any tightness or rubbing. There are also pleats with poppers around the back of the jacket near the bottom. I found the Alondra Traveller felt fine whether these were open or closed.
There are also a couple of vents at the back of the jacket that you can open if you need a bit more ventilation. I was surprised that there are no ‘pit zips’, but perhaps they may be uncomfortable in such a thin jacket.
A hanging loop would also be useful, but is not present.
I’m actually quite surprised by how much I like the Women’s Alondra Traveller.
With exception of during the recent heatwave, I rarely leave the house without a jacket. I also always have plenty of things to slip into my pockets, so I loved having so much carrying capacity.
There are a couple of niggles like the lack of a hanging loop, the slightly too long and over-tailored sleeves, but I can see I will get a lot of use from the Alondra Traveller. On the whole, I think the cut is good and while it looks like a ‘travel jacket’ it doesn’t make you appear too much like an extra from ‘Ice Cold In Alex’, especially with a nice scarf.
The colour may not be everyone’s choice but it doesn’t seem to show the dirt!
I think the Paramo Women’s Alondra Traveller is a good jacket for photographers, bird watchers and walkers who travel regularly or need a lightweight jacket for the warmer months.