Begging for State of the Market Rain Jacket Report
Mar 17, 2023 at 2:38 pm #3776076
would your packa style poncho work in rough terrain?
Interesting Q, and the answer is yes.
You see, you are not going to be wearing a poncho in fine weather, are you? So the fabric won’t be dry. It will be wet, and slippery.
In wet weather the silnylon slides just wonderfully over rock and sticks. This has been well-tested here in Oz and overseas. I don’t have many photos of really bad weather (I wonder why?), but herewith:
Ed: thanks for the correction.
RogerMar 21, 2023 at 1:10 pm #3776603
Gave Bill’s recommended SaphiRose poncho a shot ($22US, why not, thanks for suggesting Bill).
Weight with pouch (-carbiner) = 10.7 oz, packs down to 10″x6.25″.
Its folded over bedsheet cut means a tall pack can’t be covered while using the sleeves. Here’s with ~ 60L pack but nothing in the back mesh.
Using thumb loops:
Hiking up sleeves to leave more material to cover pack:
Any real wind and a tall pack’s getting uncovered. Probably Ok for a short small pack though. Might give the 3UL a shot nextMar 21, 2023 at 7:04 pm #3776700
I always recommend doing what you want to do; hike your own hike, of course.
Not arguing, but maybe offering a couple of thoughts:
Mar 22, 2023 at 9:32 am #3776731
- I don’t do either of those things with the sleeves. I just stick my hands through them and snap a single snap on each side. The point of a poncho is to blouse (ventilate). Anything you do to restrict that reduces the primary point of a poncho. Sure, there are times when you might want to tie it down, but that isn’t the MAIN purpose.
- As your second photo shows, the poncho covers the pack well enough. Again, however, protecting the pack is a secondary benefit. The primary reason to put the poncho over the pack is so that the poncho does not get pressed against your back; ventilation.
- The pack is really a different problem than ventilated rain wear for you. If you’re worried about your pack, then use a pack liner and/or cover. Sure, dual-use is great and all, but don’t expect one garment to do two different things without compromise.
- If I zip up the front and snap the sleeves, then my poncho fits semi-snugly around my pack. It doesn’t flap much.
- The usual thing to do if wind bothers you is to add a tie or belt. Either around you or around the pack. Stick-on (or punch-through) grommets or ties would be easy enough to add. Maybe use some backing fabric or duct tape to reinforce any punch-throughs. Or just wrap a cord around you and the pack, like a bathrobe belt.
- That said, I don’t usually experience heavy wind and heavy rain together when on trail. If a storm is coming, I ordinarily shelter up. If you hike in storms, then a mountain poncho or Packa might suit you better. They have sleeves for dealing with wind. I prefer NOT having sleeves for my main use case.
- The main reason for a front-zippered poncho is ventilation. If I wanted sleeves and a full-time pack cover, then I would invest in a Packa, which has both a front zipper and long pit zips. The 3F UL thing looks like a sweat-generator to me. You gain extra pack coverage and sleeves while sacrificing most of the benefits of a front-zippered poncho.
This bag is my bomber for 7 day carries in shoulder seasons and bigger than most would use. So sort of a worst case analysis.
Agree with all your points. I currently use a 1oz strap with my existing poncho worn under my pack and nylofume liners in my bag but picked this up for the extra ventilation, and to avoid the water weight added with soaking straps and hip belt.
Agree with the 3FUL, I don’t like the sleeve elastic cinches and lack of zipper, looks like a hot tent. With shipping and conversion to Canadian $, a six moon gatewood or MLD pro poncho will run me close to C$400, a packa C$230 (I like its pit zips). Buying US cottage hiking gear in Canada is significantly more expensive than the prices you guys enjoy. The S2S silnylon is more reasonable at C$150 but the lack of zips is a turn off. I’m hopeful there’s a breathable solution between $5 emergency poncho and C$230 packa.
