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The Backpacking Poncho: An Ultralight Alternative to Rain Jackets


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable The Backpacking Poncho: An Ultralight Alternative to Rain Jackets

Viewing 16 posts - 26 through 41 (of 41 total)
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  • #3746016
    John S.
    BPL Member

    @jshann

    Or make a version of the poncho tent.

    http://www.alpharubicon.com/prepinfo/ponchotent.htm

    #3746017
    Jan Paul M
    BPL Member

    @janpaul

    After hiking in rain for a hours and getting wet and cold through and through two years ago, even while wearing good and well cared for rain gear, I bought a lightweight poncho (Nigor tarp poncho, 170g). It’s slightly more difficult to put on and yes, it flaps in the wind, but it works. When it rains lightly I just throw it over my windshirt and I stay completely dry, and if the rain stops for a moment, I just wear it like a cape and ventilate. When it rains heavily, I wear it over over my rain gear. The rain gear stops all the drops that get blown in by the wind and keep my arms dry when they are not tucked away underneath the poncho. The poncho prevents the rain gear from wetting out. As soon as your rain gear wets out, it’s no longer breathable. With the poncho, the jacket and top of my pants don’t wet out and the gear will still breathe. This way, I have far less sweat building up underneath the rain gear, so I stay dry, inside and out. Yes, the poncho ads a little weight (pack volume is really small), but combined with a light 2,5  layer rain jacket it’s  still lighter, smaller and more water-resistant then a heavy 3 layer jacket. Yes, it’s a bit more fiddly, but it’s also a lot more versatile. I have used the poncho as a windbreaker or tarp for two while having lunch (in the rain). I have used it as an extension of the tent to create shade or a dry spot for reading or cooking while camping and I can bring it along on a day trek as an emergency shelter. I’m very keen on grams but I won’t leave the poncho home unless I’m trekking in really warm and dry areas.

    #3746133
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Very versatile things, ponchos.

    Sue was ‘warm enough’ inside her poncho.
    (Going up to Col du Croix de Bonhomme near Mont Blanc, Europe. This WAS summertime.)

    Yes, over-trousers, gaiters and light joggers as well.

    Cheers

    #3746601
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Been there, done that. No thanks, I’ll stick with my eVent parka and pants.

    #3746619
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Sue is in exactly the kind of conditions where sweating out in a wp jacket won’t occur.

    #3746657
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    I don’t think she was sweating much at all!

    Cheers

    #3747650
    James W
    BPL Member

    @jameswise

    Having backpacked with a Packa for a few years now and on my recent Thruhike of the Ouachita Trail, it’s apparent to me that this is something to strongly consider. The Packa has an integrated  elastic band pack cover. So on a potentially rainy day you can pre-stage it on your pack. Mine weighs 12 oz on my postal scale. It is lighter and provides better rain coverage than pack cover/rain jacket combo as no rain can get between the pack and my back. This is a cheesy video, but shows you it’s versatility. https://youtu.be/sXao8pqLtk4

    #3748396
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Every 5 years or so I decide to give the poncho another try as shelter and rain gear.  I will stick with it for between 4-18 months and then go back to a some sort of rain jacket and when colder rain pants.  Why? Wet arms, struggles with snagging (even when I use a belt), soaks chest due to condensation (much less with eVENT or Shakedry shells), and I like having my shelter and rain gear separate from each other.  Finally, I like more coverage (space) from my shelter than is practical from a poncho.

    #3748651
    James W
    BPL Member

    @jameswise

    Never had any of those problems with a Packa. It has pit zips and has true arms that are elasticized are the wrists. No need for a pack cover nor rain jacket.

    #3748699
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Bear in mind that you do not have to use the sleeves. I usually walk with my arms crossed in front of me, keeping both my arms (and hands) and my chest warm. With a Packa-style poncho (or my MYOG version) there is adjustable ventilation down the front.

    Cheers

    #3755707
    Jan Paul M
    BPL Member

    @janpaul

    I know, I know. This is BPL, so  grams matter and you want gear to be multi-use instead of it doing the same as other gear you already have in your pack. But after getting soaked on a winter hike walking in the rain for hours and getting wet through and through, despite my Marmot raingear, I decided to give the poncho a try. Having to put on wet base- and mid layers when it is around freezing isn’t great fun and even dangerous. The poncho I use wat sold as Nigor, which now sells as Bach (see above). The claimed weight is 220 g, but is actually only 172. Wearing the poncho over my 200g Marmot rain jacket, it keeps the rain jacket and the top of my rainpants completely dry. The rain jacket and pants catch whatever gets blown into the poncho, which isn’t all that much, but never ever wet out. So they breathe well and don’t wet out on the inside. You can even open your rain jacket for extra ventilation if necessary and as an extra bonus, even the straps and hip belt on your pack stay completely dry. So nice. At camp, I set up my Duplex and use the tarp as an extra awning. Even lightweight backpacking gets very comfy this way.. In the summer I don’t even bother with the rain jacket and I pair the poncho with my windjacket (Cumulus Windy Wendy) and at camp, the poncho makes a nice sunshade. Yes, the poncho might be redundant and extra weight, but is is still multi-use and adds a lot of comfort and safety to my kit that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    #3755766
    Jan Paul M
    BPL Member

    @janpaul

    Inspiring to see that people actually do use it as a shelter as well. Good idea if you get caught in a storm during a day hike.

    #3755768
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I like the idea of a poncho as a “redundant” rain gear item, in addition to a rain jacket. Being able to unzip a jacket underneath the poncho while walking sounds like a solid strategy in a lot of scenarios, as when it’s relatively warm but raining heavily. And I mean, in the 50’s and 60’s fahrenheit.

    #3755770
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    We stopped carrying rain jackets many years ago. We rely on our ponchos. They are so much more effective and convenient. When the sun comes out we don’t even have to stop: we just throw the poncho back onto the pack, and keep walking.

    Dead easy.

    Cheers

    #3755773
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    Seems to me that is an operation for two people… as I don’t think I could reach back and pull the poncho forward from the pack. I don’t think I could even get one on over me and the pack by myself. And winds are a problem

     

    #3755775
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Well, yes, having two people does help, but we find it completely unnecessary.
    And I agree that reaching for the poncho behind you at or above waist level can be difficult. We don’t do it that way.

    What we do instead is to reach over our shoulder for the poncho hood., and pull it forward. Once you have the hood, the rest of the poncho follows easily.
    Also, our ponchos are tied to the pack straps just behind the neck, so they can’t ‘escape’ or get out of reach.

    Works for us.

    See also https://backpackinglight.com/myog_mntn_poncho/

    Cheers

Viewing 16 posts - 26 through 41 (of 41 total)
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