What's your experience with ponchos?

Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by Jamess, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    If you want to try the concept, this is cheap. It's far from perfect - too wide, a little short, and the side snaps come apart too easily; plus it is too delicate to use as a ground sheet. But it's cheap.
    It's breathable so could probably be used as a sleeping bag cover.
  2. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Sadly some beanpole will knock it out in three and a bit hours sooner or later!
    JimH likes this.
  3. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I bought one of those, just to check out the fabric and perhaps use it in the future for some myog project.
  4. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    The fabric rips pretty easily but it is easy to tape, which makes it easy for MYOG but probably doesn't like being stitched. It's breathable and doesn't wet out so it has its uses.
  5. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

  6. Stube

    Stube Summit Camper

    Back to the OP, and to comment on various points raised - I make and use ponchos - they're my favourite foul weather gear. Waterproof. windshelter, pack cover, sit mat and groundsheet protector all in one. But they can be a pain to put on on your own!

    That said the the standard commercial designs are too short (even for me) too narrow to keep your arms dry and have excess material around the legs.

    My own ponchos are essentially a truncated diamond shape with an extra "back" section to give an even skirt length when worn over a pack. This shape also gives extra width for the arms and less material to flap about your knees. It was originaily designed to use as TN Laser Comp groundsheet (with the flap folded under), but the extra material also makes it fit a Nordisk Telemark with its asynmetric central hoop.

    I've found it's best to attach the poncho to the rucksack before putting the pair on together - not the quickest of manoeuvers, but you can do it in the wind.

    When worn, the central elastic tie-out loops that connect to the tent's main hoop are slipped over my middle finger to keep the "sleeves taut and arms covered.

    The tent corner tie-outs are connected to hold the sides of the skirt hem together. Being elasticated they provide extra give when climbing stiles. So far I've never bothered with any sort of waistband.

    Cheap plastic ponchos are very clingy in the wet. I currently use a medium weight woven polyester for its bramble resistance. It's not 100% waterproof, but the inside is never wetter than damp, it dries out almost instantaneously in any breeze and it does not cling at all.

    In foul weather, a poncho provides you with your own microclimate so you can use a much lighter jacket - saving weight.

    I also like brollies, but the windproof ones are far too heavy and the lightweight ones break! I'm still trying to find a design that has the right compromise on size, weight, durability and cost!
    JimH likes this.
  7. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Interesting. One reason I'm not keen for walking is lack of arm cover. Got any pics?
    Do you connect the edges with poppers like many commercial poncho?
  8. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Only tried it on at home but the Exped Pack Poncho covers the arms. Decent length too. Unlike some ponchos, the sides are closed so better protection but less versatility for other purposes.
  9. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    cheap one is worth a punt I think and go from there
  10. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    I recently sold a Sea to Summit sil Poncho/Tarp. It was a great little bit of kit for emergency weather protection and shelter when stoping for a cuppa or bite to eat. I did sleep under it once too with a bivi.
    fluffkitten likes this.
  11. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Sportpursuit has the Zajo Neo Poncho for £30 at the moment. It's a sleeved poncho and appears to have a backpack compartment (which makes ponchos hang better and better in winds IMO). Made from a slightly breathable material. Weighs 425g.
    I have no personal experience of it and the above info is from the online description.
  12. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    There is also the aliexpress 3f 15d silpoly poncho/tarp <£20 and 200g
    JimH and WilliamC like this.
  13. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Cheap, but the photo shows why a backpack compartment would make for better raingear (but less versatility).
  14. Gadget

    Gadget Thru Hiker

    Hmmm.... maybe not in this case??
    Review - https://doprirody.prakticky.sk/2017/09/27/zatocte-sychravym-pocasim-s-plastenkou-zajo-poncho-neo/

    Shoddy translation
    "It does not interrupt with a loud swing, does not get drunk even with a full day wear"
    ... good to know.
    WilliamC likes this.
  15. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

  16. Warrenbond

    Warrenbond Trail Blazer

    Iv been using a snugpak poncho for a bit now it's got thumb loops so keeps your arms covered all the time .
    also plenty of length to go over the pack

    Iv not had to use it much but when I have it's been good.
  17. Stube

    Stube Summit Camper

    Sorry Mole no worthwhile pics - and I can't post them anyway!

    The matter of side fastenings is something I'm still working on - If the wind is strong enough both poppers and velcro will give! I think the answer may be zips - but I'm reluctant to add the extra weight - at 300g its heavy enough already, but it has proved very tough. After three years and 1000 miles it still looks like new - apart from the mud! I've destroyed cheaper plastic ones in a single day when the winds have been really bad!

    That said, since fixing it to the rucksack, as long as the hem stays together I've not had any problems. - so I'm not actively seeking a solution to side fastenings. Some poncho users make waterproof gaiters for their forearms.
  18. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Well, if we're in a race to the bottom :) £4.99 at Gooutdoors
  19. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    and with reviews such as this, I've got to get one!

    Great Multi Purpose Smock, 12 October 2017

    By Jim (Sheffield)

    Keeps you dry in a shower and doubles up as a great value Batman costume.
    WilliamC likes this.
  20. peregrino_tom

    peregrino_tom Trekker

    Someone gave me a Quechua poncho/rainjacket on my first camino, in Dec 2008. it is basically a poncho with full arms and a zip all the way down the front. It's been my main piece of raingear - and usually my only rain gear - for more than 3000 miles now. It goes over the pack too, so I've never had to have a pack cover. It was hard to use on the Pennine Way (where it was so windy that after a few days in the Cross Fell region I developed blurred vision), but not impossible. You just have to grab the sides with one hand and gather them in. The full arms make it less susceptible to catching in the wind but it still flaps. I briefly tried the Gatewood Cape, but Silnylon is just not breathable enough and everything gets really wet on the inside. I think ponchos are often poorly rated and dismissed because they are made of the wrong material, typically because people want them to double as tarps or ground sheets. I think my poncho is made of something with similar beathability to eVent but cheaper. I have to waterproof it once a year and reseal the seams every few years.
    I've looked for this model in Decathlon but haven't found it yet. One day I'll unstitch and use it as a pattern for cloning new ones out of eVent or something similar. But til then, it's still doing an amazing job - I carry everwhere so it gets used all week. It weighs 330g and in colder weather is partnered with the MLD 60g rain chaps.
    JimH, gixer and Mole like this.
  21. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    sounds very good.....let me know if you discover a new one anywhere!
    peregrino_tom and WilliamC like this.
  22. JimH

    JimH Ultralighter

    Decathlon have quite a few interesting looking ponchos, I'm not sure about the vast Forclaz 75L cape (but it's got a full zip and sleeves), the Arpenaz 40L cape (sleeves & half zip) or the Arpenaz 25L poncho (no sleeves & half zip) look more useful to me (apart from their hoods), and they're not too spendy either at £18 and £12.
    WilliamC likes this.
  23. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    thats pretty decent that that price
  24. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Moderator Staff Member

    The 75 looks like a extra giant rain jacket. Having pitzips might stop you being boiled in the bag though.
  25. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Poncchos tend to get a bit "flappy" for me

    Don't know why no one makes a old style trench coat out of new more breathable materials.
    If it came to just below the knees i'd happily do without my shell trousers or skirt

    All that loose fabric at the bottom should give you a good chimney effect if you can open under arm vents as well

    I think a really baggy trench coat might look like crap, so that's probably why no one produces one.

    Recon it'd be a more useful design that the increasingly short shell jackets that are out there
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018

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