The SaphieRose in a longer back would be the perfect rain kit for me. Less concerned with the pack bottom being exposed than a gust of wind lifting it up over my pack and exposing my back. I might buy a second as a donor to add more material in back: cut, stitch and seam seal. Still come in $170C under a packa with more flexibility!Mar 22, 2023 at 10:18 am #3776746
I might buy a second as a donor to add more material in back: cut, stitch and seam seal.
There you go. Wouldn’t even need to be the same material other than looks. Tyvek and tape would suffice.
jscott’s poncho-attached-to-pack idea might be even easier to make.
Or maybe add a real pack cover rather than more poncho material? Would solve your wind-blown issue and give you a way to attach to the pack at the same time. If you attached the pack cover to your poncho with snaps (or velcro or a cord) then it would be detachable; allowing you to keep your pack covered while wearing the poncho to pitch camp.
Or, if you want to get really crazy here, you could even use a pack cover AND your front-zippered poncho without any surgery at all. Just layer the poncho over the pack cover. Cost < $10 for a 4oz cover from Walmart. A little more for a 3oz cover (Joy Walker or Osprey), or maybe a lot more for a 1.7oz cover from ZPacks (all for 70L packs or larger). Or make your own out of a yard or two of whatever you like.Mar 23, 2023 at 5:22 pm #3776926
Thought of affixing it to pack but that’ll make putting on and taking off a challenge and make it easy to forget and rip it
Also thought of taking my light pack cover and connecting somehow but that’ll make it pretty pack specific and trashes a cover
Tyvek is a good idea. Unfortunately it’s now really expensive in Canuckistan. Cheapest option up here is to butcher a donor, and style points to boot! I might see if I can find press on fabric snaps, easier than sewing!Mar 23, 2023 at 6:28 pm #3776936
affixing it to pack but that’ll make putting on and taking off a challenge and make it easy to forget and rip it
We have never had any problems with the first bit, and we have never seen the second.
CheersMar 23, 2023 at 8:46 pm #3776942HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
Loved my Marmot Essence rain jacket (6.7 oz) for many years, but it’s time for a replacement. It needs to be waterproof and preferably under 8 ounces since my jacket stays in the pack
Think it’s generally accepted that most wear jackets in the windy mountains while a poncho would be handy on the Appalachian Trail and similar regions. Warmth but also excess fabric kinda blowing around. That hooded pack cover could be pretty neat in cuben fiber though if on an established trailer.
Just browsing through some other websites, there seems to be a line up for 2023 North American hiking season (spring, summer). As an “emergency” = “lightweight” jacket, the Arcteryx Beta AR (10.75 oz) being the overall top at ”Outdoorgearlab” in Paclite. 3L H2NO got a good mention with Patagonia’s 8.5 oz Storm10 being the most durable proprietary jacket tested. Think most will want to keep the garment for awhile. A North Face “futurelight” with proprietary 2.5 layer technology got an ultralight nod at 7.5 oz, but I remember some (now discontinued) 3 layer proprietaries coming in at less.
That said, planning to be in the American southwest by west this year, I have the Rab Phantom pullover at 3.5 oz at a “just in case” layer, while relying on a windshell (Montbell Tachyon .. 2.5 oz) to take most of the abuse. I can layer either over my baselayer or alpha direct hoody for a number of combos. Of course the Montbell Versalite is Gore INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPERlayer that’s waterproof so that’s tempting. Heard about wet out though, and on a long hike, reapplying the DWR wouldn’t work.
Wetter mountains? I’d probably go with the Arc’teryx or Patagonia jacket selections if I had to buy this year. .Mar 23, 2023 at 9:12 pm #3776944
most wear jackets in the windy mountains
Well, we wear our ponchos if it is really bad, but more often we just rely on our Taslan windshirts.
Hum – could you classify them as a sort-of jacket? They do block the wind (mostly).
Such a wide range of options.
CheersMar 23, 2023 at 9:19 pm #3776945HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
Was about to mention we can’t really buy windshirts here anymore. May need a MYOG project.
Then there’s individual metabolism and cold tolerance. I’ll keep going in a baselayer when others have to wear a rainjacket while moving.
