Paramo Cambia – A Review

At the prompting of Hendrik I am reviewing one of my older bits of kit, the Paramo Cambia long sleeved top.

I bought the Cambia about 3 years ago after having experimented with several other baselayer tops. I have tried the Montane bionic tee shirt but found it scratchy. I have also tried the long sleeved merino wool Icebreaker top but found this too clingy and “odd” to wear. I know people reckon merino wool tops are more versatile than synthetic tops but I just cant get on with them. I was recommended to try the Cambia by a friend and so I did and have never looked back since.

Paramo Cambia

Paramo Cambia

When I first tried the Cambia I was impressed with the close fit of the top but it wasnt a clingy, restrictive fit (as was the Icebreaker) and it felt comfortable at once. The other things I like about the Cambia are that the sleeves can be pushed up (and stay up) easily thus giving you a long sleeved and short sleeved option in one. The top has a 1/4 zip to help with venting and also there is a small “collar” that helps keep the neck covered and warm when the zip is done up. There is another side to the Cambia….literally. The material is slightly different on one side to the other, one is smooth, the other honeycombed. The smooth face of the fabric supposedly reduces pooling of perspiration to eliminate cold spots after exercise.  The honeycomb face of the fabric allegedly provides ‘dry’ comfort in cooler conditions. Now I am not sure I have noticed any difference whichever way around I have worn the top but what is does mean is if the top gets a bit dirty or smelly you can wear it inside out to keep fresh a little bit longer!

The weight of the top is a very respectable 190g and because it is light and synthetic in nature it also dries very quickly when wet. I paid around £20 when I got mine but even so the rrp of £35 isnt all that expensive but looking around there are plenty of online shops selling it cheaper than that anyway. It is designed to go under Paramo’s famous directional outer clothing and I have used mine under their Velez Smock to great effect. The combination of Cambia and Velez is so good that if I know its going to be really really cold and windy with a possiblity of rain, I wont wear anything else. During the summer I often wear the Cambia on its own or under a microfleece if there is a chill and under my Montane Atomic DT jacket if wet. Its so versatile and comfy, my wife complains because I will wear it out to the shops or down to the pub of an evening. The other thing to mention then is that 3 years after getting it, its still in good nick and not looking bobbled or shabby. The last thing to note is that some people complain it smells after wearing it for a day or two, leading to some people dubbing it the “pongia”. I have never had this problem with mine and as I said earlier you can always wear it inside out to extend the freshness of it.

Its one of the nicest bits of kit I own and is the first thing on come rain, wind or shine. Its that good


Great fit and very comfortable

reasonable warmth


quick drying

reasonably light

really hard wearing and well made


Some people say it can smell after a day’s wear but I’ve not had this problem at all


About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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8 Responses to Paramo Cambia – A Review

  1. blogpackinglight says:

    Hmmm, I’ve never tried a Cambia, I’ve always used merino over the past few years. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl. The potential smell factor concerns me 😉

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Robin, I really think its down to individual body chemistry. My Cambia doesn’t smell even after a few days so can only speak for my own experiences


  2. backpackingbongos says:

    I have heard of people turning their underpants inside out to prolong their use but thought that it was an urban myth, but if you do so with your outer clothing………………..

    • backpackbrewer says:

      It does work. I am not sure about the underpants bit though. Having said that I liked the Cambia top so much I bought a pair of Cambia underpants as well and they are very comfy indeed….


  3. Hendrik M says:

    Thanks for the very informative review Dave! Just saw the review now, maybe I should start to use some RSS reader or similar to stay up-to-date!

    Do you know where I can mailorder the Cambia? You made me curious, and the weight and benefits sound very good.

  4. backpackingbongos says:

    I won’t ask if you will be turning them inside out………

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