Sunday 3 April 2011

Phd Alpamayo smock - first impressions

My PHD Alpamayo waterproof smock arrived on Friday. Made in the UK.

This weighs in at 435 grms (L).  I tested the weight on my scales and it was the same as on the website.

What attracted me to the Alpamayo smock was the weight and the weatherproofness.

The jacket weighs in at 590 grms.

Do away with the pockets and you get down to a respectable 435 grm. I don't use handwarmer pockets, especially with a pack, and the Napoleon pocket on the smock is, really, all I want.

What do you get?

My last "proper waterproof", years ago, was a ME jacket that weighed in at - not sure, but it was heavy compared to nowadays. Then I got a Paclite jacket from Berghaus. OK, but Paclite. Then I got a Marmot Precip. Nice, but................. could I trust it in really bad weather? Mixed reports were enough to put me off trying it out for real.

So, I looked around for a lightweight waterproof.

In context, I had discovered Cioch waterproofs: Glamaig, Fionn... and Harta. They use the Paramo lining and are completely waterproof. The Glamaig is a reasonable weight and could almost be an all-year-round smock; just a little bit too heavy for carrying - at 700 grms. And, on the 2009 TGOC I ended up carrying it quite a few times. I could live with the weight, but there was less ability to vary the options: I guess this is why the classic - fleece, windproof, waterproof set up is so popular.

So, I looked at the options: OMM Cypher, Berghaus Asgard, Rab Demand, Haglofs Oz, etc.,

Some, if not all, were lower in weight than the Alpamayo.

Then, I re-read the reviews on waterproofs in Trail and TGO magazines. The waterproofs were good, or, otherwise, as rated, but, what was the lasting thought - they were too short. Same with the others - one or two I tried on.

I'm not a great fan of waterproofs that don't perform. My memories of a Blacks smock, years ago, were that I was as wet inside as I was outside. Until I got my Cioch Glamaig I did not think that waterproofs were much good.

Why the Alpamayo?

Simple, really. I have become a PHD-a-holick. The down tops I've got are top class; the sleeping bags are top class. But, I saw a comment recently that the idea of a Phd waterproof was ............ well, they are not known for waterproofs.

This was it! A great, respected UK company with a world-wide reputation for quality down equipment bringing out a couple of waterproofs. What's this about?

Phd have brought out waterproofs in the past: the Alpamayo in Tempest, or, with a Gore Tex option. Did nothing for me.

Technology has advanced so much: if Phd were prepared to put out a jacket and smock with their latest tried and tested 3 layer waterproof material, then they were worth a look. Phd would not bring out a waterproof that was not first class - and more!

So, first impressions - at last - fantastic.

It's a proper top: full hood, full length, soft feel, proper zips (Riri), storm flap, etc., etc., (There is a full description on the PHD website).

It is a proper top!! - to repeat. No scimpy zips, no dodgy fabrics, no compromise on function. 435 grms for a Large - and it is not a cut-all-corners-type-large; my Phd down gear can easily be worn underneath.

I'm off for a week, next weekend, to give it a first proper test - if it rains - so I'll be able to give it a real test. But, first impressions.....



  1. Looks good. Gone for smocks as well. I got a Demand top. Missed this one. Might have been tempted.

  2. But Gordon, you don't mention the most vital, most pressing issue about this smock:

    Did you go for black or orange? :-)

  3. I'm not allowed any more kit Gordon.
    More than my life's worth, and I've only admitted to half of my existing kit, which does not include my Minimus PHD Jacket.
    Now look what you've gone and done to me.

  4. Martin,

    The Damand looked good, but,I found the fit a bit off. The Alpamayo fits well and feels like a full on Winter jacket. Considering they haven't scrimped on materials, cut and features (hood,zips,storm flap) it's superb for 435 grms.
    I've got this thing about lightweight tops not being so light for the Large size. Especially when you factor in compromises such as fit, lenght, hood, zips etc., This does it for me.

    Big Jack,

    I like the Orange, but I went for Black.


    Try my tip. Put stuff on eBay. Then spend more than you get in for the stuff you sell!

    Something like: "Not another jacket!" yes, but I did sell some stuff on eBay. "Oh, that's ok."

    It's worked so far. But, this is the very last top I buy ................ maybe.

  5. Ferme la fenetre, ferme la fenetra, as Del Boy would say.

    Hi Jon and Andrew!

    Just looked more closely at the pictues!!



  6. I am huge fan of PHD. The Customer Service is good too but the products are what mark them out as being a world class outfit. I have the Yukon which kept me comfortable when my WM Summerlite failed in the Lakes this winter - condensation/Akto, need I say more? It's just so well made and Drishell is very water resistant indeed. Nice blog Gordon.