To blur the line even further, I was thinking of a $245 0.5 cuben fiber rain jacket at 2.6 oz but at a $70 sale price, the 3.5 oz Rab Phantom was a steal (figuratively speaking).Mar 23, 2023 at 9:45 pm #3776952
Roger: Taslan windshirt: Buttons, zippers, snaps?
If I ever learn to sew, that’ll be my first attempt. If I was sure about material, I might just hire somebody to build one.
I’m curious how close my OR Ferrosi jacket comes to your Taslan shirt? They sound kind of similar: Breathable nylon; good for a wide range of conditions. I got mine oversized for loose fit. I have not tried wearing it without a shirt underneath, but it is soft enough to work that way. I wear it whenever the temp is below about 50F/10C. There is no bottom temperature; it’s my cool-to-cold-weather shell. In the Summer I carry an EE Copperfield just in case (because it packs smaller).
HkNewman: Wind shell plus light rain gear may be the best possible combo.Mar 23, 2023 at 10:23 pm #3776959
Taslan windshirt: Buttons, zippers, snaps?
No button, no snaps. Short zip at the front, a drawcord for the hood (rarely used except in cold weathert) and light bungee at the bottom edge. Oh – and a zip for a large front pocket – sort of kangaroo pouch. Extremely useful for watch, glass, etc.
Trouble is, MY windshirts are NOT a consumer fashion item, so the large mfrs don’t want to touch them. All I can say is that they work, very well, for us.
Photo taken near Mt Mistake – and the scrub was a mistake! Had camera on mini-tripod. Delayed photo on camera allows 10 seconds for me to sit down
CheersMar 24, 2023 at 11:58 am #3777007
Am I correct in thinking that the magic is in the fabric (assuming oversized for air movement)?Mar 24, 2023 at 2:16 pm #3777041
It is an ‘air-textured’ nylon, very different from the average UL nylon fabric. Almost like a cotton fabric, but MUCH tougher.
There used to be some MYOG articles by me on BPL for a Taslan windshirt and some Taslan trousers, but I only have the URLs for the previous web site, and now I can’t find them. Um . . .
CheersMar 24, 2023 at 4:25 pm #3777068Mar 24, 2023 at 10:54 pm #3777101Mar 25, 2023 at 12:05 am #3777105
So how come you could find it when I could not???
I believe the Search function has caused problems in the past.
The pattern for the top is found at
The pattern for the pants is found at
It seems that I had first written ABOUT them, then I published the actual patterns separately. I had forgotten about that! Hey, it was 2006!
Fwiiw, we (my wife and I) are still using those tops and trousers. The tops when we are walking, and the trousers as every day wear. Still!
CheersMar 25, 2023 at 9:16 am #3777119
I found it using some Google-fu and some intuition about hacking the resulting (broken) link. As you know, the forum has some problems. It doesn’t appear that anyone is working on them. But there is soooo much gold in this forum that I spent some time digging around to figure out how to fix some of the broken links.
(I first figured out how to hack the continuation pages on a profile to find old threads they started. That’s how I found Richard Nisley’s older posts).
First I searched: “myog caffin taslan windshirt site:backpackinglight.com”. That tells Google to search BPL instead of using the forum’s search feature.
That led me to: durable bushwacking windshirt, which contained the broken link:
I removed the two strike-throughed pieces, which resulted in the correct link.
Still using trousers from 2006… that’s impressive. Especially knowing how and where you use them.
Thanks for the patterns with detailed instructions! All of these links go into my MYOG bookmarks folder. (Still need to figure out how to string the sewing machine… sigh.) (Then there is the problem of finding Taslan that is somehow similar to yours. But these instructions will be super helpful when I get there.)Mar 25, 2023 at 9:53 am #3777121John S.BPL Member
Yes, if you can’t find it by BPL search, then always try google with “backpackinglight.com” in front of search term.Mar 25, 2023 at 4:11 pm #3777146
I made a PoC extending the SaphiRose with polycro (untrimmed, ignore the extra length and depth). It was a bust: there’s no reliable way to attach as the material is too slick, and if sewed I think the plastic will tear over time. It also looks dorky, more cheap than DIY cool
Its possible to buy a donor poncho and sew up an extension with matching material, but after some measurements its not a straight seam, requiring 3 panels and it would add a lot of weight. I think that’s too much work and I’m not confident one donor poncho would serve up 3 pieces of the needed sizes without more patch work.
