Farewell to the Third Element?

Sadly, it does look as if we’re seeing the end of the Paramo Third Element jacket which was a perfect piece of kit for UK backpackers and hill walkers.

I can remember the first time I played with one, at the Outdoors Show. I described it as very Heath Robinson, which it was. This was the jacket where you could remove the sleeves and the hood, stripping the jacket down into a gilet.

I found the Third Element to be the perfect jacket for the cooler months and an ideal companion for the TGO Challenge. I wasn’t the only Challenger using one of these — there were quite a few of us happily stumbling around in one. I found that this jacket really did allow me to go without a mid layer. In warm civilisation I’d take off the arms and hood and be quite comfy without being cold. In full on weather the jacket performed as well as you would expect any Paramo jacket to.

It really was quite versatile. This year May in Scotland was quite warm but the Third Element in gilet form was always comfortable, that Analogy fabric making light work of moving sweat away from the body. The only quibble I had with mine was that I could only find one in red — this jacket was not always easy to get hold of from day one. I’d have much preferred a black jacket and some of my colleagues did manage to hunt one down.

Colin Ibbotson

Colin Ibbotson modelling a  ‘stripped down’ Third Element (Yes for those of you with eager eyes Colin’s jacket is a weird shade of Brown)

The last time I discussed this with Paramo — maybe earlier this year at the Outdoors Show, or was it the year before — they told me that they were having difficulty in selling it. People just had no idea how to use it. I’m reminding myself that I promised to write something for their magazine, about how this fitted perfectly into a lightweight gear set. I never got round to it; so maybe it’s my fault!

Perhaps, the problem with the Third Element was that there just aren’t that many of us about. Sometimes I think that 80% of regular backpackers in the UK know each other, if not in person then through the internet. Maybe there just aren’t that many of us!

Anyhow, I’m sad to see this go. But then this was the second incarnation of this jacket, so maybe one day we’ll see it again. Mine is probably good for a few years yet — but what will I do when it is time to replace it! Go back to layers I suppose.

Anyhow, if you see one of these things lying around in a Paramo store, snap it up quickly.

It may have been a slightly weird design and it may have seemed counter intuitive to some people. But the Third Element jacket; I salute you!


  1. Mine is in Black. It is a fine jacket. Lets hope they bring it back one day.

  2. That’s a pity Andy. When I last bought a replacement for my old black Velez I could not for the life of me find a third element jacket, even visiting a couple of Paramo Main Dealers, or whatever the title is for them. I ended up buying the Velez Adventure in a wonderful cheery lime and bottle green… What is it with Paramo? Are they totally colour blind or are they deliberately clueless when it comes to the colour and drape of their garments?

    If they could fix these issues they would have a world beating product. As it stands though, only dedicated Paramo lovers who understand the kit and how it works buy the product. Such a lost opportunity!

  3. It’s already been revived once before.

    I like my red 3rd Element. Good for pictures. 🙂

  4. Al, your lime and green is certainly ‘cheeky’ 🙂

    Paramo have always been a bit weird with colour schemes — I’ve had more than a few Paramo dealers have a moan about this as well! Perhaps, they buy surplus dye!

    Glad to see there are other aficionados out there. Here’s hoping to return sometime quicker than it did last time!

  5. Colin Ibbotson says:

    Sad, sad day…

  6. It is a sad day Colin. Bet you never find that colour jacket anywhere else 🙂

  7. David A says:

    If it’s true the 3rd Element is being discontinued, then this is a sad, sad day!

    I’ve found it to be a very versatile top and can’t imagine what I’d use instead??? It has been on two or three TGO Challenges with me now and did the business all the way up the Cape Wrath Trail.

    Will probably start seaching for another to put away for when my present one (Black) wears out!

  8. Shed Dweller says:

    I only got mine last year for the TGO (black of course) and I was a complete convert to the church that is Paramo. Such a brilliant bit of clothing. Everthing works, everthing is in the right place, just no issues with it at all and so versatile. Plus I got mine for £99 on sale! It also looks nice too. 🙁

  9. Colin Ibbotson says:

    Kim has now claimed that lovely brown 3rd Element jacket! Having to use my own grown stuff nowadays…

  10. Colin Ibbotson says:

    Blue jacket, black trousers.

  11. David A says:

    Do you think Colin be persuaded to do a piece on his ‘own grown’ jacket and trousers for the Home Made section of his pages, Andy?

  12. Martin says:

    Other than my (black) medium being a bit snug this is fantastic jacket and gets worn as a body warmer year round.


    Does this provide an opportunity for Cioch to step into the breach?

  13. Paul Lydon says:

    Thanks for the “heads up”. I just got a black one from The Mountaineer in Grassington so there are still some left.

  14. tony bowe says:

    you can still buy on ebay just got one
    for £95.00 new.i could not get one in
    claret and blue they have them in red
    ant taupe

  15. Andy – thanks for the heads up on this. I was looking to get a Paramo jacket and this seemed to fit the bill. I have just bought one on Paramo extras – their online outlet site. Paramo confirmed to me that they no longer sell it. My wife and I picked up them up for £143.00 each.

  16. Lilo Lil says:

    just got myself one in “baby blue” with grey pannels,
    like new on ebay for £70…16 people were bidding for it…geroff!!!

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