I found a good solution, a hack on the classic poncho bungee belt. I made a 0.7 oz belt that goes over the whole pack using 3mm bungee and a cord lock
You need to cut the belt ~ 1′ longer than needed when worn and lasso it over the pack from the top front (easy one person operation). It does need a stopper so it doesn’t slide down the back, that’s provided by an xmid in the stretch pouch in the picture
Tighten the bungee belt either below the hip belt pockets (shown) or up at the chest. Doesn’t need much pressure, feels good.
I’ll still use a pack liner but this should keep my bag mostly dry, especially the top, absorbent belts and shoulder straps.
Its much more breathable than any rain coat. I left it on for 30mins in the house over the pack, and didn’t feel the slightest warm even with a thick wool sweater. I took it off and tried an emergency poncho under the pack and was uncomfortably warm in about 5 mins.
I think we might have a winner for warm weather use. It’s not full coverage like a Packa but it has some advantages:
– can’t complain about the price: $25 for the poncho, <$5 for the belt parts
– weight with pouch 11.3oz (~ same as 15D Packa)
– packs down to 10″x6″ (half the volume of a Packa).
– it’s not sleeved like a Packa so I’ll have to tolerate some water down the arms but that also makes it more breathable
It also has a full zipper for venting like a Packa while a S2S sil nylon poncho has no zippers
They don’t rate the hydrostatic head, but going on Bill’s experience and the reviews I’m expecting waterproofness to be OK.
I have a couple trips booked for May after the snow melts and will give it a shot.
Below 40F, I’ll stick with a light rain coat for warmthMar 25, 2023 at 4:36 pm #3777149
I’m not sure you’re ever going to get a poncho to look “cool”. (Unless you look like a poncho model.)
Also, the few people on the trail when it is actually raining probably don’t care what you look like, either.Mar 25, 2023 at 4:45 pm #3777150
The flapping in high wind can be a problem of course. But, I have a different way to handle it. See pic here, pink arrow.
There are two light straps (silnylon fabric) at the bottom edge of the poncho which can be connected by velcro under the pack. Normally I leave them floating, but in bad weather I can hook them together myself under the pack. I don’t need help for this. When I do this the poncho is quite securely held in place, as you can see from the photo.
With arms in sleeves and strap connected, I am warm, protected, and able to move freely. Well, the poncho is a bit like a jacket when used thus. On easy ground I often keep my arms crossed in front of my chest inside the poncho without using the sleeves: its warmer that way. I hook the sleeves together using the velcro at the cuffs to stop them flapping.
Side comment: it looks as though Sue (my wife) has her hand on the concrete cairn (Mt Jagungal, KNP, Oz), but not so. Her hand is actually on a layer of ice on the cairn! But she was warm enough. Under those conditions, looking ‘cool’ is maybe not the aim?
CheersMar 25, 2023 at 4:55 pm #3777151
I was hoping for this look
but will take what I can get.
Roger, cool strap system, but it wouldn’t work with the cut of the SaphiRose ponchoMar 25, 2023 at 5:05 pm #3777154
Yeah, but the gun is not UL!
If the saphirose poncho has a poor design, discard it? Who cares about super-cheap in a howling gale at -5 C? Nails flag to mast: Functionality!
CheersMar 25, 2023 at 5:12 pm #3777158
I considered using Sue as the example poncho model, but figured it would be more polite for you to do it, Roger.
I actually think the saphirose poncho design is superior to most commercial designs (for the conditions I see most often). Agreed that it depends on the weather.
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